By BobbyA few years ago, I could not believe the hype over ESPN broadcasting the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, as their sixth year of live coverage, which they recently renewed 2012, starts Saturday (Noon ET, 12:40 contest; play-by-play Paul Page, analyst Richard Shea, on-field reporter Rob Stone). Now I've seen how badly the obsession with this king of gluttony has become when oddsmakers are putting odds on the ten-minute match of 20 eaters.
The oddsmakers are now setting odds on not just the winner, but things on eating such as who will reach 15, 30, and 45 first, how many will be eaten by the 20 contestants overall, who will win, and if it will reach overtime.
As someone who has opposed sports betting because of how it destroys the integrity of the game, and remembers the Tulane point-shaving scandal of the 1980's, it concerns me that in this increasing rise of gambling through the rise in the past 20 years of state “education” lotteries “for the children” under the Zell Miller model, sports betting in Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware, and the increasing number of casino advertising at sports stadia. I ask how can Pete Rose be banned from the Professional Baseball Hall of Fame and even professional baseball for gambling when teams (including the Reds) are now advertising casinos and state lotteries at the ballpark, encouraging people to bet at the casinos, and potentially betting on sporting events? Now we're seeing people are betting on hot dog eating contests, awards shows, game shows (Idols, Strictly Come Dancing), and even “professional wrestling”.
I can't even picture my thought of that contest. Of course, the trouble with Page is that he calls contests that last from three and seven hundred seventy-eight thousandths to seven and a half seconds. Saturday's glutton festival is a ten-minute contest.
Just how bad has America become when a hot-dog eating contest is able to garner more ratings than a baseball game on Independence Day? Forget about it, I'm running the Peachtree XL instead in Atlanta!