WASHINGTON, D.C.-It's a love affair that has spanned generations and baseball fans will once again make hot dogs their number one choice at the ballparks this summer. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) estimates that fans will eat a whopping 21,357,316 hot dogs and 5,508,887 sausages during the 2014 Major League season, enough hot dogs to stretch from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to Wrigley Field in Chicago.
"When it comes to the food of choice at baseball games nothing cuts the mustard quite like hot dogs and sausages," said Eric Mittenthal, NHDSC vice president of public affairs. "It's a tradition that fans relish, and despite growing options at concessions, they keep coming back for their old favorite."
This year's total includes a new single season record for most hot dogs at one stadium as the Los Angeles Dodgers anticipate fans will consume 3,077,537 hot dogs, a jump of more than 800,000 hot dogs from last year. That is enough to round the bases at Dodger Stadium 4,274 times and based on last year's attendance, means if everyone had just one, 82 percent of fans at every Dodger home game will eat a hot dog.
"The Dodger fan's love of hot dogs is no secret," said Mittenthal, "What's amazing is that the most popular hot dog there is the footlong Dodger Dog, so fans are truly getting their fill."
Batting second in the hot dog race are the Texas Rangers at 1,569,085 hot dogs, while the Boston Red Sox are close behind with 1,500,000 hot dogs sold. The New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians fill out the top five, both expected to sell more than one million hot dogs in 2014.
While Red Sox fans are expected to consume the third most hot dogs, the reigning major league champs are this year's repeat sausage champs, proving that Sox and sausages just go together. Fenway fans are expected to take down 607,500 sausages this year which is a significant jump from 421,000 sausages last year.
Just as they're rivals on the field, the New York Yankees follow closely behind the Red Sox with fans there expected to eat 510,000 sausages in 2014. They are followed by the San Francisco Giants with 400,000, while in a shocking development, the Milwaukee Brewers will not sell more sausages than hot dogs for the first time in years with 290,000 sausages and 340,000 hot dogs. The team says its dollar dog promotions have pushed hot dogs ahead.
Hot Dogs as History
Ballpark vendors agree that America's passion for hot dogs is rooted in history.
"Hot Dogs, as much as Peanuts and Cracker Jacks, are associated with the game of baseball almost as much as bat and a glove" explains Dave Peterson, executive chef at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. "The pairing of baseball and hot dogs is Americana, it gives guests a sense of nostalgia to when they were a kid and first came to the ballpark. It is the quintessential ballpark fare."
The hot dog is frankly such a treasured part of baseball history that the Chicago Cubs will make it part of their celebration of 100 years at Wrigley Field in 2014. The team will serve Decade Dogs with ingredients that represent a decade, teaching Cubs fans history through their hot dog.
The decade dogs include the classic Chicago hot dog as well as unique creations such as the Reuben dog, Buffalo wing dog, Philly steak dog, mini corn dogs, nacho dog, pulled pork hot dog and a TV dinner dog.
Hot Dog Rookies
Continuing the trend of recent years, teams are getting imaginative in their hot dog creations. Some of the most interesting new debuts include:
- The D-Bat Dog: This hot dog is not for the faint of heart. The 18-inch corn dog stuffed with cheddar cheese, jalapenos and bacon, will make any Arizona Diamondback fan come back for more.
- The Old Bay Half Smoke: Oriole fans' favorite condiment is Old Bay as they will consume 2,000 pounds of it this year. Camden rewards fans with this sausage with their favorite condiment finished off with Jack Daniels barbeque onions.
- The Poutine Dog: As a Detroit Tigers fan you can get this new masterpiece with French fries, cheese, curds and beef gravy all piled atop a natural casing dog.
- The Philly Cheese Steak Dog and Slab Bacon Dog: The Phillies use this local favorite and put it on a hot dog. The Philly Frank is topped with Philadelphia cheese steak, melted cheese, and can be served with or without onions. Meanwhile, the Slab Bacon Dog is a Philly Frank served with a strip of slab bacon and melted cheese.
- The DMV: Nationals fans can eat a hot dog that incorporates an element from each region of the greater DC Area. It is a foot long Half Smoke with Crab Dip and topped with fried Virginia Ham on a Pretzel Roll.
The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) has been conducting its hot dogs, sausages and baseball survey for more than a decade. More on the survey including an infographic and other Hot Dog & Sausage facts, recipes history, etiquette and fun, is available online at http://www.hot-dog.org/ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NHDSC.