Jaymee Sire's All-Star Game BBQ review

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Jaymee Sire's All-Star Game BBQ review

KANSAS CITY -- If baseball is Americas pastime, then barbecue has to be right up there with one of Americas great food traditions. It just so happens the best baseball players in the country are gathering this week in the countrys best city for BBQ, at the 83rd All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium.Being your resident foodie-sports reporter, I felt it was my duty to report on the very best BBQ Kansas City has to offer. This was not an easy assignment, mind you. First of all, I dont think barbecue was meant to be consumed on back-to-back-to-back days for fear of extreme artery clogging. Secondly, Im pretty sure everyone, including the President, has a different take on which is the best BBQ in K.C. Theres also the dilemma of what to order. Among just some of the more popular possibilities are traditional ribs, brisket, or burnt ends. If you're finding yourself googling burnt ends right now, dont worry, I didnt know what they were until a few days ago. My Kansas City-born friend and BBQ connoisseur, Dan Nelson, had this to say about the culinary wonder: Other than George Brett and the pre-2005 Chiefs, Burnt Ends is K.C.'s greatest contribution to modern society.According to Wikipedia, Burnt ends are flavorful pieces of meat cut from the point half of a smoked brisket. OK, seriously, that sentence doesnt do them justice. Close your eyes and imagine a slightly crispy, extremely smoky and perfectly buttery little nugget of meat and then topping it with a sweet, tangy BBQ sauce. That is a burnt end. The ones we had were at Jack Stacks. Im told they were a little drier than better places around K.C., but I still thought they were delightful. That brings us to the great debate of which BBQ place is king. I received a ton of feedback on Twitter, from both K.C. residents and people who had merely just eaten here. I also watched Anthony Bourdains No Reservations episode on Kansas City. Here are a few things I can tell you:- Arthur Bryants seems to be the favorite among out of towners, but not necessarily the locals I spoke to on the subject. Im sure it is very, very good. In fact, Calvin Trillin, the New York Times food writer, proclaimed Bryant's the single finest restaurant in the world, and all of the U.S. presidential candidates have gone until Barack Obama (who prefers Joe's).-Gates is said to have the best BBQ sauce-Jack Stack might have the best BBQ side ever inventedcheesy corn bake. Thats cheddar cheese, cream cheese, corn, garlic and diced ham. Alsothe warm carrot cake is out of this world. However, I agreed with Bourdain that the food is great, but the place is a little too clean for a BBQ joint. (Think old school steakhouse with comfy booths, dark wood tables, wine, and a waitress.)
-LCs is located near Arrowhead Stadium and is probably the most hole-in-the-wall place of the bunch from what I could tell from the Bourdain segment. Also a favorite among locals, and my two co-workers are hoping to go Wednesday before their flight.-And last, but certainly not least is the aforementioned Oklahoma Joes. The place is located in a gas station. No joke. It opens around 11 a.m., and there is constantly a line down the block until the food runs out. As several of the locals put it, its consistently the best in town. Its No. 1 on Zagat, and also tops if you do a Yelp search for highest-rated BBQ in the area. As you can see, I felt like I really did some thorough research on this one, and was beyond excited to select Joes for my All Star BBQ pick. One of their specialties was the Z Man sandwich, which is brisket, two onion rings, and smoked provolone. Executive Producer Doug Brown ordered this with a side of the delicious seasoned fries and didnt leave one morsel of food on the plate. I had one bite and loved the smoky combination of thinly sliced juicy beef, melted cheese, and crispy onion rings.Our photographer, JC Garcia, is from Texas and therefore considers himself a pretty good authority on barbecue, and especially brisket. In order to accurately assess Joes BBQ, he decided to get a regular brisket sandwich (as opposed to Z Man). JC was in love with the brisket. It wasnt full of fatty chunks like some brisket Ive had ... just enough to help give it the lovely flavor. It was juicy and delicious.Me? I simply had to get some ribs. You know what they say ... when in Rome, err ... K.C. I think the guy behind the counter had a good little chuckle to himself when I ordered a half slab of ribs and a side of baked beans. No, I didnt even begin to finish all of this. But oh. My. God. It was SO amazing. Im told some rib purists would disagree with me, but I like the meat to be so tender and juicy that its collapsing off the bone. These were miles and away the best ribs of my life. I will have dreams about these ribs.But like anything, its all subjective depending on the style you like, the meat you order, and the day youre there. What about you? Which K.C. BBQ spot gets your vote for the best? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below, and be sure to check out Oklahoma Joes next time youre in K.C.!

