The Dogs are BARKING

Batter up! Baseball is one of the best things about summer. It’s just so American. The nice thing about Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp games (RIP Suns) is that the tickets are affordably priced so the whole family can go–and the food’s not bad, either.

There’s a ticketing tier that starts with $5 seats on a little grassy knoll and outfield bleachers. These are best for Canine Games, when dogs join in the fun. A little bump to $9 gets you actual seats. If you’re going with a group, you don’t need to purchase tickets together ahead of time. Meet at the stadium and choose seats behind the plate, or take recommendations from the ticket person. The Dugout Box, the final tier, is truly presidential. For $18, a waiter will dote on you as you enjoy the view up close. But no matter where you sit in the stadium, you’re going to have a good time. Guaranteed.

In today’s foodie-obsessed culture, menus offer more and more options. Accordingly, the Jumbo Shrimp’s menu has new items, like a burger that substitutes pizza slices for buns, and can feed a family of four, or a spicy shrimp bowl–made out of a waffle cone. But I’m a fan of the classics. There’s nothing like going to a baseball game and grabbing a simple hot dog, beer and peanuts.

Hot dogs are the kinds of things you either love or hate. I love ’em. I’ll take the $2 dogs at Shrimp Stadium any day. Add some mustard and I get really excited to heckle the pitcher. We can argue all day about proper hot dog toppings (mustard and onion for the win), but let me go on record: Ketchup has no business on a dog.

Step up from standard with a Corn Dog ($3). On a stick–the most underrated thing about a corn dog is its easy-edibility–it’s ready to dip in a cup of mustard. Fun fact: A corn dog should actually be coated in cornmeal, hence the name. If you’ll notice, corn dogs are sweeter than regular dogs, a nod to that cornmeal dip.

Since it is a Jax Jumbo Shrimp game, you know shrimp is on the menu. To wit: Torpedo Coconut Shrimp ($10) are quite delightful. The half-dozen crustaceans are golden-brown, coconut-covered morsels of goodness, slightly sweet and definitely easy to eat.

There’s lots of other little snacks to go with your soda or beer, like the almost-obligatory roasted peanuts ($4)–there’s also boiled peanuts–and jumbo soft pretzel ($4), salted or unsalted. There’s a full bar with local spirits from Manifest Distilling and Marlin & Barrel.

After the seventh-inning stretch, you may be craving dessert. You have no choice … go fried! Churros ($4.50), anyone? Or maybe some funnel cake fries! You can opt for Dippin’ Dots, the perfect summer treat.

With decent pricing on food and seats, it’s hard to beat a Jax Jumbo Shrimp game. See you in the stands!