I was at an 18-inning game once. Such sweet memories. Of Mom, for instance, who was keeping score, drawing in columns in every free spot in the scorecard so she didn’t miss a thing. Of Dad looking at us, measuring the two hour drive home and the determination on our faces, and logic, and illogic, and the quirks and flashes that make a family, and staying until the end. Of Rusty Staub out in the outfield, where he hadn’t been for years, trotting from left to right to left field at each at-bat depending on whether the batter was a lefty or righty, pull hitter or not: Davey Johnson playing the percentage as always and hoping the fat kid wouldn’t have to make a catch. And then a wayward ball heading to Rusty’s side of the field, and Rusty, in the game’s greatest moment, running with all his might and his eyes on the missile, and when he got his glove under that long, slow fly ball, we felt like we’d witnessed Willie Mays leaping to make his most improbable save.

My parents aren’t married to each other any more. I don’t follow the game. But all of this returns, a drop of maple sugar on the tongue, when I open up Facebook and see a night’s worth of notes from this friend and that. “Fourteen innings!” “Someone end it.” “Top of the sixteenth. Still tied.” “I’m too old for this.”

It’ll be a rough day tomorrow for you, and a tough end of Series for two depleted teams, but baseball fans, you watched two games in one last night. And now you can tell children twenty years from now how you saw the longest World Series game ever.

Advertisements