Every Thursday, the Getting Blanked crew makes a prop bet of sorts with one another having something to do with baseball games over the weekend. Of the three competitors, whoever wins the prop bet is able to dole out a punishment on the colleague of their choice. This week’s punishment was watching and recapping Monday afternoon’s San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs game. We call this #PropHate.
When thinking of Prop Hate punishments, it often comes down to pitching matchups. As avowed baseball snobs, great pitching gets our blood flowing. This makes the opposite — two bad teams featuring less than sexy starting pitchers — quite the buzz kill. I mean really: who, in 2012, wants to watch Jeff Suppan pitch?
Not the front offices of 30 major league teams for most of the offseason, that much is clear. The Padres plucked Suppan from obscurity and signed him to a minor league deal in February, hoping for the best. The best being “hope our ballpark lets him eat 150 mostly painless innings.”
The flipside of a bad pitching matchup is the potential for a slugfest. Slugfests aren’t bad in an of themselves, sometimes they can be downright entertaining. Lacking the cache of the Matt Cain/Cliff Lee pitching duel from early April, a full-blown donnybrook of offensive upheaval.
With the Cubs (mired in a twelve game losing streak) facing the Padres (entered the game scoreless in 26 innings with fewer home runs to their collective name than Josh Hamilton), the potential of an offensive onslaught is low. Not zero, however. The offenses of these two clubs are just like the bald eagle used for the pre-game jingoism rituals: lying in wait. Waiting for someone to remove the blinders from over its eyes so they might unleash their awful wrath on the world. The blinders coming off for the Cubs and Padres respective offenses? Gale-force winds blowing directly out of Wrigley Field on a humid May afternoon. And did those offenses soar…
First things first: the ceremonial first pitch! Who do you get to throw out the first pitch on Memorial Day? The man who browbeat, harassed, and tried to murder a decorated war hero, punting the Special Forces soldier slash drifter from his podunk town darkest Washington state in the classic film First Blood. I’m talking, of course, about Brian Dennehy! This game is destined for great, great things.
Attack of the Killer Narratives!
The Padres can’t score! The Cubs can’t win! This game might just become an endless string of scoreless frames, each inning more pathetic than the last. The game finally ends late Tuesday morning with an official edict from Bud Selig to fold both teams into one franchise. The newly-formed Catholic Altar Bears franchise does not have an official host city but are excited to announce a 30-year, $2 billion dollar television rights deal, effective immediately.
Except that these two team went crazy, combining for 18 runs powered by eight – EIGHT – home runs. Fly like an eagle, you crazy Padres. Let your homer hair down and live a little.
Let’s Hit All the Home Runs Today – A Win Expectancy Graph
The Most Important Play of the Game
Alfonso Soriano clouted a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, pushing the Cubs on top 8-7. A lead they would not surrender on the way to their first win in twelve games. This bomb increased the Cubs odds of winning by more than 30%. It was one of eleven plays that pushed the game 10% in either direction. Dizzying!
What the Pitcher Threw
Meatballs. Wind-blown meatballs. The conditions are Wrigley were ideal for scoring, pitching bedamned. It isn’t like Jeff Suppan needs the help but the runs were in the offing from the get-go yesterday. Padres color commentary guy Mark Grant began beating the “wind-blown offense” drum before the game started. One Darwin Barney home run later and this game officially entered crazypants territory. Eight home runs total from two of the five worst home run hitting teams in baseball. The Gods must be mad!
The MLB.com Reporter Gets All Artsy in His Gamer Quote of the Game
Corey Brock ges all out in his gamer for padres.com.
During his playing days, Padres manager Bud Black used to rise each morning on trips to Chicago, amble over to the window of his hotel room and brush the sleep from his eyes before taking a long glimpse outside.
Black wasn’t looking for rain. He wasn’t even really looking to see if it was sunny. He was checking to see if the wind was blowing. If it looked windy, Black, the former Major League pitcher, knew it had the potential of being a long day at Wrigley Field.
Cool story, bro. Tell it again. I kid! Beats the rest of the game story which was, well, a game story.
The Cubs in a Quippy Tweet
Heyo! Cubbies win. Losing streak ends. Wind gusts of 40 mph in Lakeview as Cubs fans collectively exhale after that game.
— The Stache (@TheRealQStache) May 28, 2012
Not Saying, Just Saying of the Game
Me thinks Brian Dennehy’s rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame was brought to you by Captain Morgan in more ways than one.
The Shamsky Award
Named after Art Shamsky, who single handedly increased the Cincinnati Reds’ chances of winning by 150.3% in a losing effort during a game in 1966, The Shamsky Award is given to the player on the losing team who contributes the most to them winning.
Chase Headley hit two home runs and went 4-5 with 3 RBI. He was very good, increasing the Padres WPA by 0.48 all on his own. Poor “Chase the Magnificent” as Dirk Hayhurst once called him. Chase’s 0.48 WPA exceeded any player on the victorious Cubs, as well.
This game was actually quite pleasant to watch. Dick Enberg is an all-timer and he and the aforementioned colorman Mark Grant seemed to have a grand time, telling stories of days gone by at Wrigley Field. One story involved Dave Kingman hitting three home runs in a similarly wind-affected game, sending one down one of the surrounding Wrigleyville streets.
Mark Grant is the best kind of homer – he has a sense of humor about himself and clearly enjoys the game. Seconds before Chase Headley hit the first of his two home runs on the game, Grant blurted out “I’d like to see Chase Headley get a fastball and crush it here”, which Headley did on the very next pitch!
This is what a man with the twitter handle “Sweendog9″ looks like. Former big leaguer Mark Sweeney proving that even former players stand out like sore thumbs. The third man in the Padres “booth” played for just about every team in the NL and offered occasional insight in between (I assume) oogling every woman in the Chicagoland area.
Cubs broadcasts are famous for the high number of crowd shots, usually busty ladies in modified Cubs gear half-snapped on Old Style. Watching the Padres broadcast on a windy day, we were instead treated to many many shots of the flags blowing in the wind. As if the home runs by Darwin Barney and Evereth Cabrera didn’t send that message loud and clear.
They should really move the fences in at Petco Park. There are some talented players on the Padres team who are simply crushed by the spacious confines and Marine Layer in SD. Will Venable and Chase Headley are good players who can play for my team any time.
The Cubs, man. The Cubs. I almost can’t believe they won this game. Starlin Catro iced the game with a seventh inning home run. Padres reliever Luke Gregorson (who is very good) pounded down and away with his deadly slider, jumping ahead of Castro 0-2. Then Gregorson hung one and Castro served it out to left field. Game. Over. Somewhat mercifully, I might add.