The Idle American: What a Hot Dog!...


We are buoyed annually by hopes that spring eternal when dogwoods and azaleas lead nature’s spring parade.

So do concessionaires at Arlington’s Globe Life Field, where the youthful Texas Rangers will hit, run, throw and catch baseballs during the 2022 season in the American League West. No matter how the boys of summer perform, one fact is certain: New concession items are on the menu, and their arrival--as can be safely predicted annually--has members of the press agog once more.

Warning: The rave notices of press folks scarfing down free food offers no assurance that the Texas Rangers’ play will often warrant such raves….

The “munchies” are so intriguing that media reps show up in droves. Included this year were two writers from the Dallas Morning News, Sarah Blaskovich and Evan Grant. She’s an authority on all matters food; he travels near and far to cover the Rangers, doing so since Hector was in puppyhood.

They visited the ballpark when new food items were unveiled for the 2022 season. It’s a prelude for the Rangers, just as food contests provide a strong kick-off for the State Fair of Texas. All this said, persons desiring to know more about the new foods may use computers that will spit out more information than most of us will ever need.

Game attendees are reminded to take pockets full of cash for parking, game admission, and, of course, concession items. Example: The alligator corn dog price tag is $16. Let me say it again: Take mucho cash….

Temptation to wax poetic looms, but I’ll limp along with a paraphrase. Just as a rose by any other name is still a rose, the same is true of hot dogs.

No matter how they are “gussied up” and no matter what they are called, basic make-up remains what we called ‘em in first grade: “weenies in a bun.”

Admittedly, there’s much more substance to the new versions. This is not to say, though, that the “lipstick-on-a-pig” label necessarily applies. I doubt that it is worth $15.85 more than we paid for one of ‘em at little league fields in the 1950s, where there was no admission charge, nor tabs for auto (and bicycle) parking….

I digress.

My intent was initially to revisit the general topic of hot dogs, and one description came from the lips of a wonderful friend, the late Hardy Reed, a well-known chef in my hometown. He was an authority on many topics, and successes of his family are legion. Both he and Rosetta--his wife of 61 years--taught in colleges, and their two sons--as well as a grandson and a daughter-in-law--have doctoral degrees.

When the late John Connally was running for Governor of Texas, he appeared in Brownwood. Thousands of residents showed up to shake hands with the man who’d become governor, and later secretary of the treasury. Okay, maybe free hot dogs provided the greatest draw….

Reed prepared a few thousand hot dogs. He slapped the wieners into the buns, leaving it to attendees to dress them up with packaged condiments.

Other folks could have done what he did, but Reed always was quick to volunteer. He was called upon often for the “chef stuff,” whether it was hot dogs or more exotic fare.

At the Connally gathering, he asked if I knew what hot dogs are good for. “Hot dogs are nothing more than poor excuses for jaws to be moving,” he grinned….

Whatever, the new ballpark items are fun to read about, even if quite expensive to buy. Check out reviews, particularly the ones recorded by Blaskovich and Grant.

Here are their descriptions of the $16 vegan chicken salad sandwich. He isn’t a fan of chicken salad, thinking it has the “slightest hint of a lab-manufactured smell.” She thinks it is a “great sandwich,” but admits that it “kind of smells like sneakers.”

I gotta have one of those….

Dr. Newbury, longtime university president, continues to write weekly and speak throughout Texas. Contact: 817-447-3872. Email: Facebook: don newbury.