Over the Fourth of July weekend I went down to see one of the Battle of Ohio/I-71 Series/Indians v. Reds/whatever you want to call it interleague game between my Cleveland Indians and the Reds. Was a great time, a pretty decent number of Indians fans showed up, which helped add to the atmosphere. I can’t say I am a huge fan of the Great American Ballpark – nothing wrong with it, nice, clean, new, fairly generic stadium. I guess I wish they would have done something a bit more interesting and a bit more open to the river (on the lower deck you can’t see out to the river, which would be a nifty feature I think). Okay, well not to go on about the stadium, I wanted to mention the mustard. One of the truly great features of going to ballparks is local foods, unfortunately for quite a while the trend to go w/ a mass market food service provider and having national brands pushed a lot of these aspects out – but fortunately Jacobs Field, oops Progressive Field, up in Cleveland has not gone to only having yellow mustard (while they do have the ubiquitous Heinz yellow mustard) they also have the famous and popular Bertmans’s Ballpark Mustard. Cleveland actually has two mustards (neither is made there) (Stadium Mustard is the other and is the one at Brown’s Stadium – and seems to be made in IL) and they are both great and they are the main reason you must grab a dog at the ballpark or a Browns game. There is debate among some Clevelanders about which is better, some folks don’t seem to know there are two or that there is a difference and both seem to claim to be the original (they share some overlapping history, when the one handled retail sales and the other was for the stadiums). Some say that following a lawsuit Stadium Mustard got the name and Bertman’s got the recipe. (see a cleveland.com Battle of two spicy mustards. Hear more on the story about it on the Splendid Table Podcast – May 9, 2009) including how the two split, the legal battle between the two and how neither is made in Cleveland (Bertman’s is made in southern Ohio – go figure).
So back to the ballpark in Cincy, in one of the fun interstate rivalary elements they cooked up for the weekend the ballpark was conducting a mustard taste off, Cincinnati Reds stadium’s Uncle Phil’s (more on that later) versus Bertman’s Ballpark Mustard. I am biased towards the Bertmans so I voted for that, but Uncle Phil’s was pretty good too. Neither were yellow mustard so I was happy to grab a dog before we sat down and I put some Uncle Phil’s on it and enjoyed the Indians win and the hot dog. Not sure who won the voting or if they even counted up the slips.
Interestingly enough I got home and looked up Uncle Phil’s and learned it doesn’t have much to do with Cincy and that it hasn’t been around for a long time as the Red’s mustard and it seems like for a year or two they stopped using it as the mustard – but it seems to be back. According to this article the Red’s featured Uncle Phil’s for 6 and 1/2 seasons (see here). And is made in Wisconsin. Funny enough that Bertman’s is the one that is made nearby Cincy – kinda wonder why they don’t get into using that one.