The Mets and Marlins Play a 20-Inning Game and I Can’t Turn It Off

Harvey and trainerOn May 31, 1964, I was living in Astoria, still a young boy, and I sat down with the family to watch the Mets play the Giants on WOR-9 in a Sunday doubleheader. The Mets lost the first game quickly 5-3. The second game ended up going 23 innings and seven hours and 23 minutes, the longest game in Shea Stadium history. Yes, the Mets lost. I really only remember one thing clearly from that day, that is that I didn’t get to see the last few innings as I had to go to bed. It was Sunday and I had school the next day. I thought of this over and over again yesterday as I watched the Mets and Marlins make “history” because I’m a lot older now, and there is no one to tell me I have to turn the TV off. And I really wish there had been.

The Magic HourIf only there had been an authority figure to stop me from seeing Rick Ankiel keep coming up with the winning run on second and two outs. Or Lucas Duda taking turns showing what happens when he is patient at the plate (he strikes out looking) and when he is not (he strikes out swinging.) Early on it would have been wonderful not to see Matt Harvey walk off the field with the assistant trainer. Later it would have been nice to miss watching poor John Buck dragging himself out to the plate every inning. But instead, with no one in position to stop me, I couldn’t turn it off. It was like watching “The Magic Hour,” you just had to keep watching because you couldn’t believe anyone would air it.

For me this game really started when Marcum and Slowey came in. Up until then it was just another bad game between two horrible teams. But in the thirteenth, when they both came in, a new dance began, called, “can this ever end?” The Marlins hitters hit so many popups to Daniel Murphy it looked like some kind of spring training drill. Their role was to go quickly and quietly so as to provide the foreshadowing we all understood. When this finally ended, they were going to win. And the Mets would put the winning run on second what seemed like every inning but never score. How painful was it to watch? The last time it happened, Marcum came to bat with two outs and a runner on second and everyone on twitter (that includes me) was amped up as he was having some of the best at bats we had seen all day. Marcum, to his credit, fouled out to right field, proving that he is a better pitcher and hitter than Rick Ankiel. That was when I got a text from Jimmy. The message said, “This isn’t Hearns/Hagler, we aren’t watching two great champions go toe to toe.” No we were not.

Ike Davis ScoresThe game went so long after Marcum came in that Bobby Parnell went out to the bullpen to hang with poor Rob Carson, left alone for hours to reflect on what it’s like to be the kid nobody wants to be left with in the pickup game. So long that Ike Davis was a forgotten hero by the end. What did Ike do? Well, he struck out twice but he also walked, then scored the only Mets run. A walk! That will clearly buy him another month with the team.

How it finally ended doesn’t really matter. Just like all I remember from May 31, 1964, is that I didn’t get to see the whole game, someday all I might remember about this one was that I did.

At least I hope I can forget the rest.





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  1. DD says:

    Willie Mays played shortstop for a while in that 1964 doubleheader.

    Watching Marcum yesterday led to a thought: when Wheeler is promoted, why not drop Marcum from the rotation, AND simultaneously redefine the Long Man assignment, more or less the way the Red Sox used Bob Stanley in the early 1980’s. Bill James called it “the long man who could actually pitch,” and the Sox certainly used Stanley that way, putting him in for anything from one to five innings in games that still hung in the balance.. In 1982 through 1984, Stanley pitched 420 innings without once starting a game.

    This offers two benefits that I can think of: it serves as a backup strategy whenever Gee or Hefner (or Wheeler) come up ugly, as surely will happen; also it would give Collins the opportunity to use a pinch hitter for the pitcher in an early inning, when an offensive opportunity beckons. Such opportunities are too thin on the ground, without the Mets passing on one because it would cost them their starter.

    Objections? I see one; Stanley was very durable, Marcum is less so. But what the hell.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Yes, Mays did play short that day. Someone asked me today if I saw the Triple Play that ended the Giants 14th, alas I was fast asleep by then.

  2. James Preller says:

    I like Hefner for that role. With any luck, Marcum is the guy we trade next month. He’s fragile, I would handle with care.

  3. Michael Geus says:

    I too prefer Hefner, but not because I disagree with your overall thought DD, more that I agree with it. I think it is an important role being ignored and Hefner could do well with it. I agree on Stanley, and in 2006 Darren Oliver won many a game for us in that role two ways.

    1. Pitching well, until we could come back, or at the very least –

    2. Saving the bullpen for a day.

    Marcum is fragile for the role and also not signed beyond 2013. If we have a “Plan” why not put Hefner in a role where he could possibly help us in 2014 and beyond. For guys who talk about the future our management team sure doesn’t do much about it.

  4. Michael Geus says:

    Ike, Baxter, and Carson demoted to Vegas after today’s game.

  5. Eric says:

    Player movement….wow…about time!

    They need to start making decisions on guys, and they WILL be wrong sometimes. Who to keep…who to throw away…who to swap…who to aquire.

    It’s a Who and NOW business…..nice to see some wheels turning.

  6. Eric says:

    Here’s an early Jump…. The obvious Go Forward is to play Duda at 1b and provide Max ab’s for Newee, Lagares and Valdespin (and PUELLO?)…

    …Therefore, the Obvious outcome will Justin Turner at 1b

    Time for the very young guys to get on the Prove/Fail Ride.

  7. Michael Geus says:

    Replacements will be announced tomorrow. Frankly, other than Ike this is the 24th and 25th men on the roster.

  8. Ken H. says:

    The Mets are about to swap one law firm (Davis, Carson & Baxter) for another (Satin, Edgin & Cowgill). It was only a matter of time until we got MORE COWGILL!!!!!

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