Every once in a while it’s fun to have a baseball game that is long enough for you to watch the first pitch and the last pitch and get a good night’s sleep in-between. That’s what the Monday-Tuesday Oakland A’s-Los Angeles Angels game offered.
Oakland won, 10-8, on a walkoff homer by Brandon Moss in the 19th inning, ending the contest after 6 hours and 32 minutes at 1:41 a.m. Pacific time. There were only 11,668 fans in O.co Coliseum when the game began and there were many fewer around when it ended because they had left for breakfast. So the A’s and Angels played more than the equivalent of two games to get one result.
As Oakland manager Bob Melvin said, “Good game to win, bad game to lose.”
The funny thing was that on the other side of the country another game was going on and on trying to outlast the West Coast kids. The Miami Marlins beat the New York Mets, 4-3, in 15 innings in the fish bowl that only took 5 hours and 31 minutes to play. That game started with 15,605 in attendance and with only hundreds left in the stands upon conclusion.
Sports is like theatre in the sense that it is live entertainment. But unlike Broadway plays, the plot is not scripted. Those who showed up for baseball in Oakland on Monday night did not expect to have to stay into Tuesday to discover who won. Not knowing what is going to happen, regardless of who is favored, is what makes watching sports so enjoyable.
Games that run to 19 innings also inevitably become statisticians’ dreams. There are always funky numbers involved in the long ones, starting with 19 innings. That’s a long game by any measure. Just a wild guess says that 90 percent of baseball fans have never sat through a game that long. No one way to know for sure, but games of that length don’t break out very often and they take some endurance to stick with. All of the people who worry about traffic, getting up on time for work, or that took their kid to a ballgame on a school night are long gone before the end.
Several guys in the lineups batted nine times in the game. The player who did the best for the Angels was Albert Pujols. Pujols walked and in his eight official at-bats he smacked four hits. He also scored three times and drove in three runs. The player who did the best for Oakland was Moss, who walked once and in his eight official at-bats had three hits, scored three runs and drove in three. Two of his hits were home runs.
Some pretty good players did serious harm to their batting averages. LA’s Mike Trout went one-for-eight, as did Oakland’s Yeonis Cespedes.
Then there was the pitching. With overprotective managers worried about overworking players, you could bet that it would a take of arms to get through 19 innings. The Angels ran out eight pitchers and Oakland did likewise, so 16 in all for the game.
Oakland’s pitchers threw 300 pitches. The Angels’ pitchers threw 297–but one too many to Moss with two outs in the bottom of the 19th.