"It is possible to die from eating. But I think to be professional means you don't die." (Takeru Kobayashi)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


It seems like half the competitive eating community (or one guy using seven aliases on Eat Feats) has their bibs in a bunch over how the 16 eaters were chosen for the Wedges & Wings contest that was taped last night in Las Vegas and will air tonight on Spike.

I'm not really sure what time it's on. For some reason, OJ is keeping that a secret and the stupid Spike website requires some sort of Flash plug-in that I don't have. Don't bother going to any of the IFOCE's 5 websites, you won't find any info there either. (Really? A nationally televised appearance not announced on the MLE web-o-websites? That must be what they call "stealth marketing.")

Anyhow, the knee jerk consensus about how the W&W eaters should have been chosen is that the MLE should have simply extended an invitation to the top 16 ranked eaters. Critic(s) complain that the Shea's "pick and choose" strategy is bullshit and it's putting "a gap" between many of the eaters. Obviously, these naysayers are miffed that they themselves didn't get chosen. They're either a top 16 eater trying to rationalize why they should've been invited or a lower ranked eater suggesting a numbers-based system that would spare them the agony of wondering why they weren't picked. (Beautiful Brian had a good comment on this "why not me?" mentality earlier this week on EatFeats.)

Here's my take: It's a nationally televised show. The 16 eaters chosen to represent this weird sport should be chosen wisely. That doesn't always mean they should be chosen based on eating ability. Personality and appearance matter, and not all of the top ranked eaters have that.

I would even go so far as to say that choosing a few lower ranked eaters who might put up relatively small numbers (assuming the numbers are televised) is a wise decision. The reason being, it's good for recruitment. Guys sitting at home will watch Joey and Koby and Pat and be amazed---possibly disgusted---at the numbers they put up. They'd think to themselves, "I could never eat that much." But show us a more "human" eating performance and the competitive eater inside everyone one of us will grab a fork and say, "I can do that!"

I don't agree with a lot of the things the Shea's do, but I trust them on this one. In the end, the success of this show (as measured by how excited or inspired viewers are about CE) benefits everyone in competitive eating---fans, eaters, sponsors and the Sheas. It's the classic "more fans equal more sponsors and more money" scenario. If that means Allen Goldstein (#14) and Frank Wach (#46) don't eat, so be it. Allen and Frank will be better off for it in the long run.


Blogger Carey said...

So how much effect would you say it has having the better looking people eat? I wouldn't think there is a difference with the people watching. On the flip side, not using the top 16 will discourage future competition. There is no reason to strive for the top 16 now. I think that the strive and competition is what will grow this sport, not the looks. Is that how they pick for the all-star game? If that was the case, Kruk would not have ever played one.

9:36 AM

Blogger Skinnyboy said...

Dave, I believe it's going to be televised on Oct 18 at 9pm MT.

10:34 AM

Blogger Wild Bill said...

Dave, I believe the show will be telecast on October 18th at 11:00 PM. I think that was on EatFeats on one of the threads.

I going to have to agree with Carey - what's the point in trying to improve, or even being active in the sport? It doesn't get you anywhere, unless you have the lithe, athletic body type that is picked for these "selection" contests. George Shea even said in response to that idiot in Massachusetts who wants to ban CE: "To suggest that because we do 100 events a year with 15 people, we contribute to the obesity crisis is absurd. Our eaters are not obese."

That pretty much leaves me out in the cold.

10:38 AM

Blogger Skinnyboy said...

And also, Dave you have time and time again said it best: it's eating, folks. I too think they are smart guys - so let it roll and see what happens. This is their fiefdom...but their "stealth marketing" of this and sooo many other things totally leaves me scratching my head too. They are seemingly leaving some easy money on the table but it is what it is.

11:02 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

CAREY - I don't mean "good looking" physically. Maybe "interesting looking" is better. As for the All-Star game (in most sports), a lot of picks are rarely based on skill or recent performance. Much of it is popularity based (i.e. Cal Ripken in his final years).

