One of minor league baseball’s great mysteries to me is how these guys can eat so poorly every day and continue to perform athletically at a high level.
Apparently that also perplexed the Colorado Rockies, who have become the first organization to actively address nutrition at the lower levels.
They started several years ago telling the players what they should be eating after they leave the ballpark, and three years ago starting paying the clubbie to provide good food after every home game – something no other team at this level does.
This year the Rockies have taken the next step by providing sealed, pre-made food items for the team after both home and away games. The players can use the microwaves in the clubhouse or take the packages back to their apartments and heat them there.
“We’ve always preached the nutritional aspect of this,” said Nuts’ strength coach Andrew Chappell. “With this lifestyle, where you don’t get out of here until after 11 or 11:30, the more good nutrition we can put directly into the players’ hands, the better.
“We give them the pieces instead of just telling them `here’s what you should be eating, now good luck.’ All they have to do it heat it in a microwave, hot plate or skillet. It’s 16 ounces of quality meat and seven ounces of veggies every night.”
The presentation isn’t great. All the food is vacuum-sealed in clear plastic, giving everything a Jetsons feel. On the other hand, all the food is prepared and portioned according to Paleo Diet, which pushes grass-fed meats, eggs, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts and roots and eliminates grains, legumes, daily, refined sugar, salt and processed oils.
“We have two or three chicken items,” Chappell said. “The veggies can be broccoli, cabbage and other items and we also have turkey and sausage items.
“The Rockies pick up all the cost, which is a huge step-up. It’s an area that is really lacking in minor league baseball. The players like it. We’ve told them for a long time what they should be eating, and now we’re providing it.”
The Modesto Nuts are the only minor league team with a parent club providing these kinds of meals. When the Rockies’ short-season team in Grand Junction, Colo., starts up in June, they’ll be the second.
“We’re doing this at home and on the road,” Chappell said. “For me, it’s a bigger deal that we do this on the road because the players don’t have their cars with them, putting all of us at the mercy of where we’re staying. If the rooms have microwaves, they have a hearty post-game meal.”