Make Them Eat Actual Hot Dogs at the Hot Dog Eating Contest!

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In a few short hours, 35,000 or so fans will pack a street corner in Coney Island and millions more will join them from the comfort of their own barbecues to watch Major League Eating competitors lay waste to an unreasonable amount of encased meat and starchy buns at The Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. There is little drama because Joey Chestnut is a wagon and will capture his 16th bejeweled mustard yellow belt. Joey Jaws is unquestionably the greatest hot dog consumer of all time, so please do not take any of the following as a knock on his legacy. To be perfectly clear, it is objectively insane that the man once ate 76 dogs in 10 minutes and even crazier that he's reached the 70-frank plateau four different times.

But he — and everyone else on that platform — is not eating hot dogs. A hot dog is a frank sitting inside a bun. It may or may not be a sandwich, and that's a great and pointless debate in and of itself, yet everyone with a modicum of common sense can agree that the meat has to be on the bread to be a hot dog. This is supposed to be a society!

Look, we have no issue with the dousing of the bun in water before it gets shoveled down the gullet. At a certain point, competitive eating took a page out of 1990s baseball and realized that the gaudy numbers put the butts in the seats. It is way sexier to see someone wolf down 76 than, say, the eight hot dogs that earned Lonnie Brown the 1975 title. There's something thrilling and disgusting about observing just how far the human body and stomach lining in particular can be stretched in the interest of glory. The wheels of history simply must be lubricated with H20.

Yet good people everywhere need to stand up and say something completely reasonable. That the hot dog eating contest should require entrants to eat hot dogs as God intended them to be eaten. You want to dip that bad boy in water, fine. Just make sure you're stuffing an actual hot dog in there and not loaves of bread.

Sure, the numbers would go down. We'd enter a new dead ball era. Perhaps someone would only eat 60 in 12 minutes. The horror! At least we could all look each other in the eye and know we're being honest and aren't pretending something is a hot dog when it's not a hot dog.

This is just another case where analytic nerds have made sports less joyous. Imagine being drunk at a bar and suggesting a hot dog eating contest and then Dave takes them apart and drenches them to a disgusting sludge. Yeah, that might be the winning strategy but everyone would give Dave an immense amount of shit and his title would be extremely contentions.

We know this will never happen. The toothpaste is out of the tube and the tubular protein is out of its shell. That doesn't mean we have to like it.