April 17, 2012

Kosher and Play Ball

It isn’t often that someone contacts me about a food stand at a ballpark. So you can imagine my surprise when a friend called me to describe the kosher food stand at the new magnificent Marlins Park. Having covered the growth and development of kosher programs in stadiums all over America, I couldn’t quite understand why I should give the Miami kosher stand a second look, but he was persistent. “You don’t understand,” he said. “This isn’t a stand; it is a food location like any other in the food court.” OK, so it is nicer than Yankee Stadium, Citifield, Camden Yards, MSG and so forth. “But the food is expansive; not just a burger and a frank.” He went on to describe a rather extensive menu. He finally piqued my interest when he said: “I was on line with about a dozen other Jews and an equal number of non-Jews who swore the food was better.”

So I found out that the kosher food offering at Marlins Park is called Kosher Korner and that it is supervised by the ORB. It is the gathering place for Jews who wish to pray and there are even signs what time the minyan is. “This is done right,” said my friend who added that it did not feel or smell like an “afterthought.” He called it an accommodation that treated the kashrus observer with respect. He also wondered out loud why more sports facilities would not recognize the potential of “doing it right” like the Marlins.  Said my friend: “I am sure that many facilities would sell more tickets if Orthodox Jews and others could really enjoy the same courtesies as non-kosher fans.”

So as a new baseball season dawns, perhaps it is time for sports facilities all over America to take my friend’s advice. And congratulations Miami Marlins for getting it right!