Friday, April 18, 2008

Rockies-Padres Play 22 Innings

Last night, the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres played the longest game in Major League Baseball in nearly 15 years. The Rockies beat the Padres 2-1 on a double by Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in the top of the 22nd inning. The last time a major league game went 22 innings was on August 31, 1993 when the Minnesota Twins beat the Cleveland Indians 5-4. I very nearly attended a 22 inning game. In August 1989, my family travelled to Ottawa for my maternal grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. We had planned to take a bus ride to Montreal to see a game between the Expos and Los Angeles Dodgers but things just didn't work out. As it turned out, we would have been in for a long night. On August 23rd, the Expos and Dodgers would play 22 innings with the Dodgers winning 1-0. The only run came on a homerun by Dodgers' catcher Rick Dempsey off Expos pitcher Dennis Martinez in the top of the 22nd. Interestingly, Dempsey and Martinez were teammates with the Baltimore Orioles that won an American League Championship in 1979 and the World Series in 1983. Curiously, I did attend three games at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. All three games went extra innings. In case you're wondering, the most innings ever played in a major league game was 26 during a game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves in May 1920. The game ended in a 1-1 tie as play could not be continued due to darkness. The longest game in professional baseball took place exactly 27 years ago today on April 18, 1981 between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings. The game went was tied at 1-1 and went 32 innings before the game was suspended. The 19 fans that remained in the stands at the end of 32 innings were given lifetime passes to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket. The game resumed on June 23rd and it took only 18 minutes for the PawSox to score a run in the bottom of the 33rd inning. It should be noted that the man who would become baseball's Iron Man, Cal Ripken, Jr played in that game for Rochester, which was the Baltimore Orioles Triple AAA affiliate. And yes, Ripken was teammates with Dempsey and Martinez on the 1983 World Series Champion Orioles. I'll quit while the score is still tied.

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