The 9/9/9 Challenge

The Covid-19 Pandemic has slowed the world down and given people time they would otherwise spend working to do other productive things. Sir Isaac Newton invented Calculus during the Great Plague of London. We have not been that productive, mainly we just miss baseball. Anything to return to normal, even for a few hours, is a welcomed distraction. 

Derek was perusing Twitter when he came upon @DanClarkSports.

999

The 9/9/9 Challenge (Twitter/@DanClarkSports)

The Winning Run decided to partake in the 9/9/9 Challenge. The Challenge is eating 9 hot dogs, drinking 9 beers, in 9 innings. The average game during the 2019 season took 3:05. 185 minutes to eat 9 hot dogs and drink 9 beers. Baseball+Hot Dogs+Beer= a great socially distant Saturday night. Much like our annual season predictions, we predicted how we would fare before beginning the challenge.

Derek’s predictions

Derek- 8 hot dogs and 7 beers

Jesse- 8 hot dogs and 8 beers

John- 9 hot dogs and 9 beers

Bernie- 7 hot dogs and 7 beers

Kevin- 5 hot dogs and 8 beers

Jesse’s predictions

Derek- 7 hot dogs and 9 beers

Jesse- 9 hot dogs and 9 beers

John- 9 hot dogs and 9 beers

Bernie- 8 hot dogs and 8 beers

Kevin- 5 hot dogs and 5 beers

John’s predictions

Derek- 9 hot dogs and 7 beers

Jesse- 9 hot dogs and 8 beers

John- 9 hot dogs and 9 beers

Bernie- 8 hot dogs and 7 beers

Kevin- 6 hot dogs and 8 beers

Bernie’s predictions

Bernie- 9 hot dogs and 7 beers

Derek- 9 hot dogs and 8 beers

Jesse- 8 hot dogs and 9 beers

John- 9 hot dogs and 9 beers

Kevin- 5 hot dogs and 6 beers

Kevin’s predictions

Derek- 8 hot dogs and 5 beers

Jesse- 6 hot dogs and 8 beers

John- 9 hot dogs and 9 beers

Bernie- 6 hot dogs and 5 beers

Kevin- 4 hot dogs and 6 beers

Collective Predictions 

Derek- 8.6 hot dogs and 6.8 beers 

Jesse- 8 hot dogs and 8.4 beers

John- 8.6 hot dogs and 9 beers

Bernie- 7.6 hot dogs and 6.8 beers

Kevin- 5 hot dogs and 6.6 beers

John was the clear favorite to finish the 9/9/9 Challenge. Kevin on the other hand was not looking great, having gone a year without eating pork or beef makes eating 9 hot dogs difficult. He refused to eat non-meat hot dogs. Derek, Jesse, and Bernie had a chance to complete the Challenge but it would take dedication.

Our rules for the 9/9/9 Challenge:

  1. 8 of 9 hot dogs must have at least one condiment.
  2. No sleeping.
  3. Entire beer/ hot dog must be consumed before it counts, no half credit.
  4. Challenge ends when the final out is made.
  5. You puke, you are disqualified.

We have plenty of games to choose from, but we decided to stick with the evening’s theme. We watched the May 1, 2019 game with the Colorado Rockies visiting the Milwaukee Brewers, Coors Field against Miller Park. Sadly there are no ballparks with a hot dog corporate sponsor. Brewers Starting Pitcher Chase Anderson suffered a finger laceration warming up, forcing Jacob Barnes to make his first, and so far only, career start.

The Rockies did not care that Barnes was making his first career start. Charlie Blackmon led off with a Walk, Trevor Story did the same. 12 pitches in, Colorado had runners on First and Second, 0 outs, with Daniel Murphy at the plate. Murphy struck out swinging, but Barnes threw a Wild Pitch, allowing Blackmon and Story to advance. Second and Third, 1 out, Nolan Arenado up. First pitch was a ball. Next pitch, a rocket to deep Left-Center for a 3 Run Home Run. 3-0 Rockies. Ryan McMahon reached on an infield Single. Ian Desmond Walked. Thankfully for Barnes, Raimel Tapia and Drew Butera both went down swinging to end the inning and his day. Barnes went 1 Inning, allowed 2 Hits, 3 Earned Runs, 3 Walks, 3 Strikeouts, and threw 38 pitches. Not the ideal first career start. 

