The West Michigan Whitecaps are a Class-A Affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, a club that calls the Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Michigan home. They last won a League Championship in 2015, their sixth since the team’s founding in 1994. And that is all very well and good, but we’re not here for baseball. We’re here because they deep-fried a cheesesteak wrapped in a tortilla with onions and green peppers, and called it a Rocky Balburrito.
(Confusingly, the Whitecaps’ Fan Food Vote was sponsored by an organization called Visit Central Florida. Don’t be misled. Trust me, this is Pure Michigan.)
In January, the team asked for fans to submit ideas for new food items; that list was narrowed to 10 finalists in February, and voting began. The Balburrito, a fan-submitted idea from Marc Viquez of Indianapolis, beat out items such as the River Rascal (a hot dog topped with peanuts, crackerjack, peanut butter, no-bean chili, and pickles), deep-friend jellybeans, Twinkie The Pig (a Twinkie wrapped in bacon and deep-fried), and the intense Tidal Wave, which consists of a scoop of vanilla ice cream, rolled in Fruity Pebbles and rolled “burrito-style” in cotton candy.
Let’s get back to the champion, though. Here’s Viquez, responding to news of his win in a Whitecaps press release:
This is indeed a very humble moment, thank you to everyone who voted and to the West Michigan Whitecaps for staging this annual contest. Just like Rocky Balboa knocking out Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago, the Rocky Balburrito continues the tradition of excellence from the City of Brotherly Love. Just don’t tell them that we deep fried their iconic cheesesteak sandwich, they may never allow me back into the city.
Whoops. Sorry, sir.
Given that all of the internet seems to be up in arms about local food things of late, we thought this one was worthy of discussion. But we can’t be mad about it. It’s a cheesesteak in wrap form, deep-fried. What about that sounds bad? The answer, assuming you like cheesesteaks, is nothing. But as none of us here at The Takeout is from Philadelphia, we thought we ought to throw it out there for discussion. The Rocky Balburrito: yea or nay?
As someone who spent a lot of time running around Fifth Third Ballpark and cheering for the Whitecaps as a kid, I’ve got a touch of nostalgia-fueled FOMO about this announcement. That feeling is somewhat exacerbated by the list of other foods new to the ballpark this season, including deep fried bread pudding, pork skin nachos (nachos where the chips are just fried pork skin), and wine slushies. What they lack in cute movie-related names, they make up for in sounding like they are probably delicious.