Bliss & Bargains at the Ballpark

The Dish: Italian Sausage with Grilled Peppers and Onions on a roll – Bargain Bliss
Vietnamese Garlic Noodles – Indulgent Bliss

The Place: Surprise Stadium, 13590 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise 85374

By: Susan L Pricco

Cactus League, the Major League Baseball Spring Training battlegrounds, brings the All-American sport to Arizona every year. Each of the participating stadiums have their specialties and attractions. In my quest for the best food experience at the ballparks (yes, I visit them all), the 2020 season brought unexpected pleasures for baseball fans of all ages.

Surprise Stadium, spring home of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals, this year delivers some stellar offerings. One of the festival-like tents encircling the ball field, offers a first-time delight – Vietnamese garlic noodles with your choice of lemongrass chicken or beef. It’s a home run splurge at $19 but guaranteed to please.

Of course, you can get the familiar ballpark fare for young and old. Family-friendly fare (starting at the Value Menu Hot Dog for $3 at the Centerfield concession to the Taco, Nachos or Monster Dog meal, about $20) abounds at several price points and iterations, but the best bargain “dog” is found at 1st and 3rd base kiosks with fresh grilled Italian Sausage on a Roll for $9.50 – be sure to include the grilled peppers and onions! The humble hot dog elevated to ballpark gourmet status. You can even feel better about it on weekends, when the kiosk is staffed by the Chance Shelter fundraiser volunteers.

Walk into Billy Parker field at Surprise Stadium for the full Cactus League experience. With all the charm of classic baseball, significant shade in the stands and a grassy berm for sun worshipers, the well-organized volunteers direct the free parking (unless you take the free shuttle from the Surprise Marketplace) and show you to your row. Much like t-shirts and souvenirs that update every year, so do some of the epicurean offerings. I challenge you to try them all.

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