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Deep Fried Sliders And Dancing With The Stars

Deep Fried Sliders Make Sense:

Gateway Grizzlies
Gateway Grizzlies

If you’re a deep fried fan, you’ve likely tried a deep fried twinkie or a deep fried Snickers bar, but I got one up on you. This morning, at 8:50 a.m., I tried the newest concession item -- a deep fried White Castle cheeseburger. It’s the latest from the geniuses at the Independent League’s Gateway Grizzlies, who are based in Sauget, Illinois. For the most part, ballpark food is the same, but the folks at the Grizzlies have done a tremendous job to go out of their way in recent years to get creative.

Last year, the team's Baseball’s Best Burger -- burger topped with sharp cheddar, two slices of bacon and a sliced Krispy Kreme donut as a bun -- got national attention after other media picked up on my story. The year before, they had brought us the Swiss Brat, a bratwurst with melted swiss and sauerkraut and in 2004, the traditional kicked off with Baseball’s Best Hotdog -- a black angus hot dog with bacon, onions and cheese sauce. A couple weeks ago, I called up the Grizzlies general manager Tony Funderburg to see what he had in mind this year. He told me the White Castle idea, which I thought was brilliant. Baseball’s Best Sliders will come in a two-pack for $4. A cheese sauce on the side is $1 extra.

So here’s my official review. It’s pretty awesome when it has been sitting in the studio for an hour. I can only imagine how great it is hot out of the fryer sitting at the ballpark. I couldn’t eat too much being that I’m down a gallbladder, but it basically tastes like an onion ring burger. So now what you’ve all been waiting for -- the calorie count. I didn't say this before but not only is it fried, but it's battered first. It’s just an estimate, but it looks to be around 600 calories and 40 grams of fat for the two-pack. That’s 90 percent of your daily recommended fat based on a 2,000 calorie diet. The Grizzlies open their season on May 23.

Apolo Anton Ohno & Julianne Hough
Apolo Anton Ohno & Julianne Hough

Dancing With The Stars:
I got an e-mail yesterday announcing that Laila Ali had signed with new representation -- Premier Sports Management in Santa Monica. Ali, along with Clyde Drexler and Apolo Anton Ohno, is in the latest version of "Dancing With The Stars." Everyone involved with the athletes who crossover to the show always mention that it’s the best thing that happened to their careers because it brings them to a new audience. That’s partly true. I know because I was doing a segment on Jerry Rice last year and his autograph line at a show was filled with more women

Clyde Drexler & Elena Grinenko
Clyde Drexler & Elena Grinenko

who were fans of the show. But how much more marketable does it really make you? My answer after surveying some people in the sports marketing world? It doesn’t do much. Jerry Rice is still pretty much getting what he’s getting -- like his Sirius radio show -- because he’s Jerry Rice, the best wide receiver of all-time. Emmitt Smith? He just got a job at ESPN because of his skills as a football player. So let’s stop this talk about how it’s a great move for these athletes to do these shows. I watched it last night. I could barely take it. All the same stuff and the people really weren’t appealing enough. Kudos to Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press who made a list of the athletes he’d really like to see on the show: Mike Tyson, Tonya Harding and Shaq. Now that’s something I’d TiVo.

News & Notes:
Finally got around to trying Pickle Juice Sport, the pickle juice sports drink that’s supposedly going to do $680,000 in revenue in 2007 and endorsed by Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. It is absolutely awful. I don’t care how much better than Gatorade it is … I have to say that I loved the idea of the cigar bars at ballparks (The Devil Rays have Cuesta-Rey Cigar Bar and the Pirates had the Montecristo Club). But because of the possibility of a county-wide smoking ban, the Pirates are transforming their cigar bar into a sports bar. While the Pirates are moving before the ban, the St. Louis Cardinals will become the 15th ballpark to ban smoking this season. Another agent is entering the business. Mike Conley Sr., father of Mike Conley Jr. of Ohio State, told the Indianapolis Star that his company will be called Mac Management Group. Conley Sr. says he’s had “zero conversations” with his son’s high school and college teammate, Greg Oden, who is a projected top pick in this year’s NBA Draft in June. Conley is currently helping Chicago land the 2016 Olympics.

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