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I Call You Out, Crazy Hot Dog Vendor: An Evening At The Ballpark With The Reading Fightins And My Camera

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Destination Traveling in an Organization Where Even the Mascots Disappoint

On Friday night, on which quirks of scheduling abounded and stars aligned, I found myself with a delightfully rare and sanctioned opportunity to go see a Reading Fightin' Phillies game by myself. Reading is on the way to the Wet Luzinski Extended Family Retreat in upstate Pennsylvania (think the Bush family and Kennebunkport, but with less money and more canoes). Seeing it was a fireworks night, and with the weather just perfect, just past lunchtime I thought I'd see what I could find available, ticket-wise. Behold this front-row, behind-the-Fightins' dugout omen from on high.

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A few thoughts about Reading: If you are a fan of baseball at all, don't miss this place. While it's grown along with the popularity of minor league baseball over the past thirty years or so, their waves of renovations have still managed to maintain and preserve the older fabric around the infield. It's an hour-ish drive from Philadelphia, so with a favorable traffic pattern it's a conceivable leave-by-5, home by midnight adventure for a night game. While the pickings are a little slim this year, it's also where the Phillies have traditionally stashed their more decent prospects prior to joining the big club.

Finally, a note regarding the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor. A kind of Reading Fightins folk hero, he rides a stuffed ostritch flinging hot dogs into the stands. Of course, there's now merchandise and the team has worn abominable uniforms in homage to him.


This spring, as part of my annual revivalist-inspired tirade against the hellish Apostate Red Phanatic, I looped him into the story line, imagining him to be a kind of Captain Willard character who would be dispatched by the establishment, good-loving believers in the One True Green Phanatic to sail down the Schuylkill River and ritually slay Red Phanatic.

Perhaps these are mature themes for a family-friendly wiener-lover like Crazy Hot Dog Vendor, but I felt it was time that everyone grew up a little and confronted evil, and that, furthermore, he accept his fate, man up, become beloved by millions, and transform himself into the major league mascot he knows he can be. The response? Clearly someone over at Reading met my challenge with fear of success, because he now does not allow The Good Phight to comment on his Facebook page, the big yellow-mustard wuss (note: "Share" only option at bottom).

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So I call you out, Crazy Hot Dog Vendor, to man up, play your part, and take some responsibility.

In the meantime, enjoy these pictures from Friday night.