At what point the Reds-Giants seventeen-inning marathon did you realize that this was dumb and you hated yourself?
Probably about the same time both teams made the same discovery: “Both these teams hate you,” someone confirmed on Twitter.
As inning after inning wore on, Twitter became that one table at the bar everyone wanders up to at 2 AM because everyone else is gone and you look lame standing there by yourself with your beer but you cannot bear to leave your beer. It was maybe five fans, two beat writers, and Marty Brennaman.
West Coast games are the test of fire for the adult Reds fan. As Redleg Nation’s Chad Dotson much-liked observation proved, most Reds Fans Of A Certain Age have fond memories of falling asleep to Marty and Joe Nuxhall calling nine innings late into the EDT night. Adulthood now forces most of us to learn the outcome as soon as we can grope for our phones in the morning, but a few of us put the coffee pot on the automatic timer and force our ways through to the end.
And, my friends, what happens when those West Coast games and their 1 AM-or-so finishes go into extra innings?
That is where the girls and the boys are separated from the women and the men. That is when nations are formed, relationships are forged and broken, and legends come to pass. It is The Ten Commandments of baseball and you had better be on the side of the Lord. But in a social media age, at least we don’t suffer alone.
Everyone was struggling:
Marty Brennaman expressed hatred for everyone and everything:
At one point it became a horror film:
As Billy Hamilton began grimacing in something like his 87th at bat and it looked like pitcher Bronson Arroyo would have to go stand amongst the seagulls in the outfield, everything short of Taco Bell started sounding good for the soul:
In the aftermath, all that was left was the bitterness and the recriminations:
Where was I in the middle of all this? I am old and had exhausted myself in the act of driving to the grocery and back and also doing some light typing. I was in bed by the second inning. The Reds were winning then. We were young and free.
Staying up to unholy hours is an art from I have perfected from conception. It was well enough in college, but I now teach college and have an electric bill in my name and probably should act like it every now and then. Adulthood as a self-employed person means I battle late-night tendencies constantly, sitting down to early-evening work with the rest of intentions and sliding down a scale of slow but consistently growing failure:
PHASE ONE: “I will go to bed at 10 PM and arise at 5 AM for early yoga. That way I’ll have the rest of the day to work and won’t need to battle traffic.”
PHASE TWO: “Well, if I make it until midnight I’ll have this chapter done and then that’ll be less I’ll need to do tomorrow.”
PHASE THREE: “I might as well grade the rest of the papers so the other students don’t get mad. There’s a noon Pilates class I can hit.”
PHASE FOUR: “…Why is the sun out?”
This is a lingering form of self-destruction, the end result of which is not intended but disastrously kind of happens anyway, much like every single Congressional bill. To marshal on through a multi-inning West Coast game past the age of 22 is to rise above and beyond the call of fandom, rising to a single purpose you hadn’t planned to fulfill that day.
Myself, I was proud of myself for overseeing the entirety of a recent Reds-Yankees debacle outside, in the cold, amidst wooing and also Yankees fans. But then, and out-of-town friend was visiting and we were spending most of our time discussing student plagiarism, nachos as a hat, and The Power of Myth (we are both, in case you haven’t guessed, MFA’s) and I knew I was going home after 54 outs. I don’t even want to consider what life was like inside AT&T Park at 1:14 AM Pacific Daylight Savings Time.
I should probably try harder to be a little less old next time. You too. If you find yourself in a similar West Coast extra innings emergency someday, it’s important to remember the following:
-Do not panic. By the simple laws of statistics, the game cannot actually last forever. Someone will either win or die or run out of pitchers, whichever comes first. Probably dying.
-It is helpful to shout encouragement to the broadcasters. They are grateful to know you’re there.
-Do not attempt to watch an extra-innings West Coast game alone. The endless at-bats are less terrifying when faced down with a friend or trusted family member.
-Beer sales are cut off after the 7th inning for those in the stadium, but not for you. Don’t try be a hero.
-Children should be placed in a separate, secure location, possibly Kansas.
-Any unpleasant smells are probably you.
-Attempts to consume any post-game media following the end of the game should be supervised by a medical professional.
Honestly? Suffering any and all of that is still preferable than going to school in the morning. See you June 9, when the Reds play the Dodgers in LA.