Category Archives: A3 Ballpark Food

Newfoundland and Baseball

“Some Newfies like to chase baseballs!”

I spent a good part of the morning trying to figure out how I could tie this great story into a blog about baseball and Newfoundland and I discovered this fact:

“Of the ten Canadian provinces, only Newfoundland hasn’t produced a major leaguer.”

 Well, okay, it’s a little lean there, but then I realized the story, just like baseball, is about teamwork and the human spirit and working towards the same goal.  This is a moving first-hand account of a Delta Airlines Flight Attendant on board Delta Airlines ­ Flight 15, enroute from Frankfurt, Germany to Atlanta, Georgia on September 11, 2001. 

“DELTA FLIGHT 15, SEPTEMBER 11, 2001″

“On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic . All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that “All Business” look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta’s main office in Atlanta and simply read, “All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination.”

No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander , New Foundland. He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately–no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request.

While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.

“Gander, Newfoundland Area Map”

We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air.We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander , Newfoundland to have it checked out.

We promised to give more information after landing in  Gander . There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that’s nothing new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander . Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM! ….that’s 11:00 AM EST.

There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the U.S. After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason.”  Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the U.S. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground Control in Gander told us to stay put.

The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the aircraft. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane. In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were U.S. commercial jets.

“Gander Airport on 9/11/01″

Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC. People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada . Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the  U.S. were either blocked or jammed.

Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm. We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.

We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander  airport told us that our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning.  Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.

Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory servicing. And they were true to their word. Fortunately we had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.

About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.

“A Shelter at Gander on 9/11/01″

After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken in vans to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander ! We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the U.S. airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a while.

We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV . . . 24 hours after it all started.

Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the “plane people.” We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time.

Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days. What we found out was incredible.

Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers. Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up. ALL high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the “guests.” Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.

Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility.  There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.

“Gander on 10th Anniversary of 9/11″

Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered “Excursion” trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.  Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals.  Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft. In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.

Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving.  They coordinated everything beautifully. It was absolutely incredible.

When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling. Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.

And then a very unusual thing happened. One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that.. But this time was different. I said “of course” and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the handsof total strangers. He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.

Lewisporte, Newfoundland, Canada

He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte. He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than 14,000 dollars!

The gentleman, a MD from Virginia , promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.

“Smiley Garlic Bobblehead”

I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a far away place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them. It  reminds me how much good there is in the world.”

GFBB Note:  A special thanks to Dan & Joni Quintell for sharing this great story with me.

Way to Go Giants! Pundits be Damned!

Golly Geez!  I try really hard to play fair on my blog, but sometimes,when it comes to the Giants, the devil makes me do it.   So in spite of  all the setbacks this year, the Giants are back in the playoffs for the 2nd time in three years.  And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Buster Posey was here the first year, gone the second, and back the third. 

But everyone knows it’s a team effort and for that we Giants fans applaud our San Francisco Giants ~ 2012 National League West Champions!

And a special thanks to niece Tammy for sharing the “dogs” from Lamont & Tonelli’s FB Page!

Worst Ballpark Food? You Decide ~

Last month ESPN held a contest to decide the “Best Ballpark” in the major leagues.  Miller Park in Milwaukee won the contest while AT&T Park in San Francisco came in a distant second.  You can read about it in the “Related Articles” section below.  But when I read this I couldn’t help wonder if the ballpark food entered into this, because everyone knows AT&T Park is hands-down the winner in that category.  Here’s a sampling of the food at Miller Park I found this morning at “My Boyfriend Fatty’s Blog“.    I would categorize these as  “Worst #1 and Worst #2.  See what you think.

Worst Ballpark Food #1.   This is called the “Crazy Meatloaf Sandwich” from the Comet Cafe, near the Milwaukee Brewers Miller Park.  It may not be the worst, but it sure looks like it!

Worst Ballpark Food #2.  This didn’t actually look too bad until I realized what’s in it.  It’s called a “Pulled Pork Parfait” and I can only begin to wonder what the cream-colored filling is made of.   This little gem is available at a concession stand at the Brewers Miller Park.

Peanuts and crackerjacks anyone?

“Giants Garlic Fest” or Garlic Fries and Baseball at AT&T Park!

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 “First Annual Giants Garlic Fest”

What a hoot!  When I first found out about the Garlic Festival to be held at AT&T Park I knew I had to be there.  I mean how many blogs are out there about this very subject?  And a book entitled “Garlic Fries and Baseball” no less.  To be perfectly honest it wasn’t about the garlic fries so much ~ I’ve eaten plates full.

“Herbie at home on my bookshelf”!

I’ve been to the Gilroy Garlic Festival many times and to tell you the truth, when I found out they were going to have “Herbie” the bobble head, I had to have one.  So I dragged my dear husband to the ballpark today and we got in line at the Will Call, and again at the Main Gate and the food court and finally at the bobble head give-away table.  And I got my bobble head.

Special Pungent Garlic Fries!

There’s something really special about being out in the warm sunshine, on the waterfront at AT&T Park, well any ballpark really, but especially at AT&T.   We met some really nice people, talked a little baseball and talked a lot of garlic. Smiles were abundant and today the smell of that yummy garlic was everywhere.  Garlic fries were the best of course, but the garlic bread and incredible sauce slathered all over the tender tasty pieces of calamari was to die for.   I knew my husband would share his calamari with me (he thinks it tastes like rubber bands) and that I’d have to give up a little bread and fries in the trade, but it was okay.  It was all good.  I love this stuff.

2012 Gilroy Garlic Festival, July 27, 28, 29th

I understand they’re planning on making this an annual event.  I sure hope so.  We’ll definitely be back next year.  We didn’t stay for the game; instead headed back on Caltrain around 5:30 and arrived home just in time for the first pitch on the telly.

