Monday, January 29, 2007

Barbaro: A Great Horse Who Will Be Missed

This is such a shame. I love horse racing, but when I see something like this it just breaks my heart. These beautiful animals are bred to be runners and although they’re treated fairly well, sometimes they get hurt just like human athletes and it’s sad. Barbaro was a great horse and made a valiant effort to live. He will be missed.

This appeared today on

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. (Jan. 29) - Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro was euthanized Monday after complications from his gruesome breakdown at last year's Preakness, ending an eight-month ordeal that prompted an outpouring of support across the country.
A series of ailments, including laminitis in the left rear hoof and a recent abscess in the right rear hoof, proved too much for the gallant colt.Barbaro battled in his ICU stall for eight months. The 4-year-old colt underwent several procedures and was fitted with fiberglass casts. He spent time in a sling to ease pressure on his legs, had pins inserted and was fitted at the end with an external brace. These were all extraordinary measures for a horse with such injuries.Roy and Gretchen Jackson were with Barbaro on Monday morning, with the owners making the decision in consultation with chief surgeon Dr. Dean Richardson."I would say thank you for everything, and all your thoughts and prayers over the last eight months or so," Jackson said to Barbaro's fans.The news that Barbaro had been euthanized first was reported on the Thoroughbred Times Web site.On May 20, Barbaro was rushed to the New Bolton Center, about 30 miles from Philadelphia in Kennett Square, hours after shattering his right hind leg just a few strides into the Preakness Stakes. The bay colt underwent a five-hour operation that fused two joints, recovering from an injury most horses never survive. But Barbaro never regained his natural gait."We loved him. He was great," said Peter Brette, Barbaro's exercise rider and assistant trainer for Michael Matz. "He did everything we ever asked of him. He could have been one of the best. What a fighter he was."
Barbaro suffered a significant setback over the weekend, and surgery was required to insert two steel pins in a bone - one of three shattered in the Preakness but now healthy - to eliminate all weight bearing on the ailing right rear foot.The procedure Saturday was a risky one, because it transferred more weight to the leg while the foot rests on the ground bearing no weight.The leg was on the mend until the abscess began causing discomfort last week. Until then, the major concern was Barbaro's left rear leg, which developed laminitis in July, and 80 percent of the hoof was removed.Richardson said Monday morning that Barbaro did not have a good night."This horse was a hero," said David Switzer, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association. "His owners went above and beyond the call of duty to save this horse. It's an unfortunate situation, but I think they did the right thing in putting him down."Brilliant on the race track, Barbaro always will be remembered for his brave fight for survival.The story of the beloved 4-year-old bay colt's fight for life captured the fancy of millions.When Barbaro broke down, his right hind leg flared out awkwardly as jockey Edgar Prado jumped off and tried to steady the ailing horse. Race fans at Pimlico wept. Within 24 hours the entire nation seemed to be caught up in a "Barbaro watch," waiting for any news.Well-wishers young and old showed up at the New Bolton Center with cards, flowers, gifts, goodies and even religious medals for the champ, and thousands of e-mails poured into the hospital's Web site just for him."I just can't explain why everyone is so caught up in this horse," Roy Jackson, who owned the colt with his wife, Gretchen, has said time and again. "Everything is so negative now in the world, people love animals and I think they just happen to latch onto him."Devoted fans even wrote Christmas carols for him, sent a wreath made of baby organic carrots and gave him a Christmas stocking.The biggest gift has been the $1.2 million raised since early June for the Barbaro Fund. The money is put toward needed equipment such as an operating room table, and a raft and sling for the same pool recovery Barbaro used after his surgeries.The Jacksons spent tens of thousands of dollars hoping the best horse they ever owned would recover and be able to live a comfortable life on the farm - whether he was able to breed or not.The couple, who own about 70 racehorses, broodmares and yearlings, and operate the 190-acre Lael Farm, have been in the horse business for 30 years, and never had a horse like Barbaro.As the days passed, it seemed Barbaro would get his happy ending. As late as December, with the broken bones in his right hind leg nearly healed and his laminitis under control, Barbaro was looking good and relishing daily walks outside his intensive care unit.But after months of upbeat progress reports, including talk that he might be headed home soon, news came Jan. 10 of a serious setback because of the laminitis. Richardson had to remove damaged tissue from Barbaro's left hind hoof, and the colt was placed back in a protective sling.On Jan. 13, another section of his left