Waking up to and then waiting out a marathon


It is generally against my religion to miss any part of a Yankee/Red Sox game in mid-August. Yet, as 5 p.m. rolled around yesterday afternoon and I hadn’t slept in anything more comfortable than a coach seat on an airplane since Wednesday night in Jerusalem, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

After a nap of nearly 4.5 hours, I woke up to check the score and saw a pitcher’s duel. The top of the seventh inning rolled around, and A.J. Burnett hadn’t allowed a hit since Jacoby Ellsbury singled to start the game. Exhausted and fighting a cold, I dragged myself out of bed to plop myself down on the couch. I assumed that some team would plate a run before too long, and I would be able to get back to bed.

Three hours later, I was still waiting.

As the game dragged on, it was a tense affair. Burnett left to a standing ovation in the 8th with the potential go-ahead run on base. Despite a close call on the Ellsbury stolen base, Phil Hughes retired Dustin Pedroia to keep the game scoreless.

The innings continued to tick by. One-two-three went the Yanks in the 8th. Down went the Sox in the 9th as Mariano Rivera continued this run through the AL. With the winning run on third in the 9th, Jorge Posada struck out swinging against Daniel Bard. “Free baseball,” Michael Kay said. Little did he realize just how much free baseball we would get.

The 10th, 11th and 12th innings belonged to Al Aceves. He allowed a walk and a single with two outs in the 10th but would retire the next seven Red Sox — three by the K — to keep the game moving. The Sox’s flame throwers fared just as well. Daniel Bard gave way to Ramon Ramirez gave way to Jonathan Papelbon gave way to Manny Delcarmen gave way to Takashi Saito.

In the 13th and 14th, I held my breath. It was nearing midnight, and I could barely keep my eyes open. The Yanks, though, could not lose this game. I had already invested far too much of what remaining energy I had left into watching it. After a 1-2-3 13th, Bruney ran into a spot of trouble in the 14th. But with two on, Jason Varitek made an out for the 6th time to give the Yanks a shot.

Here, the tide began to turn. Prior to the game, the Red Sox had DFA’d both Billy Traber and John Smoltz, Thursday’s sacrificial lambs, and Junichi Tawaza had been called up. Tawaza made headlines this winter when, as an amateur, he opted to sign with the Sox instead of any Japanese team. His Big League debut would be less than successful.

In the 14th, every Yankee hit Tazawa hard. Hideki Matsui blasted a liner into center that hung up just long enough for Ellsbury to snare it. Posada and Robinson Cano lined back to back singles, and Eric Hinske nearly won the game. In a spot of bad luck, J.D. Drew galloped into the right field corner, stuck out his glove and just barely snared the ball. It was the defensive play of the game and a stellar catch. The next hitter — Melky Cabrera — lined a ball down the right field line that went foul by a matter of inches. Bad luck again.

In the 15th, Phil Coke set down the anemic Red Sox in order, and I was a half-inning away from turning in. It was nearing 12:40, and my body was shutting down. I was so tired that, after Jeter singled to start the inning, I couldn’t get myself worked up over Johnny Damon‘s pathetic and misguided bunt attempt. Mark Teixeira struck out.

It was do-or-die for me and this game. Either A-Rod would win it or I would go to bed. Three minutes later, I was fast asleep with a grin on my face, and the Yanks had a 4.5 game lead in their pocket.

Categories : Game Stories


  1. I think the 15th inning was kind of the breaking point for everyone.

    • VO says:

      At that point I actually found it comical. The 14th inning really was my cracking point and instead of getting frustrated I just laughed. To me once it went into extra’s I never felt like we were losing or tied for that matter. I always felt confident we would win the game.

    • Kiersten says:

      The people I was there with “left” after Tex’s at bat and I was left at the game alone and when A-Rod hit it, I couldn’t believe they had just left. Then they came running back over to me because they had decided to stay just to watch A-Rod’s at bat. Definitely good timing.

