Anti-Ketchup Vendor Fired After 15 Years at Detroit Tigers Games

Friday, 13 Sep 2013 09:53 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Detroit Tigers singing hot dog vendor Charley Marcuse likely wasn’t fired because of his tunes, but because of his anti-ketchup crusade.

The Tigers' Comerica Park concessions operator Sportsservice fired Marcuse last week. The singing vendor had long been a fan favorite from the days the baseball team played at Tiger Stadium.

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Marcuse's war on ketchup has been waged for the past 15 years, since he became a vendor, he told the Detroit News. But some fans felt Marcuse grew combative when they did not adhere to his edict that only mustard should go on hot dogs. Fans promptly filed complaints.

Marcuse, 33, would not say directly whether his anti-ketchup messages led to his dismissal. He said the Detroit Tigers told him the reason for letting him go was “general employee conduct.”

"I’ve vended the same way for the past 15 years, so there’s nothing new to any of this," he told the Detroit News.

Marcuse had his own line of mustard, Charley’s Ballpark Mustard, available in many Detroit-area stores.

Deadspin's Don Cosentino defended Marcuse and his anti-ketchup stance, but admitted that the customer should always come first.

"Only barbarians enjoy ketchup on hot dogs, so Marcuse is certainly to be admired for being against ketchup," Cosentino wrote. "But he was working in the customer service business, after all, and the customer is always right — even a customer so coarse as to demand ketchup on a hot dog."

Marcuse said he hopes he could return someday to the job he loves, but that would be up to Sportsservice and his union. Marcuse filed a grievance after he was fired and is awaiting a meeting.

On Sept. 7, Marcuse expressed his appreciation to Detroit Tigers fans in a statement after his departure.

"What started as a part-time summer job quickly turned into a passion," Marcuse told fans in his statement, posted by "For fifteen years I have tried to provide a unique, engaging, and fun experience for everyone. The vast majority of feedback and interactions have always been positive. . . . I am deeply thankful to the fans for their loyalty and support. . . . All of you are the reason I keep coming back."

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