This post was inspired by a delirious, post-13-inning-victory conversation with Cespedes Family BBQ better half, Jordan Shusterman, who asked "Now what? Do we just concede tomorrow?" My initial suggestion was an old-fashioned battle of rock, paper, scissors between the two starters, Andrew Moore and Chris Sale (insert joke about Chris Sale and scissors here), but it was such an entertaining question that I took it to the LL Slack and my fellow writers certainly did not disappoint. As with all these coLLabs, we'd love to see your ideas in the comments, too.
Eric Sanford: I would suggest they challenge the Red Sox to one of these:
Paxton clearly gives the Mariners an edge, although something tells me Benintendo or whatever would be a lil’ over achiever and go pretty hard.
Grant Bronsdon: Let’s bring it back to that dorm room staple: Super Smash Bros. Melee, projected on the Safeco video board for all to see. If these guys can make it through a tournament without anybody strangling Mike Zunino for his obnoxious usage of Kirby, they can make it through anything. (Because, c’mon, of COURSE it would be Wild Zu using Kirby to annoy the hell out of everybody else.)
Ethan Novak: I was only ten years old when the XFL came into existence, so my memory is a bit fuzzy, but there are two things that I remember vividly: 1) the presence of future subpar NFL quarterback Tommy Maddox and 2) the way they determined who would receive/kick to start the game. The whole process was absurd; rather than do a coin flip or play a game of rock-paper-scissors like civilized human beings, the XFL went full WWE and created a concept that would eventually be referred to as ‘The Scramble’. Basically, The Scramble was this:
- A ball is placed on the 50-yard-line.
- Each team nominates one player to participate in the scramble. It wasn’t as simple as picking your strongest guy or your fastest guy or your best guy–especially given the injury risk. You know those athletes who look like they’re about to run through a wall at any given moment, those guys who are so full of competitive emotion that they look like their neck might actually pop off their shoulders and ascend to sports heaven? Now THAT is the guy you want in this situation. Find him. Pick him. It shouldn’t be hard.
- Both players lined up at the 30-yard-line, sometimes in a three-point stance and sometimes like a wide receiver. The XFL couldn’t really figure out whether they wanted a specific rule or not.
- The ref blows his whistle
- The players take off for the ball. The person who recovers it is deemed the winner.
I’m sure there were some rules in place for these contests, but for the most part it was full speed pushing and shoving followed by full speed, full extension diving. It was dangerous; at one point the Orlando Rage lost defensive back Hassan Shamsid-Deen for the season due to a separated shoulder in their first. freaking. game. It was nuts. It was bad. It was amazing. It was mostly bad. Okay, it was bad.
Anyway, to answer the question, the game should be decided by whoever manages to eat the most pieces of gum off that dumb wall.
Luke Mounger: There is only one fair way to settle any dispute. Both parties nominate a representative. This person should have an eye for precision and sharp decision making skills. The representatives will each grab an empty water pitcher. They will also grab an empty water glass. Then, the elected team ambassador will fill the pitcher with water to whatever point they think would fill a full glass of water. Finally, they will pour the now filled pitcher into the glass of water. They must pour out as much as they put into the pitcher. Whoever is closest to a full glass without any water overflowing is the winner. In this case, baseball is not a game of inches, but of fluid ounces.
Tee Miller: The bench is banged up, the bullpen bewildered… players on both sides of the field are weary eyed and sore, but the show must always go on. This is the life they chose, but nobody could have foreseen this bastardized schedule change. IT WAS AN OFF DAY. But no! Hark, the Manfred sings, there is a game today after all.
