No, not that Chili. We’re talking about the kind of chili you cook up for days on end, taking care to add the right ingredients at the right time and ideally avoiding anything too explosive. Come to think of it, it’s kind of like the cooking that large swaths of the Midwest are doing right now even if the end result is probably a bit different.
To get back to the point, though, there’s a reason why chili topped anything is the choice of single men everywhere during the long cold winter months. It’s a delicious yet foul concoction that does damage at every point of the process of consumption. And if the sheer scatology of it all wasn’t enough, nothing brings men and sports together in awe-inspiring and death defying ways quite like chili.
Chili comes in many wonderful styles and, as a service to our loyal readers on this Friday afternoon, we here at RSBS want to highlight some of the more delectable forms that chili can take, especially at the ballpark. So come with us on a cayenne and tabasco infused journey deep inside a supernova of flavor.
The Classic Bowl of Chili
You don’t see a whole lot of this these days and it makes sense. If you’re jumping out of a small seat in a narrow space to cheer, you don’t really want to be dealing with a big ol’ bowl of chili. But under more sedate circumstances, nothing warms you up during early or late season games quite like a healthy helping of spicy chili.
The Chili Dog
Like a bowl of chili, the chili dog is also a classic. It makes sense, too. A hot dog is pretty close to perfection so if you’re going to do anything with it, you better make sure it’s good. A healthy helping of chili on top? Yep, that’s good. In fact, it probably would have been the end of the list except for one minor detail….
Chili Cheese Fries
There are a lot of things the Washington Nationals do wrong. But there is one thing they do very right. And that is letting Ben’s Chili Bowl serve up its wares inside the confines of their ballpark. Nationals are losing again? Doesn’t matter, I’ve got an order of chili cheese fries. Nationals misspelled their own names on their jerseys? Guess I should have another. However, there is still one step left to be taken to the pinnacle of chili evolution….
The Chili Cheese Half Smoke
As good as Ben’s chili cheese fries may be, the half smoke smothered in cheese and topped with chili represents a dimension of chili spectacularity all it’s own. Yes, that’s right. I’m making up words just to describe its scrumptatiousness. I don’t ask you to take my word for it. I just ask that you try it out for yourself if you’re ever in the DC area and see if I’m on to something. You won’t be disappointed.
I live in Chicago’s Southside neighborhood of Bridgeport. We’re
famous for being a pleasant, working class area made up of cops,
Mayor Daleys, Italians, Mexicans, Chinese and one Cardinal fan.
We don’t get a lot of press or recognition because we’re a quiet folk
who routinely go to work, pay our taxes and get raped by our government
because our leaders won’t make universal healthcare a top
priority. We do this because we have to, not because we love to. But despite the hardships, we tend to be quiet about them and
take joy in a simple stroll through the park or taking in a baseball
game. We don’t riot in the streets; we write our Congressman Dan Lipinski (who doesn’t really get
us because he’s Polish and they mostly live west of us). So
that’s Bridgeport. Imagine how exciting it is when we hear public
figures praise us for our work ethic, good manners and fantastic
This afternoon during the AM 670 broadcast of the White Sox victory
over the A’s, Steve Stone (one of Chicago’s finest) raved about a
Bridgeport restaurant called Ramova’s Grill.
My ears perked up and a smile cracked as Stoney’s caramel voice spoke
unyielding devotion to this Southside gem. He told Ed Farmer that
he went to Ramova’s for breakfast this morning and was tempted to order
the most famous dish on the menu: Ramova’s Chili.
This would’ve been a good time for Stoney to go on to a different
subject — like the hit and run or the squeeze play or Ed’s favorite Chicago
restaurant… anything would have been better than chili for breakfast because we were
all thinking what Stoney said next:
“I figured you and the guys would have a real hard time sitting next to
me in the booth and then on the flight to Baltimore if I had ordered
the chili. Whew. Wow. No, that… if I would’ve
ordered the chili, whew…”
No matter how old I get or how much wiser I may become, fart-jokes will always be funny.
But some broadcasters wouldn’t be able to deliver this type of bathroom
humor, or any humor at all for that matter, and get away with it.
I have already professed my allegiance to the greatness that is Steve Stone,
which explains why I think he is the exception, but there are some
White Sox broadcasters that people absolutely detest:
I point out Russell’s comment because this is something that has a life
of its own — a complaint that I have heard ever since I was a kid and still frequently today, even here in the Chi. I assume he’s referring to Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson
and Darrin “DJ” Jackson, the White Sox television broadcasters who seem
to anger all types of viewers, including White Sox fans. Harrelson
is known for his southern drawl and signature phrases like “He Gone!”,
“Duck Snort” and “You can put it on the booooaaaaarrrrrd, YES!” not to mention other favorites like “Sacks full of Sox”, “Big Hack, No Contack”, “Ball Four Base Hit” and “Dadgum Right”.
I find these catchphrases pretty amusing myself, but I know many people are infuriated by them. But why? Is it the fact that
Hawk is a no-holds-barred redneck with a voice that sounds like an out of tune trombone? Do people across the country think he is representative of Southsiders as a whole? Or is it that Hawk and DJ maintain an extreme bias against all things non-White Sox, sometimes going too far? I must admit, at times even I find their banter ridiculous, like Hawk’s recent third grade expletive rant:
“Doggone it ball. Stay fair! Doggone it! You dumb
ball. You dumb ball! Jeesh, you coulda stayed fair.” He said this after a Jim Thome foul
ball missed being a homerun by about four feet on Sunday. It’s just one example, but when you spend 3 hours saying things like this during a broadcast, I can see how people might be ticked off — like these guys, who are trying everything in the world to get rid of him. Russell, if you want to get really angry, spend a few minutes reading this website. It might just make you laugh.
I grew up listening to the gravel-pit voice of Jack Buck (who was great) alongside a drunk Mike Shannon (not so great, but we love him anyway), so I’m used to hearing strange things from the broadcast booth. In fact, Shannon still refuses to believe that somebody (or somebodies) other than Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball, even though history has proven the Doubleday tale to be pure myth.
In the end, I have to say that I love that these guys say what’s on their minds, dumb or not, and I always have the power of hitting the mute button.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.