      In case anyone’s wondering, longest 0-0 tie in MLB history was 1946 at Ebbett’s Field and they called the game a tie after 19 scoreless innings.

  2. Dela G says:

    i would’ve been able to take a few more innings, as i once stayed at minute maid park for an astros game vs the mets in which the mets won in 17 innings.

  3. 27 this year says:

    welcome back Ben, how was your trip to Isreal?

  4. Cokie says:

    Saw this gem from a Red Sox fan:

    “This is the first time I’ve seen Francona not out-manage the Yankees. I can’t believe how they burnt through their bullpen.
    I’m surprised they didn’t put Youkilis on the mound…he could probably retire 8 or 9 Yanks just because he’s such a badass.”

    Badass? Am I missing something?

  5. Mike HC says:

    The 14th inning was the breaking point. The Yanks came so close to ending it twice. After that it just seemed like the game would never end.

    Thankfully, A-Rod finally became a “true” Yankee and ended it.


  6. Apparently Anderson of SC shouted “boli boli boli” while A-Rod hit the home run during highlights

  7. Cokie says:

    Is Terry Francona a better manager than Joe Girardi?

  8. Salty Buggah says:

    Was this the 2nd time A-rod broke RAB?

  9. The Fallen Phoenix says:

    I was actually hoping it would go to 15 or 16 innings, because it would guarantee that Boston wasn’t leaving that game without burning their entire bullpen.

    Meanwhile, the Yankees would at least have a fresh Hughes available, and with their horse pitching today, that’s a ridiculous advantage. Even if Boston shuffles its bullpen for today, it’s not going to get any better.

    • Mike HC says:

      The whole bullpen thing is being overblown. All of the Red Sox Relievers, with the exception of Saito and Tanzawa, can pitch again tonight. It is not optimal to have guys pitch so much, but it won’t have as much of an affect as many people are making it out to be.

      • Drew says:

        they used everyone in the Tampa series also, they are by no means anywhere near fresh.

        • Mike HC says:

          I said nothing about being “fresh.” We are in August here, not many guys are going to be “fresh” anyway. I don’t think Bard’s two outs is all of a sudden going to make him ineffective. Papelbon and Ramirez both had not pitched since Aug. 4. It is really not that bad. If they need to use the entire bullpen again, then it would be a problem (which I’m hoping that happens). But as of right now, it is not that big of a deal. It is not optimal for them, but really not that bad.

        • Zack says:

          Saito is definately not available.

          Delcarmen threw 1IP on the 5th, off the 6th, threw 1 IP yesterday
          Okajima threw 1IP on the 5th, off the 6th, threw 1.1IP yesterday
          Bard 0.2 on the 5th, off the 6th, 0.2 yesterday
          Ramirez threw 1.2 on the 5th, off the 6th, 0.2 yesterday
          Papelbon threw 1IP on the 5th, off the 6th, 1.1 yesterday

          Every arm will be on their 2nd day of work, they all had the day off the day before.

      • The Fallen Phoenix says:

        Perhaps not for this one game; but it’s the sort of thing that can have ripple effects for the rest of the week.

        No matter who the Red Sox throw out there from their bullpen, they’ll have used a reliever in at least two consecutive games, which affects their availability for Sunday’s game. Since Buccholtz is not exactly an innings-eater, there’s a decent chance the Red Sox bullpen is going to need to hold down three or four innings, which likely means the Red Sox will have to burn more than one reliever.

        Sure, it’s not the be-all, end-all, and it does not guarantee the Yankees will win today’s game, or the series. And I’m not saying that Boston’s going to burn out any of their relievers for the entire year.

        But there are going to be repercussions from last night’s game, and they’re going too affect Boston more than New York. And when you have two very strong teams competing for first place, every advantage can help.

        • The Fallen Phoenix says:

          And I didn’t even touch on the impact fatigue or overuse can have on performance, either; sure, the Red Sox can throw Bard at the Yankees today, but he’s probably not going to be 100%. Sure, he might still be able to perform close to 80 or 90%, but – again – that’s still a difference, however slight.

