Regarding the seasonal ending of Dollar Hot Dog Night at the Metrodome, Loree from Eagan writes in to let us know there may hope during this long off season of regularly priced wieners:
I thought your post about dollar dog night at the Dome was very funny. I read it out loud at dinner last night and we all had a good laugh at your misery. Sorry.
We have been to a couple of Wednesday night Twins games this year. Not my idea, as you can imagine, my family thinks they are great, especially my 18-year old stepson. I talked him in to going along to IKEA with us the first week it opened. Ever been to the new IKEA? Not my stepson's cup of tea either, until he found the Exit Bistro at the end of the cashier's line. They have dollar hot dogs just like the dome and they even have a special: one hot dog and a soda for $1.25. Add a dollar cinnamon roll for dessert and for $2.25 you have a meal. No beer though. And lots of chairs, but no one is throwing them.
My god, that deal that exceeds even Dollar Hot Dog Night. Next time I'm in Bloomington I may have to stop by Ikea for a meal and some baseball memories. All the more appropriate given Ikea's location next to the sacred grounds of the old Metropolitan Stadium. And this looks a lot more comfortable than a concrete staircase for my post feast recovery.
I just hope the word of this doesn't spread to the entire bargain hot dog eating community in town, because the local history of discounted wieners is one of unrest and strife. Most famously, the Twins game against they Yankees in early May 2001, one of the first Dollar Hot Dog Nights, and also the return of prodigal son Chuck (Choke) Knoblauch. As reported by the Associated Press:
Twins vice president Dave St. Peter said the team was taken by surprise by Wednesday's attendance, which was bolstered by the team's hot start and promotions that included dollar hot dogs. The last time the team drew 36,000 to a midweek game in April or May was 13 years ago, he said.
Fans still angry at Knoblauch for leaving the team when it was down threw golf balls, hot dogs and plastic beer bottles at Knoblauch Wednesday night, causing umpires to pull the Yankees off the field for 12 minutes in the sixth inning of Minnesota's 4-2 win. The game also was delayed in the eighth for about five minutes, and umpires said they considered calling a forfeit. More than 40 fans were ejected
Despite their claims of surprise, Twins officials were well aware of the connection between discount hot dogs and violence. Again from the AP:
During a home game in April that also included the dollar hot dog promotion, fans started a food fight with the discounted franks in a Metrodome concourse.
More details from the Pittsburg Tribune-Review, who claim the inaugural Dollar Hot Dog Night was baptized in blood:
For all Wednesday home games, the Twins lower the price of hot dogs to $1. During this season's first dollar-dog night, about 13,000 hot dogs were doled out to a crowd of just 11,149. With so much rabid demand for the dogs, culinary violence was inevitable. A food fight broke out on the concourse behind the stands in left field.
"Food fights are going to break out when you sell 13,000 hot dogs - as well as some people having upset stomachs the next day," said Dave St. Peter, the team's senior vice president for business affairs.
It's all true and hopefully this will serve as a warning to Ikea. But properly managed, and severely policed, Dollar Hot Dogs are a beautiful thing. Check out this tribute by Major League Baseball to the history of the ball park frank. These quotes accurately summarize their appeal :
"A hot dog at the ballpark is better than steak at the Ritz." -- Humphrey Bogart
"The last time I saw my dad alive, we went to a ballgame at Coors Field in 2001," said Terry Brejla, who now lives in the San Francisco area. "He was legally blind by that time. I bought him a Colorado Rockies hat, which he proudly wore. I told him I wanted to take him out for dinner on the way back to my house. He said, 'Thanks, but no thanks.'
"He would just as soon have a couple of hot dogs at the ballpark and a beer, because that was the kind of meal men had together when they were enjoying each other's company at a ball game."