Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports

Hot dogs – we all know what’s in them (more or less), but we don’t care. Hot dogs are delicious, and a ballpark hot dog on a crisp summer day in the bleachers is an essential experience for every man, woman and child. That’s why on this day, July 23, we celebrate National Hot Dog Day and take a moment out of our busy lives to honor the strange amalgamation of meat that has been a staple of sporting events and good ole’ American cookouts for decades.

Of course, as our palates have expanded over the years and new foods have entered into the American diet, the hot dog has once again proved its malleability and has become a versatile canvas of sorts cozily tucked inside a warm bun. There’s the cheese dog, the chili cheese dog, the bacon dog, the Asia dog, the jalapeno dog, and of course, the grand daddy of them all, the $25 corn dog stuffed with cheddar cheese, jalapenos and bacon, brought to you by MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks. 

So in honor of the hot dog, which by the way should totally be the official food of Major League Baseball if it isn’t already, let’s take a look at some of the best hot dogs out there at major league ballparks today.

1. Diamondbacks’ D-Bat Dog

Listen, I didn’t call it the “grand daddy” of all hot dogs just to rank it second behind some other lesser brat. My hot dog bucket list has one item on it, and it’s this one. An 18-inch corn dog stuffed with cheddar cheese, jalapenos and bacon. Seriously, just look at it. If they run out of bats during a game they can hit the concession stand and order this monster to use as a substitute. But of course, that would be a tragic waste of a delectable hot dog.

2. Baltimore Orioles’ Mac & Cheese Crab Dog

Even though I’m approaching 30, I’m not even remotely close to being done with the macaroni and cheese phase of my life. Really, I might never be, but still, that doesn’t mean I haven’t incorporated some more matured tastes, like seafood – most notably crab. Who doesn’t love crab? Combine the mac and cheese and the crab, and throw them both on top of a Nathan’s hot dog and I’m a happy man. 

3. Texas Rangers’ “Boomstick” Hot Dog 

This one is definitely the most aptly named of all of the hot dogs here. “The Boomstick” is a 2-foot long hot dog, smothered in chili, nacho cheese, jalapenos and caramelized onions. Two. Feet. Long. That’s not natural. With baseball’s new pace of play rules resulting in quicker games, you might not even have time to finish this thing anymore. 

4. Minnesota Twins’ “The Bratdog”

I’ve looked at this picture for about 10 minutes now, and I’m still not 100 percent sure what I’m looking at. I suppose the only way to describe the Twins’ “Bratdog” would be to say that it’s basically the Turducken of hot dogs. It’s a hot dog, inside a brat, inside a bun, inside a stadium and it’s all supposed to somehow find it’s way inside a human. Watching someone eat this might be more entertaining than the actual baseball game, and the Twins are pretty entertaining these days so that’s saying something. 

5. San Diego Padres’ Carne Asada Dog

Normal is a word that should even be appearing on this list, but based on the above hot dogs I feel pretty confident saying this one is the most normal of them all. A 1/2 lb. hot dog on a jalapeno cheddar roll topped with carne asada, spicy Diego queso sauce and pico de gallo. Again, not exactly normal, but this one doesn’t have the same “genetically engineered in a lab by a mad scientist trying to raise the nation’s cholesterol” feel that the other ones do. At least not as much so. 

Besides the hot dogs that fill our hearts with joy and lots of other bad things that we don’t need to get into, hot dogs have other roles at stadiums as well. Sometimes they race each other for our amusement. 

David Maxwell/Getty Images

That’s America right there.

David Maxwell/Getty Images

I had something else to say about hot dogs and baseball, but I’m suddenly extremely hungry. So anyway, enjoy National Hot Dog Day baseball fans, and carry this day with you into MLB stadiums for the rest of the year.

[h/t to CBS Sports]

Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for either of his other three teams.

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