The 2011 baseball season is in full swing, as is the 2011 summer season. With the 4th of July just about here, I was at an ice cream stand, enjoying some Chocolate Marshmallow ice cream when I realized, “I could compare every baseball team to an ice cream flavor!”
So I’ve spent an entire Sunday night writing this post. Enjoy:
Something completely different: Baseball Teams as Ice Cream Flavors …
American League East
New York Yankees : Vanilla
On the first day, God created Vanilla.
Okay, not exactly, but Vanilla is and has been America’s most popular ice cream flavor. The Yankees is and have been America’s most popular baseball team. It’s clean, it’s tradition, it’s even kind of predictable. But it’s always great, and always there at the end of the day. Damn Yankees.
Boston Red Sox : Chocolate
Around forever, the very popular Chocolate is a nice counterpoint to Vanilla. While the latter is much more silky smooth, the former has a sweet taste. In the same vein, the Red Sox provide a more cozy counterpoint to the Yankees. And people will fight to the teeth defending one or the other (ice creams and teams). However, too much Chocolate will turn your stomach and, well, you know what people think of the Red Sox after a couple great years …
Tampa Bay Rays : Birthday Cake
Thanks in part to the newest in ice cream amazingness, Cold Stone Creamery, this blue (sometimes white) flavor has become all the rage. It tastes … well … like a birthday cake. People gobble it up. And thanks in part to the newest in talent evaluation, the Tampa Bay Rays have become all the rage in baseball. Oh, and they wear blue and white. Weird, huh?
Toronto Blue Jays : Peanut Butter Chocolate
Of course, Peanut Butter Chocolate ice cream is much like the brand-name flavor Moose Tracks, which conjures visions of Canada, but at any rate, this flavor is what happens when you start combining things that sound great together, but may not work for some. Obviously peanut butter and chocolate works together, but as an ice cream? Same thing with the Blue Jays: Baseball and Canada? Or … those uniforms? Or … Jose Bautista and Toronto? At any rate, this flavor should be great, but it falls short. Same with the Jays, year after year.
Baltimore Orioles : French Vanilla
There was a time, I suppose, when French Vanilla was just as popular as its more traditional cousin. There was a time, when eggs were more popular as a regular dietary element, that people ate French Vanilla by the bucket loads. Just as I’m sure there was a time when the Baltimore Orioles were recognized the world over for their baseball prowess. Ah, but those days are long gone.
American League Central
Detroit Tigers : Chocolate Marshmallow
The Tigers have a long and storied history, and it deserves a base flavor that also recalls a long and storied history. But there’s something softer about the Tigers, something mushier. Chocolate marshmallow is the ice cream you get when you’re hankering chocolate but feel a little less bloodthirsty. It’s a delicious ice cream and one that’s pretty popular; the Tigers, despite years of off-and-on success, remain pretty popular and, yes, somewhat mushier.
Chicago White Sox : Chocolate Almond
If the Red Sox are chocolate, and the Tigers are the softer side of that off-and-on success, then the White Sox are definitely the harder side. Chocolate Almond is shockingly popular (though this has to be a regional thing) because it adds a nutty texture to the traditional cocoa bean. Obviously, there’s no team that does nutty better than the Sox, what with its manager and play-by-play announcer leading the charge. I stay away from Chocolate Almond. And I stay away from the White Sox. Well, there you go.
Cleveland Indians : Butter Pecan
Butter Pecan is a very soft, buttery and nutty vanilla ice cream. It’s one of the more storied ice creams, but always seems to play second, third or even fourth fiddle much of the time. And much like we’re still waiting for the Butter Pecan renaissance, we’re still waiting for the Cleveland Indians renaissance. Long in tradition but short in success, the Indians deserve better. Maybe it’s cause they’re so soft and cute!
Minnesota Twins : Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
A terrific idea in practice, and a flavor that, yes, a lot of people do love, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is, however, a flawed flavor. Too much dough will really make a person struggle finishing the flavor, and too much chocolate chip will just make it taste like … well, chocolate chip. I’d like to think of the Twins in the same vein: trying to balance itself as a small-market team with big-market aspirations. Some years it works, some years it doesn’t. But they keep pressing on.
