HOME RUN GRUB

Home run lineup of stadium eats for Astros 2020 season revealed

El Mariachi Tots, Jalapeño Tots, El Presidente Tots, and Buffalo Chicken Tots. Photo courtesy of Aramark

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

The Houston Astros held their annual welcome back luncheon for the media Tuesday and rolled out a new slogan for 2020, a long menu of new concession food items and a bigger-than-ever schedule of bobblehead and American League pennant ring giveaways. (I even got to meet Geoff Blum, finally.)

Let's deal with the slogan and giveaways before we get to what's really important: this season's food lineup at Minute Maid Park.

The new slogan is "For the H," a rallying cheer for Houston. We've been through some pretty tough challenges lately — a few natural and one man-made disaster. It's time to play some baseball.

There will be 38 giveaway nights. This time, every fan will get the bobblehead or T-shirt or ring, none of that "first 10,000 fans" limit. Fans won't have to line up outside the stadium at noon for a bobblehead at 7 pm.

I have a suggestion for the Astros: It's always disappointing when the team sells 40,000 tickets to Justin Verlander Bobblehead night, people pick up the bobblehead upon entry and turn right around and leave. There's lots of empty seats and it looks crummy. Solution: when fans enter, they get a coupon for the bobblehead, which they can pick up on their way out, after at least the fifth inning.

Bobbleheads or T-shirts will be given away on 31 nights. Opening night is Thursday, March 26 (wow that's early) at home against the Angels, with Mike Trout and Lamar High School alum Anthony Rendon. ESPN will carry the game and the Astros will unfurl their 2019 American League pennant.

Weekend games will feature a pennant ring giveaway and Jose Altuve bobblehead honoring his American League Championship Series MVP.

The Astros will post their promotions schedule each month online. Early season bobbleheads will celebrate Verlander's Cy Young Award and Yordan Alvarez's Rookie of the Year Award. June 24 will be Astros Pride Night in support of LBGT fans ("baseball is for everybody") and August 7 will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Minute Maid Park. (Stadiums, they grow up so fast.) The Astros will be wearing uniforms made by Nike this year, so the gift shop will be packed with new styles of jerseys and hats.

Enough of that, let's get to the food, glorious food. Here's Mat Drain, the Yokozuna of Yams for Aramark, which handles all the concessions at Minute Maid Park: "Hot dogs, Cracker Jack, and peanuts will always be baseball staples, but our fans expect variety in the stadium, too. We have taken the approach of taking some old favorites and dressing them up to add an array of different looks and flavors," says Drain.

"This season we've partnered with wildly popular Killen's BBQ. Each year, fans ask me what is new. I think our staff has come up with lots of things that will keep them happy and well-fed all season, though October hopefully."

Here are some of the new items for Astros 2020. Don't worry, the time-honored classics, like regular dogs, burgers, popcorn, ice cream, and beer will never leave.

Continue on CultureMap for a list of the new items for 2020 and more photos.

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