The Singing Hot Dog Man at Comerica Park has been fired

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Anyone who has been to Comerica Park for a Tigers game in the past decade or so is likely acquainted with Charley Marcuse, better known as The Singing Hot Dog Man. Well, he is singing at Comerica Park no more: he’s been fired by Sportservice, the company which manages the vending for Tigers games.

Marcuse was a polarizing figure at Tigers games. Some folks loved him. Some folks hated him. That latter group included the Tigers, who have wanted him gone for years and who complained to Sportservice on multiple occasions about his singing and eventually got him to agree to only sing between innings so as to lessen the distraction.

Which, fine. But it’s pretty friggin’ hilarious that in an age where ballparks blast music constantly at ballparks some guy doing some fake opera about hot dogs is considered a distraction. Personally, I would have put an end to the Nickelback and crap like that before going after the hot dog guy, but that’s just me.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