Memorial Day is your chance to join “The Club”

Question – Can anyone think of a better way to spend your Memorial Day than at The Park watching the surging Phillies (26-24) take on the Arizona Diamondbacks (29-23)?  Answer – yes.

Question – Can anyone think of a better way to spend your Memorial Day than the above scenario with the addition of this gem of information – Hatfield Franks Dollar Dog Night?  Answer – no.  The reason?  It’s the only sensible time to try and pull off the greatest sports fan accomplishment known to man… joining the prestigious 9-9-9 Club.

Much like fraternities, not much is known about the creation of the infamous 9-9-9 Club.  Some say a man by the name of Donald P. Grimes inadvertently created the club while getting drunk at his son’s little league game back in 1978.  Others say the club was created by key members of the ’93 Phillies team on their days off.  But whatever the story, one thing’s for sure – it takes a true champion to become a "Niner".

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If you didn’t already know, the 9-9-9 Club is home to the dreamers and do’ers who manage to eat 9 hot dogs and drink 9 beers all in the span of 9 innings.

Now before you pull the old, "What’s this idiot talking about?  I could totally eat 9 hot dogs and drink 9 beers.  I once won the title of ‘Mr. Chug Panama City’ back in 1989…" here are the rules:

1. Must be 21 years of age, or posses a really good fake ID.
2. Must eat 9 hot dogs (including buns) and drink 9 beers (16 ounce) in the span of 9 innings.
3. Must not throw up, and must remain awake for at least 1 hour after the bottom of the 9th ends.

Sounds simple right?  Most people just hear those three rules and assume that joining the club will be easier than hooking up at McFadden’s, but please take the following into consideration before you try and be a hero:

1. Temperature – 100 pounds of food and a kegs worth of booze don’t mix well with the sun (I think we all remember what it did to Elisabeth Shue’s friend in the movie Cocktail).
2. Pressure – Trying to back up a months worth of smack can break a man (think Jerramy Stevens 2005).
3. The Hot Dogs – Who’s to say you’re gonna get a good batch of dogs?  For all you know the guy who’s responsible for getting rid of all the pig knuckles just broke up with his girlfriend, and the last thing on his mind is your quest for the 9-9-9.
4. 16 Ounce Beers – Trust me, this makes a HUGE difference. 
5. Pace – Fast or slow?  Double fist?  Double dog?  When do you take bathroom breaks?  Do you Kobayashi your dogs (dip them in water)?  What happens when there’s a back to back 1-2-3 inning?  Who’s the pace car?
6. You’re Heart Might Explode – Are you really prepared to take in 120 grams of fat and 3,000 calories in the span of 120 minutes?  Are you also prepared to recreate the diner scene from Spaceballs?

I only offer the above information because I don’t want anyone to go through the shame and embarrassment (not too mention the horribly inflated ATM receipts) that I had to go through the five times I attempted to join the club:

April 24th, 2004 (Phillies – Expos) - 4 hot dogs and 3 beers with an end result of a legendary case of explosive diarrhea.
August 6th, 2004 (Dodgers – Phillies)
- 5 hot dogs and 3 beers with an end result of… see above.
April 4th, 2005 (Phillies – Nationals)
- 8 hot dogs and 4 beers with an end result of heart burn and 25 minutes worth of hiccups.
June 24th, 2005 (Phillies – Red Sox)
- 4 hot dogs and 6 beers with an end result of missing the last three innings due to excessive vomiting.
June 30th, 2006 (Phillies – Mets)
- 6 hot dogs and 6 beers with an end result of me blacking out within 10 minutes of leaving the park.

Which brings us to tomorrow’s game at The Park.  If watching thousands of reruns of Evil Kanevil stunts have taught me anything, it’s that the best time to risk your life is when all the cards say go.  Tomorrow’s game time temperature is going to be in the low to mid 80’s.  The Phillies are returning home after sweeping the Braves.  And all hot dogs cost $1 thanks to the fantastic people at Hatfield.  So good luck to you brave souls who dare try to join a club so awesome and so dangerous, that it only has three members (who coincidentally are all unknown).

Throughout the season I would love to know of anyone who successfully joins the 9-9-9 Club… and if anyone sees a really handsome 27 year old man hugging a toilet and cursing the Gods during the later September Nationals series, please don’t kick him.

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