It is in these moments that a team, weakened by war, turns to its leaders to carry them through. Not Cano. Not Cruz. Not Felix. No, this day years for the blood and sweat of another. Emerging through the darkened clubhouse steps is one Scott Servais, focused and ready, odd shaped blue object dangling from his hand. Immediately behind him comes a fiery eyed Tim Bogar donning sweat band and gym shorts, odd shaped red object at the ready. From the visitor’s dugout, their Boston opponents come forth, both weapons of gray. They arrive at home plate, shake hands, and take their seats on the chairs provided. The umpires begin wheeling out the Cart of Destiny, long extension cords in tow, and the stadium PA announces the pre-determined rules of the game. No cheating, first to two wins, fines are elicited if you are caught screen peeking. Our 4 combatants take their controller cords and plug them into the console resting on the Cart of Destiny as the Television flickers on, synced with minimal delay up to Mariners Vision so today’s 40,000 strong can witness the 64 bit battlefield themselves. Being the home team has its advantages as Servais announces the game he has chosen to the umpires, causing beads of sweat to begin pouring from John Farrel’s brow. After a tense 30 seconds of waiting, the crowd erupts in cheers as everyone hears over the PA system that familiar Italian voice, “Welcome.. To Maaario Karrrt~!”
John Trupin: Every four years, the Summer Olympics are held and the World’s Greatest Athlete is chosen as the winner of the decathalon. Running, jumping, biking, swimming, spear-throwing, foraging, luge, bird-watching, target shooting, and graphic design are all weighed and balanced by a set of twins named Lawrence and Raychel. It is sport’s purest distillation.
While the Mariners and Red Sox cannot hope to offer an individual each worthy of competing, I suggest a modified decathlon within Safeco Field, with each team selecting a different member for each event. Ben Gamel and Andrew Benintendi swimming laps at top speeds, their hair flowing like mermen in a hastily flooded 3rd base dugout. Tony Zych stalking an increasingly panicked Craig Kimbrel, rifle in hand. Scott Servais and John Farrell battling to an eternal tie as they gaze towards the skies emotionlessly, counting seagulls. Marc Rzepczynski riding in on his motor bike and claiming it was not specified what type of biking was allowed. Robinson Canó and Dustin Pedroia battling for the final time for Mariano Rivera’s approval as they attempt to create the most spectacular infographics the world has ever seen.
It will be the greatest spectacle sport has ever known.
Kate Preusser: Baseball, more than any other sport, is a game of endurance. Forget the NFL’s once-a-week shovefests or the 90 minutes of Jazzercise known as soccer (hockey: Ice Jazzercise) [“but what about the NBA” they whined I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THE NBA, OKAY, I LIVE IN SEATTLE and also while a punishingly physical game, each one is like what, an hour?]. Anyway, a season of baseball is the most grueling undertaking I can imagine, other than playing a single game of Monopoly. Sweet cross-eyed hellfire I would rather do a n y t h i n g than play Monopoly. Not only is Monopoly as much fun as cleaning out the bathtub, it also was originally designed to teach people about the consequences of mass land-grabs and instead turned into a paean to American greed where you are encouraged to financially ruin your own grandmother and then parade the tiny metal corpse of her lost empire through Marvin Gardens. Fuck the entire hell out of Monopoly. Since I can’t imagine anything worse than playing an entire day game after an extra-innings contest that wore well into the night before, I suggest each team send forward their players of strongest spirit to belly up to Monopoly board--that utilitarian wasteland designed with all the graphic attention of a tax form--or on second thought, maybe just the ones they currently like the least.
Amanda Lane: Before we got married, my husband carried on his family’s tradition of holding a Best Man Competition. The seven groomsman competed for a chance at the coveted position of Best Man in our wedding. It was a three-day competition consisting of twenty events. Three of those events, which we held back-to-back-to-back on the second day of competition, would be perfect for this scenario:
Event #1: Chicken Nugget Eating Contest – Not your delicious, straight from the fryer full of vegetable oil nuggets. Oh no. Room temperature nuggets because you can only cook so many at a time in a conventional oven. Immediately followed by:
Event #2: Root Beer Chugging Contest – We used Barqs because it has bite. A quick vomit break was allowed, then on to:
Event #3: 40-Yard Dash – This is how it is determined who gets to play in the NFL. Surely, it can be part of what determines the winner of baseball player contest? Ours was run on an incline, to up the fun factor.
There is strategy involved. Which event do you want to go all-out on? Which event(s) do you want to hold back on? How much vomit are you willing to project? Each team would select 9 players to compete. Points would be awarded based on the order of finish and the team with the most points at end of all three events will be declared the winner. Gross, gluttonous, and entertaining. If baseball wasn’t already America’s pastime, this triad of events just might have won that title.