Charley Marcuse, the singing hot dog vendor at Comerica Park with the booming baritone who was both loved and disdained by fans, was fired Friday by the ballpark’s food service contractor.
The company released a statement saying it could not comment on a specific action involving an employee, so it remains unclear why Marcuse was dismissed at this time.
Marcuse posted this message on Twitter Friday evening: “After 15 years the @tigers finally got what they've aways wanted: I was fired by @delawarenorth #Sportservice this morning. #LongLiveMustard.”
He released longer statement late Friday:
"Since 1999, the final season played at Tiger Stadium, I have been selling hot dogs at Detroit Tigers games. What started as a part-time summer job quickly turned into a passion. 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. Fans constantly tell me that I have added to their enjoyment of the ballgame. The Detroit Tigers and Sportservice , a Delaware North Company, see it differently. After so many years I am very sorry to see this day come.
"I am deeply thankful to the fans for their loyalty and support. It has been an amazing experience serving you for the past fifteen years. All of you are the reason I keep coming back. I hope to have the opportunity to serve you again in the future."
The food service company's statement failed to address Marcuse's firing:
“While it would be inappropriate to comment on specific confidential personnel action, in general Detroit Sportservice takes personnel action only after a complete and thorough review of an employee’s performance, all in accordance with its personnel policies and applicable collective bargaining agreements. Sportservice prides itself on providing the highest level of guest service to enhance the guest experience at Comerica Park. We encourage our vendors to interact and provide an excellent experience for the fans and are proud of the great vendors who are serving fans throughout Comerica Park.”
Marcuse's operatic style and booming voice were well known in the seats around home plate at the stadium, and his arias could even be heard occasionally in the background on Tiger radio broadcasts. In 2006, fans voted Marcuse the stadium's best vendor in a contest, and he won a trip to watch the Tigers play in New York.
Todd Jones, the former Tiger pitcher, discussed his admiration for Marcuse in 2007.
"After the games, I usually run into Charley coming out of the dressing room (their dressing room is near ours). I ask him if he had a good night, and Charley, dripping with sweat and smiling, says, 'I did OK,' " Jones wrote.
He was suspended earlier in the decade, but was rehired after some fans protested, and Marcuse wound up on national television. Once back in uniform, his singing was restricted to certain innings.
Some fans complained that he was too loud, and he would refuse to tone it down when asked. He also sometimes took issue with what fans wanted on their hot dogs. He preferred mustard only.
Out of the park, Marcuse is an entrepreneur who markets Charley’s Ballpark Mustard and works at the Claymore Shop, a men’s clothing store in Birmingham.