Monday, April 7, 2014

Testing...Testing...Is This Thing On?

It’s on! Today marked the first official tasting at a ballpark to kick of the mega-MLB/MiLB international hunt to find the best ballpark dog. Today’s tasting was a test run of the system and maybe fine tuned a tad before hitting the first MLB stadium in Arlington on Sunday. Logically I started in the park I know best: ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Oklahoma where I currently live. Being a genteel retiree gave me the opportunity every baseball fan longs for….to watch one of those games with an early start. The Tulsa Drillers were slated to take on the San Antonio Missions in a Texas League matchup at 1205 pm.

I devised a rating system for both dog and park based on six factors that can be rated on a scale of 0 to 5 each with 5 being the best rating each category can receive. A hot dog or a stadium can earn a maximum of 30 points. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council was helpful in recommending categories for rating the dogs and your suggestions are most welcome for refining the same.

First up the dog:

It Factor


The bun category speaks for itself. Just like a good crust can make or break a pizza, the bun on the hot dog is a foundation that if it fails the wiener doesn’t stand a chance. The bun on the Driller Dog was fresh, warm and slightly toasted. It complimented the meat well.

Taste. While it was a decent wiener, it fell a little flat. It wasn’t bursting with flavor like a truly outstanding dog will do.

Toppings. What? No onions? The condiments stands, while plentiful throughout the stadium, were sparse. It basically consisted of pump dispensers of mustard and relish. Those happen to be my favorite toppings for a dog but onions is a close third and two condiments a delicious dog does not make. Mayonnaise and ketchup were also available but anyone that attempts to put either on a hot dog should immediately have their hot dog privileges revoked and allowed only to purchase hamburgers.

Price. At $3.50 in line with other minor league parks.

Portability. This category describes how easy it is to get the dog back to your seat. You are there afterall to watch a baseball game. The Driller Dog is served wrapped in paper sufficient enough to keep the condiments, once applied, on the dog and off of the shirt until transported to your seat and consumed.

It factor. This is an abstract category that describes the dog’s ability to attract fans to the park just to consume it or play a significant role in the baseball experience. The catchy moniker “Driller Dog” helps. Much like the “Dodger Dog” in Los Angeles. But it has to attract for taste as well. The Driller Dog is undoubtedly the most consumed food item in the park so it scores well but it is doubtful fans would flock to the field just to down one.

Now for the ballpark:

GA Ticket Price


Location. ONEOK Field is nestled on the east side of downtown Tulsa. In the heart of the city is where baseball parks belong so Tulsa scores big in this category.

ONEOK Field and the Tulsa Skyline
Parking. When scoring high with a downtown park a club is nearly always going to score a little lower on parking. Space for cars is limited in urban areas but Tulsa still gets a solid rating due to the availability of cheap lots just for the event as well as free parking on the streets 4 or 5 blocks away.

Cleanliness. No one likes a nasty venue. ONEOK Field is only a few years old and is well maintained as well as spic and span. Truly a nice park.

Ambiance. Every park has something that makes it special. ONEOK Field has the rotating U-Haul truck on a pole on top of the a U-Haul storage building just over the centerfield wall. And it being a newer park was built for a baseball rather than utilitarian feel.

General Admission Ticket Price. Hey, I am on a fixed income. Price matters. GA tickets are about all I can afford these days. General admission in Tulsa means sitting on the sloped grassy areas just beyond the outfield walls. It’s comfy, grassy and only five bucks. Me like.

Fans. Courteous and clean. But I expected more to come out at for a daytime game. Sure school is still in, but isn’t that what playin hookey is all about. If you can’t skip school for a baseball game you need a lesson on what is important in life. (rent or stream Ferris Bueller’s Day Off if you need clarification).

Total ballpark dog experience? You can do the math. One a scale of 0-60 the Tulsa Drillers get 47 and an overall recommendation to see a game and grab a dog.

The game you ask? Missions edged the Driller 5-4 in 11 innings. EXTRA INNINGS! It’s like free baseball. I love it!
Your Humble Host and Hornsby

Lastly, you will notice the blog has a new look. Many thanks to Julie Epps (Hilmerick), one of the most artistically talented people on the planet who I met on my very first day of school (at age of 6 or 7, don’t know exactly, there weren’t calendars back then you know). She blessed me with some of her talent and designed the banner.


  1. I like the rating system and the new banner is great!

  2. I think that parking should be more of an "access" type rating. If you can take metro/bart/subway or easily walk/bike to a ballpark, that's worth more to me than parking. Fenway for instance will get a 0 on this, but parking elsewhere in Boston and walking to the park provides a tour of an historic city. Coors field here in denver has decent parking, but it's got even better general access to the city. Just a suggestion, I'm excited for your adventure.

    1. Nate, thanks for the input. I agree I'm going to change it from parking to access

  3. Hey Tom. I met you at the Fur Shop right before you left. Hope you are having fun. Looking forward to the pics from the different parks.. Catch a foul ball, Buddy.

  4. Thanks Mike. I have a pretty good track record of catching minor league foul balls, but no MLB fouls yet.

  5. Tom,
    Great to meet you at the Missions/Drillers game today, safe travels and give me a shout out when you get to Yankee Stadium! "Usher EZ"

    1. EZ, thanks for making feel welcome in San Antonio and it was great to meet you!