Adds Zachary Henderson, the stadium's executive sous-chef: "I believe he also had a shrimp cocktail...."
Says Milani, "And hot dogs...."
Well, you get the idea.
Baltimore is the city that gave us Babe Ruth, who once ate a dozen hot dogs between games of a doubleheader. In terms of local legend, Babe begat Boog, whose favorite ballpark food is barbecue. Hang around him long enough and you learn, barbecue is not just a verb. Barbecue is not just a noun. "Barbecue," says Boog, "is an attitude."
Back when the Minnesota Twins played their home games at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Boog often didn't get out of the parking lot. "I used to leave that park after a weekend day game and never make it to the hotel," he says. "Those people could tailgate. You'd sit down, have a couple of beers, the grill is going, and the next thing you know, they're saying, 'Hey, it's late, you might as well stay here.' " And Boog would crash in his newfound friends' Winnebago, a mobile home away from home.
Boog's has always been a barbecue state of mind. In Baltimore he couldn't wait to return home after Sunday afternoon games and "fire up the barbecue." This was easy to do because he lived in a row house behind Memorial Stadium, where the Orioles played in those days. "Hell, I'd grill after night games," he says. "Fire it up at 11 o'clock, smoke is pouring in the neighbors' windows, their heads are popping out, and they're yelling, 'We know you don't have to work in the morning, but the rest of us do.'
"Hell," Boog replied, "if I had to work in the morning, I wouldn't be out here."
Freed of the burdens of ballplaying after 17 years in the big leagues, Boog now practices the full barbecue lifestyle, drinking beer professionally as a pitchman for Miller and overseeing Boog's barbecue stand beyond the rightfield bleachers at Camden Yards. The stand grosses $2 million a year, and so popular is its proprietor that Orioles manager Davey Johnson once told him, "You could sell these people a dog s- - -sandwich, they'd buy it."
But Boog knows better than that. What draws the crowds to his stand is the barbecue attitude. "It's a smile," he says. "It's the smell." It's the secret sauce, and the sun, and a story or a signature from Boog himself. It's the sound of baseball beyond the bleacher wall behind Boog, who has 100 beer-buzzed patrons in his line and three Weber grills cooking up 1,500 pounds of beef, pork and turkey a night and sending smoke to the blue heavens.
Fans call his name with an easy familiarity. They're not booing, they're Booging. At this moment he looks more than enormous. He looks enormously content. Boog Powell and all those around him are feeling very barbecue indeed.