Safeco Field's New Mariner Menu Causes Some Crabbiness

Leslie Kelly
Not your grandfather's--or even your dad's--ballpark chow.
Last week, Safeco Field's chef unveiled a host of new food items that will be available beginning with today's Mariner home opener against the Oakland A's.

Among the new items already added to Safeco's already diverse (for a ballpark, anyway) menu of foodstuffs: hummus platters, vegan soup, fruit smoothies, poutine, bagel sandwiches, gluten-free snack bars, and crab sandwiches on organic French bread.

On the one hand, such progressiveness is admirable. America has a massive (pun intended) obesity problem, due in no small part to the elephant-ear ethic of major public gatherings like baseball games.

On the other hand, Safeco's menu change signals the health-food movement's infiltration of a pillar of gluttony. And is there anything more all-American than gluttony itself?

I attended the Rat City Rollergirls' bouts at KeyArena Saturday night. While derby purists might lament that the more "pro" version of the sport dilutes the pro wrestling-style theatrics and spilled-beer physicality of banked-track vintage, all that really bothered me was how tough it was to find a damn hot dog (that and the $8 Rolling Rocks). This odd hunt had less to do with the apathy that engulfed the Key's concessionaires during the Sonics' waning days than it did with the fact that certain windows were devoted to the likes of niche cuisine like noodles and such.

With the roller derby crowd, that's probably okay, as the sport's clientele is a good deal hipper and more urbane than you're likely to find at the Safe. But if mom had room in her hands for a Louisville Slugger, baseball'd be right alongside apple pie, and there's only so much space for food vendors in the stadium's corridors. Hence, the more the menu begins to resemble your local PCC, the greater the shrinkage of tradition--and the National Waistline.

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