Of all of the ballparks built since the Camden Yards-inspired boom, Comerica Park in Detroit may be the most underrated. The accolades are deservedly frequent for AT&T Park in San Francisco, PNC Park in Pittsburgh, and Safeco Field in Seattle, but not often does Comerica Park near the top of the list of favorites of the ballpark nut.
Except in my case. My first game at Comerica was possibly my favorite part of the first extended ballpark trip I took in August of 2001.
Part of the reason I had such a great time, in addition to being in a gorgeous new ballpark, was the amusement being offered by a hot dog vendor on the third base side of the infield. Every so often, this fellow would bellow in an operatic tone, “HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGS!”
What made it funny, to this observer anyway, was the idea of an aspiring operatic tenor who had yet to make the big time, and was hoping to gain exposure selling hot dogs at a ballpark.
Well, not quite. The Singing Hot Dog Guy is Charley Marcuse, and he’s been doing it since his days at Tiger Stadium in 1999. He first attempted his throaty sales pitch at a concert at Tiger Stadium, and when it got a positive response, he started singing at Tigers games.
Not everyone appreciates Marcuse’s act. Aramark, the food vendor at Comerica Park, even attempted to silence him, in response to angry e-mails from folks who didn’t appreciate the volume. However, after public outcry, the company relented and allowed Charley to sing while the visiting team is at bat. Yes, he’s that loud. You can hear him at Tigers games on TV.
Marcuse won’t put ketchup on your dog either…as he rightly states, “there’s no ketchup in baseball”. (A point that I have thus far unsuccessfully tried to impress upon my spouse.) To drive the point home, Marcuse even has his own brand of mustard… “Charley’s Ballpark Mustard”, advertised with the slogan “It’ll make you sing!”
There’s even a website dedicated to keeping Charley singing– www.singinghotdogman.com . On the front page is a great picture of the Singing Hot Dog Guy in action.
If you are headed to Comerica Park, get lower level seats on the third base side if you can. (I’m assuming that the Tigers do not rotate vendors to different sections; it’s the only place I’ve seen him.) The Singing Hot Dog Guy is a plus for Comerica Park that no baseball fan should miss.