CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - One man is taking his love of America's favorite pastime to a whole new level. He's on a 16,000 cross-country trek to find the best ballpark hotdog.
Tom Lohr calls himself a lifelong baseball fan. Now, he's also become a connoisseur of ballpark hotdogs.
"Its called an Oreo dog," said Lohr, discussing the craziest dog he's found. "It is a hotdog with peanut butter, jelly and cream cheese on it."
The Tulsa, Oklahoma native is using his retirement money and sleeping out of his car, all in search of the most mouth watering hotdog.
He's chowing down at as many baseball stadiums as he can and rating the dogs and ballparks for their overall experience.
"Some places have a great ball park, not so great dogs," said Lohr. "Fenway Park: Fabulous ball park, not so good dogs."
Lohr plans to visit all 30 major league stadiums in search of that perfect evening at the ballpark. So far, he's hit 27.
Along the way, he's also trying dogs at minor league baseball parks including the Riverdogs' home turf at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
Lohr has created a special rating system with help from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
"There really is such a thing, it's in Washington DC," said Lohr.
He rates the dogs based on several factors: Bun, taste, topping, price, portability (which is how easily you can get to your sit with it) and the "It" factor.
"They have a $26 dollar, two-foot-long hot dog in Texas that feeds three or four people," said Lohr. "That's the 'It' factor! It brings people in."
The only ballpark that's gotten a perfect score, so far, has been the Baltimore Orioles. Lohr says they had a good ballpark, and a good dog at a good price. He says affordable hotdogs and general admission tickets are important components for the absolute experience. He says a fairly priced, standard hot dog at a ballpark should be no more than $5.
If you're wondering how hot dogs at The Joe rated, Lohr gave them a score of 27.5 out of 30. He said the topping selections and the foil they wrap the dogs in could have been better. The ballpark almost got a perfect score. It lost points for an $8 general admission ticket, which Lohr considered a little steep, compared to other MILB games around the country.
"Everyone should go to the ball park and have a hot dog, it's the All-American experience," said Lohr.
When he's finished his quest, Lohr says he's taking experience with the hot dogs, travel mishaps, and the people he's met along the way, and turning into a book.
For now, he's taking one city and bite at a time. You can follow Lohr's journey and check out his hot dog ratings for each ballpark on his blog.