Usually I don’t mind long baseball games. Especially if I’m there. It’s like I’m getting more for my money. No one bitches that Springsteen concerts last four hours (well maybe Mrs. Springsteen who doesn’t want to look at his cheating ass for four hours but you get the idea).
And yet, every so often…
Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium was one of those Ugh!!! nights. 11 innings. FIVE hours. By the time I got on the air it was close to 1 A.M. Dodger Talk for Lovers.
You sort of understand if it’s a playoff game where so much is riding on every pitch or a Yankees-Red Sox game where so many commercials are riding between every pitch, but the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondback on game eight in April???
So how does it happen? Well, let’s see. Sixteen pitchers to start with. That’s sixteen pitching changes. In another inning, second basemen were going to be pitching or Don Newcombe was going to come out of retirement. There were twelve walks; nine issued by Dodger chuckers. Nothing’s more exciting to watch than “low ball two”, “high ball three”. Add to that pitching coaches, managers, catchers, and infielders calling time for meetings on the mound and you have the WAR & PEACE of baseball except instead of battle scenes you’re treated to the troops sitting around polishing their boots.
433 pitches were thrown, twice as many as a regular game. It was like was like watching a bad doubleheader.
Yes, there were hits. There were also errors, errors of omission, runner’s interference, and a poor catcher trying to catch a knuckleball.
And midway through the game there was a problem anchoring second base. This could be very dangerous so needed to be repaired immediately. That was ten or fifteen minutes. Kudos to Dodgers’ radio man Charley Steiner for observing “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”.
The great Vin Scully, calling the Dodger telecast, is still the best prepared broadcaster in the business. By the 10th he still had facts and interesting stories about all these guys. But I’m sure by inning 13 he would have been giving their dental records.
The great thing about baseball is that there are no time limits. You can’t run down the clock. You have to earn all 27 outs. Or 30. Or 33. Y’know, come to think of it, if you’re paying the sitter, and you have a long drive home, do you really need the Boss to launch into a medley of “Tunnel of Love” songs at midnight?