Every year it seems as if baseball stadium food gets more and more elaborate, if not stranger. In many cases, the offerings at the stadium range from standard ballpark foods (hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, etc.) to local fare (crab cakes in Baltimore, sushi in Seattle). Some foods are becoming more and more prevalent – even some that we don’t necessarily associate with baseball.
One of my favorite types of food is Cuban food. Thus, I decided to see if any teams – other than the Miami Marlins – offered Cuban sandwiches at the ballpark. This is now relatively easy to ascertain today as nearly all MLB team websites include an interactive amenities map on the pages about their ballparks. These maps provide the menu at most concessions stands in each ballpark.
To my surprise, there are at least 10 ballparks where you can buy a Cuban sandwich:
- Boston Red Sox – Cuban sandwiches are available at El Tiante (Yawkey Way concessions)
- Chicago Cubs – Da Burger Cuban Pork Burger (grilled pork patty topped with bacon, ham, Swiss cheese, and mustard aioli)
- Chicago White Sox – Cuban Comet Sandwiches (a tribute to Minnie Minoso) are available in Section 148
- Houston Astros – Ballpark Cuban at FiveSeven Grille
- Miami Marlins – the Goya Latino Café in Section 3 sells Cuban sandwiches
- Minnesota Twins – Tony O’s Cuban Sandwich
- New York Yankees – Moe’s Southwest Grill sells Cuban sandwiches
- San Francisco Giants – Cuban Sandwich available at the First Base Deli, Orlando’s Caribbean BBQ, and the Public House
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Washington Nationals – Cuban Dog at the Taste of the Majors
In 2015, it was reported that there was a Cuban Pretzel Dog at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park – though, I didn’t see it on their amenities map for this year. It was described as “all the fixins of a Cuban sandwich … on a footlong in a pretzel bun.” Something similar – the Cuban Sandwich Dodger Dog – was sold at Dodger Stadium for Cuban Heritage night last year. I’m not sure if the “Cuban Dog” at Nats Park is a hot dog or not. I’ve seen the one it described as both hotdog and Cuban sandwich. Thus, I will soon be undertaking a research expedition there to find out for sure. I’ll keep you posted!
Of course, as a sociologist, I wanted to know why are Cuban sandwiches popular in these ballparks and cities, but not others? There are nearly 1.8 million Cuban Americans in the United States – 84% live in just 5 states: Florida (68%), California (5%), New Jersey (4.7%), New York (4%), and Texas (2.6%). Correspondingly, Cuban sandwiches are sold at several of the MLB parks in those states.
Let’s look a little more closely at the cities in which Cuban Americans live. Of the 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas with the highest Cuban American populations: 5 or 6 have MLB ballparks that serve Cuban Sandwiches (if you count DC, which has that “Cuban Dog” – whatever that is), 1 has an MLB ballpark that occasionally serves a Cuban Sandwich Dodger Dog, 2 do not have MLB teams, and 1 does not seem to serve Cuban Sandwiches at their MLB park.
|Metropolitan Statistical Areas with
Largest Cuban American Populations
|Cuban American Population||Cuban Sandwich at the Ballpark?|
|1. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL||
|2. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA-CT||
|3. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL||
|4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA||
|Only on special nights|
|5. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL||
|No MLB team|
|6. Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI||
|7. Las Vegas-Paradise, NV||
|No MLB team|
|8. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX||
|9. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA MSA||
|10. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV||
In addition, three of the MLB parks that serve Cuban sandwiches, while not appearing in the top 10 Cuban American MSAs, are known for Cuban players that played in those cities and, accordingly, serve Cuban sandwiches in their honor – Tony Oliva in Minnesota and Luis Tiant in Boston. As for San Francisco, though not known for its Cuban population, the Giants certainly have seen their share of Cuban-born players, including Tito Fuentes.