COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The contest held by the West Michigan Whitecaps to select a new food item to be served at Fifth Third Ballpark has come to a conclusion with more than 23,000 votes logged, resulting in what is believed to be the tightest race in food voting history. Consequently, Whitecaps management has called it a virtual tie and will be adding both fan favorites from the voting contest to the menu this summer.
The winning entry is the Cudighi Yooper Sandwich, which received 6,984 votes. In second place was the Declaration of Indigestion, with 6,982 votes. Third place, and the only other item to receive a substantial number of votes, was the Chocolate Covered Bacon, with 6,326 votes. Pigs across West Michigan will be happy to know that the bacon delicacy did not make the cut to be served at Fifth Third Ballpark in 2010.
If you don't know what the Cudighi Yooper Sandwich is, then you probably haven't been to the Upper Peninsula. Cudighi is a spicy sausage found throughout the U.P. The sandwich is a sausage patty smothered in cheese, pizza sauce, peppers and onions. The idea for this sandwich was submitted by Katie Weber of Marquette.
The second place finisher is the "Declaration of Indigestion," a half-pound foot long hot dog covered in a Philly cheese steak (steak, cheese, peppers and onions) and served on a gigantic sub roll. When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to disband from the tyranny of healthy eating, they should consume the Declaration of Indigestion, a unique item created by the Whitecaps food and beverage staff.
The Whitecaps solicited ideas for new food items back in January, whittled the list down to 10 finalists, and opened the voting to fans in February. On the heels of the internationally famous Fifth Third Burger, which was introduced to the ballpark menu last season, the contest drew an impressive number of votes.
"We've seen an unusual amount of interest in what new food items we will carry this season," said Whitecaps Director of Marketing and Media Mickey Graham. "But I never thought we'd see 23,000 votes from fans for new food items. I attribute the interest in our new food products to the publicity that the Fifth Third Burger received last year. That burger was such a phenomenal success, both for how unique it was and for the eating contest, that both local fans and people from around the country are interested to see how we'll follow it up. While we've never been shy in presenting unique food items (before the Fifth Third Burger we carried Deep Fried Twinkies, Deep Fried Pepsi and Apple Cider Floats, among others), I think we have a couple of great new items in these two winning entries."
In addition to the Cudighi Yooper Sandwich and the Declaration of Indigestion, other food items that will be introduced to the ballpark menu this season include: McCain Potato Wedges, McCain Sweet Potato Fries, McCain Battered Onion Rings, Stehouwer Texas Steak Nachos, Cole's Garlic & Cheese Breadsticks, Cole's Texas Toast Barbeque Sandwiches, Corn Dogs, Italian Grinders, Boneless Buffalo Wings, Hudsonville Ice Cream, Chocolate Covered Cheesecake, Fried Ice Cream, Funnel Fries and Sharkwater Tropical Liqueur.
Matt Timon, the Whitecaps Director of Food and Beverage, pointed to the remodeling of the Sweet Meats Smokehouse concessions stand at the end of the third base concourse and the extra capacity created as the reason so many new products are being added to the menu.
"Every year we take a look at how well each food item sells, and we tweak the menu accordingly," Timon said. "The renovation of Sweet Meats Smokehouse resulted in new deep fryers, ovens and grills in that space where we previously just had warmers and a microwave oven, so now we're able to bring in a wider range of fried foods and different types of meats and sandwiches. I think fans will really enjoy all the new food items we're now able to prepare for them, both in the Sweet Meats Smokehouse as well as in the other concessions areas around the ballpark."
The 2010 Whitecaps baseball season begins on Thursday, April 8 at Lake County (OH.), and the home opener is scheduled for Sunday, April 11 against the defending Midwest League Champion Fort Wayne Tincaps at 2 p.m. Season, group tickets and individual tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visitingwhitecapsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.