This year, Major League Baseball and Nathan's Hot Dogs are teaming up to hold the inaugural MLB Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4th. Each team is allowed one entrant and there will be six qualifying contests leading up to the big event on the 4th, split up by each of the major league divisions.
While Nathan's has had a hot dog eating contest every year on our nation's birthday, 2011 marks the first year that that America's Pastime is teaming up with the Great American Contest to create this very special, one of a kind event.
The entrants in this year's field are:
Qualifier #1 - The American League West
Texas Rangers - Michael Young. He's been looking for a position all year. This is it.
Seattle Mariners - Ichiro Suzuki. He's methodical. He's measured. He's the heir to Kobayashi.
Los Angeles Angels - Jordan Walden. They made the rookie do it.
Oakland Athletics - Coco Crisp. When your name is the same as a food product, it's an automatic entry. Besides, Craig Breslow was too smart to participate.
Qualifier #2 - The National League West
San Francisco Giants - Brian Wilson. He gets the edge over Sandoval. Fear the Beard.
Arizona Diamondbacks - Armando Gallaraga. He may have been designated for assignment, but he's still the "perfect" man for the job.
Colorado Rockies - Jason Giambi. Will years of steroid use and lots of cured meat cause his heart to explode?
Los Angeles Dodgers - No entry. Major League Baseball would not approve the expense.
San Diego Padres - Kyle Phillips. The third string catcher has to justify his existence somehow.
Qualifer #3 - The American League Central
Cleveland Indians - Orlando Cabrera. The guy just wins.
Detroit Tigers - Daniel Schlereth. His dad was known as Stink. He gets in just for that.
Chicago White Sox - A.J. Pierzynski. He'll outeat everyone just so he can annoy you with the smell of his meat sweats.
Kansas City Royals - Matt Treanor. Just so we can see Misty May as his bunnette.
Minnesota Twins - Carl Pavano. He heard Alyssa Molano will be there.
Qualifer #4 - The National League Central
St. Louis Cardinals - Tony LaRussa. He figured he'd be the best at managing this, too.
Milwaukee Brewers - Prince Fielder would be the obvious choice, but he's now a vegetarian. So it's Craig Counsell. Skinny guys can put them away, too.
Cincinnati Reds - Mike Leake. It's considered community service.
Pittsburgh Pirates - The Pirate Parrot. Polly want a cracker? How about a hot dog?
Chicago Cubs - Carlos Zambrano was originally entered, but when has he ever done something for the team? He called out Carlos Marmol to do it.
Houston Astros - Jeff Fulchino. When you're listed at 6'5" and 285 lbs, you're born to eat.
Qualifer #5 - The American League East
Boston Red Sox - David Ortiz. Are you man enough to deny Big Papi a meal?
New York Yankees - Bartolo Colon. I heard he once ate an entire pig.
Tampa Bay Rays - Johnny Damon. Only an "Idiot" would enter this.
Toronto Blue Jays - Jo-Jo Reyes. Get a win, eat a hot dog. Get a second win, get a whole plate.
Baltimore Orioles - Justin Duchsherer. He's on the 60 day DL. It's part of his rehab.
Qualifer #6 - The National League East
Philadelphia Phillies - Ryan Howard. The big man needs food.
Atlanta Braves - Dan Uggla. When you have the lowest average in the majors, you get forced into these things.
Florida Marlins - Scott Cousins. Nothing is going to stop him. Just ask Buster Posey.
New York Mets - Daniel Murphy. He gives it his all, no matter the position he's asked to play or challenge he's asked to face.
Washington Nationals - Bryce Harper. True, he's not in the majors yet, but this kid's just good at everything. There are also plenty of people out there that would love to see this hot dog yack all over himself.