He's been on the corner of West Third and St. Clair since 1986, but Emmanuel Tsolakis never seems bored with his job. Occasionally, Tsolakis admits, he does feel hot-dog overload, but he never gets tired of his customers. "The job is something I have to do," he says. "I enjoy the people." At the same time, the Athens-born vendor will call out a greeting in his thick accent, start a conversation, and serve up his $1.25 treats. He knows most of the neighborhood by sight, and while he occasionally screws up the details -- "You're a lawyer, right? Oh, an architect, OK" -- his busy downtown customers appreciate the attempt. Ninety-five percent of the time, Tsolakis says, they're friendly right back. The rest he discounts, without malice. "Sometimes they just don't have the time."
What made us cynical about the Indians? The $19 bleacher seat? The Pepsi Home Run Porch? Mark Shapiros fondness for words like incentivized? Parts of Jacobs Field have all the spontaneity of a nursing-home lunch, which is why the untamed cries of vendor Leslie Flake, popping tops at the Jake since it opened in 1994, are to be cherished. His gnarly refrain -- Hey, beer guy. Cold beer here. The beer guuuuyyy -- sounds like hell burping or a Beastie Boys sample. Mix in a geriatric usher to chase fans from the box seats, and youd swear you were back at the old stadium. Pass one down the aisle!