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The popularity of competitive eating over the past several years has certainly impacted the Minor League promotional landscape. The likes of Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi have become bona fide celebrities, and many teams have capitalized on this trend by staging contests featuring hot dogs and other such All-American foodstuffs.
But no team can match the Williamsport Crosscutters’ annual “Belly Buster:, an eating contest of truly epic proportions. The promo is the brainchild of Crosscutters’ marketing guru Gabe Sinicropi, who last year went so far as to deliver a presentation on the “Belly Buster” at the annual Minor League Baseball promotional seminar.
Courtesy of Sinicropi, here are some of the more pertinent rules:
Contestants have to consume designated amounts
of food during each inning. (starting in the 2nd inning)
If the contestant cannot finish the food in a
full inning, then the contestant is eliminated from the contest.
Food can be eaten starting with the announcement
of the first batter of the inning. Contestants must stop eating when the 3rd out is recorded in the bottom
of the inning.
Contestants are not allowed to take bathroom
breaks or leave the contest area for any purpose. If they do, they will be disqualified.
The last person left will win a VIP Trip for 2
to the NYPL All-Star Game & 50 Burger King ******** (ed note: for some reason, MLBlogs censors the name of Burger King’s most popular menu item). All other contestants
will receive parting gifts.
And here is the list of food that was consumed, one item per inning: Two hot dogs, bag of Andy Capp Hot Fries, jar of applesauce, two jars of baby food, jar of maraschino
cherries, three tacos, and a sleeve of Saltines.
As for how it went down, Sinicropi provided the following recap:
almost had to go to overtime, but Scott
McPeek was our winner. There were three contestants left in the final round..which is usually one sleeve of saltines. I
figured they ALL might finish it so I upped it to two sleeves. As I hoped
for nobody finished them both, so we could easily measure who ate the
most. Scott beat the 2nd place contestant by four crackers to win the VIP trip to the NYPL All-Star Game.
Now, at this point I feel that I know my reading public fairly well. And therefore, I know that pictures must be provided. Of the following image, Sinicropi wrote “Why did this guy enter? He could not even eat the two hot dogs provided in round one.”
I love this guy:
Here, a tank-top wearing contestant oh-so-daintily eats his jar of baby food, like this is the sort of thing he does every day. Note the slightly-less-composed facial expression of the gentleman on the far left:
Here, I imagine that Mr. Green Shirt is contemplating the absurdity of his existence:
The eventual champion digs in to a jar of cherries:
When all was said and done, the immortal Mr. McPeek was awarded the coveted Pink Pig:
So there you have it, folks — the “Belly Buster” is certainly one of the Minor League’s most entertaining food-related promos. Sure, it’s a bit off-center (much like the text in this post) but keep in mind that these are the front office masterminds who put it together (Sinicropi is on the far left, while that gentleman on the far right might end up getting sued by the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor):
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