I’ll never forget the day I learned Cleveland was hosting the 2019 Major League All-Star game. January 27th, 2017. I was standing in front of Rascal House, admiring it like it was the 8th Wonder of the World, when a newsboy nearly knocked me off my feet. He was clutching a stack of Plain Dealers and was covered from head to toe in ink.
“Mister, Mister, did you hear?”
Mr. Mister was my favorite band in 1985. I owed it to them and this boy to come clean.
“I’m afraid you’re mistaken, lad. I did not sing Broken Wings, but thanks for the compliment!” The boy looked at me like I was off my rocker. I realized I’d made a mistake.
“Ahem, did I hear what?”
“The All-Stars are coming! The All-Stars are coming!”
“THE ALL-STARS ARE COMING?”
“Yeah, that’s what I said. Twice! Are you alright, mister?”
“Never been better!”
I bought all his papers, thinking he could use the money to buy some clean clothes, maybe a bike. Instead, he ran into Rascal House and bought himself and everyone inside a slice of piping hot pizza. Smart kid. I went inside and sat down at a table. I smoothed one of the papers in front of me. There it was. The headline that made me almost forget it was the dead of winter. Cleveland To Host 2019 Major League All-Star Game.
“What’s the good word, Rascal M?” It was my old friend, Joe. He remembers when the Indians used to play at League Park. Saw Babe Ruth hit a 500-ft home run there!
“Hey, Joe. Did you hear?” I showed him the headline.
“I remember when the Indians used to play at League Park. Saw Babe Ruth hit a 500-ft home run there!”
“Yeah, I think I heard that somewhere. Ever been to an All-Star game?”
“Me, no. But I listened to the first one held in Cleveland on the radio back in ’35. Played it at Municipal Stadium. Lefty Gomez pitched one heck of a game. American League won, 4-1.”
“I think you’re right, Joe.” I eyed Joe’s Rascal Burger. A 100% pure beef half-pound patty on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and mayo. I imagined what it might look like batting clean-up in the All-Star game. Probably tear the cover off the ball. Probably get mauled by 42,000 fans before it ever rounded first base. Focus, Rascal M. Focus!
“Listened to the 2nd game ever held in Cleveland on the radio, too. It was 1954.”
“Wow, Joe! You’re like Wikipedia, only with the most amazing burger on earth!” I wondered if he was gonna offer me a bite of his Rascal Burger. You know what they say about Rascal House. It’s best when shared with friends.
“I was around for the 3rd game held in Cleveland, too. It was 1963.”
“Nah, by then I had a TV. Saw Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax and Stan Musial play on the same day!”
“Wow! That’s almost as good as having a friend share his Rascal Burger with you.” Joe shrugged his shoulders and swallowed his last bite.
“Watched the 4th game held in Cleveland on TV in 1981.” Joe was toying with me. If he thought bringing up every time the All-Star game was held in Cleveland would make me forget about Rascal House food, he was dead wrong. I looked around and saw everyone sharing pizza, wings, wraps and seriously substantial overstuffed subs and sandwiches with everyone else but me.
“Saw the 5th game held in Cleveland on TV in 1997.” I had stopped listening to Joe. I couldn’t take it anymore. The sights, the smells, the wonderment of Rascal House food! Is that a Philly Steak Grinder?
“Rascal M! Rascal M! Wake up!”
“Huh? What happened?”
“You were trying to eat your ARM!”
“You mean I was…asleep?”
“Duh! You always fall asleep after eating a Turkey Sandwich at Rascal House. A dozen bites of that oven-roasted turkey breast piled high as Key Tower topped with provolone cheese is all it takes. Then you get a goofy grin on your face and you’re out cold.”
“What happened to the newsboy?”
“Newsboy? What are you talking about?”
“Oh, nothing. I think I need some waffle fries.”
“By the way, Cleveland’s hosting the 2019 All-Star game.”
“You don’t say.”
On Tuesday, July 9th, make it a perfect game by eating Rascal House before, during or after the All-Stars play. Then brag about it on Twitter or Instagram using #RascalHouse, or post on our Facebook page!