A's lineup: Brand new spot for Pinder; Mengden makes first start of 2017

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USATI

A's lineup: Brand new spot for Pinder; Mengden makes first start of 2017

Bob Melvin and Terry Francona issued their lineups for today's series opener in Cleveland.

In addition, the A's placed Kendall Graveman on the 10-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain (retroactive to May 26) and recalled Daniel Mengden from Triple-A Nashville.

Mengden will make his first start of 2017 today.

A's (22-27)
1. Rajai Davis (R) CF
2. Chad Pinder (R) SS
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) LF
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) DH
7. Stephen Vogt (L) C
8. Trevor Plouffe (R) 3B
9. Matt Joyce (L) RF
P. Daniel Mengden RHP 

Indians (25-23)
1. Jason Kipnis (L) 2B
2. Francisco Lindor (S) SS
3. Michael Brantley (L) LF
4. Carlos Santana (S) 1B
5. Edwin Encarnacion (R) DH
6. Jose Ramirez (S) 3B
7. Yan Gomes (R) C
8. Bradley Zimmer (L) CF
9. Austin Jackson (R) RF
P. Carlos Carrasco RHP (4-2, 2.93 ERA)

Faltering defense continues to be A's unwanted storyline

Faltering defense continues to be A's unwanted storyline

NEW YORK — A weekend that began with promise instead wound up feeling like another lost opportunity for the A’s.

Their defense once again paved the way to their undoing Sunday, and there were plenty of players willing to accept responsibility for a 9-5 loss to the Yankees in the rubber match of a three-game series in the Bronx.

When right fielder Matt Joyce had a catchable fly ball pop out of his glove for a third-inning error that loaded the bases, it seemed inevitable the mistake would come back to haunt the A’s.

On cue, one-time Oakland draft pick Aaron Judge drilled an opposite-field grand slam off Andrew Triggs to a turn a 2-1 A’s lead into a 5-2 deficit. Joyce said he couldn’t stomach to watch the replay of his missed catch afterward.

“It just hit my glove and I dropped it,” Joyce said. “Obviously that’s pretty tough to swallow for me in that situation. For me, I think that’s an easy play. It’s a little embarrassing. It’s obviously really frustrating, especially with what it led to.”

The A’s (22-27) chalked up two more errors, giving them a staggering 49 in 49 games played. When play began Sunday, they had at least 10 more errors than every other big league club. It’s no surprise, therefore, that they also lead the majors with 35 unearned runs, after five of the nine runs they surrendered Sunday were unearned.

That kind of bumbling play in the field is making it difficult for the A’s to maintain leads when they claim one, and tough to mount comebacks when they fall behind. In a factoid that helps explain why the A’s likely find themselves looking at another summer of selling off veterans, they have won just one of the eight road series they’ve played in 2017. Their 7-17 record away from Oakland is second worst in the American League.

The A’s took Friday’s series opener 4-1 but dropped the final two to the AL East leaders.

“I’ve said often, there’s a psychology to it too,” manager Bob Melvin said. “You feel like you have a chance to battle and come back and score some runs, and when your defense is poor, sometimes mentally it’s tough to overcome or get past it. We just have to keep working on it.”

Leading 5-2, New York added to its lead in the fourth with help from a Josh Phegley throwing error on Aaron Hicks’ stolen base. Hicks wound up on third and came home on Chris Carter’s sacrifice fly. The A’s pulled to within 7-5 on Khris Davis’ 15th homer which in the eighth, a two-run shot. But the Yankees answered right back with two more off reliever John Axford, who hurt his cause with two walks.

There were other mishaps that didn’t cost the A’s runs, like Davis making a poor throw to third that allowed a Yankee runner to advance an extra base, and third baseman Ryon Healy losing a foul pop up in the sun.

Regardless of the defensive issues, A’s starter Andrew Triggs wasn’t looking to hand off blame. Just one of the six runs he allowed was earned over his six innings. But Triggs still had a chance to preserve a 2-1 lead in the third if he could have retired Judge with two outs and the bases loaded. Instead he left a 2-1 sinker over the plate and Judge mashed it over the right field wall.

“In my mind it was either sinker away or sinker in, and I thought away was better,” Triggs said. “But you gotta execute the pitch and I didn’t.”

It was the first career grand slam for Judge, who was drafted in the 31st round out of high school by Oakland in 2010 but opted to attend Fresno State. The Yankees took him in the first round in 2013, and in clubbing his 16th homer Sunday (tying him with Mike Trout for the league lead), Judge continued building his strong early case for the Rookie of the Year award.