MiLB.com is holding a minor league food contest, and I am not happy about it. Actually, it is the ballot I’m not happy about, not the contest itself. With the exception of the Jumbo Pork Tenderloin served up by the Iowa Cubs, the Cubs’ farm system is completely unrepresented. Someone get Theo on the phone; this is unacceptable.
The Cubs farm system not only features some of the best players in the minors, it has some of the best organizations, stadiums, and fans in the game. From Daytona to Boise, from Kane County to Tennessee, the Cubs farm system is wonderful blend of great stadiums, great history, and (usually) some great baseball. And as for the fans – awesome across the board (especially the ones that read Bleacher Nation). These are the fans that host Cub prospects in Boise every summer, that hung out with Rod Beck by his RV in Iowa, and that helped the Smokies be recognized as the best franchise in the minors. Everyone knows that Cubs fans are the best in sports and that concentrated awesomeness extends all the way down the farm system.
So why aren’t fans at the Cubs’ minor league franchises rewarded with food that is equally awesome? Just check out the competition and you’ll see how badly the Cubs have fallen behind.
- Fans of the Corpus Christi Hooks get cheddarwurst wrapped in a hamburger and covered in bacon. Paramedics are hopefully standing by.
- Have a sweet tooth? Charlotte Knights fans soothe theirs with deep fried moon pies.
- How about New Hampshire Fisher Cat fans! They get a pulled pork on pretzel roll sandwich with a bacon Swiss burger stacked on top, topped with turkey and ham, and finished with a pickle. That’s a five meat sandwich!
- Akron’s Three Dog Night consists of a hot dog inside a bratwurst inside a keilbasa and topped with sauerkraut. That’s only 100(ish) miles from Brett. We need a scouting report! [Brett: Except I hate almost all of those things ... *ducks*]
- The Myrtle Beach Pelicans serve up something called Chicken Bog Balls. I’m not sure what that is (and I’m not sure I want to know), but it made the list.
- Delmarva will put a crab on your hamburger. Not crab meat, a crab. Seriously. This is happening.
- Arkansas kicked up the hot dog by wrapping it in a funnel cake. The idea alone deserves a statue in Cooperstown.
I could keep going, but I’m getting hungry.
Now this is not to say that the Cubs farm teams have ignored ballpark cuisine altogether. As I mentioned, Iowa does make the list with the pork tenderloin sandwich (and rightfully so). I can also confirm that the barbecue nachos served up by the Smokies are quite tasty (thanks for the tip Brandon) and I’m looking forward to dining on them again in August. I’m sure the other teams have some quality options as well (be sure to list your favorites in the comments). But when I see that the Sacramento River Cats are serving a hamburger that has been molded into the shape of a hot dog with the help of a home-run hitting baseball bat, I feel like the Cubs minor league fans should be more awesomely fed.
The best fans in the minors deserve the best food in the minors. Jed, get to work! If the front office can’t think up something tasty that includes six different meats, or is deliciously deep fried, or involves a small mountain of cream (or all three!), I’m going to be sorely disappointed.
Scores From The Weekend
Friday – A ninth inning rally fell just short. The Cubs lost 9-8.
Saturday – Iowa fell behind right away and never recovered. They lost this one 4-2.
Sunday – With two big innings they salvaged the weekend. The Cubs won on Sunday by a score of 7-3.
Friday – Four runs in the second was all the Smokies needed in this 4-3 win.
Saturday – Despite three errors, the Smokies moved three games over .500 in this 7-5 win.
Sunday – Thanks to the rains, this game was not played. All those barbecued nachos were sadly uneaten for a day.
Friday – A Friday doubleheader turned into two Cub wins. Daytona took Game One 5-1 and Game Two 7-4 in twelve innings.
Saturday – After this 6-5 win the Cubs were back to .500.
Sunday – Another day, another win. The Cubs pulled ahead late for a 5-4 triumph.
Kane County -
Friday – It took twelve innings, but the Cougars lost anyway. The final was 4-3.
Saturday – Revenge came in the form of a 4-0 shutout win.
Sunday – And then another loss. This time the final was 8-7.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Logan Watkins both homered and doubled over the weekend. His average remains depressed, but the rest of the numbers are there.
- [Iowa] Brett Jackson finished Friday 4 for 5 with a double and just one strikeout. He singled and walked in Sunday’s game, and finished the weekend with a total of three strikeouts. Maybe those swing changes made a difference after all.
- [Iowa] Also having a good day on Friday was Josh Vitters. The third baseman finished 3 for 3 with a double. He did not play on Saturday or Sunday, though.
- [Tennessee] Kyle Hendricks was the star again on Friday. In seven innings he limited the damage to 3 runs on 6 hits while walking one and fanning 3. He is definitely the early leader for the Cubs Organizational Pitcher of the Year.
- [Tennessee] Matt Szczur had a five hit weekend that included another double. His SLG is still just .386 for the season, but that climbs to .479 over his last ten games.
- [Tennessee] Two of the four hits provided by Christian Villanueva this weekend were doubles.
- [Tennessee] He has not gotten a lot of playing time in Tennessee this season, but Anthony Giansanti is taking advantage of it when it comes. He doubled and tripled while playing right field for the Smokies on Saturday.
- [Daytona] Jorge Soler is back to turning the pitching-strong Florida State League into his own batting cage. On Friday he was 4 for 4 with a home run in Game One and 3 for 6 with a double in Game Two. On Saturday he had two more hits in four at bats before going 0 for 3 on Sunday. Sunday aside, that’s 9 hits in two days. This guy needs a sandwich named after him, pronto.
- [Daytona] Javier Baez had a pretty good weekend himself. He finished the four games with seven hits (including a double and a triple) and only one strike out. He has only 7 strikeouts in his last ten games and has hit .310/.341/.524 in that stretch.
- [Daytona] The winning pitcher, indeed the only pitcher, in the Cubs first win on Friday was Yeiper Castillo. Through 7 IP he allowed just 4H, including a sole home run.
- [Daytona] The Game Two win went to the bullpen. Austin Reed (2 IP), Sheldon McDonald (4 IP) and Frank Del Valle (3 IP) combined to toss nine scoreless innings.
- [Kane County] The heavy lifting in the KC shutout on Saturday came from Pierce Johnson. He scattered six hits and struck out nine in six innings of work. Justin Amlung and Jeffry Antigua wrapped up the shutout.
- [Kane County] Dillon Maples had a nice start on Friday. He only pitched five innings, but he struck out five while giving up two runs on two hits.
- [Kane County] Bijan Rademacher is staying hot. Three hits on Friday and two more on Sunday have raised his average to .343.
- Not only did Hendricks pick up the win on Friday, he also out dueled noted Dodgers pitching prospect and Cubs trade rumor favorite Zach Lee. It could be tempting to read volumes into that outcome, but it would be a mistake. Lee is still a class above Hendricks as a prospect, but I don’t think that gap is quite so large as it appeared at the beginning of the season.
- John Andreoli leads the Florida State League with five triples. Javier Baez is right behind him with four. The tops spot in walks belongs to Zeke DeVoss (26), but Andreoli trails him by just three free passes. Dustin Geiger checks in at number five in total OPS (.925), two spots ahead of Jorge Soler’s .894.
- Rock Shoulders is the home run leader in the Midwest League with 10. Jeimer Candelario leads the league in doubles with 15, and Gioskar Amaya‘s three triples leave him tied for tenth. Shoulders is third in OPS at .945.