Illinois team counts on calories to draw attention

Updated: March 10, 2006, 5:38 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Homer Simpson would love the newest taste sensation in minor league baseball: the doughnut burger.

Ballpark burger
Gateway GrizzliesHead to a Gateway Grizzlies game and this gut-buster could be yours.
We kid you not. The Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League promised to create "Baseball's Best Burger" in time for the team's opener in late May. And they appear to have succeeded.

The ballpark sandwich will include a hamburger topped with sharp cheddar cheese and two slices of bacon -- all between a "bun" made of a sliced Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnut.

If you can find a (loop)hole in your cardiologist's advice, calorie counters predict the monster will set you back about 1,000 calories and 45 grams of fat.

"We have had the opportunity to bring in a new concession item for the past two seasons and each of them have been very successful," said Grizzlies general manager Tony Funderburg. He told ESPN.com that he got the idea after reading about Mulligan's in Atlanta, which has a similar sandwich called the Luther Burger.

Funderberg, who has said he has eaten at least 10 of the Grizzlies' new creations as part of a "sampling process," said the team hopes to sell 100 to 200 of them a night at $4.50 each. He calls it a bargain, considering it is a meal and a dessert in one.

It could be the hottest sandwich to hit the sports world since the Roethlisburger. That sandwich, invented in 2004 to honor Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, is available at a place called Peppi's and includes ground beef, sausage, scrambled eggs, grilled onions and American cheese.

The Grizzlies are no strangers to self-promotion through caloric innovation. Two years ago they introduced what they called "Baseball's Best Hotdog," a dog topped with two strips of bacon, sauteed onions, sauerkraut and cheddar cheese sauce. They upped the ante last year with the "Swiss Brat," a bratwurst with a slice of Swiss cheese in the middle of it, topped with sauerkraut.

Locals who might not be interested in minor league baseball but who want to experiment with clogged arteries will have to buy a ticket. Funderberg said the burger will only be sold inside the stadium gates.

The independent team, headquartered near St. Louis in Sauget, Ill., is in its sixth year of operation.

ESPN.com sports business reporter Darren Rovell contributed to this report.