Gone to the Dogs Tom Lohr was on a quest: to find the best combination of baseball and hot dogs that North America's major league ballparks have to offer. His 103-day odyssey to find the perfect processed meat led him to rate all 30 major league dogs and their ballparks, as well as 35 minor league offerings.
With help from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Tom created a system that judges each stadium's hot dog on six factors: bun freshness, taste, toppings, price, portability, and an "it" factor, meaning a famous dog or specialty dogs. Just as important are the categories for ballparks: location, general admission ticket price, location, cleanliness, fans, and ambiance.
Living out the gastronomic adventure portrayed in Gone to the Dogs required sacrifices to stay on budget: sleeping most nights in the back of his small SUV (and crashing on the couches of strangers on others) and exploiting how much wi-fi and hot water one cup of coffee buys. During the 19,000-mile road trip to find the best hot dog experience, Tom encountered creative chefs, diehard fans, young entrepreneurs, old friends and meat manufacturers. They all have one thing in common: a passion for all facets of baseball and its partner in crime, the humble hot dog.
Tom Lohr got his first taste of big league baseball in Three Rivers Stadium, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose games he and his family listened to at their West Virginia home. The Navy veteran spent 24 years working on missile systems. Tom also built oil and natural gas pipelines and spent 13 months on a research station at the South Pole.
The outdoor enthusiast scaled Mount Fuji, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Blanc, The Matterhorn, Pic de Aneto and other peaks, as well as hiking the West Highland Way in Scotland and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. He enjoys talking about baseball and hot dogs and can be reached via his blog: ballparkdogs.blogspot.com. Tom loves hot dogs with mustard and relish and thinks putting ketchup on hotdogs should be a criminal offense.