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Opinion: Chef Wasabi must become a lovable villain once again

Comedian Ryan Beil's hot take on who used to be the spiciest Sushi Race mascot at The Nat.
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Chef Wasabi was once the spiciest opponent at the Sushi Races during Vancouver Canadians games. Comedian Ryan Beil says he should be played like a villain again. Do you agree?

Full disclosure, I openly boo “Chef” Wasabi during the Sushi Race(s) at the Nat.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the Sushi Race(s). For the uninitiated, The Sushi Race(s) I’m referring to is a foot race between mascots, representing different sushi-related (or sushi adjacent) characters, that happens during an inning break at a Vancouver Canadians baseball game. 

Those characters are Kappa Maki; Ms. BC Roll; Sadaharu Soy (named after Japanese Baseball Hall of Famer Sadaharu Oh); the chopstick twins I can never remember the names of; and, of course, "Chef” Wasabi. 

I always told myself if I ever had a platform to talk about baseball, I would do a certified hit-piece on “Chef” Wasabi. Well, here’s my chance, and I’m not holding back. 

First off, what makes him a chef? He’s a living, breathing hunk of wasabi, isn’t that enough? He also needs an occupation? What’s next? Dr. Kappa Maki? The Right Honourable BC Roll? Professor Sadaharu? Sheriff The Two Chopsticks I can Never Remember the Names of!? 

Calling him a chef implies a backstory I, as a fan, have never been privy to. If he’s an actual chef, I want to see credentials. Or at the very least, release a video of him putting together a fairly complicated dish. 

But that’s not why I boo him. 

I boo him because he used to be a cad. A certified heel. He had antics and bits! 

Where did his malevolence go? When I was a boy (and by “boy” I mean “in my late 20s and early 30s”) I remember “Chef” Wasabi as a trickster. A charlatan. A cad. 

Whether he was diverting racers to a fake finish line, or taking a nap after gaining a large lead, he was insufferable and always up to something. And that’s what made him a star. His arrogance. His disdain for the rules. His laissez-faire attitude. 

Over the last few seasons, that attitude has all but evaporated. The number of hijinks have dropped exponentially and The Sushi Race(s) has become a contest solely concerned with the mascots’ athletic abilities. 

I say, no more! Bring back “Chef” Wasabi’s stunts! Let Sadaharu Soy be his foil! Start a storyline where the Chopstick Twins break up! Have Ms. BC Roll run for mayor! Maybe Kappa Maki gets into Cryptocurrency and loses everything? I don't know, I’m just spitballing here. 

There’s a reason why I have a “Chef” Wasabi bobble head, and the team store sells “Chef” Wasabi T-shirts: his history as a beloved villain. An anti-hero. An outlaw. And the sooner we see that “Chef” Wasabi back on the field, the better. 

I know this is an unpopular opinion. Wasabi has legions of fans. And if it gets me cancelled, so be it! Let the vitriol flow! But I truly believe the youth of today need to be treated to Wasabi’s cavalier attitude and creative rule-breaking. 

So, what do you think? Do you have a hot take about any of the Sushi Race characters? Please let me know. And as always: see you at The Nat!