Thursday, July 4, 2013

A 4th of July Staple: The Wiener War Trilogy

From 2009 to 2011, Studious Metsimus published a touching true story that we completely made up, lovingly referred to as "The Wiener War".  The annual pieces talked about former Met Carlos Beltran and his private life as a gustatory athlete (and yes, just like you, I learned the word "gustatory" from those ubiquitous Nathan's Famous hot dog radio ads).

In each piece, Beltran always found a way to thwart his arch-rival, Takeru Kobayashi (whom he sometimes mistakenly referred to as Kamasutra).  Whether it was in direct competition, which was painstakingly detailed in the first Wiener War piece, or through indirect means (Wiener War II), Beltran never failed to take the Mustard Belt from Kobayashi.

On this Fourth of July, we'd like to bring back this trilogy, combining them all into one piece for the very first time.  After all, you can never have enough of Beltran vs. Kobayashi, especially when their story has become so much fun to digest.

Happy Independence Day, everyone!  And thank you to our loyal readers for sticking with us over the past four years.  We will always relish your readership!

Beltran vs. Kobayashi: Wiener Takes All!

Carlos Beltran recently held a press conference thanking Cyclones fans for the love and support he received in Brooklyn during his rehab stint.  To thank them, he announced a charity event where he would challenge World Champion Competitive Eater Takeru Kobayashi to a hot dog eating contest.  Beltran was even photographed taunting Kobayashi at the official weigh-in (as seen in the Associated Press photo, above left).

Kobayashi accepted the challenge, feeling glad that he didn't have to go up against his main competition, Joey Chestnut.

The stage was set after the latest Cyclones game.  However, there would be one change made to the contest, as per Omar Minaya.  Kobayashi would be required to eat regular sized Nathan's Famous Franks while Don Carlos would be eating Nathan's Gummi Hot Dogs (see photo below).

The Kobayashi Kamp was furious at the development, but Minaya insisted on the change.  He had been waiting for Beltran's return for nearly three months and was not going to let indigestion slow his return to the Mets.   Plus, it was for charity. It was not going to be televised nationally on ESPN.  Kobayashi was relieved when he was told that not even Studious Metsimus could get their cameras into the event.   (He was lied to.  We did.  We're so evil like that.)

The contest began with Kobayashi scarfing down 10 hot dogs while Beltran was still having trouble opening the bag of gummi wieners.  Frustrated at the unfortunate circumstances, Beltran was overheard saying:

"Why aren't these bags already open for me? Do they make Kamasutra boil his hot dogs himself before he eats them?"

Note: Studious Metsimus apologizes to the readers for what might be considered an off-color remark by Carlos Beltran.  We know that Takeru's last name is Kobayashi, not Kamasutra.  However, we are dedicated to being a serious site and will not alter anyone's quotes, even for the sake of political correctness.  We have our integrity to uphold.

After some tense moments, the bag was opened, but not before the judges ruled that it was not against the competition's rules to have outside help in the opening of the bag.  Therefore, thanks to the assistance of his eating manager, fluffy comedian Gabriel Iglesias (see photo left), Beltran began eating his gummies, sometimes by the handful in order to catch up to Kobayashi.

With seconds to spare, Beltran decided to make his move.  He tried the hidden bun trick on Kobayashi.  This is where Beltran adds another bun to his competitor's plate in the hopes that he eats it without noticing that there is no hot dog inside of it.

Well, (hot)doggone it if it didn't work!  At the end of the competition, Beltran had eaten 55 gummi wieners to tie the 55 hot dogs that Kobayashi consumed.  It appeared that the competition would be declared a draw between the two participants.

However, the judges noticed that Kobayashi had eaten 55 buns, not 55 hot dogs.  He had only eaten 54 hot dogs, one short of the total number of gummi wieners eaten by Beltran.  This caused obvious disappointment in the Kobayashi Kamp (see photo above right).

Therefore, due to the unfortunate "miscalculation" on Kobayashi's part, Beltran was proclaimed the winner of the charity event.  For his accomplishment, he was given the coveted Mustard Belt and a lifetime supply of Nathan's beer battered onion rings.

Carlos Beltran has just about completed his rehab assignment in Brooklyn.  If all goes well, he will make his return to the Mets next week during the series against the Florida Marlins at Citi Field.  His Coney Island experience has included stops at Keyspan Park and Nathan's Famous Franks.  All that's left is for him to ride the Cyclone and his visit will be complete.

