If you've ever been to a Detroit Tigers game or watched one on TV, you've probably heard in the background Charley Marcuse, 'The Singing Hot Dog Man. He has been a fixture at the ball park for the last 15 years, selling hot dogs and singing "hot dogs." It's also well known by Tigers fans that he despises ketchup on hot dogs and he wants you to as well. A singing hot dog man is unique, perhaps uniquely annoying, but a singing hot dog man who also tries to force his hot dog condiment views upon others? Well some might think that's downright chauvinistic self-righteousness at its worst.
And so, the Tigers' concession vendor, Sportservice, fired Charley last week. The Singing Hot Dog Man announced the news with a bitter Twitter tweet:
— Singing Hot Dog Man (@SinginHotDogMan) September 6, 2013
The exact reason for his firing is unclear, but it is believed to be a response to the growing number of complaints about his almost-always-frank disapproval of fans putting ketchup on their hot dogs [pun fully intended, excerpt below via Detroit News]:
Sportservice wouldn’t comment on the specific reason behind Marcuse being let go, though sources say it wasn’t because of his singing. Think about it: If it was the singing, it wouldn’t have taken 15 years to get rid of him.
There are rumblings the real reason was ketchup — or Marcuse’s disdain for it. Marcuse, at the ballpark and on Twitter, has been a strong crusader for only putting mustard on a frank. And some fans thought he got combative when they asked for ketchup. There were complaints filed.
Asked whether condiments actually were behind his dismissal, Marcuse was vague.
“It was general employee conduct,” he said, relaying the reason he was given. “I’ve vended the same way for the past 15 years, so there’s nothing new to any of this.”
In 2004, the Tigers tried to put a moratorium on Charley's singing, but when the media got wind of it and turned it into a bigger distraction than the singing created for some players, the two sides reached a compromise that he would only be allowed to sing at certain points during the game. Charley obliged, but judging from his tweet, Charley obviously felt the organization never wanted him around and finally got their wish.
While 'The Singing Hot Dog Man' was technically never an employee of the Tigers, Ilitch Holdings, Inc. signs the vendor contracts and they're a pizza family. Perhaps Mike Ilitch finally gave Sportservice an ultimatum: Can the tomato sauce hating nightingale or we'll find a new vendor. Perhaps the 'Singing Hot Dog Man' had simply run his course. Whatever the case may be, fans can get back to eating hot dogs however they want without a brief lecture beforehand.