Seattle Mariners knock it out of the park with toasted grasshopper snack

When Vancouverites head south to watch the Seattle Mariners play this season, they'll find the food has become a whole other ball game.

Safeco Field is offering a rather unusual snack for sports fans to enjoy: toasted grasshoppers, also known as chapulines.

"At first we kinda looked at each other and said, 'I don't think so,' " said Mariners spokesperson Rebecca Hale of the first taste test of the snack, provided by subcontracted local Mexican restaurant Poquitos.

"It occurred to us that it might be fun since it was authentic … we thought, let's try it, it'll be a bit of a novelty, we probably won't sell very many of them."

But "things just exploded."

Ballpark limits sales

Chapulines are associated with Mexico's Oaxaca state, on the country's southwest coast. At Safeco, the grasshoppers are served with a chili lime and sea salt seasoning.

Originally brought in as a novelty, they've proven so popular at the ballpark that supply problems have emerged.

"We sold about 30 pounds of grasshoppers in the first three games and that was the entire supply they expected to need maybe through July," Hale said.

To conserve supply, the ballpark started limiting sales to just over 300 orders per game.

At Wednesday's game against the Miami Marlins, that limit was reportedly reached 30 minutes before the first pitch.

Could trend hop across border?

Hale says the grasshoppers are part of an effort from the Mariners and other North American pro sports teams to reflect the communities they play in.

The Mariners in particular have been lauded for offering gourmet, local and diverse food at games, a trend embraced in Vancouver.

For example, at Nat Bailey Stadium, home of the Vancouver Canadians baseball team, the city's famous sushi is available — but grasshoppers probably won't be.

"I think grasshoppers might be in foul territory, no pun intended," spokesperson Rob Fai said. "If there was a petition where there was a mass amount of people looking for grasshoppers, of course we would entertain it.

"Let's just say I won't be waiting by the mailbox."

So it looks like fans who want a treat with hops at Vancouver Canadians games will have to stick to beer.