Rafu Staff and Wire Reports
Perhaps as beloved as the team itself, Dodger Dogs have long been as much a part of a visit to Dodger Stadium as hits, strikeouts and the seventh-inning stretch.
But the legendary food isn’t quite the same anymore, with Farmer John no longer supplying the trademark dogs.
“Farmer John had a long-standing and valued relationship with the Dodgers,” Farmer John parent company Smithfield Foods said in a statement to The Los Angeles Times. “After the 2019 season, Farmer John made the difficult business decision not to renew its contract with the Dodgers. Unfortunately, through the latest contract negotiations, we were unable to come to an agreement that was beneficial for both parties.”
Dodger Dogs are still available at the stadium, but they are no longer Farmer John dogs.
The team still owns the rights to the name Dodger Dog.
The team hasn’t said who the new supplier is. Team president Stan Kasten told The Times and announcement is coming soon, following an “elaborate process” of taste-testing to ensure comparable flavor.
“This was as close as they could imagine to what people were used to,” Kasten said. “It’s a Dodger Dog through and through.”
In the meantime, Farmer John purists may want to wander over to a Los Angeles Football Club match. The company last week announced the second year of its sponsorship agreement with the soccer club.
With its distinct smoky, savory identity, the longer-than-the-bun weiner was created by baseball stadium concessionaire Thomas Gregory Arthur when the Dodgers moved from the L.A. Coliseum to Dodger Stadium in 1962.
Borrowing a trait from Nathan’s Famous, he called his dogs “foot-longs,” although they were shorter than 10 inches. They were soon christened “Dodger Dogs” and a legend was born.
Arthur’s food service company ran the stadium’s food concessions for 29 years, reporting some 50,000 Dodger Dogs sold each game day. The team now sells upwards of 3 million hot dogs per season.
“Besides peanuts and Cracker Jack, its probably the most famous delicacy in baseball,” Dodgers team historian Mark Langill told the Associated Press in 2006.
For decades, former announcer Vin Scully dutifully sang the praises of the Farmer John Dodger Dogs, with the now classic tag line, “Eastern-most in quality, Western-most in flavor.”