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Friday, January 12, 2007

Dodgers Offer "All You Can Eat" Seats

As Americans continue to get fatter than the prized hogs at the Arkansas Farm Show. . . (if this were Sports Illustrated, this story would appear under the "Sign that the Apocalypse is Upon Us" header in the front of the magazine)

The Los Angeles Dodgers are offering all you can eat seats. For a fixed fee, fans can get all the hot dogs, sodas, peanuts and popcorn they can eat. Beer, ice cream and candy are extra. This is just what America needs -- encouraging an already overweight population to stuff themselves silly. Obesity and the myriad number of healthy problems that accompany it is upon us already. What are the Dodgers thinking?

This reminds me of a story regarding baseball and the overarching allegation that baseball players just aren't in the same shape as football or basketball players are. Years ago, when he was with the Phillies, a 70 year-old woman sitting near the dugout caught John Kruk taking a drag on a cigarette.

The woman caught Kruk's eye and admonished him: "You should be ashamed of yourself. You're a professional athlete."

To which Kruk replied, "Lady, I ain't an athlete. I'm a baseball player."

That's not to suggest, of course, that football and basketball fans are in better shape than baseball fans (and I'm not certain whether the Dodgers are establishing a precedent by offering up this seating), but it doesn't help the argument, either. And the advertising possiblities are endless: "Come see the game where the players hardly move and eat yourself into a state where you can hardly move." Or, "Come help us rewrite 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game,'" which would be accompanied by a rendition that said, "Give me all the peanuts, popcorn and crackerjack (that I can eat), and I won't be able to wait until I come back." And, to get into the gutter, instead of "Root, Root, Root for the Home Team" one would figure that after eating 5 hot dogs, drinking 3 sodas and eating two bags each of popcorn and peanuts, the average fan in that section could, "Toot, toot, toot" for the home team.

Emeril Live, this ain't.

The changes for sponsorship are endless, from fast food chains to antacids. Right now, Rolaids sponsors the awards for the best relief pitchers. Perhaps Maalox can sponsor this section. Or Tums. You have to give it to those baseball marketeers in L.A. -- they surely know a good thing when they see it.

I don't like the idea one bit, and I offer one more word of caution. There have been blog-based discussions about airline seating and whether overly large people have to pay for two seats (and a corresponding discussion about how difficult it can be to sit next to someone on a flight whose avoirdupuis carries over into your seat space). Click here for an example on Tigerhawk. With this in mind an with Americans "growing" at an alarming rate, if you want to make sure that you have the best chance of not suffering from the encroachment of an overeater, don't sit in this section.

You may be sorry.

It's bad enough that most ballpark fare is grease served with cholesterol and washed down with sugary beverages or overpriced beer.

It's worse, though, when gouging this stuff is encouraged.

I thought L.A. was the land of fruits and nuts (and granola and sprouts and protein shakes).

Instead of just another nutty idea.


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