One thing I’ve always loved about baseball is that it lasts 9 innings. It’s not about time, it’s about innings. It’s not 4 15-minute quarters. It’s not 2 45-minute halves. It’s innings. There’s no way to lock baseball in to a time frame. I’ve watched games last just over 3 hours, and watched a regular nine-inning game last for over 5 hours. There’s no telling at the first pitch how long it will last, and it’s only with the last out that you can say, “let’s go home”. Otherwise, it ain’t over ’til it’s over.
I’ve never left a baseball game before the last out. Even when things are desperate (like last week when I saw my Cardinals get obliterated by the Mets, 9-0 at New Shea Stadium in Queens), you still see remarkable baseball in those twilight hours, the type of thing you’ll hear about later and wish you would have stayed to see it. These screencaps from a game yesterday with the Florida Marlins (my pick for the NL East this year) in Philly show that Philadelphia fans clearly don’t feel the same, even though they’re defending World Series champions and currently atop the NL East (before the series with the Marlins they were ahead by 7.0 games, now only 4.0 games, which shows how fast one series can turn the tides!). Their fans, upset by the Ejectorino incident, multiple Ryan Howard hits into double-plays, Werth’s glove blunder, and general Philly ‘tude lead to an abandonment of the park by their supporters.
Look at their crowd, their support, in the bottom of the first inning:
now look at their crowd in the 9th, more blue seats than red shirts:
10-3 is not a lost cause I might add. I’ve seen Boston rally from down 6-1 to 6-5 in the ninth, ending with a bases loaded play, against and at the cathedral of their arch rival Yankees. The night before my Cardinals got obliterated even, they rallied from down 7-4 at one point to tie it at 7 by the ninth, then blow it out of the water in the 10th to win, 12-7 (game results here). It can happen. You can see it happen. But you have to stay. Until the final out.