Lake County Captains' whale of a sandwich

The Moby Dick sandwich is a behemoth of fried fish, clam strips, French fries, cheese and much more. Lake County Captains

Chris Kelley is no flyweight when it comes to food, but the former college rugby player admits he was no match for the Moby Dick.

The Moby is a deep-sea monster of a sandwich that made its rookie debut Thursday night at the home opener of the Lake County Captains, a Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians in Eastlake, Ohio.

It’s a three-pound, 4,000-calorie whale that consists of five quarter-pound fried fish fillets, six ounces of clam strips, one-third of a pound of French fries, eight slices of cheese, coleslaw, tartar sauce, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes on a 15-inch sesame seed roll. It sells for $20.

If anyone can eat the whole thing by the end of the game, the gastronomic champ will earn a T-shirt that says “I conquered the Moby Dick” and a photo on a wall of fame.

Kelley, 25, and three of his friends -- the only ones to attempt the feat in the opener -- struck out.

“You’re looking at it, you think, ‘That doesn’t seem too bad,’” said the 6-foot-2, 210-pound youth minister who lives in Willowick, Ohio. “Then you start to eat it and you get about halfway through -- I think most of us got about halfway through in the first half hour -- and then you start slowing down because the bread is a lot and the cheese too. ...

“It’s delicious. If you want to buy it and split it with about 10 people, that’s a great idea. But I think by yourself it’s pretty difficult.”

Craig Deas, who handles community and media relations for the Captains, knows the Moby will be eaten; it’s just a question of when. Deas once ate the Fifth Third Burger, which contains five one-third pound beef patties, at a West Michigan Whitecaps game and knows it’s mind over meat (or fish).

“The longer you wait, the tougher it is because your body realizes how full you are,” he says. “So we’ll see if we get one of those power eaters who can just jam it down.”

Kelley and his buddies sat at the designated Moby Dick table, eating and watching the game, while fans stopped by to watch and comment.

“Some random people were saying, ‘Oh my gosh, these people are so insane or stupid,” Kelley says. “I don’t think insane is the right word. I think stupid is definitely the right word."

Twelve people have tried the Moby challenge through four games this season. No one has been able to eat it all.