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2015 Best New Food Item: Sweenie Donut Dog

Sweenie Dog, Wilmington Blue Rocks

In an era where fans are offered more than just the standard grub at a baseball game, one new food item combined a ballpark favorite with bacon and plenty of sugary goodness. The salty and sweet concoction earned the Sweenie Donut Dog from the Wilmington Blue Rocks Ballpark Digest’s Best New Food Item of 2015.

“There’s no way you can look at a Sweenie Dog and not immediately want one,” said Kevin Reichard, Ballpark Digest publisher. “It was a success on many levels: the Blue Rocks sold plenty of them during the season, and the team made national headlines after announcing it.”

“Coming up with innovative and fun food items is part of the fun of Minor League Baseball, and watching our fans eat the Sweenie Donut Dog was one of the highlights of a great year in Wilmington,” said Blue Rocks’ Majority Owner Dave Heller. “We love to see our fans having a great time and we’re especially proud to win this award from Ballpark Digest, the most widely read publication in our industry.”

“We set out to create something truly original, and not just a gimmick,” said Brian Radle, Wilmington Blue Rocks Director of Advertising Sales. “Something we knew was innovative, would be well received by our fans and also win people over with its salty-sweet taste. We were thrilled to see the extent of The Sweenie’s popularity both at Frawley Stadium and across the nation!”

The Sweenie Donut Dog, as designed by the team with concessionaire Centerplate, begins with a hot dog. Instead of a regular bun, the dog is nestled in a custom glazed donut bun. It’s then topped with raspberry jam and with sprinkled crispy pieces of bacon.

The Sweenie Donut Dog was a hit in the media: ESPN’s Mike & Mike Show called it “The Best Thing on Twitter Today” the morning after it was unveiled, USA Today named it as one of the best new food items of the 2015 season, and it was covered in media outlets around the world, spotlighted by the likes of Good Morning America, ESPN and the Washington Post.

And, just as importantly, it was embraced by fans at Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium, as thousands were sold in the course of the 2015 Blue Rocks season.

“It’s one thing to create an excessive food item, but it’s another thing to have one embraced by the fans,” Reichard said. “When you have a new food item that sells well, you have a winning combination.”

Baseball teams continued their assault on America’s waistlines in 2015 with a plethora of new food items. And while we detected a subtle shift in how baseball teams approached ballpark food in 2015 — more sitdown venues, fewer excessive items — there were plenty of new-food items that tempted our taste buds. In no particular order:

Kane County Cougars Heart Attack Burger

The Kane County Cougars (Low A; Midwest League) upped their food offerings with a new beer and a new extreme burger. The Heart Attack Burger features a half-pound beef patty topped with grilled onions, a fried egg, slice of melted cheddar cheese, chipotle bacon mayo, two strips of bacon and a pair of grilled cheese sandwiches serving as its bun. The Cougars also unveiled Raging Cougar Ale, sold both at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark and Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, home of parent Arizona Diamondbacks. Speaking of Chase Field:

Any dessert involving churros is OK by us.

Taco Dog

The Colorado Rockies’ Taco Dog features plenty of heat, with a chorizo dog and peppers. Perfect accompaniment to the beers brewed at Coors Field.

Broadcaster of the Year: Josh Whetzel

Best New Logos/Branding: Daytona Tortugas
Best New Ballpark: CHS Field, home of the St. Paul Saints

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