It is hard to believe but my quest is half complete. I have visited 15 of 30 MLB ballparks and 12 minor league venues. That’s a bunch of hot dogs. I have had some really delicious dogs and some that a dog would not eat. Each stadium has had its attributes and some detractors, but one common thread: they are frequented by people who want to see America’s Pastime, and usually enjoy a hot dog while doing it. At the ballpark there are no doctors, lawyers, construction workers, school teachers, firemen….just fans.
Here are some lessons learned from nearly 2 months and 9,000 miles on the road:
1. It’s a big country. I estimated an 11,000 mile trip. Bahahaha...I just completed 50% of my trip and have driven over 9,000 miles.
2. Living in your car is actually quite doable and comfortable if done correctly.
3. It is easy to piddle a day away if you don’t have a plan.
4. Geography and team schedules are my masters. I am at their mercy.
5. I look really good on TV.
6. People are actually very interested in who has the best dog.
7. There is great disparity in quality and taste of franks based on manufacturer.
8. It is hard to recover from a stale bun.
9. Some popular teams and stadiums will skimp on hot dog toppings.
10. There are actually adults who believe ketchup belongs on a hot dog.
And a few things that cause long sighs and anguish at times:
1. Dynamic ticket pricing. More rant on this in my book. Basically, teams charge more based on computer modeling of demand to see certain games.
2. People who put ketchup on their hot dog. Stop it. Stop it now.
3. Teams that charge outrageous prices for parking.
4. Road construction….it just isn’t in your hometown/state. It is everywhere and usually planned poorly.
5. Ballparks that try to be a kid’s entertainment center. Teach kids to love baseball. Want amusement? Take them to a real park or Six Flags.
6. People will scream and do stupid stuff to either get something for free (like a tee-shirt) that is nearly worthless or to get on the jumbotron (kiss cam excluded).
7. Parents who let their kids run around the stadium. It’s a ballpark not a playground, and yes, your child is blocking my view.
8. Yankee fans. And the New York Yankees in general.
9. 50/50 raffles. Seems like every ballpark has this now. What? It isn’t pricey enough to go to the game that you had to introduce gambling?
10. Panhandlers (not at the ballpark). They are everywhere. Spare change? What is that? Money I don’t need or have a use for?
The detractors have been a minimum nuisance so far for what has been an incredible odyssey. With the west coast and upper midwest legs done, I have the entire east coast left. If you read the blog and live in one of those MLB cities, let’s get together and have a dog. If your city has a minor league team to recommend let me know, I want to hit some of those as well.
See you at the ballpark.