The ancient Greek playwright Sophocles, a tragedian well-versed in the methods of misfortune, once wrote about losing, "I would prefer even to fail with honor than to win by cheating."
Wise and noble words, indeed. And nearly 2,500 years later, they still hold true.
Alas, no one told the Hot Dog, who neither failed with honor nor won by cheating in Tuesday’s Sausage Race at Miller Park. Prior to the seventh inning of the Brewers’ 2-1 loss to the Giants, the Famous Racing Sausages competed in their regular dash – an exciting and heated contest that, during the team’s rebuilding season, might be the highlight of the game.
On Tuesday night, the Hot Dog sprinted out to a huge lead, perhaps as many as 15 foot-longs in front of his nearest challenger, delighting the 24,000 spectators with his dominating encased-meat athleticism.
But down the home stretch, with the grilled scent of smoky victory within sniffing distance, the unthinkable happened. In a cruel, "Cool Runnings"-esque twist of fate, the frontrunner, suddenly drained and (hot) dog-tired, inexplicably lost his footing and fell down, face-planting not only into the dirt track but also into the heartbreaking history of all-time Sausage Race defeats.
ICYMI: A wiener took a tumble.https://t.co/DVX3j7cfWs— 120 Sports (@120Sports) April 6, 2016
In their unwieldy costumes – or artificial casings, as they're called in the sausage game – the wieners are about 7-feet-3, or approximately the size of Knicks rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis. There can be no doubt, however, that, after such an anguished downfall, the Hot Dog was feeling as small as a bottle of Miller Park’s Secret Stadium Sauce.
Taking advantage of the last-second collapse, the Brat crossed the finish line for the improbable victory, preventing the Hot Dog from winning the first two Sausage Races of the Brewers’ 2016 season.
OMG hot dog just face planted right in front of me.— Adam Hefel (@bootsiealert) April 6, 2016
The Hot Dog could not be reached for comment, but OnMilwaukee’s Matt Mueller, a former Racing Sausage competitor who has chronicled the grueling life of being a giant tubular meat runner, offered his thoughts on the unbelievable events.
When asked what the Hot Dog’s emotions must be like following his embarrassing loss, Mueller said, "Embarrassed. As one who never got that close to winning a race, I can't even imagine what that must have felt like."
Meanwhile, the voting for both political parties’ presidential primaries in Wisconsin also took place on Tuesday, with Ted Cruz prevailing over Donald Trump and John Kasich in the GOP race and Bernie Sanders beating Hilary Clinton in the Democratic race – contests even Sophocles would no doubt struggle to endear with his eloquent rationality.
But incontrovertibly, the biggest loser of the day’s most important race was still the Hot Dog.
Get 'em next time, Hot Dog. Make America great again.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.