Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Columbia Fireflies: Vidalian Dog

Yet another minor league club acknowledges the fact that hot dogs can be exciting. The Columbia Fireflies put on the dog big time during my visit. Firstly, it was two dollar hot dog night. Secondly, all of their dog's use Nathan's Famous franks, which is my second favorite brand (right behind Hebrew National), and lastly they have a stand the allows fans to explore the outer edges of the hot dog spectrum.

Tucked into the the far third base side concourse, closer to the outfield, is the Foul Ball Franks stand. There, fans can sink their choppers into a Taco Dog, Drunken Chili Cheese Dog, Frito Dog or the Famously Hot Dog. All come in a regular size for $5 or footlong versions for $7. I chose the Vidalian (like the Vidalia onions) Dog. It is a dog covered in french cut fried onions and BBQ sauce. It left me satisfied, although not full, and breath that kept other fans at a distance. Bravo to the Fireflies for keeping concessions edgy.

The ballpark itself is called Spirit Communications Park, at least until they find another sponsors in the future. Did I mention I hate corporate sponsor ballpark names (like 98.6% of other baseball fans)? It is a slick newer park with a nice layout including my favorite which are open concourses that keep fans engaged when they sprint off for some food or drink. If the two-buck dogs didn't pack in the fans, it was one of their players. Former NFL quarterback and celebrity phenomenon Tim Tebow plays for the team. While he continuously improves, and I am pulling for him, I predict he will have a future in the broadcast booth and not on an MLB diamond. Still not a bad gig.

The fireflies mascot is a....wait for it....firefly. Not too imaginative. But his name, Mason (as in mason jar, like you collect fireflies in) is the essence of cleverness.

Parking was five bucks in an unpaved section, and tickets are another five for the grass berm or nine smackers for a cheap actual seat. The price of the specialty dogs is a bargain, and the overall cost of a Fireflies game is very reasonable.

Forget Tebow, get on down to the ballpark with the corporate name if you are in Columbia and scarf a dog or two. Try the Famously Hot Dog and let me know if it leaves blisters on your tongue.

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