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 night’s Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs game. We call this #PropHate.

Do you see this image, lovingly twitpic’d and sent out into the world? This twitpic is what Prop Hate is all about. The above image was captured and uploaded, like countless other similar photos, during last night’s Giants/Diamondbacks game in San Francisco. The Giants are in first place and they also happen to be a team I enjoy watching on the television. Madison Bumgarner was their starting pitcher last night. He, too, is appointment television (in moderation, Parkes. Your ward is an adult now. If you love something, let him go.)

I did not see this double rainbow live during the early stages of Wednesday night’s Giants game. I wasn’t able to watch the Giants as I was too busy watching the Prop Hate punishment game, played between the s/a Red Sox and the mostly s/a Mariners. A game started by two pitchers with a combined Cistulli Nerd Score of Five (Bumgarner rates as 9, FYI.) The game itself earns a Nerd Score of 1, the lowest total of the night. At the risk of spoiling the rest of the game, it lives up to its billing.

The Narrative

The Boston Red Sox quit on their manager and their season. They gutted their roster and got disappointing performance from nearly every position around the diamond. They’re a mess, hard at work on a full-blown mutiny.

Two also-ran teams playing out the string in early September. Two scrap-heap pitchers tossing junk in search of another contract next year. Expanded rosters. Infinite sadness. No rain in a place it always rains. Inevitability. Solitude. Pestilence. Desolation.

Game Chart of Banality

Source: FanGraphs

Snapshot of Tedium

The highlight page on MLB.com currently features a grand total of nine clips. Two nice lunging plays by James Loney (of all people), an interview with a soccer player, and the big blow of the game, Dustin Ackley’s grounder up the middle that plated two runs.

The only Red Sox highlight features Cody Ross looping a double down the right field line. A ball Ross hit so hard he did this after it left his bat.

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.

Cody Ross had three hits, including the accidental RBI double seen above. Whatever. He’s going to get paid this off-season and there isn’t a single thing you or Roy Halladay or anybody can do about. Just learn to accept this new reality and move on.

Mound Misery

This game was everything we expected and more. The mediocre pitchers collided head-on with two mediocre offenses to mediocre effect. Both Kevin Millwood and Aaron Cook went six innings and walked three batters. Millwood picked up the win, allowing just four hits and a single run, striking out three. Aaron Cook, he of the endless barrage of sinkers, matched his season high with five strikeouts.

The two aged hurlers combined for few swinging strikes than Brandon Morrow managed on his own last night, though Cook notched a surprising eight. Surprising because he’s awful. Remember: Aaron Cook has 13 starts this year.


Regional Bias

The legacy of grunge hangs over Seattle like a dark, heroin-abuse catalyzing cloud. Far too often, the first thing that comes to mind when one things of the city of Seattle is a flannel-clad musician in need of a bath and a shave.

The suicide of Kurt Cobain cemented Nirvana’s status and limited their active output. Meanwhile, go-to Seattle musician reference Pearl Jam is still kicking around, touring and putting out Japanese singles or whatever else ageing rock stars do. The stereotype remains, despite Pearl Jam serving as something of a serene dog whistle for the middle aged, making Coldplay look like Gucci Mane.

That said, there was a weird and wild assortment of facial hair on display last night. Ryan Lavernaway, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jesus Montero, and former beard savant Eric Thames all bring various levels of beard/stache to the table. Brendan Ryan is a treat to watch play shortstop and grow facial hair.

Meanwhile, Aaron Cook sports a pretty sweet goatee & mohawk combo, more than making up for his utter replaceability.

The Straight Goods

The late innings of this game got a little pitching change happy, as the Mariners deployed five pitchers to record nine outs, the group combined to allow just three base runners over their three innings of work. All those commercial breaks…combined with the West Coast start…well let’s just say this represents most of memory of the last third of this game.

A crying child (my own) dragged me back to lucidity just in time to watch Tom Wilhelmsen do some awesomely Tom Wilhelmsen stuff in the 9th inning but aside from that…yeah I got nothing. While I dutifully re-visited this finale to this macabre tale here at my desk by the sober light of morning, my eyes glazed over anew.

Sure, I’ll remember Danielle the Ball Girl slapping five to a fan after she made a nifty pick up of a hot foul shot by Trayvon Robinson, both for her “OMG!” sigh of relief and the fact that Trayvon Robinson made contact. But the rest of the game, sadly, slips into the collective unconscious of A Thing that Happened. Not great plays (because there basically were none) or unforgettable moments (again, dividing by zero).

As an unimpassioned observer and grizzled veteran of hundreds of televised baseball events, this was just another one. One I’d have rather ditched for the Giants game (until they started losing) or Netflix (some random Euro skinfliI MEAN DOCUMENTARY ABOUT SOCIAL ISSUES) or something else entirely (i.e. restful sleep in my bed, not guilt-ridden couch dozing with a slightly roasted laptop region.)

Which, at the end of the day, is what we envisioned for Prop Hate when we cooked it up last spring. No gleeful poetry like that ingrate/savant Parkes. It is about pain. Suffering. First World Problems to the Nth degree. Thank you for standing by me during this most difficult time. Pearl Jam sucks.