July 4, 2008

Scandal in Gotham City, Holy Hot Dog Batman

Photos by Alan Cordova

Another big scandal coming out of New York City and this time there is no sex or politics involved. The Brooklyn Paper reports that Takeru Kobyashi will be vying for the July 4 Hot Dog eating crown through what is being called a "sponsors exemption". The Brooklyn Paper explains it this way:

Takeru Kobayashi, the six-time world hot-dog-eating champion who lost his crown last July 4 in Coney Island, will try to win back the coveted Mustard Yellow International Belt from Joey Chestnut this Independence Day to compete at the annual Nathan’s frankfest.

But unlike everyone except the reigning champion, Kobayashi is getting his place at the so-called “Table of Champions” without earning it at a regional qualifier.

He’s getting a “sponsor’s exemption,” said George Shea, chairman of Major League Eating, the governing body of all stomach-centric sports.

Joey Chestnut, left, and Takeru Kobayashi.
“I want us to continue to be good rivals,” Mr. Chestnut said today.
(Photo: Dima Gavrysh for The New York Times)

Not everyone thinks this is such a good idea. Kobayashi got beat last year by arch rival Joey Chestnut. The worlds greatest competive eating journalist Gersh Kuntzman:

Shea tried to spin this reporter, but that simply can’t be done. Let’s remember, I have been chronicling the heroic exploits of our nation’s gustatory gladiators since the days when little Joey Chestnut couldn’t even finish one hot dog at a backyard barbecue — and given my wealth of knowledge, I think the whole thing stinks (not the hot dogs themselves, of course; they’re delightful, with a hint of spices and a touch of garlic — I’m talking about Kobayashi’s exemption).

Kunzman has a long piece that explains just what fraud this whole exemption thing is. I'm picking the American again this year. I think Chestnut will crush the interloper agian this year the America's greatest sports title will continue to be held by an American when this great American holiday is done.


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