Thursday, November 13, 2014

Off Season Doldrums

So I was wrong about who would win the world series. I said I was a literary genius and prince of processed meat...not a fortune teller. But now that the world series is over, depression sinks in. I think it was Rogers Hornsby that said when asked what he does in the off season, “look out the window and wait for spring.” I feel his pain. To make matters worse I was in Kansas City last weekend and my hotel had a splendid view of Kauffman Stadium. Talk about a tease.

So what does a vaunted hot dog explorer do now that baseball has finally come to a close? Work on my book of course (you are buying my book aren’t you?). It has been sent to the publisher and being edited as you read this. After that I have to approve the edits, assist in designing the cover, submit photos for the inside and figure out a marketing plan. Look for a Valentine’s Day release. I had planned to play a lot of disc golf, but it just dipped below freezing here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I am no fan of disc golf in the cold.

I could go back to work I suppose, but I figured I would leave that to you people. Persons in my exalted position of hot dog expertism should not be made to work anyway, how else would I share my new found wisdom? Besides, there are a few things to keep up on during the off season. The players and managers of the year have been announced, along with the Silver Slugger, Golden Gloves, Rookies of the Year, Cy Young Award winners, etc. Then there are the winter meetings where the most significant trades happen. Lots to follow actually, if you can find it among the TONS of pro and college football coverage. Is college football fervor a sickness?

Model of Nashville's New Ballpark
Then there were the flurry of new minor league affiliations. Most exciting was that the Dodgers moved both their AAA and AA teams to Oklahoma. I now live about two miles from the Dodger’s AA team, the Tulsa Drillers. AND….two new ballparks are being built that I have to see in 2015. There is the awesome new facility being constructed in Nashville and a team is moving to my home state of West Virginia and will play in Morgantown next year. Gotta see both.

I also made a calendar that includes 13 of my best photos from my 103 day journey to over 70 ballparks. Message me if you are interested in acquiring one. They are fantab. I should be a photographer...preferably for for Playboy magazine, but I will take what I can get.

So how are you spending your off season? Remember, pitchers and catchers report in late February.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Regional Dog Fight: Texas vs Houston

Regional dog fights pits the titanic twosome of the Lonestar State against each other for a fur-flying showdown of who has the best MLB baseball/hot dog experience in Texas. While Texas is a huge state, both teams are a mere 4 hours apart in the two major metropolitan areas of DFW and Houston. This high plains dog-off will be fierce, with one team pulling out the biggest gun in the west.

I love Houston. I lived there for over three years. I love jogging in a tee-shirt in January, I love the humidity, I love having a ton of entertainment options in the nation’s fourth largest city. The traffic is as horrendous as they say it is, but you gotta sacrifice something for the privilege of living in the Bayou City. The poor hapless Astros have been one of the worst teams in baseball for several years running, and their attendance bears that out. I still like Minute Maid Park, aka “The Juice Box,” because they can close the roof when it gets oppressively hot. It is in a great location as well, and they have a tremendous hot dog selection. If their on field play matched their dogs, they might actually get above .500 someday.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability3GA Ticket Price3
It Factor4Fans5

Meanwhile, in Arlington, the Rangers put up a fair fight until they tear up the Astros by whipping out the biggest, baddest hot dog in all of baseball: the monstrous, several pound, two-foot long beast called the Boomstick. Not only is their ballpark more basebally (yes, I made that word up) but the boomstick is the atomic weapon of regional hot dog fights. Unfair? Perhaps, but you don’t build a nuclear arsenal unless you intend to use it and the boomstick is the processed meat equivalent of a Minuteman II missile. Don’t mess with Texas.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability5GA Ticket Price3
It Factor5Fans5

It's a good thing the Rangers had the nuclear option, they edged out the Astros by one point and it was the "it factor" that put them over the finish line first. The Boomstick won the day for Arlington. You can't go wrong with a game and a dog in either ballpark, but the Rangers have a better overall experience. And if you try to Boomstick DO NOT attempt on your own. Nuclear weapons are painful enough, but they taste really nasty on the way back up. You have been warned.