Kansas City Royals: Banana
For most, a banana is a chore - something you probably should eat every day, but something that always seems hard to put down and is completely dependent on timing. But make it an ice cream flavor and, well, let’s say there’s a small contingent that absolutely loves Banana ice cream. The Royals are still trying to move up in the baseball world, stocked with hope and youth. And a small contingent really hopes for these kids. But it’s all dependent on timing, I suppose.
American League West
Texas Rangers : Coconut
Why doesn’t Coconut ice cream have a higher profile? It’s a fruit, it’s exotic (but not too exotic), and it’s a summer treat if there ever was. As an ice cream it’s a thrilling combination of sweet and smooth. I feel the same about the Rangers - they’re a solid combination of hitting and pitching and even had huge success lately … and yet …
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim : Peach
Peach ice cream is always popular. It’s rich and fruity, and can be complimented by nuts, honey or even chocolate chips. It’s a durable ice cream that always seems to find a place in every shoppe. It would’ve been cliché to go with an orange ice cream here, and anyways, I think that’s underplaying the impact of the Angels. This is a solid team that seems to stay in the conversation every year.
Seattle Mariners : Rainbow Sherbet
A while ago, you remember Rainbow Sherbet was a cool flavor that seemed to come out of left field. It was dynamic, thrilling and a little unappreciated. But time hasn’t been really kind to Rainbow Sherbet. And time hasn’t been kind to the Mariners, though the future may be brighter. Hopefully the future is brighter for Rainbow Sherbet, too.
Oakland Athletics : Dippin’ Dots
Veering away from the traditional flavors for a moment here. See, years ago, we were told Dippin’ Dots was “The Ice Cream of the Future!” And it certainly looked cool and different and crazy. And for a while, it seemed correct - this really was “The Ice Cream of the Future!” But the years wear on, and you find yourself wondering if a team led by Coco Crisp and Conor Jackson can really win a division. And Dippin’ Dots just kind of hangs out, stuck in some concrete mess of a mall that will never, ever be renovated or torn down. And you forget the rich history that ice cream had before Dippin’ Dots came along. Instead, you just sulk in that disgusting mess of a mall, rooting for “The Future!”
National League East
Philadelphia Phillies : Rocky Road
“Rocky Road?!” asked Sloth in “The Goonies.” I think this makes sense. Rocky Road is chocolate, sure, but it’s also marshmallows AND nuts, so it’s a crazy combination of tradition, softness and crazy. Go to a Phillies game - you’ll see it all on display. And Rocky Road is a popular flavor, but not overwhelmingly so. The Phillies had always been baseball’s doorstep, but they’re a well-known doorstep that now has lots of success. So we go with this complex, misunderstood and absolutely crucial flavor. Plus, as Sloth proved, deformed people love Rocky Road.
Atlanta Braves : Praline Pecan
This is somewhat of a regional pick. Praline Pecan is huge down South, with its buttery, brown sugary, slightly nutty taste. Up north? It really doesn’t get the kind of play that the traditional flavors receive. The Braves are very much a local phenomenon - the “America’s Team” thing was just Ted Turner’s way to expose his franchise to the country. We all kind of got into Praline Pecan a little, even appreciating it enough to respect it. But at the end of the day most of us will run to chocolate and its friends.
New York Mets : Chocolate Chip
Isn’t Chocolate Chip ice cream supposed to be bigger? Isn’t it supposed to be on the level of a Chocolate or Vanilla? Alas, it’s just sitting there, waiting for your spoon. See, the Mets are like Chocolate Chip in that they combine exciting characteristics from other places but never seem to be anything more than average. Old players, young players, big money, small money, Dodgers, Giants - the Mets are all about inclusion. Sadly, the one thing they forgot to include was an accountant (snare drum). Chocolate chip is OK, but there are so many more dynamic choices.
Florida Marlins : Mango
Every once in a while, Mango ice cream becomes a huge thing. People gobble it up. But its popularity lasts about one summer, then it falls back to the end of the counter. And it keeps letting its newest followers leave for other concoctions, like Lime and Pina Colada. Oh well.
Washington Nationals : Lime
And speaking of Lime … isn’t this flavor just about ready to blow up? Baskin-Robbins brought back its lime-flavored Daiquiri Ice because of public demand. Well, it seems everyone wants the Nationals to be the next great team in the game, thanks to its wealth of surefire stars. But does Lime have the juice to go all the way? Not when it pays Jayson Werth over $100 million for seven years.
