Bottom of the first, two on, one out, Howard at bat, and you're 10-deep in Ashburn Alley, behind a sea of people, your head whipping back and forth to home plate, as you stand in line awaiting a roast pork with long hots from Tony Luke's.

Wouldn't it be great if you could order food from your seat and someone would bring it to you?

That day has come.

In an arrangement touted as the first of its kind in the big leagues, the Phillies, Major League Baseball, and stadium concessionaire Aramark are allowing fans to skip the lines and wirelessly order premium sandwiches and beverages, and delivery is promised in less than 30 minutes.

Even in the cheap seats.

In theory, the only hitch is that you must use an iPhone or an iPad 3G running a new release of Major League Baseball's At Bat 2010 or At Bat 2010 Lite "app," which the league, the Phillies, and Aramark modified for Citizens Bank Park.

In a pregame demonstration Tuesday, the technology worked fine.

A fan launches the app on the iPhone, whose GPS system verifies that he or she is inside the ballpark. With a couple of taps, a menu of sandwich platters comes up: cheesesteak, roast pork, turkey, Italian hoagie, and crab cake. Each sandwich is served with a brownie and chips, so the price ($12 to $19) is a few dollars higher than in Ashburn Alley and premium-seating areas. (For instance, a Tony Luke's roast pork that sells for $8.50 at the concession will run $12.50 when delivered with chips and a brownie.) Water, soda, and beer (Bud and Bud Light) are available, though beer is delivered only with food, Aramark says. The menu might expand.

Into the phone, a fan taps the section, row, seat number, name, and credit-card number, then "enter." The order hits an Aramark computer terminal in a kitchen behind home plate, where workers prep and package the food, which a runner puts into an insulated bag for delivery. Tip is optional.

"It's a natural extension of the technology out there," said Brian Hastings, Aramark's regional director of operations.

But glitches did occur Wednesday night, at least with two fans from Haddonfield. Ron Sandmeyer, 54, and his son, Paul, 24, arrived equipped with two versions of the iPhone.

One phone, an iPhone 3G, wouldn't support the app. Their second version, an iPhone 3GS, worked fine - but not where they started out watching the game. Ron and Paul were seated in the Hall of Fame Club, Section 219, and the iPhone 3GS said service was unavailable in that section.

Ron Sandmeyer often sits in Section 120, so he tried ordering and having the food delivered to that section. That worked fine. At precisely 7:16 p.m., he ordered two pork sandwiches and one cheesesteak for $37. Eighteen minutes later, the food arrived in an insulated delivery bag, carried by a cheerful Aramark employee, Likeita Stone.

"We would have been standing in line way longer than that," said Paul, impressed.

The sandwiches arrived hot and moist. Paul and Ron made short work of their meal.

"I think it's very good, yeah," Paul said.

"Not bad," Ron said. "A lot warmer than I expected it would be. Let's see what happens when they are doing 1,000 of these a night."

Jeremy Campbell, Aramark spokesman, said service should have been available in the Hall of Fame Club and would be available everywhere, except the Diamond Club, and on all versions of the iPhone. He said he would look into the problem.

Sports fans used to attend a game with a buddy who didn't shut up. Now they also have wireless devices brimming with all sorts of features that don't shut up.

The Eagles last week started offering FanVision, a $200 palm-size display that allows fans at Lincoln Financial Field to generate their own instant replays and get real-time stats from around the National Football League.

MLB teams are adapting the At Bat 2010 app, and its section called "At the Ballpark" allows fans to share messages through Facebook and Twitter. The app also presents maps to allow fans to find a ballpark's ATMs, concessions, and restrooms.

MLB is trying to be forward-thinking, said Adam Ritter, who in the 1990s ran Philadelphia's Le Bus restaurant/bakery operation and is a vice president at MLB Advanced Media.

Still, old-time ballpark features are not going away.

Hastings made it clear that the in-seat system would not offer hot dogs, peanuts, cotton candy, and such. "We're not competing with our seat vendors," he said. "They help define the ballpark experience to fans."

MLB, which frequently partners with its teams and concessionaires, bore the cost of the development of the technology, said Michael Harris, the Phillies' director of marketing and special projects.

Citizens Bank Park got to do this first because of what Harris said was a close relationship among the league, Aramark, and the team.


Contact staff writer Michael Klein at
Inquirer staff writer Michael Vitez contributed
to this article.