A lot of people complain that baseball is long, slow, and boring.
They are wrong on all counts.
Baseball isn’t really very long at all … a game takes something like three hours.
(In fact, NFL football games take, on average, longer than MLB baseball games. And, only 11 minutes of that is actually football. Tons of movies drag on past three hours. I can watch a double header in less time than a stupid Downton Abbey marathon. So there.)
You know what takes a long time? Building a barn. That takes a long time.
Oooh, I see walls! (Actually, I don’t.)
Some baseball games go into extra innings, sure.
I was at a baseball game once that went 15 innings and was nearly five hours long. It was the 4th of July. And, the game was inside. Inside. In the Minnesota Metrodome, the gloomiest place on earth (and smelling vaguely of a high school gym shower and mothballs). Thankfully, the Twins left there in 2009 and now play outside in the fresh air, which is where God intended baseball to be played.
What’s worse … the Orioles lost that game.
But, that was nothing.
I can now say that I attended a LONG baseball game. An 11-inning game that took 628 hours and 30 minutes.
That’s more than 26 days, for you kids trying to find the calculator on your iPhone.
Let me ‘splain.
On July 21, Editor/Husband and I went to Richmond, Virginia for a game between the AA Richmond Flying Squirrels (note: not regular squirrels, but FLYING squirrels, which are something entirely different), and the AA Bowie Baysox (I do not know what a baysox is).
I was especially excited because these are the AA affiliates of, respectively, the current world champion San Francisco Giants and the supposed-to-win-the-World-Series-this-year-but-aren’t-looking-so-good-right-now Baltimore Orioles.
Here you can see me enjoying the game (and my new shoes) with 5,524 other fans.
(It was in the 90s. It was hot.)
Here’s Nathaniel, who was at the game with his awesome “Go Squirrels” sign.
(I wrote about Nathaniel and his sign, here.)
Here you can see Nutzy the Flying Squirrel in a Santa cap and beard.
(Did I mention that it was in the 90s and very, very hot?)
I think the Wall-Nut won the Mix Nut Race, although I neglected to note that on my scorecard. Don’t let the current standings fool you, I think Peanut is lazy. You can watch them race around here at another game and you tell me that Peanut isn’t dogging it a bit.
Here you can see my scorecard.
Notice how it abruptly ends with the score tied and two outs in the bottom of the 10th?
That’s when it started to rain. Really rain.
And, it was getting late and, you know, people have things to do on Sunday nights, like go home and shower because it was beastly hot out and my clothes were soaked with sweat (and, maybe a little French Fry grease … the Squirrel Fries are dee-licious.)
So the game was suspended.
Yes, for the first time ever, I was at a professional game that ended in a tie. Since I am an Orioles fan, who has a little warm spot in my heart for my childhood sweetheart Giants, this seemed appropriate. I cheered for both, and everyone’s a winner, or a not-winner. Whatever.
But, it just didn’t feel right. My scorecard needed closure.
For 26 days, we waited. The teams moved on to win and lose to other teams. I even got to Richmond for another game.
Someone had to win.
And, so the next time the two teams met, on Friday night, August 16, at 6:05 p.m. the game resumed right where it left off … in Bowie, Maryland, which is 126.16 miles away from Richmond where the game began. It’s about a two-hour and 11-minute drive for you Mapquest Geeks.
Yes, for one brief micromillisecond moment in the 10th inning of this game, the distance from home plate when the game was suspended and the pitching mound when the game resumed was 126 miles.
Let’s see Clayton Kershaw wing one over that!
It took about 30 minutes to finish up. I wasn’t there, but Jon Laaser, the Richmond Flying Squirrels broadcaster was, and he’s a very prompt Twitter Responder. (Thank you, Jon!)
And, in the bottom of the 11th with the score tied 5-5, the Squirrels knit together three singles … and the winning run came home at about 6:35 p.m. on August 16.
628 hours and 30 minutes after the game started.
(Later that night, in much quicker fashion, the Squirrels beat the BaySox again.)
Which kitty was helping you photograph the scorecard?
It’s Stevie! She practically comes running now when I pull the camera out. I think she likes being the star of this blog. (The others can’t be bothered.)
