Graveyard Shifts

I was up late enough last night to watch the Phillies finally win 5-4 over the Cincinnati Reds in the 19th inning of their 6-hour, 11-minute game. It's the longest MLB matchup of 2011 so far, no surprise, as well as the longest game for the Phils since 1993 and the longest for the Reds since 1972.

Sadly, I'd not seen any of the game prior to the last inning — although I heard some of it on the radio, and the post-game coverage gave a pretty good recap — so I don't know if there were any jokes about replacing the umpires with vampires.

Until the game more than doubled in regulation length, however, today's post was going to be yet another one all about TV starring such creatures of the dark — in particular, Angel DVDs and CW repeats of The Vampire Diaries.

First the notes of the living dead:

I spotted one lone double-pack of Angel Seasons 1 & 2 today at Target for $19.99, suggesting that either still or again you should be able to pick up the first four seasons of the series for less than ten bucks apiece like I did last year if the retail geography is kind; Season 5 will have to be purchased singly somewhere. 

Meanwhile, The Vampire Diaries kicked off its summer repeats earlier tonight at 8 p.m. with the Season 2 premiere, and if you haven't hit your exsanguination saturation point on the genre with the Great Buffy Rewatch — or you want to play a fun game of compare/contrast in terms of approach between Diaries and either its predecessor Buffy or its contemporary rivals Twilight and True Blood — I highly recommend grabbing DVDs of Season 1 while recording Season 2 of this sudsy, escapist delight; I'm really sorry that I didn't get to warn you before it aired tonight, because you really want to watch the series in full from the start and Season 2 won't be out until the fall.

Now back to the midnight special:

The baseball game was one of those experiences that's a hoot as long as your team ends up on top, even moreso for the players than for the fans because, well, they're the ones playing — they don't have the option of going to sleep and checking out the score in the morning, never mind that next up was a day game against the Reds that whichever team ended up demoralized in the wee hours was almost certain to lose. And indeed the Phils beat the Reds 10-4 in that final game of the homestand, with Cliff Lee less than brilliant on the mound this afternoon but making up for allowing four runs by batting in three himself. Clearly it was Topsy-Turvy Day, since the winning pitcher of record in the overnight endurance test was utility infielder Wilson Valdez; he came on to pitch at the top of the 19th and ultimately final inning after manager Charlie Manuel ran through the entire available bullpen.

I enjoy the rare ridiculous marathon even though it exhausts the roster in the literal sense because it's fun to watch it exhaust the roster in the sense of using everyone up and making the managers scramble. When Manuel told the home-plate umpire that he was moving Carlos Ruiz from behind the plate to 3rd base for another catcher, with Placido Polanco shifting from 3rd to 2nd and, oh yeah, Valdez going to the pitcher's mound, the disbelief was apparently palpable. I'm pretty sure that the first time I saw a position player called on to pitch in a game like this, Gary Gaetti stepped up for the St. Louis Cardinals, and even though I was still rooting for the Phillies I respected him. It's so rare, however, that the substitute wins — which is basically as not-so-simple as pitching one scoreless frame of an inning and having your teammates score a run in the other half — that no position player has done so since 2000, and no position player has actually won after shifting to the mound from the field, as opposed to coming in off the bench, since Babe Ruth did just that in 1921. [Update: The Baseball Hall of Fame has asked for Valdez's cap to be sent to Cooperstown.]


Arben said...

I'd love to have seen that 19th inning unfold. We were at the Mets/Phillies game last night, and as soon as Utley scored Rollins to make it 2-2 in the 8th those of us in the Phillies contingent all started joking, "Tie game! Time to bring in Valdez!"

Arben said...

What the @#$%? Tell me which is worse: Losing to the Nationals 10-2 or losing to them 2-1?

Teebore said...

Hopefully at some point this season I'll get to see my Twins play a real game of baseball...