A Hot Dog...Please?
July 28, 2006 10:00 PM
The Metrodome hot dog vendor. (Source: RP)
There is a hot dog vendor at the Metrodome.
I know because I saw him. He was three sections to my left in the 4th inning, and two sections to my right in the 6th.
I watched him like a hawk between pitches, and saw him finish with his row, exit to the concourse, and then disappear completely on both occasions. Meanwhile, the cotton candy guy went up and down our aisle more or less constantly for 7 innings.
We were sitting in the 19th row of the upper deck, the park was completely full, and a hot dog just seemed like the right thing to have (call me crazy). But I knew it would take some time to climb down, that the line at the concession stand would be long, that the help would be essentially untrained, and that I'd probably have to miss an entire inning or more in order to indulge my appetite.
What's more, the hot dog would come out of a drawer -- not off a grill or even out of hot water. No part of this process interested me, so I simply went without.
For me, it meant that I remained unsatisfied, and began to fume somewhat. For the concession company it meant that I went home with $10 in my pocket that they could have gotten if only there were a second hot dog vendor roaming the upper deck.
Mind you, this isn't the Twins' fault. They do not control the concessions at the Metrodome. Concessions are controlled by the Metropolitan Sports Facilites Commission -- the body which owns the Dome and was snubbed by the legislature in the creation of the new Ballpark Authority. Perhaps this snub was deserved.
In fact, concession control is one of the major upgrades the Twins are looking forward to in the new park. There they will have complete control over all aspects, including menu, pricing, signage and design, even how many people are out in the stands selling hot dogs. I have no doubt that they will do a better job than the company which does it now (Centerplate).
The numbers in the sidebar show just how little the Twins make on concessions. The $6.6 million paid to tenants is for all teams/tenants combined (Twins, Vikings, monster truck rallies, etc.). Even assuming that 3/4 of that goes to the Twins, that would come out to just $3.53 per fan at any given game (1.4 million fans in 2005).
That's insanely low -- especially given the outrageous prices. One suspects that the MSFC, Hormel and Centerplate are the ones making the real money in this arrangement. The new park will be a major improvement for the Twins.
But setting aside my hunger pangs, the dynamic of roaming vendors (also known as "in-seat vendors") is pretty important to determining everything from how many fixed concession stands you need to how many seats are appropriate for each row, and how many rows can fit between horizontal cirulation aisles. The fewer roaming vendors, the more space you need to allow for fixed stands, their long lines, and fans moving to and from their seats to spend money.
And the money part is the real issue, of course. The easier it is to spend money at the game, the more people will spend. It's that simple.
It's more fuel for those, like me, who vehemently dislike the Metrodome. There are 31 rows in the upper deck, with no horzontal aisles of any sort. Each row has from about 20 to 35 seats, with only skinny aisles at each end. (I'm choosing not to mention how cramped the leg room is, but this could be a subject for another entry.)
It would seem that economics alone would suggest that investment in roaming vendors would pay off very well. Since we have to live with the Dome for 3 more seasons, it would be great if someone at the MSFC would get on Centerplate, or just fire them and find somebody else.
Concessions at the Dome have been a problem since day one. No wonder the Twins were so adamant that they regain control in their new home. Whether it's hot dogs or walleye-on-a-stick, I'm looking forward to buying it right from my seat on a regular basis.
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This page was last modified on January 21, 2010.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
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Also from the B ramp entrance off of Third, a look up at the tiny crack between ballpark and parking ramp
Emergency access viewed in context
This is the LRT bridge under construction as viewed from the east looking west. The ballpark facade would be at the left in this photo.
This mural is behind the staircase. The window looks onto the promenade, and the door goes to a kitchen.
Lower deck view of the out-of-town scoreboard.
A view straight on of the Pro Shop area and ticket windows (just barely visible). The piers you see beneath the plaza are already almost completed (see final photo).
Trees also have sprouted near the topiaries
Um, I think that guy is out.
These are the outside tracks which go under the promenade
First, an overview. The base of the plaza here will meet the base of Sixth Street at Second Avenue.
Town Ball Tavern balcony
The lights went on, and it was a Good Thing
Night (about the 7th inning)
It was in and then quickly out of his glove. You gotta make that play.
Met Stadium on May 17, 1975 (Twins vs. Brewers featuring Hank Aaron)
Nearby, workers are finishing a support column. The guy at the bottom is using some sort of personal dirt mover (inset). Very cool.
Cross section diagram of the field structure. (Click to enlarge.)
Clyde Doepner's Met Stadium Memorabilia (Source: LP)
Hardware in the window! (But why are there three trophies? 1924?)
Look closely at the overhang. You'll see the on the right it is flush with the fence, and then it sticks out farther and farther as you move toward center. More fun for Michael Cuddyer.
I took this picture just moments before Morneau's homer landed almost exactly where I had been standing. If only I hadn't wanted to watch the game...
Very nice Admin glass.
Reasonable (if not overly generous) leg room
Met Stadium seat colors (click for the complete image)
Uh oh. Schizophrenia.
Dan Kenney provided this alternate shot of a walkway behind the view level
Gate 29 "Carew" is at right.
Through the windows of the Metropolitan Club you can see one of the displays of Met Stadium memorabilia.
Believe it or not, the actual outfield wall will be about where this fence is now!
The Northstar circulation building is starting to take shape.
Replays on the out-of-town scoreboard!
Plaza seating installation
A detailed crowd shot. Click to enlarge greatly.
BPM - Ballpark Magic
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DSP - Dave St. Peter
FSE - Full Season Equivalent
FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)
HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)
HPB - Home Plate Box
HRP - Home Run Porch
LC - Legends Club
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MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)
MOA - Mall of America
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(2000, large coffee table)
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Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures