I spent yesterday the way every patriotic American should, at the Nathan's Hot-Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, for the second straight year and almost certainly not the last. But I didn't realize that 30,000-plus of my fellow Americans were there with me, bearing witness to Joey Chestnut's stirring victory over Takeru Kobayashi. Yep, Major League Eating is taking off: the NHL better watch its back. To be honest, I was sort of rooting for Kobayashi -- but Chestnut took it fair and square, an awesome performance: he shattered the previous Nathan's record by more than 11 dogs, and his own World Record by seven, while Kobayashi himself beat it by four. It was like McGwire and Sosa '98.
The Yanks lost yesterday to Johan Santana, which... I mean, of course they did. As for the Mets, I got home from the barbecue around 10:30 to find the score at 15-5 Rockies, and announcers Keith Hernandez and Gary Cohen engaged in an in-depth discussion about how their dogs are afraid of thunder.
But things are looking up: the Yankees got a nice win today, which I recapped for the Banter. And the Mets recovered from their three-game debacle in Colorado with a win over Houston behind snubbed non-All Star John Maine. Maine struck out the first three batters he faced (eventually setting a career high with 9), and the third, Lance Berkman, was so crossed up that his bat flew backwards and nearly killed Carlos Lee, who was flipped Lasorda-like onto his back. I was really, really glad Lee wasn't hurt... because I'd already started laughing, and that would've made me feel just awful. Anyway, I think it's safe to say Maine announced his presence with authority.
How's this for bad luck, though: Carlos Gomez fractured a bone in his hand on a checked swing last night, and will miss six to eight weeks. "Mets outfielder" now ranks just above "Spinal Tap drummer" on the job longevity scale. Would it violate MLB's uniform regulations to have Carlos Beltran play in bubble wrap?