Daily Archives: August 21, 2010

“Stadium Shenanigans”

Here is a chart used on the recent, "ESPN Outside the Lines" special highlighting the horrible truths about stadium concession stands.

I love going to ball games.  Whether it is football, baseball, basketball, hockey, etc.  Going to ball games at stadiums and arenas across the country is something that I love to do.  But I can only give you all one piece of advice when viewing sports at big time or even small time venues from here on out.  Do your best to eat beforehand or after.  Only eat food at sporting events in an act of desperation.

Recently, ESPN’s highly acclaimed television show, “Outside the Lines,” did a special highlighting how unsanitary stadium/arena food actually is.  They pulled 107 health inspection reports for concessions and restaurants at all 107 NBA, NFL, and NHL sporting venues in the US and Canada.  Their findings were absolutely astonishing.  And I mean astonishing in a bad way.  The results were truly mind-blowing and something that will change my lifestyle at games forever.  At 28 percent of the facilities, food establishments had incurred what are called “major” or “critical” violations.  Does this make you feel a bit squeamish?

Well I will give you some more details that may make your stomach turn.  Last evening, I had the pleasure of working a concession stand at the Bengals vs Eagles preseason football game at the beautiful Paul Brown Stadium.  This is an annual thing that I do with a group I participate in at school.  Every year, I feel more and more  nauseous realizing what actually goes on.

Here are a few words for the wise:

Number one, the majority of the workers do not even wash their hands once throughout the entire pre game, game, or post game.  And if they do, they may wash them once. Secondly, the food is old and gross.  The nacho cheese last evening had ants and grasshoppers crawling in it.  Some of the cups had dirt and dead bugs in them.  Some of the meat being used for the hotdogs and burgers had passed their expiration dates.  And you know that the dishes that were being used to cook with were not clean.  I saw what a post game cleaning is like.  So that is a major problem.  Thirdly, amateurs like myself who do not know how to fix these issues are back there.  I am no sanitation master.  But I realize what goes on at these stadiums is wrong.  When food is not cooked properly or people who do not even have clean hands are working, you open up a whole bag of worms, both literally and metaphorically speaking.  Lastly, people like myself are back there cooking!  My roommates the past 3 years at college have taken away my rights to use the stove and oven for a reason.  I have no business cooking for myself, much less thousands of fans.

So my  best advice for all of you.  Only eat at ball games if you are starving.  Do all that is in your power to eat before or after.  If you are to eat at the game, get items like peanuts and bottled waters, that are already pre-packaged.

Do not deal with stadium food shenanigans.

Eat at your own risk.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.