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PETA ranks the veg-friendly food at major league ballparks. And I tell a story.

May 18, 2011, 5:24 PM EST

Steak

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has released their annual list of the top-10 vegetarian friendly ballparks.  I was surprised to read that last year’s winner was Philadelphia which, as Old Gator likes to remind us, is known for cheesesteak sandwiches. But they’re number two now. The winner: San Francisco, which is much more in keeping with our predispositions.

Enjoy the list, but the real reason I’m posting this is to tell a story. I may have told it here before, but I can’t remember so you probably can’t either.  Anyway:

The last stop in my legal career was at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.  One of my jobs there was to defend lawsuits brought against the state arising out of stuff that went down on the Statehouse grounds.  Some of it was slip-and-fall cases, but the vast majority of the work involved helping the people who managed the Statehouse property approve (or not approve) petitions for people who wanted to march or protest.

Normally it was easy: they’d call, asking if they can keep some group off the capitol steps and I’d say “Nope, sorry. Gotta let ‘em march.”  The First Amendment is so troublesome that way.  But heck, several years earlier the KKK got to rally there, and if you can’t keep them out, you can’t keep anyone out. Besides, the guy who ran that operation was a cranky old guy who didn’t like anyone protesting, so it was a lot of fun to tell him just how little say over the matter he had.

But then, in the summer of 2009, came PETA.  Who, though I disagree with their stance on the tastiness of animals, their suitability for my barbecue and the comfort of their skin when put on my comfortable Eames lounge chair, I do respect in an odd fashion.  They’ve got moxy and chutzpah and, though they’re occasionally (frequently) insane, they usually seem to have a good sense of humor about themselves. Which is essential when you’re wrong so often. Live and let live, I say (note: this motto may not apply to cattle, pigs, chickens and other things that I may want for dinner this evening).

That summer PETA wanted to stage a massive protest on the Statehouse lawn in which they would (a) place approximately 1000 buckets full of pig poop in neat rows; (b) place giant industrial-sized fans all around them in order to blow the stink all over downtown Columbus; (c) bring in giant amplifiers with which to project the sounds of pigs being slaughtered to a mutliple-block radius; and (d) erect giant video screens on which the horrors of factory farming would be displayed.

You won’t be surprised to learn that the guy who ran the Statehouse called me, somewhat upset over all of this.  And while I normally would just say “First Amendment, forget it” and go back to my clandestine baseball blogging, I felt that I needed to dig into this one a bit more.  So I did. And I learned that PETA had just recently tried to do the same protest in Washington and maybe in a few other states besides Ohio, but were denied everywhere else.  Indeed, it was my assumption — based on the fact that they hadn’t yet started suing everyone over it — that the protest was never really going to happen and that they just wanted the headlines that the state’s rejection of the application would provide.  Smart!

The whole thing fascinated me, really, so I decided that rather than simply send a letter saying no, I’d try to find a legitimate yet innocuous basis for denying their application, putting the ball back in their court rather than letting them use my state as an example of intolerance and authoritarianism for their next press release.

After an afternoon of research with a summer law clerk — who herself happened to be a vegan and former PETA member and who had quit the organization because this kind of nonsense bugged the heck out of her — we found some obscure 19th century law that dealt with the storing of offal within the city limits.  We didn’t think that offal and pig poop were the same thing, but we figured it would be fun to make the PETA lawyers research that one and explain it in their letter objecting to our decision or in the lawsuit if it came to that.  If they want to fight over the true nature of poop, by God, I’d fight that fight.

We sent the letter denying their right to rally on the Statehouse lawn.  I spent another four months at the AG’s office before coming to NBC full time. Never heard back from them, so even if it was just a phantom protest/publicity stunt, I’m still claiming that I’m 1-0 all-time vs. PETA.

Gosh, remembering that has me in a really good mood now. I think this evening I’m going to eat a really bloody steak in celebration.

  1. xmatt0926x - May 18, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    I’m sorry. I guess I’m just a caveman but I want that steak in the picture. Yes, I love to eat dead cows. Sue me.

  2. levistahl - May 18, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    That story is way more awesome than most of the vegetarian food available in ballparks, in my fairly extensive vegetarian ballpark-going experience. A lotta parks offer you the fries and that’s about it.

