For more than a quarter-century, Phillies fans considered dollar hot dog night among the best in-stadium promotions, but the team has now decided it was the worst.
Those dog days of April, when the Philadelphia weather is cold and the hot dogs are a bargain, are gone, gone, gone.
The Phillies officially ended the popular promotion Thursday and replaced the Dollar Dogs on select dates with a 2-for-1 deal in two April games at Citizens Bank Park.
A statement from the team said the change was made “based on the organization’s continued commitment to providing a positive experience for all fans in attendance.”
What wasn’t positive about dollar dog nights?
Philadelphia Phillies to End Traditional $1 Hot Dog Days in April
Armed with frankfurters projectiles, some unruly Phillies fans began throwing their favorite meat at Hatfield during a game last year, and the dogs flew like cans of corn across the stands and onto the field.
Demand for discount dogs also led to clogged lanes, if not arteries, on the concourse, and tight spaces created safety concerns.
Who needs snowballs?
An April 11 game last season turned into a food fight in Philadelphia when fans, largely in good spirits, threw their sausages out of the stadium in several sections, leading to multiple ejections.
“It wasn’t just the pitch,” said John Weber, the Phillies’ senior vice president of inning operations and projects. ‘It’s the esplanade, the crowd is all in the same X number of stands. But obviously, you know, the launch was a turning point.
To be honest, the Phillies don’t necessarily need the deal these days to build up crowds. The Phillies started the promotion 27 years ago, when they were still playing in cavernous Veterans Stadium to try to boost ticket sales on an otherwise dull game night.
But the Phillies kept their food frenzy deal through the decades, even as they rose again to become one of the best teams in the National League. The Phillies surpassed 3 million fans last season and scheduled three dog nights for two midweek games in April and one in May, when attendance is generally lower compared to weekend games.
“The original idea was much more family-friendly, four, five, six people and having a discount item,” Weber said. “As it has morphed over time, it has targeted more of a younger demographic, which is also fantastic, especially in the April and May period.”
Unruly behavior by fans by throwing them onto the field last year led to the cancellation.
The Phillies’ BOGO nights this season are April 2 against the Reds and April 16 against the Rockies.
Aramark did not provide sales totals for 2023.
The company said before the 2022 World Series, when the Phillies played the Houston Astros, that 1 in 3 fans eat a hot dog at Citizens Bank Park and an average of 6,951 hot dogs were sold per game, enough to line up in Ashburn Alley five times.
The Phillies kept a dollar dog sales count on the scoreboard for each game in which they were scored.
The Phillies suffered a setback for the first time in 2022 when they tried to reduce dog nights from three dollars to two.
The unpopular measure failed to cut the mustard among bigots, even in the highest branches of state government. Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey responded to a Crossing Broad website writer who complained about the decision with a social media post that said, “I agree, more Dollar Dog Nights.” @Phillies Let’s do this.’
Casey was a hot dog here when one more dog night was added to the schedule.
He took a high road on Thursday, posting on social media: “The double (hot dog emoji) sounds like a great way to fuel up for #RedOctober.”
Fans were unhappy with the decision, even though it was replaced with a BOGO hot dog night.
Phillies fans still questioned the decision on social media.
By mid-afternoon, a clothing store had already made a t-shirt regretting the decision with the inscription “RIP night of dogs in dollars.” The pig flew. Heads rolled.’
“Our goal is always to provide a great fan experience,” Weber said. “If you were there at the game, it wasn’t a great experience.”
If cheap meats are still your thing at the old ball game, head across the state to Pittsburgh, where the Pirates will host at least six $1 hot dog nights. Just a long relay drive south on I-95, the Class A Wilmington Blue Rocks offers dogs for $2 on Wednesdays.
The Texas Rangers sell $1 dogs at every Wednesday home game and the Minnesota Twins put extra buns in the oven for their $1 dog deal at every Tuesday home game. The Kansas City Royals are among the teams still offering low-cost hot dogs.
Just not anymore in Philadelphia, where a few bad apples ruined the Phillies’ appetite for a good deal.
“We hope our fans still come out and see two hot dogs for five dollars as value and support the team on those two April dates we have,” Weber said.
Hey, there’s still a chance in Philadelphia to always get a free hot dog: just grab one from Phanatic’s famous hot dog launcher.