If you watched the news on Sunday, you were likely as surprised as I to find that there is, in fact, an organization afoot that promotes abuse of the intestinal tract. The fine folks at Major League Eating held their annual hot-dog eating contest at Coney Island in NYC and well, let's put it this way: The World Cup of hot dog consumption is safely in American hands for now and for the foreseeable future. The only way to wrest that cup from the sweaty hands of four-time winner Joey Chestnut would be to offer him something else to eat.
From the press release offered by proud MLE brass:
Number-one-ranked eater Joey Chestnut won his fourth straight title by winning the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island, downing 54 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes in oppressive heat to retain possession of the Coveted Musted Yellow Belt. In second place was Eater X of New York City with 45 HDBs and in third was Patrick Bertoletti of Chicago with 37. The 100-pound Sonya Thomas ate 36 and Bob Shoudt consumed 34. Erik The Red Denmark consumed 32, Gravy Brown ate 31, Allen Goldstein 28, Ben Monson and Juliet Lee 27, Sean Gorden 26.5, Pete Devekos and Badlands Booker 24, Crazy Legs Conti 27, Bryan Beard 16.5 and Kris Adams 11.
It would seem that in their haste to be a true major-league sport, and also to separate themselves from lowly amateur overeaters, these folks have come up with their own jargon.
So whereas one sportswriter might be able to write that Nick Markakis had 3 RBIs one shimmering Sunday afternoon, the scribe assigned to this competition is given the acronym HDBs to work with, as in "In second place was Eater X of New York City with 45 HDBs." That's 45 hot dogs and buns, if you're scoring at home. And if you've eaten 45 hot dogs and buns, chances are, you will not be scoring at home.
It would also appear that the writer of this press release is so deeply imbued in the speech patterns of New York City that he or she spelled "mustard" as it must sound to one from Gotham: "musted." That's why it's still so funny to me that a headwaiter from up there once called a buddy of mine a "stooopid baaaasted."
There's one more sad thing about how our love for shoving far too much food down our necks has gone too commercial. These guys learned from the folks in tennis and NASCAR: if there is an available square inch of skin or metal, cover it with advertising and make more money. Thus, MLE has an official antacid, and winner Chestnut was seeing hoisting a pink bottle of Pepto-Bismol moments after his stomach-turning accomplishment.
Good idea, Joey.