The first pitch this time turned out to be a home run for Cincinnati.  I was rather relieved for Matt Cain.  The way I look at it ~ the prospect of a no-hitter, one-hitter, and perfect game were no longer issues and he could relax and enjoy the game with the rest of us.   Final score was Cincinnati 5,  Giants 1, but you know what?  It was okay.  After these past few weeks, the Giants have treated us to some really special moments and right now, at least for today, they’re standing alone in 1st place in the National League West.

Life is really, really good.  Don’t you just love it?   Garlic fries and baseball I mean.

Porking out at the Ballpark on Mother’s Day!

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 Some of the above pictures courtesy of  Fox Sports MLB’s Best Food List.

I just found out I’m going to the Oakland A’s – Detroit Tigers game on Mother’s Day so I went online to find out what’s for dinner!  My search found this great website  with such tantalizing food pictures I think I’ll conjure up some ballpark food for dinner tonight!

One of my favorite ballpark foods is the Primanti Brothers Sandwich at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.  When I was there the fans were lined up around the block for this one.  The special sandwich (pictured above) includes not only the roast beef, but also the salad and french fries  stacked high and part of the sandwich.

And someday I’m going to try those Rocky Mountain Oysters at Coors Stadium.  Or maybe I’ll watch someone else try them but it’ll still be an experience.

And for dessert it’s a toss-up between those yummy looking cupcakes at Safeco Field in Seattle and the  funnel cakes at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

If you don’t have plans for your mom, your kid’s mom or someone else that’s really special on Mother’s Day why not consider taking her to dinner at the Ballpark!  You’ll get to enjoy the camaraderie of some the greatest fans in all of sports, hopefully a great game and some really terrific food.

An Opening Day Treasure … From that Other Chicago Team.

U. S. Cellular Field

It’s been 11 years and I still want to refer to the White Sox ballpark as Comiskey rather than U. S. Cellular Field.  It’s ingrained in the soul as much as Fenway and Wrigley.  But, nonetheless, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share a great read with you from this morning’s offerings.  Here’s an excerpt:

Irish Nachos

” I am of Irish descent and I have been to Ireland and let me just say that the old joke that one of the shortest books in the world is Great Irish Cooks is actually no joke at all.  But Irish Nachos defy those ugly slanders and ignominious legacy and leave you feeling happy, Gaelic, bloated and ready to burp all over the rest of the American League.  God Bless Baseball.”

Here’s the entire article written by Terry Keshner at Seamheads.com.

Chicago White Sox Opening Day:  Irish Nachos and Baroque Batter’s Box

Best Food at the Ballpark in 2012? ~ You Decide!

"Strasburg: Last year's version with butterflied hotdog on top"

I found a great little ditty this morning at the Washington Post.  The Nationals are going to highlight special food from the visiting team’s home town each time they play in Washington.   I recommend you take advantage of  San Francisco’s special food “Garlic Fries” this year, especially since the Giants will be playing at Nationals Park on the 4th of July, and not just because they’re our namesake, but because they’re really, really good!

But for sure you gotta love the special food presented by the Washington Nationals this year, honoring their special pitcher, Stephen Strasburg.  I hear it includes 12 pickles, representing the twelve strike-outs the Stras got in his first outing.   Great article written by Dan Steinberg, from the Washington Post.

Nationals Park introduces 8-pound ‘StrasBurger’

By , Washington Post  Posted at 02:06 PM ET, 03/12/2012

 

The new 8 lb. Strasburger includes fries and a coke! Courtesy "Yardbarker"

(Marvin Joseph – TWP.) As the baseball season approaches, you know what that means on this here blog: lots of updates on the concessions available at Nationals Park.

Our first update concerns the Red Porch, and a brand-new menu item that will get lots of attention from media and fans: The StrasBurger. Via my favorite friends in Nats PR:

Weighing eight pounds total (including toppings), the StrasBurger is a monstrous all beef burger (combination of ground brisket, chuck and short ribs). The burger is served on a large burger bun with our secret sauce, American cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, pickle chips and served with a cone basket of fresh cut fries and a pitcher of your choice of soft drink. This signature dish is the perfect entrée to share at this affordably-priced family restaurant.

In case you missed the key phrase, this burger WEIGHS EIGHT POUNDS TOTAL, which is a lot of pounds. Even if some of them are onion pounds. Every TV station in this market will have hosts merrily attempting to grapple with the StrasBurger next month. At least, I hope so.The Red Porch will also feature special food and beer pairings that will spotlight area brews, including those from Dogfish Head and Flying Dog. Any time I get to type “Dogfish Head,” I consider that a win.

Also, the Taste of the Majors stand — which has spotlighted a few items from other MLB cities — will now feature a special dish from the city of each visiting opponent while they’re actually in D.C. Those items will all be limited time only offers, obviously.  The list:

Atlanta:   Smothered Fried Chicken Platter
Baltimore:  Pit Beef Sandwich Platter
Arizona:  Dog Platter
Chicago:  Dog Platter
Cincinnati:   5-Way Cincinnati Chili
Colorado:  Mile High Burger
Houston:  Houston Nacho
Los Angeles:  Dog Platter
Miami:   Cuban Dog
Milwaukee:   Beer Brat Platter
New York (Mets and Yankees):   Coney Dog Platter
Philadelphia:   Philly Chicken Cheese Steak Platter
Pittsburgh:   Pitts Burger Platter
St. Louis:   BBQ Rib Platter
San Diego:   Fish Taco Platter
San Francisco:   Garlic Fries and Shrimp Platter
Tampa Bay:  Salty Dog Platter

Geez, this is all making me hungry!  Only 23 Days to Opening Day ~  See you at the ballpark!