This week’s rankings are not my best. Not my worst either, but I want to start out by tempering expectations. It was really hard to come up with a theme this week, and now I got a dude working on the house behind me and it’s super distracting (I sit facing a window, and this is my view à). To say he’s playing it a little fast and loose with his safety would be an understatement. Now, I don’t know a lot about ladders (that’s a lie, I kind of know a lot), but given the soft footing, climbing angle, and his general half-ass demeanor… I’m really worried I might watch this man break his neck. Anyways, apologies in advance (which is also kind of a lie because I actually write the intro to the rankings after
I write the rankings… now you know!)
Back to the rankings…
It’s that time of year again. When millions of people strap on their fanny packs, lace up their most comfortable shoes, and head out to the great Minnesota get together!
Well… not this year. Obviously COVID sucks. It locked me in my house with my wife and kid for months. It stole a chunk of the wiffleball season! And now it’s taking away the one day of the year when I can eat a week’s worth of calories guilt free!!!
Well, because it’s been on my mind, and because I hadn’t thought of anything else/better, this week, today we’ll revisit the Minnesota State Fair… well, the food anyways.
And first and foremost, I’m putting this out there for the world to see: Sweet Martha’s is not good. They didn’t make the list, and it wasn’t even close. You can disagree, but you’re wrong.
Time for jokes!
15. RoughRiders (1-11): Blue Barn Tennessee Hot Chicken on a Stick.
Tennessee/Nashville chicken. I am a fanatic
… and this is a really good little taste… but it falls a little short… I mean, pretty good, but disappointing. Like, just missing a certain something to keep it from being great or even really good… Anyone seen Hjal lately? Riders shattered their league leading losing streak with a win against the Rats… matchups with the Yankees (Monday) and Vibes (Thursday) coming up! (PR: 15)
14. Yard Goats (3-14): RC BBQ Jamm’in Brisket Grilled Cheese.
“Jamm’in” is a stupid word and it’s a stupid name for a sandwich. Let’s get that out of the way first. Now that I’ve said that, let me tell you this: this is the best sandwich at the fair. It’s delicious. And when I think of delicious BBQ, I think of Kansas City… but when I’m not in KC and I think of delicious BBQ, I think of Neut. He is a master of meats and his brisket is some of my favorite. What has that got to do with Wiffleball? I don’t know, but smoked brisket is fricking delicious!! Goats surprisingly split with the Yankees last week and have a match up with the Ponies this week. (PR: 14)
13. Pirates (3-13): Mac and Cheese on a stick
. Ummm… they’re yellow on the inside… the Pirates wear yellow… they’re sorta crisp and crunchy on the outside… T-Mac has a crunchy exterior but a soft and gooey inside… I guess… It works for me! The Pirates split with the Riders last week and have matchups this week with the Cakes (Monday) and Crawdads (Thursday). (PR: 13)
12. Rumble Ponies (6-13): Duck Bacon Wontons.
Last year I tried these. Literally out of boredom. My wife disappeared with the kid to go to the bathroom or whatever and I was like, “I’m bored, I need fried food for my fat face hole.” 5 minutes later: I love duck bacon wontons. It only took one sampling to know I will love them forever. See what I did there? Ponies took one of three from the Crawdads last week, have dates this week with the Goats (Monday) and Kards (Thursday). (PR: 12).
11. Americans (6-13): Corn Dog, Proto Pup… whatever
. I haven't had one of these at the fair since I was a kid. They’re boring, but they’re always …there… so… yay. Ummm, my boy Knooty Booty is the sweet and delicious exterior, and my nemesis, Lulu (who somehow made the All-Star team) is the salty wiener in the middle... Anyways, it’s obviously all about me, so let’s talk predictions. I assume the Biscuits lost on purpose to ruin my 5-13 prediction for the Americans… but considering they’re now 6-13, I’ll take the ‘W!’ The Americans burnt the Biscuits one of three tries last week, got three planned with the Saints later this week. (PR: 11)
10. Saints (5-15)
. The Saints get no love. And I understand that’s a stupid thing to say because every week I write about every team and I routinely show them: #NoLove. Know who else doesn’t get much love? The wonderful people who bring us the delicious Australian Battered Potatoes.
There are so many other deep fried foods at the fair, so many other takes on the potato… but these… I don’t even know. Like, on paper it’s just like, “oh yeah, big fu**ing pieces of potatoes, like big ass french fries.” But they’re so much more than just a big french fry or whatever. They’re a delight. Put some ranch on those things… next level. But you know what, no one ever talks about them… it’s a shame…. Ok, I’m losing focus, oh yeah… Saints, here’s a little love… like… metaphorically speaking, I’m not actually going to say anything positive about you today. So… yeah, a rough couple weeks for the Saints… Got a three game matchup with the corn dog Americans this week. (PR: 10)
9. Kardinals (6-12): O’Gara’s boneless Irish wings.
“Boneless wings are for quitters.” I’ve said that before, and I meant it. But I will carve out one caveat: the fair. No one wants to walk around for 8 hours with wing sauce on their shirt and the last thing the fair needs are piles of chicken bones all over the place… ugh, sorry, I digress… there is nothing better than a morning pint of Guinness and boneless wings. Well, there is, but whatever… I needed something bird-themed. Beer! Boneless wings! Majestic Blasts! Sounds awesome. Sounds like the Kards to me… wait… do I want to be a Kardinal next year… maybe start a theme of eating chicken wings after majestic blasts… maybe I can take Fish’s roster spot. Kards were swept by the young Vibes last week, got a matchup with the Ponies later this week. (PR: 9)
