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Scenes from Spring Training: What the heck is a feetlong hot dog?

Feb 27, 2011, 5:22 PM EDT


I met a cool guy today. That’s him. His name is Kwang Min Park, a baseball journalist from South Korea.  His nickname, however, is Agassi.  Yes, because he likes Andre Agassi. As you might expect, Agassi was here today to cover Shin-Soo Choo.  I saw him interviewing Choo in the clubhouse, and he sat next to me in the press box.

The pic to the right was taken during the bottom of the seventh after Agassi bought the giant chili dog he’s holding.  He set it down and took a picture of it and then considered it for a moment. Then he asked me what I’d call it.

Me: A footlong hot dog.

Agassi: A … foot?

Me: Yes. Like the English system of measurement. It’s 12 inches, and 12 inches is a foot.

Agassi then did something with his phone. I think he was using a visual measuring app of some sort. After looking at it he seemed a little confused.

Agassi: Why is it not a “feetlong” hot dog?

Me: Huh?

He then showed me his phone, which revealed the true measurement to be around 13 inches.  It thus gave him a read out of 1.08 “feet.” With some difficulty — using my actual feet as an example — I explained to him the difference between the singular and the plural of “footlong hotdog.”  He shook his head and said “I feel like I’m in kindergarten.”

I tried to tell him that the real problem was our failure to adopt the metric system, but I don’t know that I salvaged his self esteem on the point.  Matt LaWell, a freelancer who had been hanging out with us, suggested that he call it a “third meter dog,” but Agassi was clearly of the “when in Rome” school.

Agassi dutifully typed in his impressions of his feetlong chili dog to his computer.  He then cut the dog into sections. I declined a taste.  Matt accepted.  At which point Agassi asked him if it was any good compared to other feetlong chilidogs Matt had consumed.  Matt writes about food as well as baseball, so he was prepared to give a full review: the dog and chili were acceptable, but the bun was a tad crunchy as opposed to spongy, thereby harming one’s first impression of the dog. On a scale of one to ten, Matt gave it a six.

At that point the conversation spun into a debate about the merits of Cincinnati chili vs. Texas chili and poor Agassi’s head was close to exploding.  Matt and I explained that, no matter what he took from today’s events, he must be clear on the point that people in this country will kill one another over their love of a particular regional style of chili, and he best not forget it.

Agassi nodded. I could be wrong, but I think he then changed his plane reservations to get himself out of this insane country and back to South Korea as fast as he could. I mean, sure, people may start killing one another on the Korean peninsula any minute now and that’s awful, but at least there are better reasons for it than one’s taste in chili.

Just another day at the ballpark.

  1. skerney - Feb 27, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    i just realized that eating something called a “foot” is kinda gross. Though eating a sausage that is 12″ long, not gross but delicious. just don’t call it a foot.

  2. yankeesfanlen - Feb 27, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    Technically, I guess, 13 inches is 1.08 “feet”. 12 inches thus becomes a footlong. ANYTHING LESS is probably a horsemeat and Velveeta sandwich.

    • Old Gator - Feb 27, 2011 at 6:15 PM

      There have been horsemeat and Velveeta sandwiches in excess of 1.08″ – the American Cardiology Association refers to them as “mass murderers.”

    • Jonny 5 - Feb 27, 2011 at 7:48 PM

      Len, there are a few places around me where buying a “whole” cheese steak or Hoagie will come in around 30-34″ and as thick as a can of chunky soup. MMMMMMMM. Heart stopping heaven on a bun. Literally.

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 28, 2011 at 11:35 AM

        There were places around me when I was growing up that had those long ones as large and the mediums were the long ones cut in half. Can’t find any of them these days—but I haven’t been back there in a while, either. Doesn’t Lee’s have something called “belly fillers” or something—like double meat or something? (And they should offer up something called Cliffies, shouldn’t they?)

