This week is a throwback Thursday to Episode 189 of UnCapped. Last week was the Field of Dreams game, so we decided to feature our episode with beer and baseball expert Eno Sarris, who has developed a reputation as one of the smartest writers in baseball. Sarris has a beer coming out this month with Full Tilt Brewing in Baltimore that highlights his coverage of “Sticky Stuff” in Major League Baseball. Here is an edited excerpt of their talk from 2020.
Eno Sarris: Is the beer at [Nymeo Field] good?
Chris Sands: They just amped it way up. Starting [in 2019], they focused on local Maryland craft beer and had at least in the teens of taps, and it was all local.
Eno Sarris: I think minor league parks are leaders and in front of what major league parks are doing, in a lot of ways. [Frederick] was the one that had that really cool food thing with the Voltaggio brothers. That was the stadium that had the Voltaggio night, right?
Chris Sands: Yep. I have the bobblehead from it.
Eno Sarris: There’s a Voltaggio bobblehead?
Chris Sands: Yeah.
Eno Sarris: That’s cool [laughing].
Chris Sands: It was just the body with a bobblehead. It did not look like him.
Eno Sarris: For them, the players are moving through, no one knows who the players are, for the most part, so you have to make it about the experience. Most of the parks I’ve gone to have at least one or two local beers, because they’re like, someone’s gonna come for beer, someone’s gonna come to see their friend, someone’s gonna come to see prospects — we need to make this an event.
They have things where people are chipping golfballs into buckets in between innings. They had a really cool one here in San Jose, where they brought out an old truck and whoever could destroy the truck more with baseballs between innings would win something. Or whoever could hit the lightbulbs out of the truck or whatever. They just know that it’s an experience, and it’s not always about the baseball. It’s just a fun place to go. I think more and more teams are realizing, especially places that have had bad teams, hey, we should have great beer, great food, a place for the kids to play.
And that’s why, if you look at it, the worst places for beer in America are legacy stadiums, that always sell out, no matter how good the stadium is. Worst places for beer in America are Wrigley, Yankee Stadium, Fenway.
Chris Sands: Because they just don’t need it.
Eno Sarris: They don’t need it! Actually, Baltimore, I think, is on the better end, given its status for Camden Yards being a place you should go. Some of the best are the places that have traditionally had the worst teams. I think my top ones are San Fransisco, Seattle, San Diego, and some surprising ones that people might not know about, like Kansas City, Chicago — not Wrigley — and I think Baltimore was top 10-ish.