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Friday, May 27, 2022

Baseball’s underground cheesesteak-eating contest

“It wasn’t even a dare,” Young told me in a recent call. “I was just hungry.”

But after eating 11 cheesesteaks over a three-game series in Philadelphia some time in the early 2000s, the Detroit Tigers All-Star unknowingly launched a competition that would continue on for two decades: An underground, cheesesteak-devouring contest in the bowels of Citizens Bank Park—beyond the cheering crowds and behind the double doors of the visitors’ clubhouse. Players, coaches and, most notably, bullpen catchers, have come into town raring to set a new sandwich-eating high.

Mets bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello took down 14 in 2011. A second Mets bullpen catcher, Eric Langill, topped that with 17 in 2013. Two years later, Brewers bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel ate 18, and, just this year, a new champion has risen from the beef and onion ashes: Rockies strength coach Mike Jasperson inhaled 21 1/2 in three days.

“I went up 9 [pounds],” Jasperson told’s Thomas Harding.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2022 at 11:12 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: philadephia

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   1. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 27, 2022 at 11:18 AM (#6078659)
“I went up 9 [pounds],” Jasperson told’s Thomas Harding.

"Also, I haven't taken a dump since April."
   2. Cris E Posted: May 27, 2022 at 11:48 AM (#6078664)
I think the problem might tend exactly the other way, given that much grease and onion. I believe Dmitri Young implied as much with his "running down your leg" comment. That said, if I were around that clubhouse in my 20s or 30s this would have been something I'd contemplate.
   3. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: May 27, 2022 at 12:00 PM (#6078665)
"They're better than Geno's, they're better than Pat's," Hanel said.

But are they better than Tony Luke's??
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: May 27, 2022 at 12:04 PM (#6078667)
cheesesteak-devouring contest in the bowels

   5. The Duke Posted: May 27, 2022 at 01:01 PM (#6078674)
What a wonderfully baseball thing.

There's a video of three Angels (including Ohtani) trying to bounce a baseball up onto a dugout step and trying to get it to stay and not roll off. Boys being boys. Ohtani won of course
   6. Cris E Posted: May 27, 2022 at 01:34 PM (#6078689)
In one of his books Tim Kurkjian has a story about the steps leading from the playing surface in the Metrodome up to floor where the locker rooms are. There were several sets with landings in between and every time he was in town Ripken would try to make it in the minimum number of strides possible. For a long time his record was seven until a teammate tied him, and then he went back down and worked on it until he managed six.

Here's former Twins beat writer Jim Caple talking about it:
"Beyond a doubt the greatest feat I've seen is Cal Ripken climbing the Metrodome stairs leading from the field to the clubhouse in six strides. Let me tell you, it's a LONG, high staircase, with four landings and like 28 steps. Ripken turned going up it into a contest to see how many strides he could do it in and he eventually got it down to six.

Current Twins have heard this repeated as legend and they don't believe it's humanly possibly but I saw him do it one day and then he showed me exactly how he goes about it. and when he described it, I could tell that in addition to being a great athlete (and he was), he also put unbelievable thought and planning into whatever he did. I mean, this was a contest guaranteed to twist an ankle, but Ripken did it every time he was in Minnesota, regardless of the streak. People say he put the streak above everything else, but he didn't. It was incredibly important to him but he didn't worry about it or let it stop him from trying something risky athletically."
-- Jim Caple
   7. Walt Davis Posted: May 27, 2022 at 03:28 PM (#6078702)
Put me in coach!
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 27, 2022 at 04:43 PM (#6078712)
The Phillies are just going to let all these visiting team chow hounds hold the record? Sad.
   9. Red Menace Posted: May 27, 2022 at 04:49 PM (#6078713)
The Mets set the collective team record with 103 during a rainout on April 30 2014. I was curious how they did the next game. They flew to Colorado and dropped the first 3 games of a 4 game series to the Rockies.

ETA: The Mets were 15-11 while pounding those cheesesteaks. That would end up being the high point of their season. The lost 8 of 9 following the feat.
   10. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 28, 2022 at 06:38 PM (#6078886)
Detroit Tigers All-Star

Boy, you don't see those words in that combination much anymore!
   11. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: May 28, 2022 at 07:53 PM (#6078898)
Dmitri Young later got diagnosed with diabetes. Not saying the cheesesteaks specifically did it, but those kinds of eating habits certainly didn't help.
   12. Dillon Gee Escape Plan Posted: May 29, 2022 at 11:38 AM (#6078934)
   13. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 30, 2022 at 03:36 PM (#6079073)
They definitely need both players and non-players categories.

   14. TJ Posted: May 30, 2022 at 08:00 PM (#6079106)
The Phillies are just going to let all these visiting team chow hounds hold the record? Sad.

I so would love to know what John Kruk could have done in this contest back in his Philly days!

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