Above And Beyond: Baseball Edition

Tom attended opening day at RFK Stadium to see the Washington Nationals, but couldn’t get a hot dog. What is baseball without a hot dog? Is that cricket?

At no point during the game were the lines shorter than two innings. When I tried to go back in the 7th, there were hotdogs, but no buns. Who the fuck orders more hotdogs than they order buns? I mean, I get that they come 8 buns to a pack, but 6 dogs to a pack, but the solution here is to use combinatorics, a word which I alone learned on Square One back in the late 1980s, and come up with an equal fucking number of hotdogs and buns. Folks, this is not rocket surgery. It’s fucking concessions. Owners were supposed to fix this situation, not carry it forward. Yet, this opening day, much like the previous two, have brought concession lines that were unacceptably long, and concessions unable to cope with the demand of a full stadium.

Tom forwarded his concerns to Stan Kasten, President of the Nationals. Stan’s response, inside…

(Photo: josh.ev9)

Stan personally responded to Tom’s email and asked him to call his office. When Tom did, Stan’s assistant apologized and offered a “not-insignificant amount of Aramark Gift Certificates.”
The biggest surprise, though, came last Friday night when Mr. Kasten himself came by our seats to apologize in person. That’s the big deal here. It’s not often you see the President of the team in the upper deck visiting people who’ve written him, and that gives me an awful lot of hope for the franchise in the long run, even if this year’s 2-7 start doesn’t.

Now that is service. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

A Followup, and a Thank You [Metroblogging DC]


Edit Your Comment

  1. lore says:

    That’s pretty cool. Now if they did that because they gave me less garlic than the person before me on my garlic fries at AT&T Park (formerly known as SBC Park, formerly known as Pac Bell Park), then I’d be a happy camper.

  2. It’s not cricket, but it might be kosher …

    (And is Carey really Meghann is disguise? Is there any other explanation for such an excellent Wrigley shot?)

  3. OnoSideboard says:

    Lines were long at a Nationals game? That surprises me more than the President stopping by to apologize in person….

  4. Bay State Darren says:

    Square One! Gotta love the refererence! I used to watch that every day. And off into nostalgialand (and Wikipedia) I go.

  5. tozmervo says:

    I would point out that it sounds like the fault lies with Aramark. This is unsurprising, as Aramark is one of the most unprofessional and badly run companies in this country. Unfortunately, by not having to deal directly with competition (say, two food service providers on a campus/in a hospital/stadium/etc), they neither have to focus on service nor on decent pricing. Its virtually, if not technically, a monopoly.

  6. emilayohead says:

    Would have enjoyed this post a lot more with a couple fewer f-words. I mean, seriously, I love my Dodger Dog as much as the next guy but if there’s this much venom over concession lines I’d hate to see what he’d say to the Verizon rep that gets in his way! Or maybe it’s just because they lost . . .

  7. 2Legit2Quit says:

    As someone who used to work for Aramark, I can whole heartedly agree with tozmervo!

    Second, never purchase food at a stadium concession stand. Soda is easy to not fuck up, but that food and the preparation is disgusting. The nachos just come in a giant box and cheese is typically left sitting outside for long periods of time. No one ever used gloves and sanitation behind the counter is minimal.

    It’s way overpriced and I’m glad I quit. In this case probably what happened is they dropped the food or decided to gorge on their own for dinner. The only good thing that ever came was the free dominos pizza I’d get when it was over and I could sell it for $6 a box on the train ride home.

  8. Tuffy says:

    I’m not the least bit surprised by this story. Stan Kasten has a very strong reputation from the 15-20 years he spent as the president of nearly all Atlanta sports franchises. He creates winning teams and an appealing fan experience. If the new team and new stadium are successful, he will deserve quite a bit of credit.

    Jim Bowden, on the other hand…

  9. brettt says:

    i don’t think that not getting your hot dog is worth writing a letter about!

    I mean, concessions is the only real way the theaters/stadiums make money anyway, right? Clearly they want to sell you many, many hotdogs.

  10. bndocksnt says:

    I think some might argue that baseball itself is not, in fact, cricket.

  11. riggs says:

    Eyebrows McGee is right-that picture is 100% Wrigley Field. Unless Nationals fans have taken to wearing Cubs hats and calling concession stands “the Cubhouse.” Pretty cool that he got an apology in person from the man in charge, though.

