In day or night, baseball’s timelessness is something special

Houston Astros' Alex Bregman reacts after hitting in the game-winning run during the 10th inning of Game 5 of baseball's World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Houston. The Astros won 13-12 to take a 3-2 lead in the series. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Houston Astros' Alex Bregman reacts after hitting in the game-winning run during the 10th inning of Game 5 of baseball's World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Houston. The Astros won 13-12 to take a 3-2 lead in the series. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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I’ve watched the World Series for as long as I can remember.

 

It doesn’t matter who is playing either. I’m a lifelong fan of the Cincinnati Reds but never mind that they haven’t been in the Fall Classic since 1990. (It’s been 27 years but who’s counting?) I’m a lifelong fan of baseball itself too.


I’ll watch and sometimes watch deep into the wee hours of the morning before everything is settled - and that’s happened often with the current drama-filled World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers.


Following the first game of the World Series that finished in a remarkable 2 hours and 28 minutes, ending at 10:48 p.m., with the Dodgers defeating the Astros 3-1, here are how the others have finished:


Game 2: Astros 7, Dodgers 6, 11 innings, game lasted 4 hours 19 minutes (ended at 12:36 a.m.).


Game 3: Astros 5, Dodgers 3, game lasted 3 hours, 46 minutes (ended at 12:06 a.m.).


Game 4: Dodgers 6, Astros 2, game lasted 3 hours, 6 minutes (ended at 11:26 p.m.).


Game 5: Astros 13, Dodgers 12, game lasted 5 hours, 17 minutes (ended at 1:40 a.m.)


Baseball doesn’t have a clock. It’s a timeless sport if there ever was one. I didn’t want that game to end Sunday night. It was one of the longest games in World Series history and it was beautiful to witness. This one goes beyond being called a classic.


Can I get an AMEN! for baseball?

These games have all been fun to watch. The teams have already combined for a record 22 home runs – seven in Game 5 alone - and there’s at least one game remaining on Tuesday night when the scene shifts to Hollywood for the dramatic finish.


How fitting is that?


Sunday’s game was the first in World Series history that included a trio of three-run home runs. The Astros looked dead after falling behind 4-0, but then tied it on a three-run homer. Then the Dodgers hammered a three-run homer to lead 7-4 and the Astros answered in the bottom of the fifth with yet another three-run homer to tie at 7-7. The Astros fell behind again 8-7 only to rally for four runs and an 11-8 lead. There were twists and turns, including a three-run, bottom of the ninth inning rally by the Dodgers to force extra innings with a dozen runs apiece. More than 400 pitches were thrown. And there were more terrifying twists to this game than Stephen King’s novel “It.”


Alas, it had to end, and it did. Pinch-runner Derek Fisher scampered home with lucky run No. 13 on Alex Bregman's two-out hit. Whew!!


Neither staff ace lasted a full five innings and we didn’t have the seventh-inning stretch until nearly midnight (11:47 p.m.).


I didn’t need a hypnotist to ask: Are you getting sleepy?


But I watched. Until the end. Until 1:40 in the morning.


And you know what, it was great. Monumental momentum swings. Rallies filled with emotion. Unbelievable at-bats from both teams.


I have no emotional investment in this World Series (remember, I’m a Reds’ fan), but I’ll watch. That’s what I do.


But for the sake of nostalgia, if nothing else, wouldn’t it be nice to have one or two games starting during the daylight hours? How about the first weekend games, Games 4 and Games 5, beginning at 4:30 p.m.? They would easily care into the prime-time hours.


It would be a throwback to the days before Twitter, Facebook or even the Internet. Remember taking the transistor radio to science class? I can remember developing some cases of “World Series flu” in Octobers, too (like I was really fooling mom and dad by feigning illness).


The last time the World Series was completely with day games was 1970 between the Reds and Orioles and that happens to be the last time both teams in the World Series had 100-plus wins in the regular season until this year.


Night games were introduced in the 1971 World Series between the Pirates and Orioles. In 1972, there were two night games, but there were three in each of the next two years. In 1975, though, things changed with five of the seven games of the Boston-Cincinnati World Series classic played during prime-time. That included the legendary Game 6 when Carlton Fisk willed the home run that won it in the 12th inning late at night after so many had gone to bed.


From 1977 to 1984, there were two weekend day games in each Series and none during the next two years. The last day game came in 1987 when the Twins defeated the Cardinals in a seven-game World Series thriller.


Networks love the primetime hours because it comes with primetime advertising. So don’t look for anything to change. Baseball loves the money too in case you haven’t noticed.


But isn’t it a shame that so many young fans, the young fans that baseball needs, had to miss Game 5 on Sunday night because it wasn’t over until after all our bed times.


My advice for Tuesday and possibly Wednesday? Take an early evening nap and settle in for what will be the grand finish to one of the best World Series ever played.


___


Mark Maynard is managing editor of Kentucky Today and a diehard baseball fan. Please don’t call him early Monday morning.

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