8. Chihuahuas (10-9): Dino’s Gyros.
Nightmare, you can get Dino’s anytime, it’s a chain restaurant. I don’t care! They aren’t the same. When you’re at the fair, you need to get that big ass cone of gyro meat, dripping in tzatziki sauce, and stumble around like a moron shoving your face full of deliciousness… What’s my point? Oh yeah, I just wanted to give another hot take and remake my original hot take from 2019 when I loved the Chihuahuas first and no one listened to me. Now the Pups are out here taking 2 of 3 games against the Ballers… wait… is that right? Damn Pups! Good work! I nailed that one. Also, AirBud = Baller! (not the team, like, he’s a baller, really good wiffler… he good!). That’s random, but from my first draft of the rankings… and absolutely true. Chihuahuas have a rematch with the Biscuits later this week. Will Clark get his revenge now that the Biscuits won’t have Nightmare in their corner… We’ll find out! (PR: 7)
7. Vibes (10-7): Thelma’s Ice Cream Sandwiches.
No, not technically a s’more… I guess kind of the opposite really. Where a s’more is warm and gooey, these delicious little treats are cold and hopefully not too mushy… Anyways, they look similar… So, speaking of ice cream, sometimes ice cream just isn't what you want. And that’s ok. Ice cream doesn’t always have to be the center of attention. Sometimes ice cream should just be quiet and hang out wherever ice cream hangs out and wait until it’s a more appropriate time. It doesn’t have to be all about ice cream all the time. Sometimes, ice cream, being cool is just chilling and doing your own thing and not trying to force feed your ice cream vibes to everyone all the time… Anyways, the young Vibes have come to life, winning four games last week (Ponies & Kards) and winning their last seven… not too shabby. They’ve got a meeting with the Crawdads tonight and face the Riders later this week. (PR: 8)
6. Yankees (11-3): Fresh French Fries.
Can you go to the fair and not
get french fries? Should they just hand out tubs of these delicious morsels as you walk through the gates? Can I write a Power Rankings without praising the Yankees? I don’t know. And I don’t want to find out. Fresh French fries are a staple. It isn't the fair without fries, and the HRL is not the HRL without the Yankees. The Yankees split with the Goats last week. Got the Riders (Monday) and Cakes (Thursday) coming up next. Also, NO, they should not hand out tubs of fries at the door, they’d get all cold and mushy. They should hand out vouchers for free fries. (PR: 6)
5. Crawdads. (13-4): Anything from Bayou Bob’s.
Alligator meat, typically deep fried, and usually over cooked. Bayou Bob’s has been at the fair forever (24 years, before half the league was born) and it was the first place I ever tried something “crazy.” In the years since, I’ve realized it isn't the best, it isn't new or flashy like stuff on the Blue Barn end of the fair, but it’s a little bit
exotic, a little bit
different, and satisfies a certain State Fair “itch” for me every year. It's pretty good, but often overlooked… What does that have to do with Crawdads? Well, Crawdads… alligator… something something something, but mostly, the old dudes are old, but not to be overlooked! #ChopWatch: 395 HRs, 737 BBs. Crawdads came back down to Earth this week, only plating 13 runs (in three games) with the Ponies. ‘Dads got the young Vibes next week… some sort of old man or dad joke… (PR: 5)
4. Cannon Ballers (14-6): Tom Thumb (mini) Donuts.
I feel a little hypocritical because I actually drove past Tom Thumb Donuts about a dozen times over the past few weeks. They put up their stand, right near my house in Stillwater, and I never stopped. Why? Not sure. As much as I love them, it just wasn’t worth the 5 minutes. Maybe because I’d have easily polished off the entire bag on the way home and pulled into my driveway covered in sugar, donut crumbs, and regret… or maybe because I’m so disappointed by them, lately, that I’m worried stopping to get a bag will just end up with me being sad and full of regret… I just don’t know… but now I have some thinking to do… So the Ballers lost two of three to the Chihuahuas… They have date night with the Brewers this week. (PR: 5)
3. The Baby Cakes (12-3): Deep Fried ____ on a Stick.
You name it, someone at the fair has deep fried it and/or shoved a stick up it’s a$$. And it’s delicious. No matter what you’re into, the fair has it battered, fried, and sticked. Similarly, your beloved Baby Cakes have a little bit of everything (hitting, pitching, fielding) that makes a team very good. The Cakes have matchups with the Rats (Monday) and Yanks (Thursday, and I seem to recall discussions of a possible 3rd
game?). (PR: 3)
2. Brewers (15-4): Whatever new and exciting State Fair themed beer they’re serving.
Let’s be real, I love beer. I love new beers. Even bad new beers are good for a little bit. Say… the Brewers are a new team. I like them a lot and they’re really good too! It’s a little embarrassing that the league allows a team called the BREWERS to show up to the rink and drink sparkling tonic waters or water the hell a Truly is… but that’s beside the point… Brewers have only lost once this month… They have the Ballers up next. (PR: 2)
1. Biscuits (16-4): Mouth Trap Cheese Curds.
Yeah, you read that right. “Mouth Trap,” what the f*** is that about? I’ve been going to the fair for 40 years and just today, at 9:57am, August 24, 2020 I am learning it’s “mouth trap” and not “mouse trap.” Weird. Anyways, Biscuits are the best, so are cheese curds. The Biscuits… lost? To the Americans? WTF? Anyways… Puppies on deck. Good luck beating them without me. (PR: 1)
*Also getting votes: Bacon on a Stick and the corn on the cob. I’m sure I missed other delicious items too… this isn't a comprehensive list, remember. Just a list of delicious items that I could make tenuous connections to wiffleball teams with.
**The grammar of that last sentence is bothering me to the point I’ll have to look up some grammar rules. Is with a preposition? Am I not supposed to end sentences with prepositions… I bet Neut knows… I’m sorry, goodbye.