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Playing “Ketchup” With The Front Row Investigative Entity (FRIE)

ESPN The Magazine's Seth Wickersham confesses to the bittersweet aftertaste of revealing star Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes relishes ketchup

Far removed from ESPN’s main Bristol, Conn. campus, in a building few visit and even fewer exit, is housed an ultra-secret, ultra-small, nearly invisible offshoot of the award-winning Outside the Lines investigative unit.

Heretofore known to only a select few, the Front Row Investigative Entity (FRIE) was invented to tackle the stories deemed too saucy or too tangy for OTL. So it should be no surprise that dipping FRIE into the soggy under-bun of last week’s ESPN The Magazine cover story on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes stirred up even more “controversy.”

FRIE is able to confirm that the story’s author, senior writer Seth Wickersham – who unearthed a Mahomes nugget so inflammatory and so blasphemous that big beef-eating Chiefs fans are on the verge of all-out, steak knife-fighting in Arrowhead Stadium’s tailgate lots – is, in fact a ketchup “over-user” himself.

People want to compare me to Patrick Mahomes, and while we both have quick releases and rocket arms – the words of a few particular scouts — I’m afraid the comparisons end there!

- Seth Wickersham, ketchup-swathed tongue placed firmly in cheek

As if the shock of Mahomes mixing pureed tomato into his macaroni and cheese wasn’t enough, now we have confirmation Wickersham practices what he reports.

“Hamburgers, hot dogs and fries – sure,” said someone close to Wickersham, who might be his wife, “but then he’ll bring it out and put it on eggs. Hard-boiled eggs. And Danish. He loves apple Danish with ketchup.”

Late Monday night after Mahomes’ Chiefs scored 51 points in a record-setting loss to the host Los Angeles Rams, Wickersham contacted FRIE saying he was ready to spill the sauce.

“I got word that you were working on an ‘investigative piece’ filled with ‘anonymous sources’ so I feel the need to correct the record,” Wickersham said. “People want to compare me to Patrick Mahomes, and while we both have quick releases and rocket arms – the words of a few particular scouts — I’m afraid the comparisons end there!”

Well, first, the question America is asking – how has ketchup changed your life?
It’s driving me crazy. Ketchup has changed my life only in the last week, when I’ve been forced to consider it, debate it, ponder it, and react to it. Within 24 hours, Heinz was dangling a sponsorship to Mahomes. Kansas City radio stations debated the merits of ketchup all day.

Heinz wanted to mail me ketchup. [NFL Network’s] Good Morning Football dedicated two segments to it. I have a texting thread with my college buddies, and during the game last night my friend Justin Heckert remarked that [Chiefs receiver] Tyreek Hill was like a “squirt of ketchup up and down the field;” that Mahomes stood “tall in the packet;” that the Rams had a “dollop of pressure.” I can’t take it anymore.

Why didn’t you disclose that you are also improperly used ketchup? We have documented no fewer than 22 inappropriately ketchup-ed incidents.
I believe that you’re mistaking me for my two-year-old son, Grant, whose first words included “dip” as he pointed to the bottle. He throws fits until we give it to him.

Last week, in the midst of all of this ketchup hysteria, Grant wanted it at a restaurant, and I actually hid the bottle under the table to avoid the certain mess he always makes. Maybe your “sources” saw that and figured that I was stealing it. But it was for my son. I swear.

Well, there’s really only one question left – what’s the oddest food item you’ve put ketchup on?
Corn on the cob, but … OK, fine. Fine. I give up. You got me. You characterize it as “odd.” We ketchup connoisseurs prefer “inspired.” And while we’re at it, who needs gravy at Thanksgiving when you can just put ketchup on turkey? Do it. And have a great Thanksgiving.