Thursday, July 9, 2009

Is This the Demise of the Weiner?

I started my baseball career in the Palma Ceia Little League in Tampa in 1959, graduating from the Minors to the Majors as a 10 year old in 1961 when I was drafted early with the “brother rule” (same team as my older brother). The team was the Hot Dogs, a team sponsored by Herman’s Hot Dogs. My last year in Little League was with a new sponsor—Swift & Co. which made Sizzlers, a hot dog. The team was called the Sizzlers. Hot dogs and baseball: what a combination!

Now, all that may be crashing to an end because a non-profit organization called The Cancer Project ( wants Major League Baseball to warn people about the cancer risk posed by hot dogs and other processed meats. As part of its efforts it is sponsoring a 48-foot wide digital billboard for the All-Star Game.

To quote Dave Barry, “I’m not making this up!” Apparently this group wants us to quit eating hot dogs, brats, Italian sausage, kielbasa, bologna and even pickle-pimento loaf. And they want to use the All-Star game as a forum.

Imagine all the fans deprived of the sausage races in Milwaukee when hot dogs are banned.

Weinerschnitzel will go out of business. (And I love their coney dogs!—cheap little tubes of turkey and chicken meat in a steamed bun slathered with something resembling chili).

The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile will be put up on blocks in an abandoned barn on a hog farm somewhere in Wisconsin. The Weinermobile is an American tradition like, well like baseball!

And, Joey Chestnut! What will happen to him? After eating 20,000 calories worth on July 4th, he’s doomed. The Cancer Project is warning of the risk of colon cancer. I bet that the morning after downing more than 60 hot dogs, Chestnut’s colon got a pretty good cleansing.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Colon cancer is serious. But come on already! “UnLucky Strikes”? The issue isn’t eating hot dogs at a ballgame. The issue is the outrageous prices charged for a hot dog at a major league baseball game. If I had my 2 kids at a game and bought hot dogs, my budget would allow only 2 bites each.

“Baseball stadiums need to be frank about the cancer risk posed by hot dogs and other processed meats,” says Krista Haynes, RR, a Cancer Project dietician. “Just as tobacco causes lung cancer, processed meats are linked to colon cancer.”

So, is this a spoof? I’m not entirely sure. If it isn’t, the Cancer Project needs someone else writing their press releases. “Baseball stadiums need to be frank”? I hope that’s an unintended pun. “Just as tobacco causes lung cancer…” No, smoking tobacco causes lung cancer.

“Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weiner….”
“Hot dogs. Armor hot dogs. What kind of kids eat Armor hot dogs?...”
“Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet…”

Somehow this should be comical. But, there’s no humor in cancer just as there’s no humor in this effort to scare kids out of eating hot dogs. Is this the demise of the weiner?

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