          In a game of inches, that sort of thing can count. Not saying that it will, but it’s something to look out for.

          • Zack says:

            definately made good points. althought they did bring up a starter for long relief incase the game gets out of hand.
            obviously a win is the main goal, but killing their bullpen and a win would be good

          • Mike HC says:

            All of your points are fair and relatively accurate. I agree with you for the most part. I just see a lot of fans parroting ESPN with this overuse stuff, when it is really be overblown. There is some truth to it, as you laid out, but it is not a major strategic swing in the Yanks direction. Mo, Hughes, Coke, Aceves, Bruney all pitched last night too. The same things apply to the Yanks as do the Sox. The problem for the Sox is that Buchholz has sucked and CC is our Ace. That is why the Yanks have an advantage. Not because of bullpen overuse. It is at best, just a slight, very slight, advantage for the Yanks.

      • JobaWockeeZ says:

        Except that if they do pitch again there are more chances for them to be ineffective. Like the Yanks bullpen early. When they are overused they aren’t effective. Yes they still have a couple relievers that can pitch effectively but it is Clay Buchholz on the mound. If he goes 4 innings again their bullpen will be overused. They were in a tight game against Tampa where a lot had to be used and then got like a day or two off since. Now they got heavily used again.

  10. mko says:

    This game was an instant classic, an exciting game with great pitching. How is it that everyone is complaining about how long it was? Sissies…;-)

    • yankeefan91 Arod fan says:

      That’s what made it a classic nobody score until the 15th inning i was very exited has to be one of the top games that i watched.

    • aj says:

      You’re right. I think Congressman Les Winin should do a little more thinking and less whining.

  11. Johan Iz My Brohan says:

    The only thing that was going through my mind was that after all these scoreless extra innings, the Sox would hit a HR to make it 1-0, but then in the bottom of the inning, the Yankees would make it 1-1 and the game would continue on for several more innings… I would have just laughed and turned the game off.

    • 27 this year says:

      I told that to my dad at one point. As soon as Victor Martinez hit that ball, I was like well, now the Yankees are going to score but aren’t going to win just yet and it will continue.

  12. pat says:


  13. Beware of Michael Kay says:

    In today’s starting line up for the Red Sox: 8 worn out pitches, 2 massive bitches who most of the Yankees so obviously hate because they could not be more obnoxious/talkative/bigger whiney bitches (see: Pedroia, Youkilis), 1 laptop klepto, 1 closer who thinks he’s better than Mo (ha ha ha), and 1 steroids user in denial.

    Supporting this team will be thousands of New Englanders, some of whom are so frantic that they want to send packing one of the best manager/GM combos in baseball. (Apologies to the Braves/Dodgers)

  14. Jordan says:

    BTW, I just took a genuine and honest multivitamin. I wish I had a handy dandy urine test around to see if I test positive for PEDs.

  15. Jake H says:

    It was pretty crazy night. I do think ESPN needs to do something about Anderson.

  16. Gordon says:

    I live in the UK and I stayed up and watched the whole game. Game finished at 5:45am over here.

  17. Brendan says:

    I was half listening to the Fan while making some food and I heard something about the Yanks purchasing the contract of Josh Towers and sending down Melancon? Truth to this? I can’t find it anywhere.

  18. [...] August 7th, 2009: A-Rod‘s 15th inning walk-off against Boston (box) (video) (RAB recap) [...]

  19. Mike HC says:

    Everyone knows that the players were “knowingly” using. A-Rod, Papi, Manny etc … What is the point of absolutely killing these guys. It is really disgusting to see the joy that people get from watching sports superstars squirm and get put on the hot seat. If you don’t want Pujols to like about using PED’s, stop asking him about it. Fans still turn a blind eye to PED, or just conveniently not think about it (Basketball Superstars say hi), and then call all these players hypocritical liars. It is almost like fans are torn between between accepting PED’s or being disgusted by them. When a player gets caught, they can no longer pretend these supplements are not part of the game, and take their anguish out on the player. It is sickening.

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