However, I do have a word of advice to Don Carlos.  Leave the Mustard Belt at home.  You don't want to be knocked unconscious by it as you go up and down the famous wooden roller coaster.  The Mets still haven't had a "disabled by bulky belt" transaction this year.  We don't need you to be the first.

Special thanks to Efrain Rivera and Jason Bornstein for suggesting this topic.  The readers can thank them for it, as does Studious Metsimus.  Here's a Carlos Beltran bobblehead (sponsored by Nathan's of course) to thank you for your suggestions!

Beltran vs. Kobayashi: Wiener War II

Last year, competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi was taken down by Mets centerfielder Carlos Beltran in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest, as reported by Studious Metsimus here.  Beltran used the rare "hidden bun trick" to disqualify Kobayashi and claim the Mustard Belt for himself.

Carlos took advantage of his disabled list stint in 2009 to train for the competition and was able to stun Kobayashi, who was unfamiliar with Beltran's technique.

This year, Takeru Kobayashi might not be competing because of a contract dispute with the event's organizers.  However, the Studious Metsimus staff has discovered the real reason why the man Beltran mistakenly referred to as Kamasutra will be a no-show.

Apparently, Kobayashi was trying to gain the upper hand on 'Tran the Man by coming up with a technique similar to the "hidden bun trick" that was used against him in 2009.

Frustrated by his inability to find a way to stop Beltran from repeating as the Wiener Winner, Kobayashi turned to the mortal enemy of anyone associated with the Mets.  He enlisted the services of the Phillie Phanatic.

Takeru Kobayashi had seen footage of the Phillie Phanatic shooting hot dogs into the stands using the launcher seen above.  He figured that if he could get the Phanatic to shoot the frankfurters at a high velocity into Beltran's mouth, it would injure his throat, hampering Carlos' chances to swallow the dozens of dogs needed to win the competition.

Of course, Kobayashi failed to realize one thing.  Carlos Beltran has plenty of experience with objects being hurled at him at super speed.

When Beltran was in Kansas City, he used a machine that fired numbered tennis balls at 150 MPH.  He claimed that by reading the numbers that were printed on the balls, it would enhance his vision and he'd be able to focus on pitches better.  (He must not have used it the morning of October 19, 2006.  Either that or Jose Reyes kept saying "I've got next" whenever Beltran wanted to use it.)

Carlos took the machine with him when he was traded to Houston in 2004 and had a clause put in his contract when he signed with the Mets in 2005 which obligated the team to lease the so-called "tennis ball machine" and hire a trainer to coordinate and supervise the drills.

Needless to say, a hot dog launcher would only help Beltran's chances of defeating Kobayashi on the Fourth of July.  Deflated, Kobayashi decided to sit out this year's Wiener War and then conveniently blamed it on the so-called contract dispute.

Carlos Beltran will get to "relish" his victory over Takeru Kobayashi for another year.  The "sauer" loser will have to come up with a different strategy to defeat Beltran in 2011.  For now, the Mustard Belt will remain with the Mets' centerfielder while Kobayashi will have to wait until the next eating contest.  Is Nathan's having a Beer-Battered Onion Ring Eating Contest soon?

Beltran vs. Kobayashi: Wiener War III -
For All The Mustard

Two years ago, Carlos Beltran took down Takeru Kobayashi in their initial hot dog eating contest by pulling the hidden bun trick on the legendary competitive eater. Last year, Kobayashi vowed to have his revenge on Beltran.  However, Beltran was prepared for Kobayashi's chicanery, which involved using the Phillie Phanatic to shoot hot dogs at him at a high speed.  Kobayashi then chose to blame a contract dispute for his failure to appear at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, when in reality, he was just embarrassed that Beltran had found a way to thwart his plans.

This year, the sauerkraut-stained gloves are coming off.  This one's for all the mustard.  In the most eagerly-anticipated finale to a trilogy since Major League: Back To The Minors, it's time for Wiener War III between Carlos Beltran and Takeru Kobayashi!

Let's get ready to mumble!  (Especially if they talk with their mouths full.)

Before we continue, let's fill you in on what the competitors have been up to since last year's Wiener War.

Carlos Beltran has once again become a threat in the middle of the Mets' lineup, leading the team in home runs and RBI.  With a diet rich in hot dogs, Beltran is 100% healthy and will get the opportunity to show off his skills in this summer's All-Star Game.