rear hoof was removed. After Barbaro developed a deep abscess in his right hind foot, surgery was performed Saturday to insert two steel pins in a bone.This after Richardson warned last December that Barbaro's right hind leg was getting stronger and that the left hind foot was a "more formidable long-term challenge."Even before the injury that ended his career, Barbaro had earned his fame for simply being a magnificent racehorse.Foaled and raised at Sanborn Chase at Springmint Farm near Nicholasville, Ky., breeder Bill Sanborn fought back tears Monday as he talked about "the privilege" of working with the colt."Everything was looking really, really good, and of course I honestly thought that the horse was going to pull it off," he said. "It just wasn't meant to be. It didn't surprise me that he fought so long. He was a great horse."La Ville Rouge, Barbaro's broodmare, remains pregnant at Mills Ridge Farm in Lexington with a full brother to Barbaro. The foal is expected to be born sometime in the early spring, according to farm spokesperson Kimberly Poulin.A son of Dynaformer, out of the dam La Ville Rouge, Barbaro started his career on the turf, but Matz knew he would have to try his versatile colt on the dirt. He reasoned that if he had a talented 3-year-old in America, he'd have to find out early if his horse was good enough for the Triple Crown races.Barbaro was good enough, all right. He won his first three races on turf with authority, including the Laurel Futurity by eight lengths and the Tropical Park Derby by 3 3/4 lengths.That's when Matz drew up an unconventional plan for a dirt campaign that spaced out Barbaro's race to keep him fit for the entire Triple Crown, a grueling ordeal of three races in five weeks at varying distances over different tracks.Barbaro won the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 4, but his dirt debut was inconclusive since it came over a sloppy track. After an eight-week break, an unusually long time between races, Barbaro came back and won the Florida Derby by a half-length over Sharp Humor despite an outside No. 10 post.The deal was sealed - on to the Derby, but not without criticism that Barbaro couldn't win coming off a five-week layoff. After all, it had been 50 years since Needles won the Derby off a similar break. But Matz was unfazed, and stuck to his plan, saying all the time he was doing what was best for the horse.Not only did Barbaro win the Derby, he demolished what was supposed to be one of the toughest fields in years. The 6 1/2-length winning margin was the largest since 1946, when Assault won by eight lengths and went on to sweep the Triple Crown.The 55-year-old Matz, meanwhile, was living a charmed life. Before turning to thoroughbreds eight years ago, he was an international show jumping star, and a three-time Olympian and silver medal winner who carried the U.S. flag at the closing ceremony at the 1996 Atlanta Games. He also survived a plane crash in Iowa in 1989 and became a hero by saving three children from the burning wreckage. The crash killed 112 of the 296 people on board United Flight 232.In Barbaro, Matz truly believed he was training a Triple Crown winner. He often said Barbaro was good enough to be ranked among the greats and join Seattle Slew as the only unbeaten Triple Crown champions.But two weeks later after the Derby Barbaro took a horrible misstep and one of the most extraordinary attempts to save a thoroughbred was under way. The injury was considered to be so disastrous that many thought the horse would be euthanized while still at Pimlico Race Track.Instead, Barbaro was transported that night to the New Bolton Center's George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals and was operated on the next day by Richardson.The injuries were as serious as everyone feared: Barbaro sustained a broken cannon bone above the ankle, a broken sesamoid bone behind the ankle and a broken long pastern bone below the ankle. The fetlock joint - the ankle - was dislocated. Richardson said the pastern bone was shattered in "20-plus pieces."Barbaro, who earned $2,302,200 with his six wins in seven starts, endured the complicated five-hour surgery in which Richardson inserted a titanium plate and 27 screws into the broken bones. After calmly awakening from anesthesia, he "practically jogged back to his stall" looking for something to eat.At the time, Richardson stressed Barbaro still had many hurdles to clear, and called chances for a full recovery a "coin toss."Afterward, though, things went relatively smoothly. Each day brought more optimism: Barbaro was eyeing the mares, nickering, gobbling up his feed and trying to walk out of his stall. There was great hope Barbaro somehow would overcome the odds and live a life of leisure on the farm.But by mid-July, Richardson's greatest fear became reality - laminitis struck Barbaro's left hind leg and 80 percent of the hoof was removed. Richardson recalled recently what it was like when he met with the Jacksons, and Matz, and his wife, D.D., to deliver the news."It was terrible," Richardson said. "I wouldn't have blamed anyone at that point for saying they just couldn't face the prospects of going on."But Barbaro responded well to treatment, and his recovery was progressing until a final, fatal turn.

Dodger/Giant Rivalry on for 2007!

