Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Charleston Area Hot Dog Joints - Appalachian Power Park

There's nothing in the world like a minor league ballpark on a nice summer evening. The sounds, the sights, the smells and, oh yeah, the game! And how can you be at the ballpark on a nice summer evening without a hot dog? Is there a more grand hot dog joint than this?

I've been kept away from Appalachian Power Park all summer long by this or that and here it is mid-August and I had yet to root, root, root for the home team even once. When I looked at the Power's remaining home schedule I realized that time was running out and I felt I owed it to the WVHD public to go have a hot dog for them. So I shelled out my $5 for a general admission ticket and headed straight for the concession stand, of which there are several around the park. But I soon realized that even though there were several stands, they all sold the same hot dogs. Whether you choose to eat at "The Coal Car Cafe", "The Mine Shaft" or one of the several free-standing vendors you still have a choice between a regular hot dog ($2.50) or a jumbo version for $3.75. If you want chili on either it costs an extra buck. The you take your hot dog to the condiment stand where you can load it up with slaw, mustard or alien toppings like ketchup and relish. And then you enjoy your hot dog, not.

"OK," you say, "everyone knows that ball park food is expensive, so what's the problem?" Well, I wouldn't mind paying $3 or $4 for a hot dog to enjoy in such a great setting if it were even marginally good, but these dogs aren't even marginal.

First, the basic dog is handed to you wrapped - actually, smashed - inside aluminum foil. It is stone cold on delivery. The bun is OK tasting but so mishapen that if it didn't have a weenie in it you wouldn't recognize it as a hot dog. The weenie is basic. The chili is gross. The self-serve slaw is the crappy lowest common denominator food service stuff. This is one of the worst hot dogs you can buy in Charleston. All the atmosphere in the world couldn't make it better.

I really think the Power is doing itself a great disservice by serving such a bad hot dog. Good food can bring in at least as many fans as the team. I know that I would drive to Cincinnati, buy a ticket for a team I don't like and fight the crowd at the concession stand for one the fantastic bratwursts they serve. I'll never again drive the five minutes to Appy Park for the hot dogs.


larryosaurus said...

Thanks Stanton. I'd heard that from a few others but wasn't convinced...until now.
What an insult to everything Baseball stands for.

Christopher Scott Jones said...

Why are they called the West Virginia Power istead of the Charleston (Insert nickname here). 1) Other than the massive tax dollars that other parts of the state spent on the stadium, no one west of Hurricane, east of Clendenin, north of Sissonville or south of Cabin Creek give a crap about the team. 2) Should the state of West Virginia really brag that the best we can do is a single-A team? kindof an odd thing to show state pride over. 3) Now the hot dogs are crap? Wow...three strikes and yer...oh nevermind, I hate cliches...

clear eyes said...

Combining this with the bowling alley hot dog reviews, I see several possible correlations: 1) Sports and hot dogs don't mix. 2) After a few cold beers, it doesn't matter what the hot dog tastes like. Any thoughts on the either theory, Stanton?

Stanton said...

Good name, clriii's, but bad theory:

1. Of course hot dogs go with sports! Why, some of the best hot dogs I've ever had were at sporting events - at least I think they were.

2. What about teetotalers? What about recovering alcoholics (like those who seem to remember having a good hot dog at a sporting event)? Don't we have a right to a good hot dog without the benefit of beer?

Christopher Scott Jones said...

I went to a relative's Little League game in Richwood a couple of years ago and they had awesome hot dogs with "chili" and slaw and no beer. But then again the suace and slaw there are made by Moms that are competitive masters of one-upsmanship.