I think Steakbellie is the John Kruk of CE. That's why he deserved that spot at the table on Spike. A lovable "everyman" who just likes to get out there and compete.

SKINNY - Thanks. I was trying to avoid results spoilers until I saw the headline story and photo on Yahoo. Thanks a lot Yahoo News!

WILD BILL - To Carey's point about "why improve". Improvement has to be based on the desire to win events (and money). It also has to come from within (a personal goal).

I also think eaters have to realize that there are many areas in which they can and should improve, and capacity and speed are just two of them. Physical skills can help you get into events like these, but personality and fan appeal are other areas of improvement that matter too.

11:18 AM

Blogger Carey said...

hmmm... on another note, how are the Hooligans now that Pat is dominating the sport?

11:33 AM

Anonymous Philly Guy said...

I'm good looking. I have a lot of John Kruk Qualities. If I had talent, I'd be a shoe in.

1:43 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

The Hooligans are doing very well lately. Believe it or not, I had the first draft pick in the first round and I had the opportunity to pick Joey or Koby but I chose Pat. I stand by that pick.

Pat has 450 of our team's 714 points, just ONE POINT behind Joey Chestnut's season total (team total 868)and miles ahead of Eater X whose in third place with 301 points (team 848).

2:04 PM

Blogger Skinnyboy said...

Hey Dave, how many points do you have? :)

2:23 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

More than two members of my team! Besides, I'm more of a manager, not a player/manager. My guys need me to focus on the big picture.

2:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they are not going to take the top 16 eaters, a better explanation should be given, other then, you don't fit our production needs.

Russ Keeler

3:36 PM

Blogger Carey said...

What place does that put you in the running?

4:17 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

That's a good point, Russ. Here's another option that just occured to me.

Maybe (and this is a big maybe), the IFOCE should have hand picked 12 eaters using whatever method they wanted and then sent an email to the other 38 ranked eaters with a notice that the first four to reply get the remaining spots at the Spike table. That actually sounds pretty fair.

7:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know I am not in the top 16, but those who are, and were not invited, deserve a least a why.

All the buzz about why or why not people got to go or not go, came down to looks and personality.

So if that's the case the ranking system sucks.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy for everybody that got to go and experince this, but I think if they were taking 16, the first 16 in the ranking should have gone.


8:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's look at this as "everyman" the typical Spike viewer. (aka, target audience)

1. Joey Chestnut -- Of course he goes... "it's that dude who beat Kobayashi!"

2. Takeru Kobayashi -- "That asian dude who ate all the hot dogs!"

3. Patrick Bertoletti -- "The young with the Mohawk/Sweet Moustache!"

4. Timothy Janus -- "The guy who paints his face like the Ultimate Warrior!"

5. Sonya Thomas -- "For a girl that chick can eat a ton."

6. ChipBurger Simpson -- "Who"

7. Bob Shoudt -- "Who"

8. Richard LeFevre -- "The real old guy!"

9. Hall Hunt - "Who"

10. Juliet Lee - "Damn, there's 2 chicks in this contest!"

11. Crazy Legs Conti -- "Ah dreadlocks.... does he ever win?"

12. Erik The Red Denmark - 90% "Who" 10% "Oh Wristbands/Headband on July 4th."

13. Arturo Rios, Jr. -- "Who"

14. Allen Goldstein -- "Who"

15. Tim Brown -- "Who"

16. Patrick Philbin -- 90% "Who" 10% "The guy from O&A"

So, these 5 made it on rank.
Bob Shoudt, Allen Goldstein, Arturo, Hall Hunt, Tim Brown, Erik Denmark.

Crazy Legs -- will probably commentate.

Sonya, Juliet Lee & Chip-- I've gotta guess just couldn't make it.

You've got 4 spots to replace... then add a 5th one because they don't dig Pat Philbin's Baby Bird, or affiliation w/ O&A.