Since 1969, the year my family moved to L.A. from New York, I have personally witnessed one of the most intense sports rivalries in team sports – between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. This rivalry is so special because it’s so old, with great tradition and history behind it. This hate-hate relationship can be traced all the way back to the early 1900’s, when the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers (originally the Robins) fought and scrapped throughout many seasons. Names like John McGraw, Zack Wheat, Christy Mathewson, Mel Ott, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Sal Maglie, Gil Hodges, Don Newcombe, Monte Irvin, Bobby Thomson and Duke Snider come to mind when you think about those days. When both teams moved to the West Coast in the late 1950’s the LA/SF rivalry became even more vicious, distinguished in the 60’s and 70’s by huge fights, both on the field and in the stands. When Giant pitcher Juan Marichal clubbed LA Catcher Johnny Roseboro over the head with a bat in 1966, the rivalry reached its apex. Let’s just say that there’s no love lost between these two teams. In 1977, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, but I never gave up my allegiance to the Dodgers. I went to a ton of SF/LA games at windy, uncomfortable Candlestick Park for roughly three decades. After a while, I stopped wearing my Dodger stuff, because doing so meant taking an enormous amount of abuse. Giant fans would throw ice and other objects at me, and one time a guy even urinated on me in the bathroom, for which he received quite a beating. There were frequent fights and Candlestick was one big drunken brawl at times. Over the years, I learned to really despise the Giants and their fans, and I still do. That’s why this off season has been so entertaining. When the Dodgers hired Ned Coletti away from the Giants in 2005, I never imagined that he would be such a fantastic GM. The man is a real wheeler dealer and really seems to know his way around the free agent world of baseball. Last year he picked up players like Nomar Garciaparra, Greg Maddux, Wilson Betemit and Julio Lugo. He also traded for young talent like Andre Ethier. At the same time, the Dodgers farm system began producing with top prospects like Russell Martin, James Loney and Chad Billingsley. In the meantime, the Giants team that looked so promising a couple of years ago when they got into the World Series (and choked to the Angels), was rapidly getting old. Once a solid squad, the team started to look like a senior care facility, with names like Steve Finley, Ray Durham, Omar Vizquel and other assorted old timers. But, after this off season, I have to believe that the LA/SF rivalry will be as exciting to watch as ever. The Dodgers have some new players that should help their club tremendously, guys like Jason Schmidt (who they stole from the Giants), Randy Wolf, Juan Pierre and Luis Gonzalez. The Giants picked up guys like Ryan Klesko, Bengie Molina, Rich Aurilia and Dave Roberts, but the big catch was undoubtedly Barry Zito, who they signed to an incredible 7-year, $126 million contract -- the largest ever for a pitcher in the history of major league baseball. Now I can’t wait for the baseball season to start. April cannot get here soon enough. It should be another interesting chapter is one of the longest and most intense rivalries in sports – and you can bet I’ll be there to watch every single minute of it!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Yo, Meathead!

Here's a new column from my friend Meathead who is a great sports fan and an excellent columnist. His pieces are edgy, insightful and I'm sure after you've seen a few you'll agree with me that they're a pleasure to read. His moniker is Yo, Meathead!

If You Can't Stand the Meat...

It was big news last week when Bill Parcells announced his retirement. He left his job as coach of the Dallas Cowboys with a year left on his contract, saying he was done with coaching for good.

In the week after Parcells made this announcement, it was pretty amusing to see how many sports columnists around the country wondered if the Tuna’s retirement was for real, or if he was just blowing smoke in order to get away from Jerry Jones and T.O. This leads me to ask why it’s so commonplace for coaches in college and pro sports to lie to the media. At this point in time, I think sports fans are as likely to trust what coaches say as the general public is to believe today’s politicians. Does anyone out there still think that Saddam actually had weapons of mass destruction, or that he was somehow in cahoots with Al-Qaeda?

This is not to say that the lies told by coaches are anywhere near as important or far-reaching as those that the government throws at us. People are not going to die if Parcells takes another coaching job. But it seems as if both coaches and politicians have developed a pathological tendency to distort the truth to suit their own agendas.

Let’s look at a few examples of coaches who have not exactly been forthright about their intentions. Parcells is the prime target. This is the third time he’s retired, and since he came back both times before, who’s to say that he’s really done? In fact, when Parcells retired from his job as coach of the New York Jets, he also said that his assistant and defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick, would be the Jets’ next coach. While this may not have been an outright lie, Belichick resigned the following day, proving that Parcells didn’t know what he was talking about and should’ve kept his mouth shut. Since then, Belichick has surpassed Parcells’s coaching success, leading the New England Patriots to three championships—more than the Tuna had with all four of the teams he coached.

