The Best Baseball Burger, and Perhaps Your Last

The Best Baseball Burger, and Perhaps Your Last

In one Krispy Kreme doughnut, there are 220 calories and 13 grams of fat, which accounts for 20 percent of your suggested daily intake of total fat. In two slices of bacon, there are 262 calories and 20 grams of fat. One hamburger patty typically yields 212 calories and another 13 grams of fat. One slice of cheddar cheese has 113 calories and 9 grams of fat, including 30 percent of your daily intake of saturated fat.

To consume the above items in a single culinary creation would require a fanatical desire to make the plasma flow in your arteries resemble rush hour traffic approaching the Wilson Bridge.

Or perhaps you’re just the general manager of a minor league baseball team.

Tony Funderburg is the GM for the Gateway Grizzlies, an independent minor league baseball franchise based out of Sauget, Ill. He's also ballpark cuisine's answer to Dr. Moreau, combining unlikely bedfellows for the Grizzlies' "Baseball's Best" line of stadium offerings. "Baseball's Best Hot Dog" featured bacon and cheddar cheese sauce. "Baseball's Best Bratwurst" had swiss cheese crammed in the middle of a Landshire brat. After those creations failed to garner much attention, it was time to up the ante — by placing a bacon cheeseburger on a doughnut.

"I read in Maxim magazine that Luther Vandross created a doughnut burger a long time ago, and I thought 'man, we've got to try that,'" said Funderberg.

(Yes, the same Luther Vandross who suffered a massive stroke and died two years later at 54 years old.)

How does one make a doughnut burger? The burger itself is cooked on an open flame, with a slice of cheddar cheese and two slices of bacon added on top. The doughnut — an original glazed Krispy Kreme, thanks to the company's blessing — is cut in half and toasted like a bagel. The glazed sides are placed on the burger, with flat parts on the outside.

Condiments? Funderburg said some fans prefer ketchup or BBQ sauce. "If you do anything above and beyond that, you're not eating what we refer to as Baseball's Best."

Is there any concern that a fan might purchase a half-dozen $4.50 doughnut burgers, pound them all during the sixth inning, and might need to be carted out of the cheap seats by EMTs?

"There are some concerns with anything," said Funderburg. "You can walk in and eat eight tubs of popcorn and get wheeled out [of the stadium]. I don't think it's going to happen."

With that assurance, there was only one thing left to do: head to my kitchen and grill one up for myself.

IT’S WHEN YOU BEGIN to slice a doughnut while a hamburger patty sizzles in the distance that you begin to realize the gluttonous genius of the Baseball’s Best Burger.

I prepared the different segments of the sandwich and then combined them on the same plate. The results were — how else to put this — McGriddlish. The burger bore a striking resemblance to McDonald’s little culinary crack-rock, in which a breakfast meal is tucked between two syrup-infused pancake buns. My addictive personality has prevented me from ever ingesting a McGriddle; my job as a hard-nosed investigative journalist brought me mouth-to-meat with its vile little cousin.

I picked it up and took a bite, and it all started to make sense: this burger is less ballpark than breakfast. The density of the doughnut was immediately apparent, and reminded me of a slab of Texas Toast on a steak and eggs sandwich. And then there was the way the sugary doughnut glaze and the greasy bacon did a tango on my tongue. (Come to think of it, what you find in the bottom of a bacon pan sort of looks like what’s found on top of a Krispy Kreme doughnut and I'd better stop this line of thinking if I want to finish this burger … )

The cheese was lost among the flavors, but on a whole I’d have to say it was a darn tasty burger. Still a little hungry, I began to wonder what else I could put between doughnut halves.

It was at that point my cat slowly slipped out of the kitchen and ran into the nearest closet ...

I WAS HOOKED. The only question remaining was whether I’d be able to get my Baseball’s Best Burger fix locally this summer. So I called the Potomac Nationals front office.

“Wow,” said media relations coordinator Jarrod Wronski, when told of my new favorite food in the entire universe.

“We offer pulled pork and hamburgers with our picnic package, but I don’t think we’d ever go that far.”

But now I’ve gone that far, and there’s no turning back. Life is different after you’ve eaten a bacon cheeseburger sandwiched in between a sliced glazed doughnut.

And not just because there’s slightly less oxygen reaching your brain afterwards.