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October 27, 2004

Get a Life 10-22-04

I grew up in a household where ESPN is more important than CNN, and nobody flinches when they hear the crash of a remote control being chucked across the room. For this reason, watching baseball on TV gives me anxiety, but I love actually going to games. Although I can't promise that I'll know the batting average of the next guy up to bat (or even the score some of the time), I guarantee that I could tell you where to find cotton candy or a good hot dog. Last year, my friends and I got ourselves hyped for hot dogs and beer at the White Sox & Yankees game. Much to our dismay, they stopped selling beer and ran out of hot dogs. The disgruntled beer pourers of US Cellular Field were far from sympathetic to our situation, and there was nothing we could do about it but mope through the last three innings.

If we had been allowed to yell obscenities at the servers until they gave us our damn hot dogs, we could have spent the bottom of the eighth complaining about how New York pays for its wins rather than drowning our sorrows in Diet Coke. That's where Weiner Circle comes into play. They encourage you to express every emotion from impatience to full-on rage, but you need to realize that they'll throw the insults right back at you. Weiner Circle isn't family-friendly like Ed DeBevic's; if you don't hear a four-letter word within five minutes of walking into this hole-in-the-wall, you are probably in the wrong place.

In broad daylight, you might miss the Vienna Beef sign that marks the joint, but as soon as the bars clear out, Weiner Circle is hopping. The food is far better (and less sketchy!) than the Depot, for the same price. Even if you aren't hungry, the entertainment value is worth the trip. Pull up a stool at 4 a.m. and listen to yuppie, twenty-something i-bankers in lavender shirts shout their hamburger and cheese fries orders to women behind the counter who could undoubtedly beat them up. Pull yourself away from the TV commentary during seventh inning stretch and head up to this Clark mainstay to de-stress and remind yourself that baseball isn't everything. Hot dogs matter, too.