    Detroit wins for me, because last time I was there they offered falafel. Which my rhyme with offal but is in no other way related.

    • tribester - May 18, 2011 at 6:58 PM

      I usually go for the soft pretzel or nachos, but AT&T does have nice variety.

  3. cur68 - May 18, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Now that’s what I call storyfying.

    Ahhh, PETA…if it wasn’t for your penchant for good looking naked women in your adds I’d totally dismiss you, but there is that little detail indeed.

    • curr68 - May 18, 2011 at 6:30 PM

      Also, the thought of Jose Bautista’s beard brushing against my skin makes my loins tingle.

      • cur68 - May 18, 2011 at 6:44 PM

        mini-curr I want you to know I won’t reject you for your orientation, but um, keep your little mitts off Jose till the season’s over, ‘kay? He doesn’t need you competing with his wife while he’s pwning MLB pitching.

        Also little chap, you might have to face the prospects of outright rejection should you make known your um, ‘interests’ in him. Play careful now little dude, you might get your itty bitty heart broke and I wouldn’t want that.

        However if you want to turn your little intentions on Adrian Gonzalez, I’d be fully in support of you distracting him you sex crazed little fiend. Anything to mess with a divisional opponent. I’m no expert but I think that natty little beard of his would just suit you.

      • b7p19 - May 18, 2011 at 7:00 PM

        What?

      • cur68 - May 18, 2011 at 7:12 PM

        Yeah, I said that the first time I saw the handle “curr68″. He’s using an extra ‘r’ there, but it took me a second to notice it. Since I was (and still am) reeling with the flu at the time I didn’t know what to think till I noticed that ‘r’.

        I’m pretty sure this is the poster otherwise known as “ryanmallettsbluntwrap”. He had some sarcastic words for me a day or so ago when I was posting in giddy fan boy induced joy over Jose Bautista’s 3 homer night. He did indicate he would “get off my wiener” (that’s his phrase; he likely has some unresolved sexual issues) but he seems to have taken this to mean ‘get a new handle and try and mess with someone who’s cheering for a better team than his’.

        I’m enjoying his company very much. Especially since you can’t go to a Red Sox post without seeing the handle of someone who’s named themselves after something Ryan Mallett puts in mouth and sucks on. I sure appreciate the irony!

      • cur68 - May 18, 2011 at 7:45 PM

        LOL! It IS ryanmalletsbluntwrap! I must have broken my fever because it FINALLY occurred to me to click the link to the handles “curr68″ & “ryanmalletsbluntwrap”. It’s the same wordpress site. He’s just gone and changed it now proving that he’s pretty clever when he’s up against a dude with the flu.

        Hey bluntwrap, what happened to your ‘word’ about “getting off my wiener”?

        Never mind, man. Just keep being you. As I mentioned to halladaysbicepts, the aggressively inane make me laugh.
        Cheers

      • curr68 - May 18, 2011 at 9:09 PM

        Hmm, maybe I should try signing up for another account myself, choose the free WordPress blog, and then see if it, I don’t know, might be the same exact WordPress site as ryanmalletsbluntwrap and my own (curr68’s). Then I should probably concede that I have not, in fact, figured anything out and that I am not nearly as smart as I think I am.

      • cur68 - May 18, 2011 at 9:15 PM

        :)

        mini-curr you complete me…

      • jetersusedjersey - May 18, 2011 at 9:29 PM

        I just threw up on my jersey a little.

      • cur68 - May 18, 2011 at 10:00 PM

        jetersusedjersey; you just jealous of my affectionate little pal. If you had a stalker (jetersunusedjersey?) I hope you’d adopt the little guy like I’ve adopted my little buddy here.

        And don’t be hatin’ on mini-curr’s orientation either. The world’s big enough for all of us.

      • Jonny 5 - May 19, 2011 at 9:44 AM

        LMAO!!!!! Cur, I have to admit, your little hemorrhoid is a funny character.

      • cur68 - May 19, 2011 at 10:21 AM

        Yup J5 he is an adorable little guy. I can’t decide between dingleberry or hemorrhoid for his official designation though. We shall have to see how this plays out as he fully devlops.

