SBJ/July 17 - 23, 2006/SBJ In Depth

OK, if the crab rolls aren’t good enough ...

Editor’s note: Jim Caple is a columnist for He’s been to dozens of big league stadiums, and those visits usually involved a trip to the hot dog stand. We asked him to pick his top dogs.

One of the best parts of my job at is that I do most of my work in ballparks. Given that I’ve been to 44 current or former big league stadiums, people ask me which ones sell the best hot dogs. I never understand this line of questioning. Hello? They’re hot dogs, people. What do you expect? That the Dodger Stadium hot dogs taste like lobster thermidor?

Sorry, they all taste like hot dogs. But just as popcorn tastes better at the movies and beer tastes better after the sixth bottle, hot dogs are better (or at least edible) at a baseball game. In ascending order, here are the best my colleagues and I found during our Page 2 ballpark tour a while back:

Coors Field: They know their meat products in Denver — where else can you get bull testicles (Rocky Mountain Oysters)? — as well as their nearly meat products such as hot dogs.

Wrigley Field: I love Wrigley but it has terrible concession options, so the pretty decent kosher dogs are your best bet.

Great American Ball Park. The meat (or whatever it is) is a color I’ve never seen before. But they’re cheap and they load the cheese on the chili dogs.

Whatever It Is They’re Calling San Francisco’s Park These Days: What’s your problem? You’re in San Francisco and you’re turning down the crab rolls, clam chowder, calamari, garlic fries and Orlando Cepeda’s Cha-Cha bowl for a hot dog? Oh, well. The dogs here are good.

Safeco Field. The dogs are pretty tasty, but not to lower the stadium revenues for my hometown team — your best bet is the stand on nearby Occidental Avenue that serves a mean Ichi-dog.

Cleveland. The dogs are just average and on the pricey side, but none of that matters because you can coat them in Cleveland’s signature brown mustard. Mmmmmm. Mustard.

Comiskey Park: OK, if Greg Luzinski has his name on the sausage, that’s good enough for me. But there’s more. Ballpark franks are $1 and Kosher dogs are $2.50 on Thursdays. Reinsdorf must not know about this deal.

And the home of the best hot dogs?

Miller Park. Milwaukee fans may have to watch the Brewers but not only can they eat for the cycle — the bratwurst, the Italian sausage, the Polish dog and the humble hot dog — they also can choose from the red stadium sauce or the brown stadium mustard.

Now, here’s what I don’t get. This is the 21st century. Our stadiums cost $520 million. Rachael Ray has four TV shows. And Milwaukee still is light years ahead of the nation when it comes to hot dogs and mustard? C’mon, folks. All parks should offer two types of bratwurst and brown mustard as a minimum standard. If Milwaukee can do it, there’s no excuse for anyone else.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get a salmon sandwich and garlic fries at the Mariners game.

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