Savage Words: I was short a hot dog, apple pie and Chevrolet

Tom A. Savage, Contributing writer

If you’re old enough to remember, I’ll apologize in advance. No doubt you’ll have the following jingle bouncing around in your head for the next few hours.

Automaker Chevrolet debuted a television commercial in 1974 that took the country by storm. “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.”

See … that jingle is in your head now. Sorry.

The same tune came roaring into my head last Sunday as I covered the Valley Rats amateur baseball game in Baltic, home of the River Dawgs. 

Rats versus River Dawgs: can it get more South Dakota amateur baseball than that?

It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of summer. Line the seasons up, and summer is a clear-cut No. 4 in my rankings.  

I know I’m the weird one when it comes to personal rankings on that subject. I get it, but it’s been that way for me since I can remember. Give me January over July every time. 

But, there are some things I love about summer. I grew up in a motorsports family as my father was a writer for the sport since I can remember. I still enjoy the local racing scene.

And baseball. There’s something about baseball that makes summer bearable for me.

Going to some of the baseball cathedrals around the country is a highlight each summer. Target Field in Minneapolis is beautiful, Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City is a marvel to me, and almost every other 40,000-plus seat stadium around the country brings its own share of wonder. 

But there is a charm to amateur baseball parks around our state. Baltic is certainly no different. As I watched the River Dawgs host the Rats last Sunday, I truly felt I was only short of a hot dog, apple pie and Chevy truck from an All-American day.

River Park on Baltic’s northwest side is picturesque with the Big Sioux River wrapping its way around it. Last Sunday, about 30 people made their way to the park to watch the hometown Dawgs host the Rats. The Public Address announcer made an occasional announcement and the rapids on the river behind home plate filled the air as the Big Sioux was jumping because of the recent rains.

It made for a magical moment as the 1974 jingle rattled around in my head. I took photos of the game amongst the 30 fans behind home plate as the river continued to bang its way over the quartzite rocks behind us.

“Taking pictures, huh,” a gent said to me with a blue and yellow Riverdawgs polo shirt on. “I never miss a Riverdawgs game. Never.”

There is a certain charm to amateur baseball games in our state.

Before the 2:30 first pitch, Valley Rats manager Jaxon Haase and a couple of other players got to the park early for batting practice. At 1 p.m., the gates into the park were locked, so Haase and his fellow Rats jumped the fence to take some cuts.

The infield hadn’t been mowed for probably several weeks. The grass was between ankle and shin length high. A ground ball was sure to die amongst the brush.

But no fear. One of Baltic’s players showed up at 1:30 and mowed the infield, which left grass clippings around the base paths and pitcher’s mound throughout the game.

Again, there’s a certain charm to amateur baseball in South Dakota.

Be it First National Bank Field in Brandon, or Legion Park in Valley Springs, or if you want to venture out and take in a Rats game in Baltic, it’s worth the trip – at least once per year.

At the very least, you’ll have the ‘Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet’ jingle in your head for a few hours.

And if it’s still there for the rest of today after reading this, again, my apologies. 



The Brandon Valley Journal


The Brandon Valley Journal
1404 E. Cedar St.
Brandon, SD 57005
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