Team: River City Rascals
Location: 900 T.R. Hughes Blvd. in O’Fallon, Missouri
★ History: The River City Rascals played their first season at CarShield Field (originally known as T.R. Hughes Ballpark) in 1999, although the franchise got its start in 1993 as one of the original six teams in the Frontier League. Originally playing as the Zanesville Greys in Zanesville, Ohio, the franchise fell into financial trouble before relocating to O’Fallon, Missouri, as the River City Rascals in 1998. The move led to a major boost in attendance; the Rascals were even named the Frontier League Organization of the Year in 1999 and 2000. This year, the Rascals celebrate their 20th anniversary in O’Fallon: On Tue., July 10, the team will host the Frontier League All-Star game for the first time in more than a decade.
★ Must-Try Eats: Move over, plastic baseball caps. CarShield Field pays tribute to Rascals mascot Ruffy (a scruffy bull terrier) by serving its loaded nachos in, yes, dog bowls. In addition to classic nachos with chili, nacho cheese, sour cream, jalapeños, onions and black olives, the stadium is upping the ante this year with new variations including pulled pork, smoked chicken, shredded chicken and Philly cheesesteak. The newest featured menu item, The Gang’s All Here, is a behemoth of a sandwich: It features 12-inch muffuletta buns packed with 13 hamburgers, eight slices of cheese, a dozen eggs, a pound of hash browns, two cups of chili and onions. Weighing in at around six and a half pounds, it can easily serve a family of four. Think you can handle it? Head to the concession stand during the fifth inning – if you and a group of friends can finish the sandwich in one sitting, you may win a prize like free tickets, gift shop memorabilia or a free drink or meal. It’s safe to say bigger is better this year at CarShield; the ballpark also introduced a 14-inch Bavarian pretzel served three ways. Go classic with a salted pretzel served with nacho cheese sauce and mustard or sweet with a cinnamon sugar pretzel served with chocolate sauce and Nutella. The family version comes stuffed with Cheddar cubes, strawberries, apples and bananas on one side and marshmallows and M&MS on the other. Leave things on a sweet note with the ballpark’s new Dogtown Sundae, featuring four scoops of ice cream (two each of chocolate and vanilla), fried churros, caramel and chocolate sauce and a bit of whipped cream topped with Dippin’ Dots ice cream.
★ Must-Try Drinks: In addition to your standard domestic brews, this year, CarShield Field has introduced draft beer from local craft breweries Schlafly Beer and O’Fallon Brewery. In honor of the All-Star Game this month, grab a pint of the Rascals All Star Red Ale, brewed especially for the Rascals by O’Fallon Brewery. (Photo by Judd Demaline)