I'm a baseball fan, which means I'm a hot dog fan. I don't know what it is, but baseball and hot dogs go hand-in-hand. They just taste better at the ballpark. I think it has something to do with the smells of grass and dirt and pine tar and beer and peanuts that just enhance their flavor. I'm not talking about these jumbo monstrosities covered with chili and cheese and everything else under the sun, that you need a loan to pay for. I'm talking about the regular hot dog, with a little mustard, and maybe some relish. I can eat four or five of those things at-a-time. That's why I love watching the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island every year on the Fourth of July.
I love everything that involves competition, especially something that I know I can't do, and I know I can't eat 10 hot dogs in 12 minutes, much less 50! It's awe inspiring to watch the master himself perform, 6-time defending champion Takeru Kobayashi. He weighs 150 pounds soaking wet, yet the way he makes those dogs disappear is otherworldly. He set the record of 53 3/4 hot dogs at last years event. This guy is the king of all things eating. He's the top ranked eater in the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE). Take a look at his accomplishments since last year's hot dog win:
Brats: 58 Johnsonville Brats / Brat Days / 10 Minutes/ Aug. 5, 2006
Cow Brains: 57 (17.7 pounds) / 15 minutes
Hamburgers: Krystals: 97 Krystal Burgers / 8 minutes/October 28, 2006
Lobster Rolls: 41 Lobster Rolls in Boston challenge / 10 minutes/Sept. 23, 2006
Rice Balls: 20 pounds rice balls / 30 minutes
Like Roger Maris' 61 homers, I thought the hot dog eating record was unbeatable. Then, along came Joey Chestnut, who last month, ate 59 1/2 hot dogs! That's five hot dogs and buns per minute! He is a force to be reckoned with, also holding world records in Asparagus (8.6 lbs/10 min.), Chicken Wings, Long form (182/30 min.), Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (47/10 min.), Gyoza(212 chicken and vegetable gyoza/10 min.), Horseshoe Sandwiches (6 lbs, 5 oz/12 min.), Pork Ribs (8.4 lbs/12 min.), Pork, Pulled (9 lbs, 6 oz/10 min.) and Waffles (18.5 Waffles (8 oz.)/10 min.).
Kobayashi is claiming he has arthritis of the jaw. He could be playing with Chestnut's head. We'll see tomorrow. I can't wait!