The Baseball Desert

Monday, October 10, 2005


Just because it's "no-strings-attached" baseball doesn't mean it isn't going to leave you exhausted.

If anybody ever asks me to explain why I love the game of baseball, this game will be vying for a spot as exhibit A. I switched on at 1am ET and switched off at 1am CET - in between times I was privileged to watch ones of the best postseason games of all time. If you're in any doubt, just read the records:
  • Longest postseason game in history (18 innings, 5 hours 50 minutes)
  • First-ever postseason game with two grand slams
  • Most pitches ever thrown in a postseason game (553)
  • Most players used in a postseason game (42 - Houston 23, Atlanta 19)
The stats are all impressive (if you're an anal-retentive baseball fan), but what really made the game so riveting is that last statistic. Houston manager Phil Garner used 23 players in the game, including Clemens as a pinch-hitter and relief pitcher. The only two players he didn't use were Andy Pettitte, who was scheduled to start a potential Game 5, and Roy Oswalt, who had pitched the night before. So when Clemens went out there to pitch, he knew that he wasn't going out there to just get one batter out - there was literally nobody else left. You want 'do or die'? You got it...

It was a huge performance, not just by Clemens, but by the whole Astros team. They switched positions out there so often that it started to look like some new ESPN sports-reality show (Major League Musical Chairs?), but they stayed focused, didn't give in to tiredness or frustration and came through big in the end.

Their reward for this heroic peformance? A re-match of last year's NLCS against the Cardinals, who finished 11 games ahead of them in the NL Central. If nothing else, baseball continues to prove that God does indeed have a sense of humour.