Assistant Professor of Theatre Chris Hatch and Professor of Political Science Iva Deutchman took students in their “Baseball and American Culture” course to Frontier Field in Rochester last week to talk baseball with New York Times columnist Dan Barry.
Barry is the author of “The Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption and Baseball’s Longest Game,” played between Triple A teams the Rochester Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox.
The group was supposed to watch the teams play again April 15 on the 33rd anniversary of that historic game. Although the game was cancelled due to weather, Barry made the trip to Rochester to give a lecture and join the class for dinner. Time Warner Cable News Journalist Seth Voorhees caught up with Barry and the class in the MLB Suite and interviewed him for a news story about the historic 33-inning game.
In explaining his inspiration for the book, Barry tells Voorhees, “I thought about it on a human level, and an aspirational level. Like, who were these poor bastards?”
He continued, “You know, a baseball game theoretically could last forever. That sounds wonderful for writers and everything, but in a practical sense, how would you like to be in a baseball game that doesn’t seem to end?”
Students taking “Baseball and American Culture” also had the chance to travel to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. this semester.
A video of Voorhees’ story is available online. The transcript follows.
Time Warner Cable News
Remembering the 33 Inning Game 33 Years Later
Seth Voorhees • April 18, 2014
Baseball is a timeless game where rivalries run deep. The Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings have one of those rivalries, and one game in particular stands out.
It made headlines across the country in the spring of 1981. The longest baseball game in history, at 33 innings.
Ron Smith and his wife were listening to the game on the radio. He remembers falling asleep around midnight.
“I woke up about four o’clock in the morning, I smelled hot dogs. My wife was sitting in bed eating hot dogs and listening to the game, four o’clock in the morning, Easter morning,” Ron said.
Once the commissioner of the International League found out the game was still going on at 3:30 in the morning, he called the ballpark, and told them to shut it down – in the 32nd inning. Nineteen fans were in the stands.
“It just dawned on me that it must have been a wacky night, because I imagined myself in the outfield in the 31st inning and playing baseball, and no one watching,” said author and New York Times columnist Dan Barry.
The story of the game inspired Barry to write a book.
“I thought about it on a human level, and an aspirational level. Like, who were these poor bastards?”
The game actually featured two future Hall of Famers in Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Junior, but they’d have to wait two months to finish the game.
Dave Koza was the hero in June, singling in the winning run for Pawtucket in the bottom of the 33rd.
“You know, a baseball game theoretically could last forever. That sounds wonderful for writers and everything, but in a practical sense, how would you like to be in a baseball game that doesn’t seem to end?” asked Barry.