Milwaukee’s bats tried to exact a bit of revenge against Antonio Senzatela as he took the mound for Colorado. Lorenzo Cain led off by lining out. Eric Thames Singled. Mike Moustakas took the first pitch he saw and deposited it beyond the Leftfield fence. 3-2 Colorado. The score stayed 3-2 until the 5th Inning. We watched at the game, none of us were especially glued to the action. The Brewers and Rockies are not our favorite teams, plus it had been a while since we hung out. The social aspect of baseball, and the Challenge, took over. The joy of eating hot dogs, drinking beer, and watching baseball brought a sense of normalcy that has been lacking recently. 

Arenado
Nolan Arenado hit bombs during the 9/9/9 Challenge. (Benny Sieu- USA TODAY Sports)

John announces in the 5th Inning that he was done. 9 hot dogs, 9 beers, 5 Innings. All hail the victor. The long 1st Inning allowed John to down 5 hot dogs and 5 beers. Bernie too had sprinted out of the box, demolishing 8 hot dogs. Kevin and Jesse also polished off 5 hot dogs in the 1st Inning. Meanwhile, Derek was cruising along with just 3 hot dogs gone. 

Kevin overtook Jesse in the 7th Inning. He took advantage of Jesse talking to close the gap, finishing his final beer and hot dog before the 7th Inning Stretch. Jesse quickly finished his final hot dog, ensuring his place on the medal stand. He started celebrating too early and Kevin passed him just before the finish line. Bernie had gone out hard on the hot dogs and was paying the lethargic price. Meanwhile Derek was the tortoise of the race, slow and steady. 

In the Bottom of the 5th, Ben Gamel Singled, scoring Eric Thames and Yasmani Grandal. 4-3 Brewers. The Rockies retook the lead in the Top of the 6th. Ryan McMahon scored on a Wild Pitch. Tony Wolters Singled home Ian Desmond. Raimel Tapia scored on a Charlie Blackmon Double to make it 6-4 Colorado. The score remained 6-4 until the 8th Inning as the Challenge for some became keeping down the hot dogs.

Colorado added to their lead in the 8th. Tapia Doubled to Right, followed by a Mark Reynolds Walk. Tony Wolters hit a Sacrifice Fly, scoring Tapia. Blackmon was Hit By the next Pitch, forcing Reynolds to Second. Story followed with a 3 Run Home Run, scoring Reynolds and Blackmon. The Rockies scored 4 in the 8th pushing their lead to 10-4. 

Jesus Aguilar Walked and Gamel Singled to give Milwaukee a bit of hope to start the home half of the 8th. However, those hopes were quickly dashed when Scott Oberg induced an Orlando Arcia 6-4-3 Double Play. Derek was finishing his last beer and hot dog as Nolan Arenado launched a 3-2 pitch from Jeremy Jeffress beyond the Left-Centerfield wall. 11-4 Colorado. Derek’s slow and steady pace meant he missed the podium, but still conquered the 9/9/9 Challenge. Only Bernie was left. After the Arenado dinger the Rockies went down in order. The Brewers put the first two on, a Lorenzo Cain Single and Eric Thames Walk, but down by 7 there was little hope for a comeback. Mike Moustakas Lined Out, then Yasmani Grandal Struckout. As Travis Shaw stepped to the plate, Bernie made his mad dash for home. He finished his final beer just moments before Shaw popped out to end the game and the Challenge. The Rockies won 11-4.

Reality

Derek- 9 hot dogs and 9 beers

Jesse- 10 hot dogs and 9 beers

John- 9 hot dogs and 10 beers

Bernie- 9 hot dogs and 9 beers

Kevin- 9 hot dogs and 10 beers

The average MLB game in 2019 took 3:05. This May 1st battle between beer sponsored ballparks took 3:44. The long 1st Inning plus several half innings with multiple runs scored gave us extra time to complete the 9/9/9 Challenge. It was not the most exciting game to watch. However, it was a great reason to get together with friends, via the internet, watch baseball, and forget the chaos of the real world for a few hours. We could have spent our time doing something far more productive, but what could be a better waste of time than baseball and friends. Challenge completed.

DJ

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s