Takeru Kobayashi has not been as fortunate as Carlos Beltran over the past 12 months.  When he found out that Sandy Alderson was retooling the bullpen, Kobayashi decided to try out for a middle relief job with the Mets.  However, during spring training, the former wiener winner was released before he threw his first pitch.  His release was not due to the fact that he couldn't actually pitch, but because fellow relievers complained that their sunflower seeds were constantly missing.  Kobayashi was then given a job as a hot dog vendor at Citi Field, but was relieved of his duties on Opening Day for undisclosed reasons.

Both athletes have seen their share of highs and lows during their respective careers, with Beltran currently living the high life and Kobayashi trying to eat hot dogs via satellite.  But this year it will be different.  Kobayashi will not be allowed anywhere near the stage, thereby allowing Beltran to compete without the possibility of a potential distraction.  Instead, Joey Chestnut (see photo, right) will be wolfing down the wieners in Kobayashi's seat.

It's time to begin the Wiener War!  Let's go down to Studious Metsimus roving reporter/culinary expert Joey Beartran for the play-by-play.

Joey?  Um, Joey, are you there?

Okay, we seem to have a change in plans, as Joey doesn't seem to have his headset on.  Wait a minute. What's this?  Oh, no.

Apparently, Joey Chestnut has been arguing with the celebrity judges over something.  While he was arguing, our own Joey Beartran jumped into Chestnut's seat and is apparently about to compete against Carlos Beltran.

A dozen hot dogs? That's just an appetizer for Joey Beartran.

Well, while you were busy looking at the photo above, we learned that Joey Chestnut had a slight problem with his entrance application.  It appeared that his last name had been altered from Chestnut to Beartran, allowing our roving reporter/culinary expert to add competitive eater to his job description.

Chestnut was enraged by this and argued vehemently with the panel of judges, with one judge disagreeing with him, one judge willing to allow him to participate and the celebrity judge too busy to notice.  Then again, due to budget constraints, the organizers of the contest also hired the celebrity judge to be the event's official photographer and to handle the official Twitter play-by-play.

That might have been their mistake, as they hired former U.S. Representative from New York, the appropriately-named Anthony Weiner, to be the celebrity judge/photographer/head Tweeter.  Apparently, background checks were not included in the event's budget as well.

Celebrity judge Anthony Weiner got a little emotional after his involvement in the Chestnut/Beartran name-switch snafu.

While all this was happening, the contest had already begun, with both Beltran and Beartran chomping away on dozens and dozens of frankfurters.  Takeru Kobayashi was doing the same via satellite, hoping to take down the Mets player and the Mets bear.  A few minutes later, this reporter was given a tip to watch closely on the monitor broadcasting the feed from the Kobayashi Kamp.

The feed being shown was running on a continuous loop.

Of course, the two non-celebrity judges were arguing amongst themselves over the two Joeys and the celebrity judge was busy apologizing for not being a responsible photographer/Tweeter for the event, so no one else seemed to notice that Kobayashi was not actually eating his hot dogs on live TV.

So where was he?  What was he doing?  And why would he ever stop eating hot dogs for any reason?

It was at that moment that everything stopped.  Carlos Beltran stopped eating.  The judges stopped bickering.  Even Joey Beartran took a break to burp.  What had made this event come to a complete standstill?

Apparently, Carlos Beltran had just been traded.

Even Carlos Beltran appeared to be disgusted that he was traded away at a most inopportune time.

A hush came over the crowd, especially from the Mets fans in attendance.  It had been expected that Beltran would be traded to another team at some point this season.  But did it have to come during the final Wiener War?  And to make matters worse, was he traded to a contending team?  Was he going to the American League to be a DH?  No, my friends. It was far worse than that.

He was traded to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League.

Of course, this reporter knew something was wrong with the trade immediately after it was announced.  Granted, Beltran was traded to a contender, as was widely expected.  (Fukuoka was tied for first place with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters with identical 38-20 records as of last night.)  But the Hawks already have three outstanding outfielders in Nobuhiko Matsunaka, Seiichi Uchikawa and Hitoshi Tamura.  In fact, centerfielder Uchikawa is currently leading the Pacific League with a .363 batting average.  Surely, Beltran was not going to displace him in the outfield.

Not only that, it was never announced who he was being traded for.  It was just said that Beltran was traded for a player to be named later, which would have been the first trade in Japanese baseball history for the dreaded PTBNL.

So let's put all the facts together.  Beltran is traded to a Japanese baseball team during the hot dog eating contest.  Kobayashi (who just happens to be Japanese) is nowhere to be found, with his live satellite feed running on a continuous loop.  The team he is traded to has "SoftBank" in its name.  Who needs the Scooby Gang when unraveling this mystery was so easy?