Nick Saban is my next example. Toward the end of this past NFL season, Saban insisted that he was staying with the Miami Dolphins, whom he had coached for the last two years. Any rumors that he was headed to the University of Alabama to take over the coaching job there were total hogwash. Saban totally underachieved with the Dolphins this year—many predicted that the Fish would contend for a trip to the Big Dance—and he was arrogant and condescending to the media, especially after his defection back to the college ranks became a story before it was ever confirmed. Saban spent weeks denying that he was leaving Miami and made sure the media knew that anyone telling this story was off his or her rocker. Then what did he do? He left Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga high and dry and became Alabama’s head coach.

The list goes on and on, and it’s not specific to the NFL. When Larry Brown was still coach of the Detroit Pistons, he insisted that he was not going to be coach of the New York Knicks. The next year, he was coach of the Knicks. Before Brown was even hired, the Knicks’ president of basketball operations, Isiah Thomas, once said that he would never coach the Knicks. Now Isiah is their coach. True, he was forced into it by owner James Dolan after Brown’s hiring turned out to be a total fiasco, but did anyone really believe that Thomas would not eventually end up as the Knicks’ coach? What about when Stan Van Gundy left his coaching job with the Miami Heat last year “to spend more time with his family”? A fan would have to be a total sap to believe this tripe. Although it was never officially brought to light, word on the street is that Van Gundy was forced out by his boss, Pat Riley, because the Heat were a championship-caliber team. Pat the Rat was just itching to prove wrong everyone who had said that he could never coach another team to a ring since his days coaching the Showtime Lakers were long gone. And following six rings with Michael Jordan, didn’t Phil Jackson say he was done with coaching when he left the Chicago Bulls in 1998? Then, after leading Kobe and Shaq to three rings with the Lakers starting in 2000, he left the Lakers—but then became the Lakers’ coach again a year later. Sheesh!

What’s really sad is that these coaches believe they’re so important that they can’t tell the truth to the media. They think that the fans won’t be able to handle the truth—but the truth is that for all their bluster and belligerence, they’re still just coaches of sports teams.

As much of a sports fan as I am, I don’t give a darn if coaches choose to leave their teams for their own reasons. With all the money and time that fans put into their teams, I think they deserve to know the truth, but these guys don’t care one whit if they hand the fans a crock on their way to their next multimillion-dollar contract. But it IS really scary when we hear the lies of politicians and expect them to be lies. When our country is being run as if it’s just a sports franchise, and the general public is treated as if the people only have as much at stake as the average sports fan, it’s time to get out of the kitchen.

SEASONINGS: I’m proud to make this my inaugural column for Sports on the Street. Many thanks to Ed for his encouraging words on my writing. Here’s to hoping that this is the beginning of a successful new enterprise.

The New York Times performed an analysis of this NFL season and discovered that penalties were down 20 percent from 2005. In fact, this was the first time that penalties were down in a season since 2001. To quote, “Penalties for offensive holding (down 34 percent) and defensive holding (down 32 percent) were among those showing the sharpest decline from 2005. Penalties for delay of game, defensive offside, false starts, pass interference and roughing the passer decreased at least 15 percent.” The league says that this is not because officials are calling the games more loosely, but rather that teams have become used to the way that the refs have been throwing flags and have adjusted accordingly. Whatever the reason, I’m glad. Not only does fewer flags mean fewer chances for calls to be blown, but it means less time spent watching officials make calls and less time waiting for coaches’ challenges to be reviewed. It also means that teams are gaining their yardage and points on their own merits, rather than being handed rewards for the other teams’ errors, creating a game that’s more palatable to watch overall.

I had to laugh at the New Jersey Nets this past week. They were feeling mighty smug after they beat the Orlando Magic last Saturday for their fourth straight win, bringing their record to .500 before heading on a West Coast road trip. Once on the road, the Nets became only the fourth team in NBA history to lose three straight games by a point, losing to Sacramento, Golden State, and the Clippers. Mike Bibby hit the winning bucket for the Kings with 10.3 seconds left, Monta Ellis nailed a jumper to win it for the Warriors as time expired, and Cuttino Mobley hit a three-pointer with sixth-tenths of a second left to win the game for L.A. Even though the Nets finally won again last night, against Denver, they still are no shoo-in to win the weak Atlantic after all!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

No Tailgating at the Super Bowl?

