'Tis the season of labor disputes in sports, even in those that barely qualify as sports.
For the second straight year, championship eater Takeru Kobayashi is not expected to be on Coney Island in Brooklyn on Monday for the annual Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest. The legendary devourer of hot dogs, rice balls and even pig brains missed the 2010 competition amid reports he demanded more money from organizers.
Joey Chestnut, unofficially ranked 1(a) on the list of the world's greatest eaters, won last year's event by eating 54 dogs.
Kobayashi will participate in the contest via satelliate, but organizers say his total won't be recognized.
Without Kobayashi, there is no one to offer Chestnut any true competition. They're like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, only shorter, skinnier, less athletic and not as famous.
In the spirit of inter-sport solidarity, Kobayashi should join his philosophical brothers in the NBA and NFL who, like him, are locked out of competition at the moment.
Kobayashi could wear a "STAND" T-shirt like those worn by NBA players at collective bargaining negotiations, or he could organize independent workouts for himself like Drew Brees did with the New Orleans Saints.
In return, Vince Wilfork could consume a few dozen hot dogs and Kendrick Perkins could take on the 6-pound "Olde 96er" burger in Clearfield, Pa. They have plenty of time on their hands and — if recent reports as to the state of labor negotiations are any indication — plenty of time to work off the calories before play resumes.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
How the mighty have fallen.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"A lot of times — and I know the fans are a huge part of what we do — but sometimes the fans vote for who they like and the superstar that's been there before and may not even be having a good year. It's nice to see our guys voted in. … That's really cool."
–Brewers manager Ron Roenicke on three of his players — Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun — and Toronto slugger Jose Bautista being voted into the All-Star Game despite playing in small markets.
TWEET OF THE DAY
You call people who don't think Derek Jeter deserves to be an all-star "whiners." We call them "anyone who knows anything about baseball." Tomato, tomahto.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
If Cameron Maybin got more calls like this, maybe he'd have more than 25 walks this season.