World Series pressure has Minute Maid Park concessions working overtime with new food items

With sellout crowds ready to cram Minute Maid Park this weekend for the World Series, Mat Drain and his crews are putting in serious OT getting ready.

Originally appeard on Culture Map/Houston.

The World Series isn’t only the biggest thing ever for Astros players, the pressure is on Minute Maid Park’s No. 1 popcorn popper, too.

“This weekend, with World Series games in Houston, will be the most important event of my career, and I couldn’t be more excited,” said Mat Drain, Head Honcho of Hot Dogs for Aramark, which runs all the food concessions at Minute Maid Park.

“I’ve been a supporting manager at big events during my career with Aramark. Most recently, I worked the Super Bowl at NRG Stadium here in Houston, NCAA Final Fours and NBA Finals, but nothing comes close to hosting the World Series in your own building."

With sellout crowds ready to cram the stadium, Drain and his crews are putting in serious OT getting ready.

“This is a career milestone and I’m having the time of my life. I’ll be working 18-hour days this weekend. We’re working 12-hour days preparing for the World Series. Working those other events was fun, but Minute Maid Park is our home. I would rather be working long days and nights than the alternative, which would be watching the Yankees play the Dodgers on TV at home. My off-season can wait another month,” Drain said.

The Minute Maid Park test kitchen has been in overdrive creating new items for the stadium’s World Series menu.

“Because the gates will open earlier than usual, and fans will stay until the final out, we expect fans to eat and drink big time. Don’t forget, this is only the second time in the Astros’ 55-year history that they’re in the World Series, so fans will want to savor every moment,” he said.

It also will be Drain’s job to deliver champagne and beer to the winning team’s clubhouse should the World Series end in Houston.

“My fingers are crossed that it’s the Astros clubhouse, otherwise it won’t be a happy delivery,” Drain said. 

So you know: there won’t be any fireworks following the game Friday night, like during the regular season. The only fireworks will be Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa swatting home runs into the Crawford boxes and Lance McCullers making Dodgers whiff at curve balls in the dirt.

You like predictions? Astros in 5 sounds about right. And if Dallas Keuchel out-duels Clayton Kershaw in Game One, possibly an Astros sweep.

Here are the new food items awaiting World Series crowds at Minute Maid:

“Earn History Burger” – A two-patty bacon burger with Cheddar cheese and a split brisket sausage served on a fresh-baked Challah Bun with crispy jalapeno strips.  ($18.25, Texas Legends stand behind Section 134)

“L.A. Queso Stak” – Fresh-cut fries topped with house-made green chili queso, pork carnitas, fresh-made pico de gallo, fresh-cut jalapenos and drizzles of sour cream. ($12, Brewhouse Fries stand on the concourse behind centerfield)

“Green Chili Chicken Stak – Fresh-cut fries topped with green chili chicken, pico de gallo and cotija cheese. ($12, Brewhouse Fries stand on the concourse behind centerfield)

“Street Taco & Salsa Bar” – Featuring Suckling Pig Pulled Pork Tacos, served with pineapple chunks and mango habanero glaze. ($13, FiveSeven Market behind centerfield and several locations on the Honda Club Level)

“Braised Brisket on Flour Tortillas” – Served with pickled red onions, fresh jalapenos, cilantro and chipotle aioli. ($13, FiveSeven Market behind centerfield and several locations on the Honda Club Level)

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.

Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome