Given the end time of last night’s 19-inning marathon and the fact that today’s game starts at 1:05 PM, I think that if last night’s pitching hero, Danys Báez, wants to use his glove like a pillow and take a nap somewhere safe in foul territory during warm ups, then everyone should give him the space he needs. If he doesn’t know how to do it, then someone just needs to show him John Kruk’s 1994 Score Select, #24 card.
The longest game I’ve ever attended is 14 innings, which has happened a couple times. The first occurred on April 20, 1993 when the Phillies beat the Padres at 12:06 AM when Kruk won the game with a solo home run to deep center field. As often seemed to be the case when the Phillies went extra innings that year, Mitch Williams blew a save in the ninth, and one of the things I clearly remember about the game was how angst-filled I was during the extra innings when the Padres came to bat. In particular, it was their 2-3-4 hitters that game: Tony Gwynn, Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff. Arguably, this was the best trio in the game at the time and always a huge threat to put numbers on the board. In fact, it was McGriff who tied the game in the 9th. By the time we made it to the 14th, I was thinking how awesome the bullpen was after Williams’s meltdown (to be fair, the run was unearned — however, it was unearned because of a throwing error by Williams, so categorizing the run in such a manner doesn’t really matter).
Like so many other Phillies fans that year, that game was just one of many I fondly remember. In fact, I’m certain I’ll revisit a few others in future posts. However, this one was extra special because at the time Kruk was my favorite member of the team and had been so since shortly after the Phillies acquired him back in ’89. I was still young enough for hero worship, and there are few things better than being at a game where your favorite player wins the game in extra innings with a walk-off home run to center field. It honestly sent chills up my back at the time, and as I write about it now, it still brings a smile to my face. The ending to last night’s game wasn’t as dramatic, but I hope that last night Raul Ibanez made at least a few people in the stands as ecstatic as I was on that April evening in 1993.