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Game-Day Gluttony

Paul Steinbach Headshot

The West Michigan Whitecaps finished the Minor League Baseball season 13 games out of first place, but the franchise scored big with the Fifth Third Burger.

During the 73-game home schedule at Fifth Third Ballpark, the Whitecaps reportedly sold 1,948 burgers, each one featuring five third-pound burger patties fanned across a layer of chili and topped with five slices of cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and a helping of chips and salsa. The burger cost $20 and untold time off consumers' lives, yet an astonishing 298 fans (of the 476 who approached the meal as a solo mission) packed away all 299 of its fat grams in the span of a single game. One guy ate the 4,800-calorie concessions curiosity in just over 11 minutes.

Fifth Third Burger.jpgFifth Third Burger.jpg
As impressive as that seems, I once saw a man try to consume a burger more than twice that size at a Milwaukee Brewers bar near Miller Park. Waiting the 45 minutes for the kitchen staff at Kelly's Bleachers to prepare the Four-Pound Burger, I thumbed through a stack of Polaroids of those who had tried and failed to choke (and keep) down the $19.95 signature menu item and the side of waffle fries that comes with it. A clean platter inside 60 minutes meant a clean tab.

The patty alone was roughly the size of a cake pan, and the whole entree was served on a tray typically reserved for large pizzas. Having had my own eating prowess chronicled in a coworker's column during my days as a daily newspaper sports editor, I took it upon myself to coach this complete stranger. "Eat half in 20 minutes," I advised, the thought being that a full 40 minutes would be required for the second half. He devoured that first half - the equivalent of eight quarter-pounders - in 15 minutes. But with just five minutes to go in his hour-long odyssey, five bite-size morsels still remained. He paced. He perspired. He was followed into the men's room by purge police. And ultimately, as with all those before him, the clock ran out. I can't say what fate awaited the guy's own ticker.

I have no desire to ever step up to the Kelly's plate. However, AB group publisher Shawn Gahagan threw down a tempting gauntlet of game-day gluttony last month when he ate for the sausage cycle at Miller Park. I think I can stomach a bratwurst, a hot dog and Polish, Italian and chorizo sausages in one nine-inning sitting, but I've lost my appetite for the 2009 Brewers. There's always next year.

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