About a week ago, I tested positive for COVID-19. First and foremost, I have been feeling well and experienced none of the more acute effects of the virus, such as fever, cough, or breathing difficulties. I’m far enough into my quarantine period that I’m thinking/hoping I may have avoided major illness.
That being said, I haven’t correctly smelled or tasted anything for a week, one of the more puzzling COVID-19 symptoms that seems to be rather common in those afflicted. Not exactly how one draws up the Thanksgiving holiday, to be sure. If a food item is highly concentrated—like syrup in the container, peanut butter in the jar, or pickles in the glass—I can get a whiff of the scent. But get it out in the open? Blank nose and taste buds.
With such a phenomenon weighing somewhat heavily on my mind of late, I began thinking about my favorite baseball-related tastes and smells, narrowing them down to a top five for your consideration:
5. Cherry Pepsi (Target Field)
I know—this is a weird one. But before every Target Field contest, I hit up the Budweiser Good Sport stand and get a coupon for a free soda. Roughly 85% of the time, it turns into a Cherry Pepsi. I now strongly identify that taste with watching a ballgame.
4. French Fries (Target Field)
I can honestly say I never had—nor considered having—French fries at a baseball game until Target Field came along. But in that 2010 inaugural campaign, I discovered them at a game with my Mom. I don’t know what concoction of seasoning makes them so addictive to me, but half of my stadium outings end in a fry purchase.
3. Root Beer Float (Metrodome).
Nothing like a cool, crisp, float in a, uh, climate controlled marshmallow, right? There likely wasn’t all that much special about the Homer Dome’s root beer or ice cream, but I’m a sucker for the combination no matter where I roam.
2. Tony O’s Cuban Sandwich (Target Field).
It took me a few years to indulge in Tony’s delicacy, but once I did I kicked myself for not finding it earlier. One of the best bang-for-your-buck items at the home park, and the combination of warm meat/cheese and pickles is always intriguing.
(Honorable Mention: Mini-Donuts (Target Field)
95% of the time I attend games, I sit behind home plate in the upper deck. At Target Field, the mini donut stand is in the lower deck in straight-away CF. Thus, our paths do not cross much. But when they do (i.e. when my sister attends with me) it is heavenly for the olfactory senses.)
1. Dome Dog (Metrodome)
A decade after the final dome dog was consumed, I have yet to find a concession item that satisfies quite like it. From the plump, juicy Hormel dog to the sesame seed bun, I’m convinced my love for this confection isn’t completely nostalgia-based. Though consuming one at Target Field would be a contradiction in terms, I feel like I’d enjoy it just the same.
I’m a week into my COVID diagnosis and if my taste/smell sense are improving, they are doing so very slowly. I don’t like to make light of the situation too much, as certain “long haulers” have been known to take weeks/months to regain these senses, if they fully come back at all. Should I obtain full capacity again—and I’m certainly hopeful of that at this point—I’ll never again take for granted the tastes and smells of the ballpark.