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Don’t Get Caught Dogging It! Stadiums Hardly Relish ESPN Report

The MLB winter meetings were extremely boring, weren’t they? Lots of hype. Many rumors. Multiple tweets. Little action.  There we all were after a few minutes in front our televisions, snoring away on the sofa. They fool us every year.

So, we thought we’d share other news that’s come across our desk at It deals with what you might ingest – then find hard to digest – when you grab something to eat a pro sporting event.

ballpark food


Let’s just put it this way: Most of the food ain’t worth the money – or the stomach poisoning. BYOB – bring your own barbeque.

ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” has produced a compelling report about the sanitary conditions at concession areas in ballparks, stadiums and arenas in the United States and Canada.

Imagine Bob Ley working for the health department, walking around Yankee Stadium with sunglasses on, taking surreptitious notes as he moves from taco stand to hot dog cart to mobile pizzeria. And then lowering boom on the Bronx Bombers.

While on the subject of the Yankees, you might like to know – maybe not – that The House that replaced The House That Ruth built did not do very well. Thank goodness George Steinbrenner isn’t around. Some poor sap would be bubbling in oil with the chicken tenders.

Yankee Stadium, which just opened in 2009 and attracted 3,482,855 hungry mouths in 2018, was ranked LAST in food safety among MLB’s 30 ballparks.

That’s worse than Fenway Park, open since 1912. That’s worse than Wrigley Field, open since 1914. That’s even worse than Marlins Park, which attracted more flies than fans (811,104) this season.

The OTL report cited 34 high-level violations at 43 outlets at the Stadium in 2016 and 2017. That’s a batting average of .791. Among the 111 venues receiving the white glove treatment in North America, only five hit higher that the Yankees.

Of course, the Yankees took umbrage. Dan Smith, the president of hospitality at Legends, the stadium’s food service provider, counter-punched in USA Today.

“We treat food safety with the utmost care. We disagree with the ESPN report, whose methodology is unexplainable,’’ said Smith. “We work closely on regular inspections with the New York City Department of Health, whose rigorous participation is welcomed. We also complete our own independent assessments with various consultants and auditors, including food safety companies.

“If any violation is pointed out, it is addressed and corrected immediately. As a result, in 2018, all of our food stands received an A-level grade, which is the highest level in New York City.”

The Colorado Rockies home, Coors Field in Denver, and Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, home of the Texas Rangers, finished just behind the pinstripes. Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers), Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians) and Marlins Park (Miami) were ranked the highest.

For the sake of brevity, we thought we’d just serve the specifics of the report about venues in New York and California – as reported by OTL in its story.

Would you like fries with that?

New York

Citi Field
New York Mets
Vendors with critical violations: 45%

Inspection report excerpt: Inspectors found 20 pounds of grilled chicken registered at 70 degrees in a refrigerator, about 30 degrees warmer than allowed.

Madison Square Garden
New York Knicks, New York Rangers
Vendors with critical violations: 61%

Inspection report excerpt: At one stand, inspectors found “53 mouse excretions” (38 on top of a metal box underneath the cash registers in the front food-prep/service area and 15 on top of a carbonated-beverage dispensing unit).

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
New York Islanders
Vendors with critical violations: 0%

Inspection report excerpt: No critical or major violations.

Yankee Stadium
New York Yankees
Vendors with critical violations: 48%

Inspection report excerpt: Five hot dogs registered 91 degrees in a hot-holding unit when they were supposed to be no cooler than 140. Inspectors also had a vendor dump a bottle of Chivas Regal whiskey containing dead fruit flies.


Angel Stadium of Anaheim
Los Angeles Angels
Vendors with critical violations: 16%

Inspection report excerpt: Most recent inspection reports show improvements on rat-related violations that occurred in prior visits.

ARCO Arena
Sacramento Kings
Vendors with critical violations: 25%

Inspection report excerpt: Inspectors found some shrimp pasta salad at 52 degrees, which was too warm.

AT&T Park
San Francisco Giants
Vendors with critical violations: 4%

Inspection report excerpt: Inspectors found a few instances of food being kept at improper temperatures.

Candlestick Park
San Francisco 49ers
Vendors with critical violations: 13%

Inspection report excerpt: Inspectors found one location with no hot water, posing a sanitary threat.

Dodger Stadium
Los Angeles Dodgers
Vendors with critical violations: 13%

Inspection report excerpt: At least one location had mold growing inside an ice machine.

Honda Center
Anaheim Ducks
Vendors with critical violations: 3%

Inspection report excerpt: The only major violation was for not having chlorine sanitizer in the kitchen’s dishwashing machine.

HP Pavilion at San Jose
San Jose Sharks
Vendors with critical violations: 20%

Inspection report excerpt: At one location, inspectors found Chinese chicken salad had warmed to 60 degrees, about 20 degrees above a safe temperature.

McAfee Coliseum
Oakland Raiders, Oakland Athletics
Vendors with critical violations: 34%

Inspection report excerpt: Several locations lacked adequate hand-washing equipment.

Oracle Arena
Golden State Warriors
Vendors with critical violations: 19%

Inspection report excerpt: Potato salad left out at an unsafe temperature during one game was put back into a cooler to be reused.

Petco Park
San Diego Padres
Vendors with critical violations: 10%

Inspection report excerpt: At one location, chicken salad and turkey wraps were measured at 53 to 55 degrees, above safe temperatures.

Qualcomm Stadium
San Diego State football
Vendors with critical violations: 17%

Inspection report excerpt: Food was not being held at a proper temperature at at least seven locations.

Staples Center
Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings
Vendors with critical violations: 11%

Inspection report excerpt: One stand dumped 9.5 pounds of sushi after inspectors found that it become too warm.

So there you go. Eat and drink at your own risk. If your team doesn’t make you sick, just hope the ballpark doesn’t, either. Bon appetite.


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