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There’s No Counting for Taste ... Until Now

Times Staff Writer

Joey Chestnut of San Jose -- the top-ranked American according to the International Federation of Competitive Eating -- will be among the contestants at a gyoza-eating event on Saturday at the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center in downtown Los Angeles.

It’s part of the nine-day Japanese Festival, which got underway this weekend.

Chestnut has eaten 62 hamburgers in eight minutes, 173 chicken wings in 30 minutes, 52 hot dogs in 12 minutes and more than six pounds of asparagus in 11 1/2 minutes. So how many of those little Japanese dumplings can he or any of the other competitors get down during the 10-minute time limit?

Richard Shea of the IFOCE says no one has any idea, and apparently that is a crucial statistic. “For this reason, it’s very important that we hold this contest,” he said.

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Trivia time: What NFL team went to the Super Bowl in 1978, ’88 and ’98?

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His hunger paid off: Andrew Morbitzer, the San Francisco Giants fan who grabbed Barry Bonds’ 715th home run ball while standing in a concession line, got $220,100 for the ball on EBay.

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“For standing in line waiting for a beer and something to eat,” he told the Associated Press, “you can’t be unhappy with an amount like that.”

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Perceptive self-analysis: Dick Ebersol, NBC Sports chairman, helped create “Saturday Night Live” when he was 26 and later became NBC’s first vice president under the age of 30.

Interviewed by Frank Deford for HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel,” Ebersol said of his early success: “I thought because ‘Saturday Night Live’ was the first thing I did, that obviously, I had some kind of magical potion and this was just going to go on and on. I must have been insufferable.”

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Ready to rumble: After free-spirited Jeremy Shockey showed up for lunch at training camp in a bathrobe, New York Giants tight end coach Mike Pope, according to Giants.com, said: “Is he just on the undercard, or is he in the main event?”

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The heat is on: Minnesota Twins center fielder Torii Hunter, on FSN’s “Best Damn Sports Show Period,” explained how he punishes his glove after a bad play.

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“I put it in the microwave,” he said.

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Looking back: On this day in 1987, Jackie Joyner-Kersee tied Heike Drechsler’s world record in the women’s long jump with a leap of 24 feet 5 1/2 inches at the Pan American Games in Indianapolis. The East German had set the record in 1986. The Soviet Union’s Galina Christyakova set the current world record of 24-8 1/4 at a meet in Leningrad in 1988.

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Trivia answer: The Denver Broncos. They lost to the Dallas Cowboys in ’78, lost to the Washington Redskins in ’88 and beat the Green Bay Packers in ’98.

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And finally: Dick Farley, the former coach at Williams College in Massachusetts who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this weekend, says this about Division III football: “There is no Division IV. If you can’t play here, you can’t play anywhere.”


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