A thirty-team stadium tour needs memorabilia to commemorate the visit. I planned to collect mini baseball bats from every Major League Baseball stadium. Then on the first leg of my tour starting at Citi Field in New York, my plans changed. Two brothers seated in front of me each ate ice cream from a little baseball helmet even too small for their heads. I wanted that ice cream. I wanted that helmet.
Soon I realized something important during each visit – the ice cream was different. Every stadium’s soft serve (so far) came in a helmet, but the experience varied. Taste, texture, and presentation all contributed to my purchase costing around eight US dollars. Forget about the waffle cone, this delicious mid-game treat fits best in the little helmet. Those helmets came home with me, and so did my thoughts on the ice cream.
1. PNC Park
PNC Park is already known for its picturesque skyline and perfect ballpark layout, but no one speaks of their league leading ice cream. Unlike other stadiums on this list, PNC Park offers more flavours and toppings by a huge margin.
You first select from a list of chocolate chip cookie dough, mint chocolate, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, or peanut butter cup ice cream. You then garnish your ice cream with toppings like chocolate syrup or Oreo crumble. On a thirty-degree day in Pittsburgh with overbearing humidity, I knew right away I needed chocolate chip cookie dough with rainbow sprinkles.
With real ice cream filling my plastic helmet-cup, I knew PNC Park ice cream would demolish most soft serve offerings. Every scoop surprised with refreshing vanilla or sweet chunks of cookie dough. If PNC Park ice cream was a Pittsburgh Pirates player, he’d hit you forty home runs with a league leading batting average.
New York’s second-best team comes first in ice cream presentation. Not only does their ridged New York Mets helmet hold soft serve with confidence, it also puts it on display. Blue and orange sprinkles topped my vanilla and chocolate swirl for the necessary crunch. The ice cream itself tastes as if it came straight from your childhood ice cream truck.
3. Rogers Centre
Back home, the cold, fall evening didn’t ruin the smooth and rich ice cream at the Rogers Centre. A perfect vanilla flavour and creamy texture told me the Toronto Blue Jays know top notch soft serve ice cream.
Though the Blue Jays don’t know how to manage food inventory. By the fifth inning, the food stand ran out of vanilla and chocolate swirl. Although not ideal, I still left amazed by their simple, yet tasty ice cream.
4. Yankee Stadium
The New York Yankees spent all their effort and money on building a competitive baseball team rather finding good ice cream. Grainy, bland ice cream tastes closer to eating cold, vanilla oatmeal. The chocolate section of the swirl lacked any flavour, like eating brown ice from a cup. I ate the rest of the ice cream to empty the helmet for my souvenir collection.