Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hickory Crawdads

You know what I love more than baseball? It’s free baseball. And I would like to personally thank the Hickory Crawdads for allowing me (and any other military personnel) to enjoy a game at L.P. Frans Stadium gratis. Your veterans appreciate it. In fact, everyone got some free baseball in Hickory Wednesday night. A ticket only pays for nine innings and since it took Lexington 14 innings to down the Crawdads fans were treated to some free baseball. Not sure how the players felt about that though.

This was actually my third time at L.P. Frans. I was there once in the 90s. Don’t know which year. The 90s are all a blur now. And last summer. Hickory has the good fortune of being located on my route to other places, and I can’t drive past the place without catching a game. And for good reason. While the ballpark rated on the lower end of the scale it is mainly for location and access reasons. The ballpark itself is a tidy red brick edifice that sports a glimpse of the Blue Ridge Mountains over the left field wall. It’s a cozy place that does not have a bad seat, and it seemed to offer up more foul balls than any place I have visited yet. With loony lobster mascot Conrad the Crawdad prowling the grounds, even the little kids have a great time at L.P. Frans. I personally love the place, and to prove it...I downed not one, but two hot dogs. Hey, I had some cash left over since I was given free admission and they were Hebrew National franks after all. Nobody can eat just one of those.

Bun-it was fresh and steamed, but slightly squashed.
Yes, Those Are Pickles...I Was Desperate
Taste-three games in a row I have sampled Hebrew National wieners. I must be living right.
Toppings-ay caramba! Only mustard and relish, and they were in those packets.
Price-$3 bucks for a dog is a deal.
Portability-foil wrapper does the job.
It Factory-with an entree called “Dogzilla,” how can you go wrong. It was, however, the only really over the top dog.

Location-not ideal. Outskirts of town in a park-type area. I don’t think downtown Hickory could really fit the stadium, but its current spot is not the greatest.
Access-no sidewalks to the park. Mainly a drive-to park.
GA Ticket Price-again, thank you Hickory for the free entry. But $9 is a bit steep for a single A ticket for those that do have to pay. That said, all are great seats.
Cleanliness-top score.
Fans-an enthusiastic crowd. Only problem….I think there were more players and ballpark staff than fans.
Ambiance-L.P. Frans has it. A great baseball spot in the Carolinas. Don’t miss it.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability5GA Ticket Price4
It Factor4Fans3

I Had a Bad Case of the Crabs
Since I couldn’t get the Crawdad mascot to jump into a large pot of boiling water, I had my second dog Carolina style. That includes cole slaw and chili. I know some regional dog eaters are turning their noses at that, but the Carolinians do the same at the mention of kraut on the bun. Hot dogs, like politics, are very local.
Despite the shortcomings in score for the Crawdads, I really do recommend hitting a game when in the area. It is a wonderful small venue that offers Carolina hospitality and the wrath of “Dogzilla” wrapped into one.

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