Apr 26, 2023

Dollar Dog Night

Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Results: Mariners defeated Phillies, 5-3

It occurred to me when we were picking out our games at the start of the season that there were eight MLB teams that I had never been in attendance to see.  Two of these teams are in the NL West: the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.  The other six are American League clubs: the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners.  This realization, combined with the fact that interleague has expanded this season so that every team is scheduled to play at least one series against every team in baseball, inspired a personal goal of going to see every team in baseball at a live game at least once in my lifetime.

Last night's game wasn't originally one of the ones that we picked, but the Phillies had a flash sale on Saint Patrick's Day that was too good to pass up.  Tickets for a limited number of games were being offered at a pretty good discount, including a game against a team that I hadn't seen before that also fell on a Hatfield Dollar Dog Night.

Hatfield Dollar Dog Night has been a Philadelphia tradition for many years.  As you have no doubt guessed from the name of this promotions, all hot dogs at all food stands are on sale for one dollar, and you can fix them any way you like at the toppings bar.  The "limit 4 per person" sign is really more of a suggestion than a rule.  At the start of the game, you are limited to four hot dogs at a time to keep the line moving and to ensure that everybody gets their food, but you can go through the lines as many times as you like, and the purchase limits tend to fade away as the game progresses.

A festive atmosphere has popped up around Dollar Dog Nights, including fans coming to the ballpark in hot dog costumes, impromptu hot dog eating contests, fans buying loads of hot dogs and giving them away to total strangers, and the occasional food fights and hot dog flying onto the field.

The last Dollar Dog Night took place two weeks ago on Tuesday, April 11th in a game against the Marlins, and it turned into a fiasco when a "food fight" broke out in the stands.  The worst thing that could have happened as a result of this was the fact that it went viral, especially in a city where being ejected from a ballgame is sometimes worn as a badge of honor.

I saw more fan ejections last night than I've ever witnessed at a single game before.  Some of these seemed to be over-reactions, like a fan who bought a bunch of hot dogs and was tossing them to other fans in the stands.  It wasn't a food fight.  He basically just had a huge box filled with dollar dogs, came back to his seat, shouted "who wants a hot dog", and tossed a free dog to whoever said they wanted one until he ran out.  It was completely harmless, but I guess they had to enact a no-tolerance policy for flying food after the reported food fights at the previous Dollar Dog Night.  A pretty loud chant of "let him stay" erupted when security confronted the wiener-tossing fan.  I lost track of what happened from there, but I hope that security could read the room and realize that this guy wasn't being a nuisance to anybody.

Unfortunately, there are always a few jackasses who ruin a good time for the rest of us.  Just before the last out of the game in the bottom of the 9th, the home plate umpire had to call time out for the grounds crew to pick up hot dogs that were thrown by fans and landed in the outfield grass and on the warning track.  I'm laughing in this video mostly because I was sitting around a good group of fans in Section 415 who were making everybody laugh throughout the entire game, but I'm pretty disgusted by this behavior.  I'm not at all cool with people who waste food or throw things onto the field, and if this sort of thing keeps happening, it's going to probably lead to the end of a fun tradition of Dollar Dog Nights at Citizens Bank Park.

On a more positive note about Dollar Dog Night, the promotion isn't limited to carnivores.  There's a vegetarian stand in Section 125 called Greens & Grains that sells Veggie Dogs, and they were included in the promotion.  I had two of them and they were very tasty.  I couldn't tell the difference between these and a regular hot dog.  This makes me very happy, especially since my wife and I had come to a decision earlier this week to gradually cut meat out of our diet, but that's a story for another time.

