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Numbers and observations from the longest game in ever (in Blue Jays history, at least)

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Tom Szczerbowski

There was a point--around the 15th or 16th inning, if I recall--where I became tempted to reach over a few seats to my right to pick up a handful of what looked like garlic fries that had been spilled on the concrete floor in our section of the Rogers Centre.  Even though I had consumed a rather large roti before the game (shoutout to the folks at Butter Chicken Roti at College and Croft for putting enough food in me to help me resist floor fries), it had been some three hours since the last concession stand closed (and like three-and-a-half since the last beer was consumed) and the end of the game wasn't anywhere in sight. There was no food and no drinks left (except tap water, which is for losers) but I managed to battle on, an inning at a time, through the end of the longest game in Blue Jays history.

Despite the physical toll, by the 12th inning or so I felt that I had to stay at the game even though it meant cancelling farewell dinner plans with a friend who is going away for a year (we met up for drinks after--I'm not a terrible person) because I felt that this was going to be a marathon. True story: when Jose Reyes tied the game in the 9th, I turned to my friend and told her that that this was going 19 like the Red Sox game the night before.

Having missed the 18-inning games from 2005 and 2013, yesterday's 19-inning game allowed me to make some observations:

  • The 10,000 or so fans who decided to remain for the entire game were really into it, standing and cheering whenever the Jays got a runner on base. Most of the annoying fans from my section--specifically one man stomped off when Jose Bautista grounded out with the bases loaded in the 13th--were gone and I actually enjoyed sitting with other human beings in the stands.
  • They play "OK Blue Jays" but not "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" in the 14th inning stretch.
  • Speed of the World's Fastest Groundscrew: 5th inning clean up > 10th inning clean up > 15th inning cleanup
  • People were lining up at the drinking fountain between innings to fill up their water bottles. They did not know that that the taps in the bathroom sinks offers the same product without the wait.
  • The ball from Jose Bautista's walkoff hit remained on the outfield turf for a good 3-5 minutes before some guy ran out from the Blue Jays dugout to pick it up for safekeeping. Scott Crawford of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (which had set up some exhibits in the 200-level porch) should've jumped down to take it.
  • After the game ended I spotted two people lining up to use the payphone, they were talking to each other about how their phone had died (all the spots at the phone charging station were taken up already). I wonder how many year it has been since people had to lineup to use the payphone.
  • The sun was beaming down pretty strongly on to the first-base side of the Rogers Centre and yet some ushers were preventing people from moving to shaded sections (of the same pricing level!) in the 13th or 14th innings. In our section the usher prevented people from moving to the abandoned lower rows of the same section. I know that it is probably what they were trained to do, so I blame their supervisors (or their supervisors' supervisors) for not allowing flexibility in special circumstances. As Emerson once wrote, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."
  • Kids can still scream at the top of their lungs at the six-hour mark.
And let's look at the numbers side of the game as well. I am a bit late to this, so I apologize if I forget to cite anyone who had already posted something similar.

14

Number of times the Blue Jays have played at least five hours. At 397 minutes (6 hours, 37 minutes) the game beat the previous record of 357 minutes (5 hours, 57 minutes) as the longest game in franchise history. The Blue Jays are 4-10 in 5+ hour games.

1

Days since the previous 19-inning game. The Angels and Red Sox played 19 on August 9, the day before the Tigers and Blue Jays played the same amount, setting the major league record for shortest interval between two 19-inning games. The previous record was two days, first held by the Boston Braves and Brooklyn Dodgers who played a 26-inning tie (that didn't even last four hours) on May 1, 1920 and the two teams played 19 two days later. The record was repeated in August 1972 and May 1973.

5

Number of strikeouts recorded by Nolan Reimold yesterday, becoming the 145th major league batter to achieve this undesirable statistic. His two walks ties him with Ray Lankford and Ozzie Virgil as the most number of bases on balls for a batter who had five or more strikeouts. Alex S. Gonzalez once struck out six times in six plate appearances, the only major league batter to have ever done so.

8

Melky Cabrera became the first batter to reach base eight times since Rod Carew, according to STATS. Cabrera's OBP also rose by eight points in yesterday's game (in August), from .366 to .374.

5

Carbera's five walks set a Blue Jays franchise record. Previous high was four, achieved by Dan Johnson and Jose Bautista this season along with 16 others previously.

14

Record-setting number of team walks in Blue Jays history, which included a record-setting number of intentional walks (5). The club's previous record for walks was 13 (in 1995, 1993, and 1979), and their previous record for intentional base on balls was four (1991 and 1980). The major league record for team walks is 17, and intentional walks is 7.

+.809

Win Probability Added (WPA) for reliever Chad Jenkinssetting the franchise record for the largest positive value by a relief pitcher. The previous high of +.780 was set by Victor Cruz in 1978. The highest WPA by any Blue Jays pitcher was +.991 (Jesse Jefferson 11-inning shutout in 1980).

0/8

The Tigers' Rajai Davis became just the 29th leadoff man to go 0-for in at least eight at bats in major league history. Interestingly, two of those instances came in the same game in 1998 with both Brian Hunter (Tigers) and Chuck Knoblauch (Yankees) going 0-for-8.

3

Marcus Stroman became the first Blue Jays pitcher since Dave Stieb in 1981 to pinch run three times in a season, and the first American League pitcher to do so since Steve Avery pinch ran five times for the Red Sox in 1998.

304

Number of pitches thrown by Blue Jays pitchers, the most since 1988 (the first year where records were complete).

9.6%

Percentage of Canadians (3.4 million out of an estimated population of 35.4 million) who watched part of yesterday's Blue Jays game, according to Sportsnet President Scott Moore.

Yea, I'd say that it was worth it to stay for the whole game. Let's do 19 again tonight! (Just kidding. Please don't.)