Chicken and waffles are new this year to Slugger Field. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Play ball? Eat hot dogs.

The Louisville Bats and Centerplate unveiled a few new concession items for the 2019 baseball season, ranging from chicken and waffles to loaded tater tots, not to mention a build-your-own-hot-dog station.

The new items were unveiled to the media Wednesday at an informal press event at Slugger Field, with Chef Jim Goss on hand.

Goss, who is in his 16th year as the resident chef at Slugger Field, said the new items were largely chosen as a result of fan suggestions. He says often fans will stop him at the park and make suggestions, while others write or call management to offer requests.

One of the goals, Goss said, was to keep the food as affordable as possible, noting that the goal is for a family of four to come to the park and spend under $80 on tickets, food and drink.

“One thing you hear every year in all sports is, ‘It’s so expensive,’” he said.

This is part of why many of the items added this year, save for the hot dog bar, are easily sharable.

Walking tacos | Photo by Kevin Gibson

A new “walking taco” is a spin on the park’s classic nacho supreme, with a choice of Fritos or Doritos served in a bag and covered in cheese, sour cream, jalapeno peppers and more. Goss said the portion for $8.25 is enough for two.

Meanwhile, “super-loaded” french fries and tater tots are topped with cheese, chives, diced tomatoes and a special Slugger sauce, are $7, and chicken and waffles include a pair of chicken tenders and two waffles, served with honey butter and syrup, for $7.50.

A quartet of Bavarian pretzels, priced at $6.25, are sharable as well and can be topped with pretzel salt, garlic parmesan, cinnamon sugar or plain — all the pretzels will be coated with butter.

The Build-a-Dog station will be located behind first base, featuring three types of sausages: Cajun-style andouille, sweet Italian chicken sausage and Polish. The bar features up to 19 toppings, and to order, attendees will fill out a small slip on which they choose the type of sausage they want, with up to three toppings of their choice.

The toppings range from basic yellow mustard to bacon, banana peppers, Sriracha chili sauce and sauerkraut.

In addition, the smoked turkey leg returns this year — and Goss identified this as his favorite addition.

A tasting yielded a few bites of smothered tots, which were solid if unspectacular, although the chicken was quality breast meat with a thick, peppery breading. The andouille had a casing with a nice snap and plenty of flavor and spice, pairing well with spicy mustard and kraut, while the turkey was juicy and not oversmoked.

The Bats’ home opener is Thursday, April 11, and the new food items are located at various points in the stadium: pretzels at Home Plate Snacks near the East Gate; chicken and waffles at the Overlook Grill; walking taco at Nacho Cantina; Build-a-Dog at Fielder’s Fare; and turkey legs at the Goose Island Berm Grill.

Bats buffetBats build a dogBats build a dog padBats loaded friesBats pretzelBats sausages
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Well over a dozen toppings at the Build-a-Dog station | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Kevin Gibson
Kevin Gibson tackles the 3Rs — retail, restaurants, real estate — plus, economic development. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono. Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies.Email Kevin at [email protected]