As we anxiously await Spring to arrive, we are left to mull over offseason signings and try to figure out what the lineup or roster will look like for 2012. We long for our Boys in Blue to return to Dodger Stadium so that we can watch them play either on television, listen to Vin Scully’s play-by-play on the radio, or attend a game in person. Of course the latter is preferred. There’s nothing like the experience of sitting in the stands at Dodger Stadium under the California sky. It’s a beautiful thing.
Now there are certain smells, tastes, and sounds particular to Dodger Stadium. You cannot be a true Dodger fan without knowing what I’m speaking of. One of those quintessential Dodger treats is none other than the Dodger Dog. Sure, if you are a hot dog connoisseur you know that there are definitely tastier frankfurters out there. Nathan’s Original hot dogs in Coney Island comes to mind for me. Or there’s Pink’s in Hollywood, but perhaps my newest favorite doggery is a place in the San Fernando Valley, Fab’s Hot Dogs ( I recommend the L.A. Street Dog). Yet the Dodger Dog, an icon in itself, cannot be left off of the top dog list.
When I go to Dodger Stadium I always order the same thing from the concession stand right after I locate my seat and right before the first pitch. One grilled Dodger Dog with ketchup, mustard, and relish (I forgo the onions), a bag of peanuts, and a Coca-Cola. I may or may not retreat to the food counter in later innings for ice cream.
Thomas Arthur, Dodger Stadium’s first concessions manager, invented the Dodger Dog in 1962. Arthur was born in Los Angeles, but grew up in New York City. He drew his inspiration for the Dodger Dog from his childhood memories of Coney Island and Nathan’s Original hot dogs which I mentioned earlier. He originally called it the “foot long dog,” but after complaints regarding the name he changed it to “Dodger Dog.” The Morrell Meat Company first made the 10″ dog, but in 1972 Farmer John took over Dodger Dog duty.
According to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, Los Angeles residents consume more hot dogs than any other city, beating out New York and San Antonio/Corpus Christi, Texas. Dodger Stadium sells more hot dogs per year than any other Major League ballpark, about 2 million projected for 2011.
Luckily I can buy a package of Farmer John Dodger Dogs in the grocery store these days to tide me over until Spring, yet it’s not quite the same experience as scarfing down that extra-long frankfurter in the steamed bun while watching my team at Chavez Ravine.
“A hot dog at the ballpark is better than steak at the Ritz.” — Humphrey Bogart