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 28, 2011 at 12:04 PM

        Actually there’s a Lee’s up the street from me. No known man can eat a whole. I get a half. I eat half of that, then eat the other half later, like the next day. We have Gaetano’s where the sandwich whole may weigh more than a small child. Then there are multiple deli’s who do it around here too. Now if I feel extra hungry I may even pick up a Hogs back deli sandwich up near my work. They are a work of art. And HUGE doesn’t describe them properly. You could feed 10 people with a whole. I’ve seen it done at luncheons here. A 4″ slice is belly full. I still say for flavor though nobody can beat Geno’s, even if it’s pricey for what you get.

        And I like the “Cliffy’s” idea for Lee’s hoagie shack, but would anyone want to face one down?

    • BC - Feb 28, 2011 at 9:17 AM

      Here’s the place you need to go if you’re in Arizona.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 28, 2011 at 9:47 AM

        There was a special on tv about that place, consumer reports??? can’t remember. Anyway I’m sure it’s on you tube. I couldn’t pay much attention as the nurses caused me a sensory overload and I had the strong urge to hump something at that moment. They were so hot I couldn’t concentrate on awesomeburgers. Go figure…..

  3. cur68 - Feb 27, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    Typical beaver (north american not european; Castor canadensis) length is 1m (3.3 feet). Hence the dog is a 1/3 beaver long. Careful what you eat man; kill ya.

  4. Old Gator - Feb 27, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    The generic name is Castor, eh? And if you squeeze beaver, is that stuff that comes out castor oil?

    • cur68 - Feb 27, 2011 at 6:21 PM

      Awright, for your own good; don’t squeeze the beaver. They find it irritating, never mind what comes out. And FYI, in french; Le Castor (that’s right; in the masculine if you can believe that! What’s the matter with those french people?) hence it’s probably “Le Castor Oil”. How many horny toads long is that thing I wonder?

      • Old Gator - Feb 27, 2011 at 7:36 PM

        And how many, and what size, “Don’t Squeeze the Beaver” T-shirts do you want?

      • cur68 - Feb 27, 2011 at 8:59 PM

        And that is the team slogan for the Vancouver Beavers right there. No one will dare put the bunt/steal home move on them; against the house rules. And I’ll take a hoodie in blue (working on my Belichick impression). 42 regular, the pullover kind.

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 28, 2011 at 11:30 AM

        Odf course, the typical direction a hot dog post should gravitate toward is beaver. And horny toads…that’s just icing…or chocolate sauce and whipped cream…?

  5. genericcommenter - Feb 27, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    It’s rare that something labeled a “foot” long is actually longer than 12″. So I’m very surprised that dog is 13″ and not 10 or 11. In many contexts when someone claims an object is a foot long, it might be 7 or 8 inches max.

    • Utley's Hair - Feb 28, 2011 at 11:38 AM

      It’s kinda rare that something labeled foot long is actually even 12 inches these days. Good thing those 11 1/2 oz. cans of coffee aren’t labeled pound anymore.

  6. schlom - Feb 27, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    Our “failure to adopt the metric system.” What the hell are you talking about Craig! The metric system is the tool of the devil! My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead and that’s the way I like it.

    • Old Gator - Feb 27, 2011 at 9:51 PM

      A Royale with cheese, please….

  7. Jonny 5 - Feb 28, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    I bet his first thought was “mmmm dog”……

    • Mark Buerhle - Feb 28, 2011 at 12:36 PM

      I hope you get hurt really bad for that comment.

      Now, watch me take down this unicorn with one arrow.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 28, 2011 at 12:47 PM

        LMAO!!!! I really hoped someone would get that.

      • cur68 - Feb 28, 2011 at 1:45 PM

        Mark Buerle; ROFL man. Dude’s gonna be the butt of all bow & arrow/dog/bear jokes from now till he says something else that makes you question his views on reality. That’ll be in like 2 or 3 more days I reckon.

      • Utley's Hair - Feb 28, 2011 at 3:07 PM

        Sometimes the most obvious jokes are the best.

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