August 11, 2014

Yes, we stayed

Every time we go to a baseball game, we know that just about anything can happen.  One thing that’s pretty predictable about an Angel game is that we are usually the last game to end on any given night. It’s uncanny the way that happens, but with the out-of-town scoreboard right in front of us, I track this phenomena on most nights.

Saturday was no exception and history was even made.
Not the kind of history that you might want to participate in, but history never-the-less.  The Angels played and won (thankfully) their longest home game in actual time played in the history of the organization. 

The game last six hours and 31 minutes.  Paid attendance for the night was 41, 159.  By game’s end?  Your guess is as good as mine, but a fair amount actually stayed.  I mean, it was Saturday night….

Over the course of 19 innings 558 pitches were thrown by 18 pitches (9 for each team); 347 of them for strikes.  Of the 347 each team looked at 54 strikes each (108 total) without swinging.  I find it curious that batters looked at strikes 31% of the time they were thrown.  There were 32 strike outs, and 11 walks.  Nothing spectacular for sure.

Highlights of the evening?  Well, there is the walk-off homerun by Albert Pujols.  I believe his first as an Angel.  I was beginning to think I’d never see one of those from him.

The nice thing about the six+ hours was that we got to spend it with some former season ticket holders (John and Linda and John and Ann) who bought some tickets from us.  As the game went on (and on), I joked that the Angels were making innings up to them for all the games they missed this year.  As we passed the 18 inning mark Linda’s husband – John remarked…. “We’re going to owe James for an extra game."

It was long. It was exhausting, but it was fun.  That being said, I hope I don’t ever do it again.  Talk about the dog days of summer...

I’ve never been to a doubleheader; although, Cheryl and I have been to two games in one day.  It was May 27, 2006.  Cheryl and I had gone to Petco Park to see the Padres and Cardinals.  We made the trip specifically to see David Eckstein. When that game ended – we rushed back to Anaheim to see Jered Weaver make his major league debut. 

That was a long day, but Saturday night was much longer.  Those two games in 2006 combined for five hours and 19 minutes more than an hour and 12 minutes less than the 19 inning marathon Saturday night.

Fun facts about the date in 2006 compared to Saturday night…

Albert’s homerun was the 514th of this career.  We happened to be sitting in section 514.  

There are three players that we saw on that day in 2006 and also happened to be a part of Saturday night… Albert Pujols (playing in SD for the Cardinals) and in the Angel game there was Erik Aybar who came in late in the game for Orlando Cabrera and Mike Napoli who was catching for the Angels.

Dale Scott (umpire) also happened to be part of the crew in Anaheim in 2006 and again Saturday night.

It’s funny how a 19 game inning game unfolds.  As the game goes longer and longer, you really feel anxious about the outcome.  When you spend that much time invested in an even – your team had better win.  I still have horrible memories of a Sunday afternoon game at Angels Stadium with the Cubs.

The Angels lost that game 6-5 in 15 innings; a 5 hour and 8 minute affair in the heat of the day back on June 13, 2004.  It was agonizing and made all the worse by the loss.

Over the course of 19 innings, you might run out of food and drink.  You fear leaving your seat for the restroom because you might miss something that could end the game.  Which probably isn’t an issue if you have run out of food and drink…

You hear the crowd boo when the Angels announce that due to city ordinances and out of “courtesy” to their neighbors, there will be no post game fireworks.  At which point you hope for in-game fireworks from your own team.

You get to sing “Take me out to the ball game” again in the 14th inning, but thankfully - you don’t hear “Buttercup” again.

You wonder who’s going to pitch if either team runs out of pitchers and then you realize that every position player (at least for the Angels) has already been in the game.  You look down into the broadcast booth and jokingly ask out loud if Mark Gubicza or Mark Langston is going to get the call next.

You start to worry about the drive home because bad things usually happen in the wee hours of Sunday mornings after Saturday night festivities and that’s no joke.

You start to wonder if you’ll make it for the 12:35 p.m. game that starts about 12 hours after the game you’re watching ends (yes, we made it back) and question the sanity of even considering such a thing.

You wonder if it’s too late to text your wife’s cousin who is a Red Sox fan and lives in New Jersey who was unable to watch the game on television and would surely appreciate an update (no, I didn’t text cousin Larry).

You notice that many of the ushers have gone home and guess the Angels just didn’t want to pay them overtime.

As you leave the stadium – the ushers say “good morning” instead of good-night.  Yup, everyone has a sense of humor when it’s late... I mean early.

You embrace the quietness of the crowd leaving the stadium; knowing full well that if the Red Sox had won, you’d be hearing them singing (badly) “Sweet Caroline” as they stumbled to their cars.

You notice that the moon is about to be full and you say to yourself… “It all makes sense now” – strange things happen when the moon is full.

You hear Terry Smith tell us via the radio that there’s no post game Angel talk for the ride home. Which means no one is phoning in calling for Scioscia’s head for at least one night and that’s a good thing because again – the moon is full and that brings out the crazies.

No comments:

Post a Comment