Takeru Kobayashi had sabotaged the contest.  AGAIN!

Takeru Kobayashi would've gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling Studious Metsimus kids!

So this is how it all went down.  Takeru Kobayashi was on Twitter one night, going through numerous tweets, trying to find out tips on how to finally defeat his nemesis, Carlos Beltran.  He came across a particular hashtag that was being repeated as if on a loop.  That hashtag was #beltranissoft.

At the same time, Kobayashi noticed the Twitter chatter on the possibilities of Beltran being moved at the trade deadline.  So he came up with the plan to have Beltran traded as far away as possible so that he would never win another hot dog challenge again.  And since apparently, Beltran was soft, he should be traded to a team where being soft is not only acceptable, it's part of the team name, hence the trade to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.  The #beltranissoft hashtag being repeated ad nauseum also gave Kobayashi the idea to put his satellite transmission on a continuous loop so that no one would notice the machinations going on behind the mustard curtain.

But how exactly did we find out about Kobayashi's evil plans for world hot dog domination?  It looks like our own competitive eater had something to do with it.

Let's hear it for Joey Beartran, whose keen eye (and full stomach) helped expose Kobayashi's plot.

You see, after that first dozen hot dogs, Joey Beartran came down with a bear-sized tummy ache.  Apparently, no one had bothered to tell the culinary expert that having a pre-contest appetizer was not the best of plans for someone who was about to enter the Wiener War.  By the time Joey had bowed out of the contest, the other Joey (Chestnut) had already decided it was too late to continue pleading his case to the judges in an effort to enter the contest.  That left Carlos Beltran as the only competitor left standing, and the Wiener War winner, provided he didn't drop out of the competition.

As Joey Beartran walked away from the stage, he got bored so he decided to watch a little TV while he was waiting for Beltran to finish his last hot dog.  Of course, he got frustrated when the TV he was watching kept "skipping".  The TV he happened to be watching was the Kobayashi so-called "live" feed and the "skipping" was the repetition of the same hot dog being eaten over and over again.  To the naked eye, it appeared as if Kobayashi was eating numerous hot dogs, but to a trained eater's eye such as Joey Beartran's, he noticed the tomfoolery immediately.

It was then that Joey came over to his colleague (yours truly) and reported what he had just witnessed.  (Remember that "tip" I mentioned 17 paragraphs ago?  That was Joey Beartran saving the day.)  Needless to say, the two remaining judges (Anthony Weiner had been relieved of his duties due to excessive tweeting on topics not related to what he was hired for) declared Carlos Beltran the undisputed Wiener War champion of the world and the trade to the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks was rescinded, making Beltran one happy Mustard Belt recipient.

Carlos Beltran relishes the moment as he shows off the Mustard Belt he received for his victory in Wiener War III.

That concludes the final Wiener War between Carlos Beltran and Takeru Kobayashi.  Let's give you a happy recap of today's events.

Carlos Beltran remained the undisputed hot dog eating champion of the world, although the term "undisputed" might not be entirely accurate, as disputes were rampant during this year's Wiener War.

Joey Beartran finally had to push food away from him, as his pre-contest appetizer denied him the opportunity to finish the competition.  He also was not available for the post-war interview, claiming he had some papers to shred.  (Speaking of which, we never did find out what happened to Joey Chestnut's application to enter the competition.  Hmm.  It makes you wonder...)

Joey Chestnut decided to drown his sorrow at not being allowed to participate in the event by having some Nathan's beer-battered onion rings.  And some hot dogs.  And some french fries.  And some more onion rings.  And a burger or two.  Or ten.

Anthony Weiner.  Who cares?  He's just a d*ck in Wiener's clothing.

As for Takeru Kobayashi, as of last check, he was posting bail and working on getting a reality show with the Food Network.  There was also a rumor started on Twitter that he was planning to go to Arizona for next week's All-Star Game, but Kobayashi rebuffed the rumor, claiming that he was not attending because fellow countryman Ichiro Suzuki failed to make the All-Star team for the first time in his 11-year major league career.  We think his denial had something to do with the restraining order placed on him by Carlos Beltran, who will also be in Arizona as a member of the National League All-Star team.

Well, that does it for this year.  We hope all of you have a wonderful Fourth of July, doing everything that makes you proud to be an American (even if it includes stuffing your face with hot dogs).  Carlos Beltran is proud. Joey Beartran is proud (and full).  And so am I.  Have a great holiday, everyone!

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