Yankees Cut Cracker Jack From Lineup [size=-1]By COREY KILGANNON[/size] Published: May 19, 2004 o much for that well-known line in the old song "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." The Yankees have quietly retired a longtime stadium starter, Cracker Jack. Now, young fans will have to ask, "Buy me some peanuts and Crunch 'n Munch," which is the popcorn snack the Yankees have chosen to replace Cracker Jack. "It's sacrilege," John L. Donahue, a Yankees fan and stockbroker from Huntington, N.Y. , said yesterday. "How do I explain this to my little boy when I take him to his first Yankee game? If the Cracker Jack name means nothing to the Yankees, will they do the same to Ruth and Gehrig?" Cracker Jack was developed in the late 1800's and has been part of the baseball experience for about a century. Not to mention that Crunch 'n Munch has no prize in the box. But the Yankees' chief operating officer, Lonn Trost, said yesterday that fans have not been complaining. While acknowledging that the 1908 song immortalized Cracker Jack as a baseball institution, Mr. Trost added, "I would assume that Cracker Jack didn't have any competition back then." "Cracker Jack is just a brand name," he added. "We're selling a caramel crunch that is the same thing as Cracker Jack. It's the same difference as Frigidaire versus refrigerator, or aspirin and Bayer, or Jell-O and gelatin." David Bernstein, director of hospitality at Yankee Stadium, said it all started when he heard that Cracker Jack would be available only in bags, not boxes. "Bags break open and don't sell as well," said Mr. Bernstein, who then taste-tested the two brands together, along with officials from Centerplate, the company that handles catering and concessions at Yankee Stadium. "We tasted them both, and believe it or not, Crunch 'n Munch won," he said. Charles Nicolas, a spokesman for Frito-Lay, which owns Cracker Jack, said he was sorry to hear of the Yankees' decision. But like hopeful fans everywhere, he added, "There's always next year." "Baseball historians would say Cracker Jack and the Yankees belong together," he said, "and hopefully they'll be together again soon." Chris Kircher, a spokesman for ConAgra Foods, the Omaha company that makes Crunch 'n Munch, said, "We'd have no heartburn if Yankee fans started standing up in the seventh inning and singing, 'Buy me some peanuts and Crunch 'n Munch.' '' At Shea Stadium, the Mets are sticking with Cracker Jack, said Dave Howard, their executive vice president for business operations.