Last night, the Oakland Athletics played a game that had only six fewer innings than the number of letters in their opponent’s name; the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. That’s about the only way you can take a 19-inning, three-and-a-half hour affair and make it feel not as long and painful as it actually was.
I’m one of those types that never leaves a ballgame early. I’ve never done it. Not even as a Mariners fan! I’ve wanted to, but I haven’t. You don’t want to be that guy who has to slump his head and shuffle his feet as you tell your friends that you weren’t there to see that game-winning knock. I don’t think it makes you any less of a fan if you want to leave early, though. Particularly in one of the cold, book-end months of the season or if it pits two bad teams against one another. I guess, in that way, I’m a sucker.
A grizzled veteran of the press box, I’ve covered six baseball games in my time. All of those were Tacoma Rainiers games down at Cheney in 2012. One time, I got to meet one of my most favorite baseball writers. Into the box popped Ryan Divish. I probably should have realized the type of night I was in for as soon as I saw him. What ensued was nothing short of hilarity.
It’s been covered well enough that I don’t need to dive into it too deep. But the cliff notes include position players pitching, failed rally attempts and Larry Stone pinch-tweeting in proxy to keep us apprised of the now-banned-from Twitter Divish’s thoughts. So, that wasn’t too much baseball.
The longest game I’ve attended in person — a 14-inning event in 2009 that saw Ken Griffey, Jr. get the walk off hit — wasn’t too much baseball. If I recall, it was a chilly night and I might have even been wearing shorts for some silly reason. But it ended with a franchise icon sending the fans home happy one last time.
So, how much baseball is too much baseball? Here are some candidates:
- The Chicago White Sox beat the Milwaukee Brewers in a 25-inning, 8hr 6m game on May 8, 1984.
- The record for innings played and longest no-contest? The Brooklyn Robins and Boston Braves battled to a 1-1 tie in 26 innings. And you think soccer draws suck?
- Of course the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox played the longest nine-inning game in history. On August 18, 2006, the Yankees topped the Sox 14-11 in 4h 45m.
But, the undisputed champion and winner for the title of “Too Much Baseball” goes to…
San Diego Padres at Philadelphia Phillies, June 2, 1993. Total time: 12h 5m
- Started a little over an hour late due to rain.
- 1h 56m rain delay in the fourth inning.
- 2h 48m rain delay in the sixth inning.
- Padres win 5-2.
After a 25-minute intermission…
- The game started at 1:28. No, not in the afternoon. 1:28 in the very early morning.
- Perhaps miraculously, there were no rain delays.
- …but of course it went to extra innings.
- Luckily it only went to the 10th, when relief pitcher Mitch Williams — at 4:40 am, in his first at-bat of the year — singled to drive in the winning run.
How many different proxy tweeters would Ryan Divish have had to employ that day?