  12. mconfoy says:

    The lines are long because RFK is old, there is not enough room and no one is willing to make a serious investment in their food stands given the new stadium for the Nationals is being built right now. Stan Katzen also committed to a better concessions experience this year, so its surprising to see this happening.

  13. erock0 says:

    Chances are the dogs come in frozen and the buns come in “fresh” which means they usually order a disproportionate amount of dogs to buns anyway. If that dude wants to commit to a better concessions experience, he would fire aramark and contract some chimps or something. Don’t order the banana creme surprise.

  14. aka Cat says:

    Tom has an excellent point, and his use of the word ‘combinatorics’ rocks.

    But — rocket surgery?

    It’s rocket science, people! Science!

  15. Jon Parker says:

    @CatMoran: Saying “rocket science” is so last century. In the 21st, if you want to discuss a scientific concept that’s apparently too difficult for the common man to understand, we say “evolution.”

  16. weave says:

    @Jon Parker: *chortle*

    btw, Aramak and others do have to compete, but only every year or so when their contract is up. Since they compete on how much they are going to kick back to the owner of the property and don’t focus on price to consumers or service, the consumer gets the shaft.

    So as a consumer has to somehow convince the venue, school, airport, whatever, that the arrangement is going to have a negative impact on their business.

    At least some of these arrangements specify pricing caps, like “must be no higher than area businesses” at least.

  17. kimsama says:

    Think of it this way: the long lines are actually good customer service. They prevent you from watching the Nats lose.

    It’s cute to watch the local news anchors get all peppy before a game, then be all “Well, it was another tough day for the Nats…” after.

  18. kimsama says:

    Ahem, I should mention that I live in DC and actually want the Nats to win (heading off any vitriol).

  19. hop says:

    food at perdue stadium in salisbury md. is way overpriced…..it’s a minor league team with major league food prices…..sneak in your own food……

  20. @riggs: Kick-ASS icon! (This COULD be the year. If Prior could get his f’in act together!)

    @Jon Parker: *SPLORT*

  21. lore says:

    And is that guy in blue (beer belly) sporting a MULLET? Or is it just the way the photo looks?

  22. LincolnO says:

    Typically, Opening Day at a baseball stadium features a largely all new-to-the-job concessions staff. Some continue year-to-year, some also work in concessions at the city’s basketball, football, or hockey arenas, but most do not. I’m guessing that it isn’t cost-effective to do a trial run with real food before a game to get everyone up to speed. What would they do with the wasted food?

    Lines should move faster when the workers get a few games under their belts.

  23. bluwapadoo says:

    Actually, this is more likely the culprit. This is the attendance of every Nationals home game this year, starting with Opening Day (which is when they ran out) and the rest.

    Attendance – 40389

    Attendance – 20894

    Attendance – 18835

    Attendance – 16017

    Attendance – 19234

    Attendance – 16617

    Attendance – 17224

    I suggest that the correlation only goes one way.

  24. Buran says:

    @tozmervo: A business is responsible for ensuring that any of its subcontractors fill the duties they are paid to fulfill, and do so properly. The complaint was sent to exactly the right place. A business owner has the power to fire failing subcontractors if they aren’t doing their job, but if the subcontractor gets the report they may not necessarily pass it up the chain.

  25. Winca says:

    Actually, present day baseball is based on the old english game rounders, which was usually played by elementary school girls.

  26. riggs says:

    @ Eyebrows McGee:

    Definitely lots of potential. If Prior can do something this year, it’s just gravy. Lilly and Marquis have been good investments so far. We’ll see…

  27. spryte says:

    Ummm…gee. Opening day game and there were long lines? Like, OMFG.

    Seriously, he was surprised about this? Yeah, it’s annoying, but it should also be highly expected. If you’re going to piss and moan about something that is largely inevitable, try doing something on your own about it. Bring your own food, if they let you. Get there early and buy food before the game starts (and you know, try REALLY hard not to starve to death if you can’t eat again for three hours).

    It’s probably more of an issue of not enough concession stands as opposed to slow workers, and barring a restructuring of the stadium, that’s not an easy fix. So learn to adjust, or cry more, n00b.