The maneuver did not appear to be in jest, nor did it seem to be the result of a dare at the encouragement of onlookers. The Yankees fan sat in as much solitude as one can claim at a crowded ballpark, body turned toward the aisle, surreptitiously crafting a hot dog straw through which to sip a cup of draft beer. In the twelve hours since, the internet has been brought to its knees.
A video of the incident was posted by director Nicolas Heller, aka @NewYorkNico, who often posts videos of odd fan behavior in the stands at Yankee Stadium. The caption simply read, “Baseball games have been outta control recently.”
But as major sports news outlets picked up the post and baseball fans nationwide witnessed the display, tempers flared and emotions were piqued. Here’s a small sampling of the ire:
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- “Bruh incarcerate this man WTF is this”
- “Arrest this man”
- “This is not right” (tweeted, notably, by Bud Light)
- “send this [expletive] to the deepest depths of hell”
- “Reporting this to the Feds immediately”
- “Mother of God.”
But you know what? Everyone should calm down. I kind of love the hot dog straw, and I suspect you actually kind of love it, too.
My initial defense of this fan was going to be that, ultimately, I can relate. Not because I crave a hot dog dripping in pilsner (I do not), but because I do a lot of things throughout my daily life just to sort of...see what would happen if I did them. Just yesterday, I thought it would be satisfying to see whether I could land a detergent pod into the washing machine from six feet away. And when I bought cookie butter for the first time, I tried combining that stuff with absolutely everything in my pantry to make sure there was no delicious stone left unturned. So, seeing a tubular meat and wondering how it fares as a straw just might be one of those brain-worm things that won’t go away until you try it.
That said, this defense doesn’t quite work when you see how practiced the fan looks at creating glizzy straws. This straw method might be something that this person does regularly, either at home or at games. And that is, in a way, even more endearing. You spend so much on a hot dog and a beer at the parks these days—why deny yourself the added pleasure of consuming them the way you want to? The hot dog straw hurts no one, and will live rent-free in the American consciousness for years to come. It is a quietly powerful little scene: as one anonymous fan in a sea of 50,000, this person is living life exactly the way they wish to live it.
Or maybe this person was angling to prank the internet on purpose, in which case, drinking through a glizzy straw seems like a fair price to pay for virality.
The fan licks both ends of the straw used to puncture the dog before replacing that straw with the “upgraded” one, suggesting that the real goal here was to wring every ounce of that salty, umami flavor from the experience—which, I have to say, is the same reason I eat hot dogs plain. There is nothing on the planet that tastes quite like this most American of sausages, and if you want to pair it with a domestic American brew, have at it. I like keeping those flavors separate, personally, but I’d rather have the fan next to me quietly concoct a hot dog straw than build a drippy, obtsructive cup snake across my section of the ballpark.