Baseball Game Diet
What’s the sitch with the baseball game diet?
“Everything in moderation,” is a quote from somebody smart that we’ve all heard, but, “Easier said than done,” is another quote from somebody smart, and equally applicable.
A common scenario where folks succumb to unconscious impulse is when delicious food is available. Even the most crazed carb combatant or determined deli-meat denouncer began as someone having trouble limiting their intake of edibles, and thus, took drastic all-or-nothing measures to wrest control back from the reptilian depths of their brain.
When these militant sugar ascetics are successful, they reveal an important truth about self control: setting rules prior to the moment of temptation is important. No matter how deep your knowledge of nutrition, if you don’t have safeguards in place to protect against the cravings and justifications bubbling up from below, you might as well be living in 1950, at time when cheese was a health food, Jell-O was a salad, and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups led to wholesome family fun.
On the subject of the 1950s, that was a time when American’s still had robust enough attention spans to enjoy watching a full game of baseball, from inning one through inning nine. In our current, post-iPhone 6s world, focusing on anything for more than half an hour at a time is exceedingly rare. This is especially true when the object of focus is a herky-jerky pastime played by bearded men with dad-bods. Baseball does not captivate an audience as it once did in our era of on-demand television, Facebook newsfeeds, and a nearly endless selection of goat videos on YouTube.
That said, games are still well attended. Since 1980, average attendance at baseball games has increased from ~20,000 to ~30,000 per game. There are a variety of factors contributing to this rise, including Baby-Boomers, general economic prosperity, and an increase in urban populations. But the takeaway is, despite an exponential increase in distractions, despite an unquestionable decrease in attention span, people are still going to baseball games.
No one plays real life solitaire anymore, because we have more exciting things to do. So what explains baseball’s resilience in the face of arguably more stimulating options?
The likely answer dawned on our staff this summer, while attending a Minnesota Twins game. We got to the ballpark just as a rain-delay was announced. The water was really coming down, with no sign of letting-up. We all expected the game to be rescheduled. Yet, thickets of fans were milling about the concourses, and very few appeared to be all that disappointed. Most interestingly, lines at food vendors were quite long, even though buyers understood they would not be able to enjoy the food while watching the game they were ostensibly there for…
This was a confusing experience, one that warranted further investigation. For the rest of the summer we interviewed baseball game attendees at ballparks across the country. We had a simple, validated set of questions for them as they entered and exited the parks.
- 1. Why did you come to the game tonight?
- 2. What teams are playing?
- 3. What are you going to eat?
- 1. What was the final score?
- 2. What did you eat?
- 3. How many calories do you estimate you ingested?
Preliminary results largely confirmed our suspicions formed at the rained-out Twins game. When giving their reason for attending, ballpark-goers were as likely to report, “the food,” or “the nacho cheese cups,” as they were to answer with anything related to the actual gameplay. They were 40% more likely to have an accurate answer for what they were going to eat than for the names of the teams playing in the game, and were 33% less likely to remember the final score than everything they consumed (based on post hoc receipt-linked analysis). This trend held true for up to six food items.
Perhaps most importantly, attendees underestimated their caloric intake by nearly 150%. Mean calorie estimation upon leaving the stadium was 1,000 calories, while mean intake was closer to 2,500. People thought they were eating a regular dinner at the stadium, when in fact they were having an entire day’s worth of food.
The majority of modern era “fans,” seem to be concentrating less and less on the sporting event going on within stadiums, as their focus shifts to the food available for purchase. And interestingly, the ballpark environment appears to uncouple the act of eating from the feeling of being full afterward.
What does this all mean? Where do we go from here, knowing what we now know? Knowledge is useless without real-world application. And, as you well know, we here atwhatsthesitch.com are devoted to the wellbeing of our readership and the community at large.
So, we developed a revolutionary new program based on our empiric research called the “1,2,3,4,5 Baseball Game Diet,” guaranteed to reduce overeating (or at least give you the illusion of control during your inevitable binge-eating episodes). The rules are as follows:
*If you are in a building (or venue or demarcated open-air space) that contains at least 1,000 other people and requires a ticket to be admitted, you may eat whatever you want, and as much of it as you desire.
*If your situation does not satisfy the above requirement:
- No more than one large serving at each meal.
- No more than two snacks per day, eaten over a period of fifteen minutes or less.
- No more than three rules broken per week.
- No more than four meals per week purchased from a restaurant.
- No more than five desserts per week (dessert being sweet, post-dinner treats).
The rules are easy to remember because of their numerical ascension (i.e. the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 situation). And the release valve is also simple: if you are at a baseball game, you can eat whatever you want, and you can feel good about it. Go on dollar dog night, and try to eat six hotdogs; that’s part of our innovative program. Finish it off with some Dippin’ Dots and a box of Cracker Jacks. It’s the American thing to do, and you are still well within the limits of your new diet plan.
When the State Fair comes to town, don’t be shy; see if you can hold a corndog and a milkshake and a bag of mini donuts and a giant pickle all at once, without contaminating the corndog with pickle juice, unless you’re into that.
And when you’re feeling hungry and craving something sweet, but you’ve already broken the five dessert rule and are right at your restaurant limit… go support your state’s WNBA team instead of being such a misogynist, and while you’re at it, get yourself a basket of chicken strips and a Snickers bar. Just make sure there are 1,000 people in the stands before you do.
This program sets reasonable rules to live by, but gives you a few outs in case of emergency. And those outs happen to support events happening in your community. It was was inspiredby behaviors that we already know occur spontaneously; we are simply putting words to a system many have figured out for themselves.
That feeling you’ve had, that season ticket holders to major league baseball teams know something you don’t, that they are able to appreciate this consistently uneventful game on a different level… you weren’t wrong. This is that level you’ve been missing. Imagine how easy our program would be if you had 80 nights every summer to let yourself go a little bit, while pretending to enjoy grown men playing catch. Perhaps you and your buddies only go in on a 25 game package; that’s still one night per week, all summer, where you get to eat as many tubular meat logs as you can tolerate.
American’s have been using baseball as an excuse to eat sausages, candy-coated popcorn, or even just sugar wrapped around a stick (see: cotton candy) for generations. Given today’s truncated attention spans, the game of baseball needs us to indulge more than ever before. And our unprecedented diet goes one step further, expanding the venues available for guiltless binging, while delineating rules to live by when not at the ballpark.
And imagine, you can have our revolutionary program for a super low monthly fee of $79.99! A small price to pay to feel great and discover that six-pack you’ve been dreaming of, all while pretending to watch baseball. Please make check or money-order payable to firstname.lastname@example.org. If our lawyers find out you are following our program without paying the monthly fee, they are going to be livid.
*paying for and adhering to our incredible new diet plan does not guarantee the results as mentioned above, especially in cases of MLB season-ticket holders. whatsthesitch.com assumes no responsibility for unsatisfactory outcomes.
*sitch brainstormed with the superlative G.M.