By Jayme Lamm
SportsandFood.com

Hot dogs and baseball go together like ... well ... hot dogs and baseball. It’s estimated that at the end of the 2012 MLB season that 1,597,927 hot dogs will be consumed just at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. While that may sound like a lot (which it is), adding a gourmet-style element to the traditional ballpark food along with some variety surely helps crank that number up.

Take the Rangers Ballpark, home of the American League champs, who serve up 19 different kinds of hot dogs. Yes, 19. That's enough hot dogs to serve every member of the Duggar Family their very own version of the traditional 'dog.

The Food Network and Delaware North Companies Sportservice have teamed up together to bring the All-American classic ballpark fare back by launching "A Topping For Every Taste" into a handful of ballparks across the country. Wanting to show true individual tastes by region, and getting fans back into more traditional stadium food, they've hit a home run with their Food Network Hot Dog bars, featuring a 1/4-pound hot dog served on a potato roll along with a variety of toppings that are sure to satisfy any fan. Aside from the basics of BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, relish and saukerkraut, these Hot Dog bars will serve other favorites such as bacon chunks, fried onions, corn chips, griddled onions and peppers, shredded cheddar, smoky baked beans and a smoky-sweet jalapeno relish.

The calorie conscious needn't apply.

Rangers fans One of the most notable dogs in the stadium is the Boomstick (in honor of Nelson Cruz), which can be found in sections 42, 16 and 326 under the "As Seen on TV" sign. The Boomstick is a one-pound/24-inch long hot dog topped with sautéed onions, cheese and chili and costs $26. The larger-than-life-hot-dog comes with handles to help fans haul it back to the their seats. (Note: The Boomstick can weigh in at two-plus pounds once all the toppings are loaded on.) While that may sound like a lotta dough for a hot dog, it comes with a fork and knife (and lots of napkins) which many couples split. Consider it the modern day and slightly unhealthier version of Lady and the Tramp. The big dog can also be found in the Captain Morgan Club in center field where it's served on a cutting board and known as the "Champion Dog."

If the Boomstick doesn't sound quite up your alley, don't fret -- you have options. Options in the form of: Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs, Texas Hot Dogs (jumbo hot dog topped with jalapeno-cheddar sauce and seasoned ground beef), Signature Hot Dogs (jumbo hot dog topped with baked beans, mustard and corn chips), Sausage Sundaes (cracked black smoked sausage split and filled with chopped brisket, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes), BYOHD (build your own hot dog), Frito-dogs, Philly dogs, Nolan Ryan “Hot” Dogs (with hot sweet relish), Chicago Dogs, Chili-Cheese Footlongs, Veggie Dogs (located only in Center Field Market), Corndogs, Frankfurters, Mini Hot Dog Sliders and even regular ole plain hot dogs.

According to Casey Rapp, operations manager for Sportservice, the Ballpark in Arlington sells, on average, 500 hot dogs per game with the most popular being the Build Your Own or the Signature hot dog, which I can personally attest to its deliciousness. And a Bud Light Lime is the icing on the hot Texas cake.

Finishing our lap around the ballpark, I counted (yes, on my fingers) 19 different hot dog options and pointed that out to Rapp. "We're known for hot dogs here," he laughed. "And good baseball," I added.

If I learned anything about my hot dog tour around the park, it's not to buy a hot dog at first sight. Keep walking. K – E – E – P – W- A – L – K- I – N – G.

Oh, I also learned that the busiest times at concessions were 30 minutes before a game and the 3rd inning, so keep that in mind when perusing your hot dog options during your next Rangers game. It's too a good team to miss a single inning.

Texas isn't the only stadium with the new Food Network concession offerings and expanded menus. You can also find this tasty grub in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, San Diego and Minnesota.

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Drag racing is a visceral enterprise, one that's deep-rooted in the muscle cars of America. But this time, we're talking about a completely different kind of drag race. Apparently, a couple of Travellers (a traditionally nomadic people of ethnic Irish origin, who maintain a separate language and set of traditions) in Ireland decided it would be a good idea to charge down a busy roadway in an old fashioned sulky race. Sulkies are carts raced by ponies, in a style that's essentially the same as harness racing. The racing comes under scrutiny for its cruelty to the animals involved, much like horse racing.

And in an incredible act of stupidity, the horses weren't the only ones in danger during this stunt.

Superintendent Con Cadogan of Gurranabraher Garda Station described the race as “a clear breach of road traffic legislation and posed a significant danger to those involved and to other road users," in the Irish Examiner.

One man in his 20s was arrested and released without charge, and between 60-70 spectators and vehicles were at the scene when authorities were called.

Supporters of the sport said it can be a safe venture, but not when it's practiced like this.

“We are concerned that the practice of sulky racing, which is a long-standing tradition within and outside the Traveller community, should not be conflated with the actions of the participants in this event," a spokesman for the Travellers of Pavee Point said. “Sulky racing can be carried out in a way which is safe and well regulated, where there is space for it to take place. Examples of good practice exist around Ireland.”

This was not one of them.

We'd have warned you about the language if we knew what they were saying, but since hardly a lick of it is discernable, we think we're safe. Wish we could say the same about the horses.


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