Michael Strahan And His Mini Weiner

March 13th, 2008at 06:16pm Posted by Eli


This is the sort of thing that happens when you win the Superbowl:

Wednesday morning in Times Square a small crowd gathered in the cool shadow of ABC Studios to watch Michael Strahan, defensive end for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, drive a car.

Not just any car: Mr. Strahan had squeezed his 6’5” frame behind the wheel of the new Mini Wienermobile, a smaller, sportier version of Oscar Mayer’s somewhat famous Wienermobile, also in attendance. Several news photographers — one of whom later told me he had left the vigil outside Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s Fifth Avenue apartment to be here — aimed their cameras in expectation. Behind them, a pack of tourists had begun to assemble and gawk. The tourists had come to the Crossroads of the World for excitement and spectacle; this would do.Mr. Strahan, his knees wedged beneath the dashboard, flashed his broad gap-toothed smile as he eased the car into gear, moving through the cordoned-off lane at about the same speed at which one might walk back to the huddle after an incomplete pass. A young woman in an official Oscar Mayer windbreaker ushered him forward with hand signals, gesturing him to a stop approximately one foot from the front bun of the larger Wienermobile. All told, the vehicle moved about forty feet. And that was that.

Afterward, as the ever-affable Mr. Strahan posed for photographs alongside the Mini Wienermobile, I spoke to Bill Blansett, an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile representative. Mr. Blansett, wearing a windbreaker that matched his colleague’s, was a Hotdogger, he told me — member of a team of Hotdoggers who toured the country with the six full-sized Wienermobiles and their newer, nimbler sidekick. Being head of his team of Hotdoggers, he suggested I call him Big Dog Bill.


Finally the photo op ended, and Big Dog Bill escorted me into the passenger seat of the Mini Wiener for a quick spin around the block. Unfortunately I wouldn’t be allowed a test drive, he explained — insurance reasons. He settled into the driver’s seat and requested that I buckle my seatbelt. For a moment I imagined us peeling out and tearing through midtown traffic like an angry cabbie, but no such luck — the Hotdoggers are a law-abiding crew and, according to Big Dog Bill, do not push the Wienermobiles past posted speed limits.


Big Dog Bill — of whom it must be said seems to have a good sense of humor about his job — pushed a button and the Oscar Mayer theme song (the one that goes “Oh I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener…”) was broadcast over the Wienermobile’s external speakers. We got several stares, and a few smiles, but not the dramatic reaction I was expecting. I suppose I wanted people to pump their fists at us, the way we used to at passing 18-wheelers.

Pretty cool, yet I can’t shake the feeling that it is a sign of the End Times…

Entry Filed under: Sports,Weirdness

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