National League Central
Milwaukee Brewers : Coffee
Constantly looked at as the next great ice cream flavor, Coffee certainly makes sense. It’s a staple of our everyday life, it pairs well with milk and the iced version is quite popular. As an ice cream it’s a rich and delicious treat that has a sophisticated side. The Brewers are putting all their cards on the table this year - this is do or die time. It’s rich, delicious and is quite sophisticated (I mean, look at that Bernie Brewer). A lot of people are liking Coffee ice cream right now, and a lot of people are liking the Crew.
St. Louis Cardinals : Strawberry
A lot of people love Vanilla. And a lot of people love Chocolate. But a lot of people also love Strawberry. Safely tucked in its own little fruit-filled world, Strawberry is a wonderful change of pace from the titans of ice cream. The Cardinals? They’re only the most decorated team outside of the Yankees, a great change of pace from those East Coast teams. And what a following!
Cincinnati Reds : Cherry
Did you know that Cherry ice cream has been around forever? Well, not forever, but it’s one of the more historic flavors, right up there with Strawberry. So it makes sense for the Reds to be Cherry. The Reds, as you know, are the oldest team in the game. Cherry is always somewhat popular, coming back to the top once in a while. The Reds, of course, had a nice run through the NL Central in 2010 and are in the thick yet again.
Pittsburgh Pirates : Black Raspberry
How is Black Raspberry not more popular? At any rate, this is a wicked flavor that isn’t for everyone but certainly has potential. The Pirates, of course, have plenty of potential and are making moves for the first time in years. Black Raspberry is never dull. Right now, the Pirates are pretty exciting themselves.
Chicago Cubs : Neapolitan
Combine the tradition of the Vanilla Yankees, the sweet failure of the Chocolate Red Sox and the perennially optimistic Midwest following of the Strawberry Cardinals, and you have this wonderful combination of baseball’s top tier. The problem, of course, is nobody ever buys Neapolitan. And thanks to the influx of new and odd flavors these days, Neapolitan is merely a last resort. Oh those sad, sad Cubbies, perennially the wasted flavor.
Houston Astros : Rum Raisin
People like this flavor? What is it - alcohol and raisins and Vanilla? How is that a good combination? And why is Ed Wade still running a team’s payroll?
National League West
San Francisco Giants : Mint Chocolate Chip
Okay, I don’t get Mint Chocolate Chip. It’s very popular, but why? Mint shouldn’t be the lead in any food creation - it’s a strong-spiced leaf. Would you want Oregano ice cream? Maybe Parsley ice cream? No. No you wouldn’t. Anyway, again, Mint Chocolate Chip is very popular, and it’s a little left of center. Plus traditionally it’s green (see what I did there)? I think this is a perfect fit.
Colorado Rockies : Phish Food
Maybe the most well known of Ben & Jerry’s creations, Phish Food seems out there. It’s just on another plane, out in Vermont, kind of sitting there, with its marshmallow and its little fishes and its caramel and whatever else. It’s kind of like the Rockies, who play in this huge park up in the sky with a humidor. Both have short lifespans thus far, and both have been big most of their lives. And I don’t get the Phish phenomenon as much as I get the offensive numbers of Ellis Burks, Preston Wilson and Dante Bichette. Oh, and Colorado is pretty much marijuana heaven. Not that it means anything for this comparison …
Los Angeles Dodgers : Cookies and Cream
Arizona Diamondbacks : Orange Sherbet
Much like Rainbow Sherbet, Orange Sherbet is a more yogurt-like substance that nevertheless has the guilty properties of ice cream. But Orange is also sort of one-note - if you don’t like the tart of orange, you won’t like this. The Diamondbacks? Traditionally they’re a team dependent on power, so they’re not quite for everyone. But hey, they get theirs sometimes.
San Diego Padres : Pistachio
I’d like to think Pistachio had some brilliant history, with top-hat-wearing men and well-dressed ladies enjoying this cool version of the salty nut concoction in olden times. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case, however. Though it has been around for a long time, Pistachio is just there. It seems interesting at first glance but, in reality, is just a niche flavor reserved for true believers. It’ll never be Chocolate or Vanilla. I guess not everyone can be those flavors.