Before I stop eating meat entirely (which I don't expect will happen for at least a few months), I wanted to try the newest cheesesteak at the ballpark.  Uncle Charlie's Steaks is in Section 109 at Citizens Bank Park.  They're named after our second and most recent manager to lead the Phillies to a World Series Championship, Charlie Manuel, and it may be the most flavorful cheesesteak that I've had at the ballpark.  It's served on a Liscio's seeded role and offered with either American cheese or Whiz.  I had mine with American, but unlike most steaks I've had in Philly, this was a liquid cheese sauce as opposed to sliced American cheese.  If not for the orange sauce sitting next to the white American cheese sauce, I would have thought they used the wrong cheese, but it definitely tasted like American cheese.  It was topped with onions and I got some cherry peppers and jalapenos on the side, and some crab fries from Chickie's & Pete's.

We got to see an old friend return to Philly in the Mariners lineup.  Shortstop J.P. Crawford was the Phillies first round draft pick in 2013 and was one of our top prospects ten years ago.  The Phillies traded him to Seattle in the winter before the 2019 season in the deal that brought Jean Segura to Philadelphia, and while I think that the trade was definitely the right move, I was still a little sad to see this dude go.  He's an excellent defensive shortstop with a solid bat.

With one out in the top of the 5th, Mariners left fielder Jarred Kelenic hit a solo home run to deep center field to put Seattle on the board.  The Mariners tacked on another run before the inning was over when José Caballero singled, stole second base, advanced to third on a throwing error, and scored on a J.P. Crawford RBI single.  The Phillies cut the lead in half in the bottom of the 5th when Edmundo Sosa hit a solo shot to left field to make the score 2-1.

The Mariners continued to tag Bailey Falter in the 6th inning.  After striking out Ty France, he gave up a double to Eugenio Suárez, followed by a two run homer off the bat of Teoscar Hernández to give the Mariners a 4-1 lead.
The Phillies had their best chance to put together a rally and get back into the game in the bottom of the 6th.  Trea Turner struck out to lead off the inning, but Kyle Schwarber was hit by a pitch and Nick Castellanos and J.T. Realmuto both singled to lead the bases with one out.  This brought Alec Bohm to the plate, who hit a grounder on the first pitch that I thought was going to turn into an inning-ending double play, but the Mariners only managed to get the forceout at second base.  This scored Schwarber from third and put runners on the corners with two outs and Sosa up to bat.  He homered in his previous at bat so I was feeling pretty good about the Phillies chances here, but Matt Brash struck him out to end the inning with Seattle still leading by a score of 4-2.

Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh led off the top of the 7th with a triple off of Connor Brogdon.  He scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of José Caballero to increase Seattle's lead to 5-2.

The Phillies once again looked like they were putting together a rally in the bottom of the 9th.  Alec Bohm led off with a double, and he advanced to 3B on an Edmundo Sosa groundout.  Brandon Marsh struck out, which brought up Cristian Pache's spot in the lineup.  Pache had a good night overall, going 2-3 and making some pretty excellent plays in left field, but he grounded into a double play in his previous at bat.  The Phillies brought in Jake Cave to pinch hit for him against Seattle's right handed closer, Paul Sewald.  It turned out to be the right move because Cave hit an RBI single to cut the Mariners lead to 5-3, but unfortunately Bryson Stott couldn't keep the rally going.  After a short break to clean up some hot dogs that found their way to the outfield, Sewald struck him out to end the game and pick up his 7th save of the season.

I'm not sure if these were the final totals or just the amount that they sold up to the 8th inning, but this graphic on Phantavision showed that they sold an average of 473 Dollar Dogs per minute at last night's game, and a total of 59,866 sold, with 19,188 of them sold before the first pitch.  Let these numbers sink in.  That's almost sixty thousand hot dogs sold in approximately four hours.

The game was considered a sellout with an attendance of 42,323.  The last time that I've been to a weekday game that sold out was during 2007-2011 run of five consecutive NL East Championship seasons.

And that's a wrap on our first ballgame of the season.  I've got tickets to three more - one with my wife and two with my dad.  Right now, the Phillies are sitting on a record of 11-13 which is good enough for fourth place in the division and five games behind the division leading Atlanta Braves.  Hopefully they'll be able to get on the right track before the next game on our calendar, but I can't lie... I'm getting a lot of 1994 vibes from the way that this season has played out so far.