1. Steakbellie -- No complaints by anyone! Who doesn't love this guy?

and they give 4 other guys the opportunity to pull a Bertolletti, and climb up the rankings.... someone who's new, but good. Today we guess... tonight we'll find out.

7:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, if you're not new, and not improving, you're not invited.

Plain and Simple... there's no room to grow the promotion with "old timers."

Unless you were once the "big name" (Badlands and Cookie) you won't get it.

If you're a guy who's just hanging around, not new and improving, then you'll be shut out too.

8:12 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Like I said, AS IT SHOULD BE.

Eaters need to stop thinking of this as something certain people are "entitled" to and start thinking of it as more of a commercial for competitive eating (for ALL of CE, the success of this appearance benefits AICE too).

Our best looking/eating/acting foot forward is what we need here.

10:58 AM

Anonymous INVADER said...

Payne makes a valid point in his most recent post regarding those appearing on Spike. We (competitive eaters) all know who Tim Brown, Arturo, Shredder, and others are but the PUBLIC does not nor do they most likely care. As Pres said "Eaters need to stop thinking of this as something certain people are "entitled" to and start thinking of it as more of a commercial for competitive eating." It is logical, practical and most importantly marketable. If CE is not marketed correctly, it will tie in to the likes of freakshow/carnie act/comedy.

I can definitely agree those that are frustrated with the "tv's Top 16 eaters" but IFOCE is reaching various demographics with the multiple personalities displayed in the competition. The only thing that should have been done differently was to have those 'other' members that make the actual IFOCE 16 involved in some other manner, i.e. Conti w/ commentary. The IFOCE does not HAVE to nor should they feel obliged to. As a whole, the more people that are familiar with CE the more popular it will become. Think Poker, Tickle Me Elmo, George Foreman Grill (all things that have saturated the market in their own right).

12:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, as you guys said, I am a genius!

1:38 PM

Blogger Carey said...

Derek, that was you saying that you were a genius.

2:38 PM

Blogger Skinnyboy said...

two-shay, Dave, two-shay.

10:17 PM

Anonymous Philly Guy said...

I think the IFOCE needs to learn the difference between charisma and a gimmick. A good gimmick has tons of charisma, but you don't need to have a gimmick for charisma. Pat, Rick, and Kobe aren't dancing around in dumb costumes and acting like fools and people love them. I'm not a fan of making the MLE the WWE.

7:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kind of bothers me the most is, how everything written about the show states, the top 16 eater in the world.


It should say some of the best 16 eaters in the world.

9:14 PM

Anonymous beautifulbrian said...

Derek i know you cant possibly believe that spike was the ultimate decision maker as to gets in and who doesnt . The Sheas presented those names to spike and spike more than likely signed it off without having a clue as to who these people were. I sort of elaborated on what you said in my latest update with my perspective on the winners and the losers. Steak, Juris shredder & Wingkong filled the spots for the eaters that pulled out. I wasnt chosen for the booth because of what i stated in the update. This was their way of getting revenge on me for all the shit i write about them which just happens to be the truth. They tried me out for eats of strength last year and during the taping George Shea throws this ridiculous tirade because i along with Lerman didnt answer one his retarded questions the way he wanted. He storms out of the room and then tries to clean it up later on by saying it was all an act. They hold grudges and remember things.Everytime i try to be nice and back off with the negative commentary on the IFOCE they in turn pass me over in favor of someone else in the broadcasting booth . They wonder why i get down on them on a frequent basis. This kind of sneaky nonsense will only fuel my fire into printing the most dirt i can get my hands on. Thats my new policy. Take it or leave it.

6:54 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

BB - I applaud your courage to speak your mind about the IFOCE (the good AND the bad). Whether they know it or like it, the IFOCE needs more honest voices out there from people who are willing to stand behind their remarks.

"Anonymous" on Eat Feats, I'm looking in your direction.

10:25 AM


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