“Take me out to the ball game” is my blog on major-league ballparks and the wonders of witnessing America’s favorite pastime up close.
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By Bobby Ross Jr.
I’m a simple man when it comes to ballpark hot dogs.
I like my all-beef footlong on a bun with just a little squirt of ketchup, preferably Heinz.
Tulsa, Okla., resident Tom Lohr — who dubs his website “Blog About A Dog” — has a much more discriminating taste.
Last year, Lohr traveled to all 30 major-league stadiums and judged the franks based on bun, taste, toppings, price, portability and “it factor.”
The perfect ballpark hot dog?
It’s not the Cheese Coney in Cincinnati, the Dodger Dog in Los Angeles or the Fenway Frank in Boston, according to Lohr.
Rather, the ballpark food critic fell in love with the wieners at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, as the Baltimore Sun reported:
Lohr was a fan of the traditional Esskay hot dog from his other visits to the area, but part of what pushed the Camden Yards fare to the top was the specialty dogs available at the Stuggy’s stand in center field. He tried a crab mac-and-cheese dog with the ballpark’s executive chef, Josh Distenfeld, and had nothing but praise for it.
But where Camden Yards distinguished itself was in its ballpark score.
He said other ballparks, such as AT&T Park in San Francisco, muddle the retro feel with gimmicks like kids areas and special attractions.
Those parks try to be too much, he said, while Camden Yards “is a baseball stadium. That’s what it is. It doesn’t try to be anything else.”
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Other fans weigh in
I asked folks on Facebook and Twitter to tell me about the best ballpark hot dog they’ve eaten.
Some of their responses:
“Fenway Frank. Because it’s the best ballpark in America. Though the hot dogs at Camden Yards are pretty awesome. Had a couple last summer while watching the Red Sox take batting practice from the left field bleachers. Nirvana.” — Bob Smietana, Nashville, Tenn.
“Any hot dog at any ballpark is greatness because you’re watching baseball and eating a hot dog. That being said, a Chicago Dog while at a day game at Wrigley is tough to beat.” — Andy Gunn, Frisco, Texas
“Fenway Frank is most delicious. Dodger Dog is most historic — classic awfully/awesome flavor. Rangers Boomstick is the most epic one-time-thing.” — Mitch Roush, Fort Worth, Texas
“Not sure what they call the brats in Milwaukee, but those were really good. If brats don’t qualify, then the Dodger Dog is probably the best, in good part because of the ambiance of where you’re eating it.” — Murray Evans, Moore, Okla.
“Only had the hot dog in Atlanta, and it was good. Liked the brats at Comerica Park, and the ice cream in the Pirates helmet at Pittsburgh was really nice.” — Eric Willeke, Keene, N.H.
“Although I am a Giants fan and enjoy the specialty foods at AT&T Park, nothing comes close to the Dodger Dog. Plus, getting in and out of their concessions is so easy.” — Greg Bagley, Rocklin, Calif.
“First time I went to Dodger Stadium during the Pepperdine Bible Lectures, we went and sat in the all-you-can-eat section in right field. All-you-can-eat Dodger Dogs. … Need I say more?” — Lane Widick, Tampa, Fla.
“Dodger Dogs … but I might be a little biased.” — Michael Spokony (Dodger fan), Wilmington, Del.
Meanwhile, this just in …
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In case you missed them, check out these recent posts:
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Your turn: What’s your favorite ballpark food? Why? Tweet me @bobbyross.
See a map of all the major-league stadiums at BallparkChasers.com.