The Philadelphia Phillies are scrapping $1 hot dog nights following unruly fan behavior

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — For more than a quarter-century, Phillies fans considered dollar hot dog night among the best ballpark promotions — but the team has now decided it was the wurst.

Those dog days of April — when the Philly weather is cold and the wieners are a steal — are going, going, gone.

The Phillies officially ended the popular promotion Thursday and replaced dollar dogs on select dates with a 2-for-1 deal at two April games at Citizens Bank Park.

A statement from the team said the change was made “based on the organization’s ongoing commitment to provide a positive experience for all fans in attendance.”

What wasn’t positive about dollar dog nights?

Armed with projectile frankfurters, some unruly Phillies fans began chucking their favorite Hatfield meat during a game last year, and the dogs soared like cans of corn throughout the stands and onto the field. The demand for the discount dogs also led to clogged lanes — if not arteries — on the concourse, and the cramped spaces led to security and safety concerns.

Who needs snowballs?

An April 11 game last season turned into a Philly food fight when fans — largely good-naturedly — tossed their ballpark franks in several sections, leading to multiple ejections.

“It wasn’t just the throwing,” said John Weber, senior vice president, Phillies ticket operations and projects. “It’s the concourse, the crowds of everybody being at the same X amount of stands. But obviously, you know, the throwing was a little bit of a tipping point.”

To be frank, the Phillies don’t necessarily need the deal these days to pack in crowds. The Phillies started the promotion 27 years ago when they still played at cavernous Veterans Stadium to try and boost ticket sales on an otherwise dreary game night.

But the Phillies stuck with the food-frenzy deal through the decades, even as they rose again to become one of the best teams in the National League. The Phillies topped 3 million fans last season — and scheduled three dollar dog nights for two April and one May weeknight game when attendance is generally down compared to weekend games.

“The idea originally was much more family-orientated, four, five, six people and having a discounted concession item,” Weber said. “As it’s morphed over time, it’s gone more to a younger demographic, which is great as well, especially in the April, May timeframe.”

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 ahead of the 2022 World Series when the Phillies played the Houston Astros that 1 of every 3 fans eats a hot dog at Citizens Bank Park and an average 6,951 hot dogs were sold per game — enough to line Ashburn Alley five times.

The Phillies kept a running dollar dog sold tally on the scoreboard for each game they were marked down.

The Phillies first caught blowback in 2022 when they tried to scale back from three dollar dog nights to two.

The unpopular move failed to cut the mustard with fans — even in the highest branches of state government. Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey responded to a writer for the Crossing Broad website who complained about the decision with a post on social media that read, “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, “Double ( hot dog emoji ) sounds like a great way to fuel up for #RedOctober.”

Phillies fans still grilled the decision on social media.

By mid-afternoon, one apparel shop already had a T-shirt made lamenting the decision with the inscription “RIP dollar dog night. Pork Flew. Heads Rolled.”

“Our goal is to always give a great fan experience,” Weber said. “If you were there at the game, it was not a great experience.”

If cheap meats are still your thing at the old ballgame, head across the state to Pittsburgh, where the Pirates will hold at least six $1 hot dog nights. Just a long relay throw south down I-95, the Class-A Wilmington Blue Rocks offer $2 dog Wednesdays.

The Texas Rangers sell dollar dogs at every Wednesday home game and the Minnesota Twins put extra buns in the oven for their $1 dog deal on each Tuesday home game. The Kansas City Royals are among the teams that still offer low-cost hot dogs.

Just not in Philly anymore, where some bad apples spoiled the Phillies’ appetite for a good-dog deal.

“Hopefully our fans will still come out and view two hot dogs for five dollars as a value and support the team in those two April dates that we have,” Weber said.

Hey, there is still a chance in Philly to always snag a free hot dog — just catch one out of the Phanatic’s famed hot dog launcher.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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