Jul 7, 2011, 5:21 PM EDT
Alternate headline: I Dream of Weenie.
I hate to disappoint all the kids out there who have Takeru Kobayashi Fatheads on their walls and secretly wish their moms would marry him. But in a startling new video seen below, it appears that Gorge-zilla actually failed to break the record for hot dogs consumed in a 10-minute span — 68 — during his highly-publicized Fourth of July attempt in Manhattan.
In case you haven’t been following this, former hot dog eating champ Kobayashi was barred from the Famous Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest in 2009 for failing to sign a contract with Major League Eating, the sport’s governing body (note to terrorists: this is just how we roll. Deal with it). So Kobayashi organized his own one-man hot dog eating show at a New York restaurant on Monday, held at the exact same time as the official Nathan’s event at Coney Island. Kobayashi gobbled 69 dogs, handily beating Joey Chestnut, who ate 63 at Nathan’s about 10 miles away. Or so everyone thought.
Someone with a lot of time on their hands examined the video of Kobayashi’s attempt with the ferocity of a Zapruder Film scholar, and determined that the Japanese weiner exile really only ate 65. In fact, he can apparently be seen tossing one bun aside, which would have disqualified him in the Nathan’s contest. I didn’t see it myself … the video is way too disgusting to watch all the way through. Kind of like Bad Teacher.
Anyway, decide for yourself, people of Earth:
Alternate headline: Empire of the Ant(acid)s.
What does this prove? That to decide the real weenie champ, we need Chestnut and Kobayashi duking it out side by side, mano-a-mano, as God intended. JUST AS IT’S SHOWN HERE:
Indeed, this is weenie war.
There’s a scene in the HBO series Game of Thrones in which Daenerys Targaryen, new bride of the warlord of the Dothrakis, has to eat an entire horse’s heart, raw, to prove her worthiness as their queen. Her brother’s reaction as this is occurring is the same as mine would be: “I hope that wasn’t my horse.” Although going a bit wobbly at the end, she finally wolfs it all down, to the wild cheers of those in attendance (except the horses).
But imagine if the HBO writers played by current, real-life rules. First they would have to check to make sure that she was under contract with Major League Eating. If not, the MLE president would denounce the event as a farce, installing his own queen, who ate a similar horse’s heart a few miles away. That of course would trigger civil war, and thousands would die by the sword. Then, everyone would break for lunch (more horse).
Sound ridiculous? Sure. But that’s the state of competitive eating in 2011: there is absolutely no sport, no matter how whimsical or off-the-wall, that we can’t totally ruin with corporate fingerprints. This, as your mom used to say, is why we can’t have nice things. Because if a sporting event is proven to be the least bit popular, lawyers show up, contracts are drafted, type-A personalities install themselves as bosses, and ESPN begins setting up cameras.
If I may give a pertinent example: Little League Baseball. Invented in 1939 as a summertime diversion for smaller kids who weren’t allowed to play sandlot ball with their bigger brothers, Little League has now grown corpulent and unwieldy, with a corporate national office that organizes an annual All-Star tournament and requires players to recite a “Little League Pledge” before each game. There are uniforms and sponsors and type-A personalities putting themselves in charge and look, there’s ESPN setting up cameras.
And so it is with competitive eating. Some are calling Kobayashi the 2011 weiner-eating champ. After all, even if he did eat only 65 dogs on July 4, that’s still more than Chestnut’s 62. (Isn’t it funny how these numbers coincide more or less with the MLB single-season home run record? Coming up next: steroid testing).
But there’s also something to be said for being able to face your opponent. Chestnut was not given the opportunity to be able to pick up his pace when Kobayashi started moving ahead, because he couldn’t see him.
As for me? I don’t understand how anyone could eat 68 of anything in which the ingredients are a total mystery. Who knows what’s actually in a hot dog? It’s a question that’s baffled scientists for decades. Even after eating just one, I have immediate regrets.
In other words, I hope that wasn’t my horse.
Rick’s Cafe appears on Thursdays. Contact: Rickchand@gmail.com.
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