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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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World's Least-Suited Hot Dog Vendor

Before I forget, from Nathan’s cap night, a hot dog vendor showed up in our section in the top of the seventh. Kind of late, but not unheard of…though it seemed to me he was intent on being not heard. Softly he made his pitch:

“Hot dog, anyone? Hot dog, anyone?”

There were no takers. I don’t think anyone knew he was there.

Seventh-inning stretch arrives stealthily. Quick-moving 0-0 game combined with “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” duties being handed over to two Greek Heritage Night instrumentalists kept me from realizing we had arrived at our ritualistic juncture. When I saw Joe rise, I asked him if he needed me to get up so he could get by. No, he said, it’s time to stretch.

So it was.

We stretched, we sang of our desires to be taken out to where we already were (because the Greek fellas didn’t), we Lazy Mary’d, we monitored the flight of t-shirts, we sat down and then we enjoyed the hell out of the five-run bottom of the seventh and the ensuing shutdown half-inning that followed.

Bottom of the eighth rolls around, and guess who else does…on little cat feet.

“Hot dog, anyone? Hot dog, anyone?”

Anything can happen. A five-run lead is no guarantee of a happy ending. We’ve seen the Met bullpen ignite calamity and implode precipitously. But the Braves have only three outs left with which to wreak havoc. No matter how many unnecessary pitching changes Terry Collins will make in the top of the ninth (one), it’s unlikely we’re going to be here much longer. I don’t get overconfident but I was willing to allow myself confidence that a five-run cushion in the bottom of the eighth was going to prevent evening-extending discomfort in the top of the ninth.

In other words, none of us was going to need a hot dog to tide us over this — literally — late in the game.

And if we were going to be convinced otherwise, this guy…

“Hot dog, anyone? Hot dog, anyone?”

…wasn’t going to be the one to do it.

I grew up in Madison Square Garden enthralled by strolling cries of “BEEAH HEEAH! BEEAH HEEAH!” When I moved on to Shea, I loved being asked, in a bellowing fashion, “WHO’S DRINKIN’? WHO’S DRINKIN’?” even if my tastes ran more to “ICE COLD SODA! ICE COLD SODA!” As recently as last Saturday, a vocal vendor (a.k.a. “hospitality attendant”) marketed his wares so effectively — “HOT PRETZELS! THEY’RE HOT!” — that I topped off my Gold Glove supper with a salty $6.50 dessert.

Salesmanship is everything. It’s the difference between deciding, “Nah…” and “Yeah, OK.” Rarely have I needed what’s being sold. Only sometimes have I desperately wanted what’s being sold. But if I can be sold on the contents of those trays and bins, then buddy, you’re making your quota and collecting your commissions and getting out of your job what you put into it. We are a captive audience. All you need to do is captivate us.

“Hot dog, anyone? Hot dog, anyone?”

That’s not gonna do it. That, in fact, didn’t do it. Our introvert drew no more business and probably even fewer glances in the eighth than he did in the seventh.

Pedro Beato and Tim Byrdak set down the Braves in order of the top of the ninth. We all cheered and left. I wonder if the world’s least-suited hot dog vendor came back out to start the tenth.

8 comments to World’s Least-Suited Hot Dog Vendor

  • J

    My husband and my favorite vendor was the “HEYICECREAM!” guy who was trying to push those little dixie cups (Good Humor?) during a 40 degree April game in the Fair Ball Mezzanine of Shea Stadium. Poor guy got booed.

  • Eric G.

    My favorite hot dog vendor was back at Shea, encountered him on the field level a few years ago. He had two distinct voices.

    One was a high-pitched, “Haaaat duggy duggy duggy.”
    The other was a low, bellowing, “HAWT dogs. Getcher HAWT dogs here.”

    Bizarre to say the least.

  • I did that at Iowa. One of the guys in the Poetry Workshop had gotten the souvenir concession at the football games, so I stood outside the stadium as the crowd entered and exited calling out “SOOOOOOVENIR O’ THE GAME! IIIII-O-WA HAWK-EYYYE SOOOOOOVENIRS!”
    I was good at it.

  • Tom in Sunnyside

    I’ve been that ice cream vendor in sub-40 April in high school, though on the Field Level. Being a vendor at Shea showed you just how much you were at the mercy of the weather. 25 years later I still see many of the same vendors working at Citi Field and the New Yankee Stadium.

    One wonders, though, if Fred Wilpon went around the wealthy of the sports nation Saying, “Mets, anyone? Mets, anyone?”

    I am glad, though, to read one story on hot dogs this weekend that didn’t descend into Weiner jokes. I stopped laughing around the 200th one. Try me tomorrow, my appetite may have returned.

  • kowalski69

    How could you ever forget “PEA-NUUUUUUUUUUUTS! CRACKER J-AAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!” circa Shea ’07 ’08. favorite vendor of all time.

  • vertigone


  • Dave

    Favorite sales pitch I ever heard at a Mets game was two years ago when I had seats in section 532, a vendor who I think was selling beer was yelling “Get your Yankees Suck beer here!” Gratuitous yes, but the material was going over well.

  • Rory

    I’ve always been partial to the lady vendor who sings out “SoooooDA” so loud you can hear her on the radio. She’s been around for just about as long as Beltran has been.