Beer, Peanuts, and everything else about the Stadium Experience. Except the game.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


  • Athletics: 5
  • Orioles: 3
  • Sold: 170 Lemonades
The fun, and risk, at Camden is that you never know until you pick what you're going to sell that day. The board's up there, chalked in with options by vending manager Bruce, and whatever's left over when your number comes up is what you choose from. Now that the new list has come out, with this year's final revision locking us into place through the end of September, I'm now a #43 through the winter. Number 37 looks like a long ways away now that it's slipped through my grasp. Non-attendance has penalties.

At other ballparks you sell the same thing pretty much day after day: Coors in Philly, Beer and peanuts at Nationals. At Camden, though, I've picked three different items in as many days. Monday was most dismal -- I suckered myself into picking peanuts (Peanuts on the stickiest, hottest night of the summer!) and ended up depressed and forlorn after failing to sell two loads.

Tuesday I went with an old reliable: hot dogs. They do them quite the right way at Orioles -- plump Esskay franks out of a hot stainless steamer, plucking them with tongs out of Sterno-boiled water compartment on the right, slipping them into a starchy bun from the left compartment. The middle area holds the serving paper and basic condiments: mustard, ketchup, packets of relish. I've been trying to develop my own slang for serving options of dog:
  • Two dogs: "Twin dogs"
  • With Ketchup: "Sugar dog"
  • With Ketchup and Mustard: "Double dog"
  • Plain, nothing on it: "Raw dog"
Still haven't come up with anything for relish* ("veggie dog"?) or mustard ("yellow dog"?), and it's tough to get this stuff to stick as slang. Hard to imagine other vendors adopting this slang and it becoming a part of Camden Yards culture.** All this order-taking and condiment application, though, is the built-in limitation of hot dog vending. It takes so much time to get it set up that there's no way to put up any really big numbers. Another pitfall: scalding yourself with hot steamer water as it spills out the side. The load-up girl in the back filled me up too high with it and it sloshed onto my stomach, burning and leaving a misshapen welt on my right side like a stigmata. Had to drop the dog carrier, grab some ice out of a beerman's bucket, and try and cool it down somewhat to counter the burn.

"That's happened to me a few times," said a customer in the seats.

You a vendor, too? I asked.

"Gotta hot dog stand outside the post office in Dundalk," he said. "Not bad pay for four hours of work every day. Named the corner I work after me: Canterbery's Corner." He handed me a business card that advertised:

Officially Named "Canterbery's Corner"

And illustrated with a line cartoon of a happy dancing family of anthropomorphized weiners. I have to respect a man in the business, and fortuitous that I should have my mishap right in front of vendor Ken Canterbery***, of all people. I'll have to pay him a visit sometime.

Today I maintained this streak of vendor irregularity by taking lemonade. Not at all a bad thing to have for a day game in the sun. People love that sugarwater when they're baking in the heat.

* Relish is the undervalued weiner condiment. I always root for it to win the video ketchup/mustard/relish race on the stadium's big screen, and I have added respect for the customer who requests it. No love lost for the guy who asks me for cheese and/or onions, though, as if I've got a whole deli counter hidden away in the steamer.

** On the pitfalls of slang invented from whole cloth: Reminds me of a couple of friends who decided they wanted to establish the word "plush" as slang for anything of favorable note, or "sweet." But this went nowhere and 10 years later, plush still refers only to classy accommodations and high-pile carpeting.

*** Even after talking to the other night, I didn't notice until I saw this link that he's blind.

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