“Before the Rangers, there were the Spurs.”
Companion had been providing a timeline of the growth of his hometown (Arlington, Texas) including the addition of General Motors, Six Flags over Texas, the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball Team and more recently, the Dallas Cowboys.
His fondest childhood memories were associated with going to Turnpike Stadium to watch the Minor League franchise Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs (there prior to the Rangers) play other teams in the Texas League with names like the Amarillo Sonics, El Paso Sun Kings and the Tulsa Oilers.
The games and stadium, he said, were truly family-oriented, the players approachable and the fans “pretty darn respectful of the opposing team and of one another”.
Companion said he was there the night Gene Etter got married at home plate and the night Dick Armstrong threw a no-hitter against the Spurs. Although we have been together almost a quarter of a century, it was fascinating to hear what memories he had from his youth about his hometown baseball team.
I KNEW he would be so excited to learn I had been invited by Marco LaNave (Media Relations for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp) to attend a media event at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville to try the incredible new menu additions to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp baseball team’s extensive food menu!
The event started at noon and before being turned loose on the delicious new creations, we were introduced to Harold Craw (General Manager of the team), Noel Blaha (Assistant General Manager) and Ernest Hopkins (Director of Food & Beverage), who provided some background on the team’s decision to expand their menu and how they chose a variety of styles and ingredients to be sensitive to those with food allergies and those who are following a certain diet regimen.
The food will be available in at least one of the many food vendor locations stationed throughout the park. Companion and I were very excited to see Bold City Brewery and Intuition Ale Works beer available in cans and agreed the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp had knocked one out of the park by creating the Craft Cave, soon to offer a dozen different craft beer selections on draft! To find the Craft Cave, stay at street level on the third base side. Looking across A. Philip Randolph Boulevard, the Craft Cave is directly across the street from the entrance of the Jacksonville Arena.
Your toughest decision will be what food to pair with that craft beer in your hand!
Besides what you might consider fairly straightforward ballpark food, consider the following additions:
Boom Boom Shrimp in a Waffle Bowl – Popcorn Shrimp are nestled in a crispy waffle bowl, topped with green onions. This Waffle Bowl provides an easy way to tote and hold this delicious spicy dish.
Philly Grilled Cheese – Ground Philly steak made with peppers, onions and American cheese. Tastes as great as it sounds and smells!
Grilled Shrimp Po’ Boy with Cole Slaw – This traditional Sandwich is restyled with fresh grilled Mayport shrimp and topped with cole slaw. Take it from this Cajun girl, don’t miss this one!
Surf & Turf Burger – 8oz. burger topped with 3 Jumbo Shrimp, rested on grilled Texas Toast. A half-pound of beef and plump Jumbo Shrimp – the perfect combo to fit the Greater Jacksonville-area culture – appropriately filling and great to eat while watching the game!
Coconut Torpedo Shrimp (Fried Jumbo Shrimp) – A light, flaky coconut batter lends crunch to tail-on torpedo shrimp. Sweet and salty offering which will pair extremely well with a pale ale or cream ale!
Shrimp & Grits – These elegant bite-sized portion cakes, made with shrimp, grits and bacon bursting with coastal flavor. At a ballgame? Awesome idea! Tasty, easy to carry and hold, you’ll probably go back for another order!
Jumbolaya – Build deep flavors by sautéing the aromatic trinity of onion, celery and pepper in the andouille chicken and shrimp drippings with herbs, garlic and spices. Being from Louisiana, I am very picky about Jumbolaya – and this one rocked!
Mozzarella Caprese – Fresh mozzarella, tomato slices, basil, oregano, olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette drizzle. A great lighter and cooler option for the hot summer evenings!
Mayport Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail – Mayport Jumbo Shrimp served with spicy, house-made cocktail sauce. I’m going to pair this with the Mozzarella Caprese as my early-inning-appetizers!
Bold City Burger Pie – A grilled 16-ounce beef patty, covered with two slices of pepper jack cheese, served between two 8-inch pepperoni pizzas. Yes, a one-pound burger between two 8-inch pizzas – the Grand Slam of Portion Sizes of the new additions to the team’s impressive menu line-up!
Their classic Traditional Menu still has corn dogs, $2 hot dogs, brats, sausage, hamburgers, chicken tenders, pizza, French Fries, nachos, pretzels, peanuts cracker jacks, popcorn and Uncle Ray’s Potato Chips! Ask about adding shrimp to your nachos and pizza!
Those currently focusing on Health & Diet will find Salad Shakers, Fresh Fruit Cups, Grilled Marinated Chicken Sandwich, wraps and Kosher Hebrew National Franks awaiting them!
Ready for some sweets? How about Mr. Softee Ice Cream, brownies, cookies, candy, churros, funnel cake fries, Hippo Pops, Mini Melts, Sqwincher Sqweeze, King-sized candy bars, frozen bananas and Hot Cookie with Ice Cream?
Ticket prices are a great value! Check the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp website for Season Tickets and Individual Game Tickets prices. The “Hot Corner” on the third base side is only $15 per seat AND includes one drink ticket – PLUS it is very close to the Craft Cave! That’s where companion and I will be on Opening Night (Wednesday, April 12 at 7:05 pm)!
The “Dugout Box” tickets are only $18 per seat – an amazing deal at a ballpark! There are All-You-Can-Eat Group Picnics and Special Hospitality areas for you and your loved ones, office or church group, or simply a bunch of your friends to enjoy! For Group Outing details, call 904.358.2846.
For birthday party information, contact Ashley McCallen at 904.224.8533 to find out about their amazing ticket-and-meal packages!
My sincere thanks to Marco LaNave for the invitation and to Harold Craw, Noel Blaha and Ernest Hopkins for enduring my questions and to the rest of the staff for the wonderful attentive service!
Yes, “before the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp there were the Jacksonville Suns” – but get out this season and make some “Jumbo memories” of your own with your family and friends – and eat, eat, eat – and “Root, Root, Root” for our own home team, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp!
For more information, please visit:
Individual Game Tickets