  4. paperlions - May 18, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    PETA does realize that by being vegetarian, in general, they require a greater amount of land be occupied in a non-natural state, thereby precluding the existence of local native species in order to grow a sufficient amount of their fairly low nutrient valued green goodies…right?
    .
    I’ve always thought it was hypocritical to not eat animals, but to eat the offspring of plants while they were still alive (technically true just about any time you eat fresh fruit) with that baby plant blood (also called fruit juice) running down their chins or to fry said offspring alive in oil as is so common in the sauteing of vegetables.
    .
    Neanderthals.

    • Pierre Cruzatte - May 18, 2011 at 6:49 PM

      Hence the existence of “Fruitists,” who subsist only on in-season fruits with seeds that can be replanted into the ground.

      Baseball angle: Mike Piazza’s high groundball rate.

    • tomemos - May 18, 2011 at 11:19 PM

      “PETA does realize that by being vegetarian, in general, they require a greater amount of land be occupied in a non-natural state, thereby precluding the existence of local native species in order to grow a sufficient amount of their fairly low nutrient valued green goodies…right?”

      Huh? Raising meat takes way more land and resources than raising vegetables–especially when you consider that you have to raise vegetables to feed the livestock anyway. What did you think the cattle were being fed with?

      “I’ve always thought it was hypocritical to not eat animals, but to eat the offspring of plants while they were still alive (technically true just about any time you eat fresh fruit) with that baby plant blood (also called fruit juice) running down their chins or to fry said offspring alive in oil as is so common in the sauteing of vegetables.”

      This is the first stupid thing I’ve ever seen you say on this site.

    • levistahl - May 19, 2011 at 1:28 PM

      Conveniently, this week’s New Yorker features an artilce on lab-grown meat that lays out the details: “According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the global livestock industry is responsible for nearly twenty percent of humanity’s greenhouse-gas emissions. That is more than all cars, trains, ships, and planes combined. Cattle consume nearly ten percent of the world’s freshwater resources, and eighty percent of all farmland is devoted to the production of meat.”

      {Note to the picky: I closed up “per cent” in my quote, because it’s just silly that New Yorker style still calls for it to be two words. That is not a style for to-day’s readers!}

  5. APBA Guy - May 18, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    SF may have been dethroned as the Gay Capital of the US by Minnesota (I know, hard to believe, but it was on the Daily Show so it has to be true). But thankfully we have substituted another culinary title in place of our tarnished gay hipness. Most of you probably don’t know this but AT&T does have a steakhouse on premises. The last one wasn’t very good and closed, even though it always seemed busy to me. But we can’t compete with a Lobel’s in the stadium like New York’s Yankees have done. Only an on-site Peter Luger’s or Gene and Georgetti’s could top that. Since we can’t compete on steak we compete on something we can win at, which is vegetables. Our secret weapon: we are the country’s largest producer of agricultural products, so some of them must be good, right? And yes, we lead in both categories, open market and underground economy agriculture. Maybe that’s why the fans are always munching, and the Ghirardelli’s sundaes are served with extra fudge.

  6. Old Gator - May 18, 2011 at 10:48 PM

    Methane cometh from pig shit.

    • APBA Guy - May 19, 2011 at 12:41 AM

      Into the Thunderdome with you, raggedy man.

  7. tomemos - May 18, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    Vegetarian here who is no fan of PETA (too shrill and sanctimonious for my taste). That said, I do get annoyed when I go to the ballpark and can’t get anything to eat except nachos. Here’s my question: why don’t more ballparks sell veggie dogs? You’re already selling hot dogs and providing all the fixin’s, so it’s not like it would take extra resources. You can heavily overcharge for them like you do for everything else, and they don’t have to taste particularly good since we’ll just slather them with onions and relish anyway. It just seems so obvious, but you almost never see it.

  8. Jonny 5 - May 19, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    You know what I just realized? I don’t give a rats a$$ about what ballpark has the best veggies. Give me a Hatfield sausage and peppers SW, a cheeses steak, bulls bbq pork SW or turkey leg with a side of Chickie and Pete’s crab fries with dipping sauce. There are 50 foods that are “better” I can think of before eating imitation chicken steaks. What is imitation chicken for goodness sakes?

    • Old Gator - May 19, 2011 at 12:43 PM

      What you need to know is which ballpark has the highest percentage of working defibrillators, and how far from the cheap seats they’re stored.

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