COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The votes have been counted, and the winner of the fifth annual Whitecaps food contest is the Auger Dogger! The deep-fried hot dog on a stick wrapped in spiral potato chips won the hearts and taste buds of Whitecaps fans, raking in 36% of the votes in the online contest.
As winner of the contest, the Auger Dogger will be on the menu at Fifth Third Ballpark this season. It will make its debut on Tuesday, April 8 at the Whitecaps' home opener, scheduled for 6:35 p.m. The Auger Dogger will be served at the Sweet Meats Smokehouse concession stand located down the third base line - the home of the world-renowned Fifth Third Burger as well as last year's contest winner, the Baco (taco in a bacon shell).
The Whitecaps narrowed a list of hundreds of fan-submitted menu ideas down to 10 last month, and turned the contest over to fans in an online vote. The Auger Dogger's 36% of the vote topped second-place Sleeping Bear Dunes Sundae (full-sized batting helmet filled with Sea Salt Carmel ice cream with sleepy Teddy Graham topping), which received 32% of the vote. Coming in third place was the Waffle Pizza (pizza dough, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese mixed together and cooked into the shape of a waffle, served with marinara sauce), with 11% of the vote.
The North of the Border Burger (6%) finished fourth, followed by Poor Richard and Mamma Mia (tied with 4%), Apollo Pocket (3%), Burnin' Bacon Dog (2%) and in last place were the Chaco Baco and Pop-Tart BLT (1% each).
Previous winners of the food contest include the Baco, Westside Po' Boy, Chicks with Sticks, the Cudighi Yooper Sandwich and the Declaration of Indigestion.
The 2014 Fifth Third Ballpark menu will include several other new food items:
- Pretzilla Bacon Cheeseburger (a pretzel bun with a one-third pound hamburger patty, bacon and cheese), served at the first base and third base large concessions stands,
- Coaches' Sandwich - In honor of the three Whitecaps coaches, who hail from Australia (Andrew Graham), Texas (Mike Henneman) and Cuba (Nelson Santovenia), this sandwich includes two slices of ham, Hormel barbeque pulled pork, pickle shreddies, Swiss cheese and shrimp served on a sub bun. It will be available at the Gyro Cart behind home plate.
- Tony Gates Venison Burger - Named after the 97 WLAV local radio personality who is passionate about the outdoors and is an avid hunter, this venison burger on a bun and will be served at the Steak Cart behind home plate.
- Ice Box Brand Ice Cream Bars - Hand-made in West Michigan, these premium bars come in two flavors: Belly Full of Hoppiness (buttery pretzel crust topped with ice cream made with locally brewed Oatmeal Stout, dipped in semi-sweet chocolate and topped with dry-roasted peanuts) and Caramel Cashewlicious (gooey bed of pretzels and caramel hidden under locally made vanilla ice cream, blanketed in milk chocolate, topped with cashews). They will be served at the large concession stands and the ice cream carts on the concourse.
- Strawberry Chills - Served at the large concessions stands and the ice cream carts.
Five new beers will join the beverage lineup, including Founders All Day IPA and Founders Centennial (both located at the concourse beer portable stands), Blue Moon and Killian's (located in the main concessions stands) and Angry Orchard (cans only; located in the suites, home plate portable stand and at the grill areas). Once again this season a beer station containing Michigan craft brews will be located on the third base concourse.
A second food challenge awaits those who dare to tackle 10 of Fifth Third Ballpark's unique and popular food items, including the Auger Dogger, Baco, Tony Gates Venison Burger, Fifth Third Burger, Coaches' Sandwich, Pretzilla Burger, Foot Long Corn Dog, Stehouwer Steak Sandwich, Deep Fried Mac'n Cheese and Megaphone Ice Cream (not all required during the same game). The Food Decathlon finishers will earn a t-shirt featuring a gold medal and the proclamation of Food Decathlon Champion. To participate in this season-long challenge, fans can go to the Michigan Paving Customer Service Center to get a decathlon card and present it to the cashier for a stamp when ordering each of the 10 items. Then when complete the card can be turned back in to the Michigan Paving Customer Service Center for the Food Decathlon Champion shirt.
The Whitecaps' 2014 home opener is scheduled for Tuesday, April 8 at 6:35 p.m. against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Tickets for all 2014 games can be purchased by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131, by visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com, or in person at the temporary administrative offices located two miles from the ballpark at 5716 West River Drive NE in Belmont. The ticket office at this location is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please note that due to construction, Fifth Third Ballpark is not open to the public at this time.