A GREAT view of the field at AT&T Park in Chattanooga during their pre-season open house!

Monday, November 25, 2013

"Bottom of the 33rd" by Dan Barry

So, have you had the chance to swing by Pawtucket on any of your baseball pilgrimages?  This is one of my favorite areas.  I love New England, though it is very different from my home state.

Anyway, if you HAVE been to McCoy Stadium, you know that they have a ton of pride in the fact that the longest game was played there.  To be honest, I wasn't very aware of the the game until my stop there just under a decade ago.

The circumstances surrounding the longest game are very fascinating.  In case you don't know, on April 14th, 1981, the Pawtucket Red Sox hosted the Rochester Red Wings in a game that got started late, and that was still going on the next morning.  32 innings were played to a 2-2 tie!  Two months later, the teams got together again to finish the game.  The 33rd and final inning took 18 minutes.

Dan Barry writes a great book about the players, the history of the field, baseball in Pawtucket, and he lets you know about what happened to the players after the game.  If you know anything about this game, you know that a future Hall of Famer participated with each team.  You know that less than a couple dozen fans were still at the park for the 32nd inning.

Mr. Barry gets in to some of the more foggy facts about the game, and inaccurate legends surrounding it (one pitcher tells a story about a particular strike out in the game that never happened).

The game has a very Twilight Zone feel to it, with several odd factors and events affecting the game- including a paragraph missing form the rule book, a missed phone call, and bot teams scoring in the 18th inning.

There are several guys I remember from my days following the 1986 Mets and Red Sox (as a kid, that was the first year I really followed baseball).  Its great reading about these players BEFORE that great season.

AND, it was great fun reading about some of the other players.  Dave Koza, the star of the game and a Pawtucket legend, really becomes the focus of the book towards the end.  In fact, his personal journey after the game is just as interesting as the game that made him famous.

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