Why We Watch Them Play The Games

On May 31st, 1964, the Giants and the Mets had a doubleheader scheduled in Shea Stadium, and thus started playing baseball sometime early in the day. Apart from the break between games, they didn’t stop playing baseball until early the next morning; the second game went on for a recorded 7 hours and 23 minutes, ending in the bottom of the 23rd with an 8-6 Giants victory. Gaylord Perry got the win for his ten innings of shutout baseball, which began in the 13th. Willie Mays went 1 for 10 with a walk. I believe it’s this season that Kevin Goldstein popularized the #weirdbaseball hashtag on twitter for late-night, extra-inning games. This was #freakishbaseball, or possibly #Dadaistbaseball.

Of course, I have no personal familiarity with this game. What I do know is that my grandfather, who has never really been into baseball at all, had to work the next morning when the game started, and had to work that morning by the time it ended. He didn’t get much sleep, though, because Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons were talking several feet from his head. According to him and my grandmother, she listened to all twenty-three innings of that game, and likely added her own commentary throughout.

I’m incredibly unqualified to comment on what makes a successful marriage, but I understand that there are times that you just have to grin and bear it. I’d guess that by, oh, the fifteenth inning or so, my grandfather might’ve realized this was one of those times. There was no turning that game off. They’d gone too far, and Theresa Poling was not about to quit before her Giants did. And her persistence was rewarded with a victory (not to mention a bonus Gaylord Perry complete game shutout and then some.) Continue reading