Dodger fans, we need to use this pause in play to really reassess some of our deepest loyalties, to examine what baseball expects from us and what it truly deserves. Sometimes being loyal means blind faith, strict adherence to historic traditions, and protecting what we love with an unwavering resolve.
But sometimes, true loyalty means recognizing that the thing we love is failing us. Sometimes loyalty means telling a painful truth.
My friends, Dodger Dogs are not good hot dogs.
Now, before you throw your phone/table/laptop/monitor across the room/hallway/bus isle/nursery/break room, please understand that I eat a Dodger Dog every time I go to the stadium. I love Dodger Dogs. I even love the veggie dogs when I’m feeling health-conscious. But that doesn’t mean that they are good. In fact, my adoration for all things Dodger has long prevented me from seeing the truth.
Perhaps fresh out of the steamer, the buns are soft and fluffy, like two clouds of gluteny goodness. Perhaps fresh out of the boil, the hotdogs have that delicious snap that melts into meaty softness with just a hint of salt to make you really want a sip of something frothy to go with it. Perhaps, at one time, the Dodger Dog really was the best hot dog a body could get.
Today’s Dodger Dog – packed still steaming into a foiled paper wrapper and smushed tightly into a chafer dish only to sit and slowly dissolve for several innings into a mockery of what a ballpark meal should be – it is not the best hot dog a body can get.
In a city where a street vendor with a sterno can and a Igloo cooler can produce a hot dog so good you’d slap your mama to get one, why oh why do we put up with limp buns and lukewarm dogs just because we are in Chavez Ravine? With a bread consistency so fragile, it cannot survive both ketchup and a walk back to your seat? With a meat (or veggie) product so long at standby that it matches your body temperature with disturbing accuracy?
Is it because at seven dollars (well, $6.75), it’s one of the lower-priced foods in the park? Is it the nostalgia, the smell? Are we ourselves responsible for the slow decline in quality that we’ve just sort of collectively ignored for years?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. But I’ll tell you this: I believe in Dodger Dogs. I believe that with the new stadium renovations, there’s a chance to make the second most expensive hot dog in baseball worth its salt once more. I believe that the bun can be spongey yet delicate. I believe the franks can be plump and juicy. I believe that I can reach my seat with a fully-loaded Dodger Dog with ketchup, mustard, AND relish and still be able to lift the dog to my mouth without ruining my (extremely expensive) Kershaw jersey when it falls to pieces.
I believe we can – and will – hold true to the best traditions of ballpark hot dog life. We only have to do one thing to reach that bright future. Luckily, it is something at which we Dodger fans already excel.
We gotta bitch about it on Twitter. Like, a lot.
Are there more important battles to be fought when it comes to the current baseball world? Should not the pressing issue of health and safety for players, coaches, umpires, support staff, and families be on the forefront of every fan’s mind? Oh, you betcha.
But, dear friends, we can do two things at once.
Join me in my pettiest and least important crusading cause.