For me, Baseball is an extremely boring game to watch, thats why it seems as if even a standard 9 inning contest stretches on for an agonizingly longl time. I can appreciate that for some, it is an exciting, sometimes nailbitting edge of your seat experience, but not me. I don’t come to it from a place of ignorance, I know the rules and mechanics of the game and even played bantam league as a kid, and had fun with it. I just can’t stand watching it. Sorry:)
Thanks for reading and for your comments! I know that not everyone enjoys baseball … but I find so much to enjoy in a game that has space and stillness and takes its time. Our world moves so fast nowadays, that the opportunity to watch something unfold at a slower pace — with moments of beauty and moments of excitment and moments of strategy — is what makes baseball so satisfying for me. I tell friends that “baseball was my Yoga before Yoga was my Yoga.” It makes my heart happy and it’s my getaway from an increasingly stressful world. But, I know that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!
I love your point that baseball games are the same length as football. Most people don’t realize this. One of the joys of baseball is the dedication it takes to go through an entire season. You become more invested in your team and have to learn more about them. Anyone can cheer for their team once a week and put their jersey on in the living room. But watching your team play night in, night out takes a deeper knowledge of the game. I love the slower pace. You have to actually think.
I think “invested” is a good word — when you watch your team for 162 games (hopefully more!) you have time to see the little things and watch your team (and players) evolve from night to night. And, you’re so right about having time to think during a game — to watch a game unfold and to have time to think about what might happen next — is what makes it so great and keeps one involved. Every play is a dance that can be taken apart … you must watch the infielders and outfielders position themselves, while you watch the pitcher and catcher “communicate”, while you watch the batter set up, while you watch what any men on base might be doing, while you watch what new player might be coming into the on-deck circle, while you watch who might be stirring in the bullpen … if you do all that, you’re part of the game and it’s not slow at all!
And, of course, if you’re actually playing — it’s incredibly fast. After all, a batter has only a fractions of a second to “see” the ball come off the pitcher’s hand and then to react. Just seconds more for the fielders to react to a play. So, I guess the game is both slow AND fast! :)
I appreciated hearing your reasons for enjoying the game. It makes perfect sense!
I am very glad that Baseball makes your heart happy!
We all need happiness in our ljves :) Unfortunately It is not a big spectator sport here in British Columbia, Canada, so I never really learned to appreciate it.
Most of us are Crazy, mad, Ice Hockey fans. I have been to a few (Seattle) Mariners games in recent years though.
Thank you so much for taking time to comment here. I agree, baseball is an acquired taste — like grits, persimmons, Bob Dylan’s recent albums, and all of Neil Young’s. But, if you acquire the taste, you can become quite happy with what it gives you in return. I spent some years in North Dakota and went to the University of North Dakota — so I can truly appreciate what it is to be hockey mad, I enjoy the game (except for the roughness) and I’m always in awe of anyone who can skate backwards! Again, thanks for writing — that you read my post about baseball, when it wasn’t your “thing” is quite kind of you … most of my friends don’t “get” baseball, so they don’t even drop by here to say “hi”! :)
My pleasure! I read it out of curiosity. I will be back to read more, soon. You may just have convinced me to give bball another look! maybe ;)
And, I must come back to some Yoga posts on here as well … all sorts of things to write about … beyond baseball! Hope to chat with you again in the ether … and I look forward to reading your words too.
Thanks, Peacefulhands, I look forward to chatting again soon!
I’m disappointed you didn’t go catch the end of the game in person. Very disappointed.
I know, I disappointed myself, too. I really wanted to go with my Richmond ticket stub, just to see if Bowie would make me buy another ticket to see the final innings.
Baseball can get monotonous with the amount of time between pitches and too many tosses to first to keep a runner close. Those pitching delays are often gamesmanship. (The Braves and Nationals are getting way too personal). Hence my love of fastpitch; three games can be played in the time it takes baseball to conclude one. Still, being at the ballpark is half the fun… sometimes all of the fun, pending the score. I’ve heard of cricket tournaments that last 26 days. Baseball is long when you toss in the TV timeouts, but the spirit of the game, which shines so brightly in your blog, is eternal. 628 hours= 3.25 ISC World Tournaments. I could sit through that.
Thanks Jim! I watch way too much baseball on television (way … way … too much), but there’s nothing like a day at the park. (As a friend of mine said, even a bad game at the park is better than a regular day somewhere else.) And, minor league games are so wonderfully entertaining … there’s always something crazy going on. In the end, a long game, means I’ve gotten my money’s worth (even if it’s in the Metrodome!) :)
great blog….now following. keep em coming!