I cannot believe this. No tailgating at the Super Bowl? Fans are paying big bucks to see this game and tailgating is a huge part of the whole experience. What a bunch of party poopers! The city of Miami should be ashamed. I hope they never get to host another Super Bowl ever again. I’ve been to Florida. It’s uncomfortably humid and they have mosquitoes there that are so big they eat cats! Shame on you, Miami! And shame on the NFL for letting it happen. I’ll be having a much better time watching the game on TV with my buddy Meathead, enjoying some great cuisine and saving the $300-$400 ticket price in the process!
I saw this on AOL:
If you didn't already realize that the NFL shuns the real fans at the Super Bowl in favor of the corporate suits, here's all you need to know: Tailgating is banned at Dolphin Stadium.
"The parking lot and traffic flow will look a lot different than it will during normal season games," [NFL spokesman Brian] McCarthy said. "We're going to have a security perimeter so we can screen people coming in." Among the items banned: containers of any type, coolers of any size, backpacks, bottles, banners, noisemakers and horns."We'll have security people out in the parking lots," McCarthy said. "If they see something that's obtrusive to other fans, they'll say you should put that back in your truck."
To an extent, I can understand this -- the Super Bowl is a different event and different security rules make sense. But it really grinds my gears that the NFL makes all its money all year off the kinds of people who show up at games early with brats and beer, and then in the biggest game of the year, it turns its back on those people.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Young, Bush and Leinart: The Top 3 Proved It in 2007!

Now that their seasons are over and we can reflect on what they’ve done, I think we can all agree that last year’s Big Three draft picks– Reggie Bush, Vince Young and Matt Leinart – really stepped up this season and emerged as top-tier rookies in the NFL. All of them came along with huge expectations, but as anyone with any knowledge of the concept of potential vs. reality can tell you, just because you did well playing college football doesn’t mean you’ll make it in the NFL. As former coach Jerry Glanville once said, the NFL stands for “Not for long” if you can’t adapt to the speed and fierce competition of the Greatest Show on Turf. Just ask guys like Ryan Leaf, Brian Bosworth, Lawrence Phillips, and Andre Ware, just to name a few. First there’s Reggie Bush, the player that the Houston Texans didn’t covet. Not only has Bush brought a new excitement to the New Orleans Saints and help take them deep into the playoffs – he’s also done everything he could to embrace a city that really needs him. He’s selflessly donated his time and money to help the state that was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. He gave a local high school a new football field, and has tirelessly made himself available to help the city heal. If his performances against the 49ers and the Cowboys over the past couple weeks are any indication of what Bush is capable of doing in this league -- well, we’re in for a lot of exciting moments. Vince Young, who many NFL teams passed on, has also come into his own, taking the Tennessee Titans on his back and carrying them through a modest winning streak. A one-man show, Young learned the game more quickly than many people thought he could. The rap on him during last year’s draft was that the man wasn’t that smart. Well, he’s bright enough to win games, and at this level, that’s all that really matters. The man can throw, he can run and he has a football instinct you can’t teach. With the Titans’ recent winning binge, he may have also saved Head Coach Jeff Fisher’s job. Leinart couldn’t save Dennis Green’s job as coach of the Cardinals, but he sure is on his way to making a name for himself in Arizona. It’s “I told you so” time for all the teams who passed on him. Leinart is a prototype QB with all the skills required to take Arizona to the Promised Land. He makes quick decisions, has learned to read the complex defensive schemes in the NFL, and is improving every quarter. With a new stadium and young talent throughout their roster, the Cardinals are chirping about next year with renewed hope. Bush, Young and Leinart – they should have been selected 1-2-3. They did it for their teams this year, the ones who were smart enough to pick them, while those clubs who passed on this talented and rapidly improving trio are left crying in their beers.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Will the Yankees Cash in with Cashman?

The New York Yankees are finally playing it smart and are beginning to look like a team that can make another dynasty-type run once again. The main reason for this is General Manager Brian Cashman. George Steinbrenner is no longer using Cashman like a human puppet, and is letting him do his thing and pull the strings himself, and so far it looks like a very wise business decision. Georgie Porgie has a history of moving personnel around like those little pieces in a Monopoly game. The result is that the Bronx Bombers have spent more time in Marvin Gardens than they have on Park Avenue. Last season the Detroit Tigers embarrassed them so badly that the team looked like that poor sap in Monopoly jail. This year the Yanks may just be able to bypass loser’s prison and move back into the expensive winning neighborhoods they frequented in the late 90’s. A big part of their move back to respectability involves staying away from overpriced free agent bidding wars, stockpiling young pitching prospects, leaving their minor league system alone so that it can develop and unloading old, expensive antiques. Planning for the long-term rather than getting players who are overpaid underachievers in order to try and win today is not a formula for success, and Cashman knows it. His moves this year have been just short of brilliant. Getting rid of Gary Sheffield and Randy Johnson, Hall of Famers whose best days are long gone, was the right thing to do. Picking up pitchers Andy Pettite, Luis Vizcaino and Kei Igawa should work out well. Unloading questionable arms like Sidney Ponson, Jaret Wright, Tanyon Sturtze, Octavio Dotel, and Jeff Nelson was a timely survival move. And picking up Doug Mientkiewicz, a utility team player who will enhance the squad’s overall chemistry, was pure genius. By staying away from over-hyped free agents like Jason Schmidt, Barry Zito and Carlos Lee, the Yankees have clearly illustrated that they won’t throw money at the first free agent to pop his head out into the open market anymore. By keeping his team’s core intact and letting them play together for more than just one season, the Yanks will be better and tougher to beat than ever. Watch out American League, because the pinstriped boys are playing it smarter and looking at the big picture, rather than running a closeout sale every off season. The end result could be another dynasty in the Big Apple, complete with solid pitching, timely hitting and a team attitude that’s been missing over the last six years.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I Got A Feeling...These 2 Teams are Going to the Super Bowl

Here is what I think will happen today:

Saints have too much offense and the Bears defense is not what it once was. Bush runs wild ands New Orleans goes to its first big one.

New England plays like winners in these games, but finally Manning gets the monkey off his back and pulls out an OT squeaker at home.

Friday, January 19, 2007

All You Can Eat Dodger Seats? I'm In!

I read the other day where the LA Dodgers are going to be offering $40 all-you-can-eat seats in a special section of the right-field pavilion at Dodger Stadium. 3,000 fans will have the pleasure of consuming as many hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, nachos and sodas that their bellies can hold. Beer, ice cream and candy will not be included in the deal, most likely so that drunks and diabetics won’t kill themselves in a free-for-all eating/drinking frenzy.

Personally, I am in heaven. I know that I’ll be one of the first fans to try and turn it into an eating contest. Eating contests are something I know a little about. When I was in college I ate 24 plate-sized pancakes in 30 minutes, a fraternity record that still exists at San Jose State to this day as far as I know. Another time on a dare I ate 68 pieces of sushi. (Not sashimi but nigiri – the kind with the rice, which is much tougher to eat a lot of.) The mistake I made with that feat of gluttony happened when I drank a lot of water with the sushi, causing the rice in my stomach to expand. They had to carry me out of the restaurant and I was sick for three days.

Then, of course, there’s the classic thing we do at baseball games called a “Babe Ruth.” This is where you eat one hot dog every inning. If the game goes into extra innings, you’re in big trouble. I know some guys back in New York who actually eat one dog every half inning, but that’s insane!In my younger days I could consume a lot of food and actually got ejected from a couple of those all-you-can-eat buffets. At one time I actually weighed 355 lbs! Man, was I fat! Now I’m down to around 270 and dropping fast, thanks to eating more sensibly with the help of my wonderful fiancĂ©e Angelina. The difference between her and I is that we both love food, but it’s just not as big a priority in her life. Plus, she can go without eating meat, which I find difficult. I still eat well nowadays, and I get to have the occasional burger or steak every now and then, it’s just that now it’s a special occasion and not an everyday thing

One person could shut down the Dodger’s decision to provide all-you-can-eat seats and his name is Takeru Kobayashi. Kobyashi is a champion eater and an amazing consumption machine. He doesn’t look like a big eater – He’s a little guy who’s skinny as a rail. But, man can he pack it in. Joey Chestnut from San Jose Calif. is a great eater too, but he will always be in Kobayashi’s shadow as long as Takeru is in the speed eating game. Kind of like when Steve Young was backing up Joe Montana. Young never became a star in the NFL until Montana left the 49ers. Then, he cashed in.

The Dodgers are entering a new era of MLB baseball gluttony. And, I for one, love it! Bring on the hot dogs, baby! And keep ‘em coming!

Ed & Meat's Sports on the Street

Ed and Meat's Sports on the Street is a sports blog with columns from sports bloggers all over the world. Our mission is to create a forum where inventive, high-quality and solid sports opinion pieces and articles can be communicated to a worldwide audience.