Alexander: The Long Game energizes Baseball Twitter everywhere – Press-Enterprise


The world according to Jim:

• It’s amazing what can draw people together.

Wednesday night it was the Long Game, the 16-inning Dodgers-Padres marathon in San Diego that took 5 hours and 49 minutes to complete and shattered Ghost Runner Era records for not only innings (the previous high was 13) but men caught in rundowns between third and home in extra innings (three). …

• There is a term for bad – or at least misguided – baserunning, by the way: TOOTBLAN, an acronym for “thrown out on the bases like a nincompoop.” If there isn’t a TOOTBLAN section of baseball’s record book there should be, and the first entry would read: “August 25, 2021 at San Diego …”

• But this is how one crazy game can get people on the same page. Dodgers fans and Padres fans were staying up, of course.  So were Giants fans, hoping the Dodgers would lose and their team would pick up a game in the NL West. (Not to mention Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic, a former Press-Enterprise colleague, who was in New York for the Giants-Mets series and tweeted that he was watching on his laptop into the wee, wee, wee hours, which in this case extended to just a tick before 4 a.m. EDT.)

Reds fans were watching, too, battling their own time zone issues while hoping the Padres would lose and help their team in the wild card race. So, even, were people in Italy, or at least that’s what Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser were claiming on the SportsNet LA telecast. For the record, when the game ended at 12:59 a.m. on the West Coast, it was 9:59 a.m. in Rome. Hope they weren’t late for work. …

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• The best part? Social media, so divisive at other times, was on this occasion a font of jokes and memes, not to mention amazement over all of those TOOTBLANs, as the baseball fan community tried to stay awake to the end. After all, once you’ve invested the time in such a long game, it’s hard to just shut it off before you know the result. …

• I’ve noticed the same phenomenon when a Stanley Cup playoff game goes into multiple overtimes and the Twitter community rallies around the moment. Nights like that make social media worthwhile – maybe because it’s too late at night for the divisive stuff. …

• Wednesday’s game was what the whole runner-on-second rule was designed to prevent. Rob Manfred and the other deep thinkers in the MLB offices probably didn’t foresee a scenario where the pitchers were so far ahead of the hitters for so long. In fact, you could have started with a runner on third in each inning, rather than second, and no one would have scored until at least the 13th, so good was the pitching and so wretched was the situational hitting (and, of course, baserunning).

Who knows? Maybe this was the exception that proves the rule generally works. It was also an exception that was a lot of fun, as long as you didn’t mind a little (?) sleep debt Thursday morning …

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• The view from L.A.: “We can’t catch those guys.” The view from the Bay Area: “We can’t shake those guys.” That should translate to a riveting, if occasionally excruciating, NL West race over the last five weeks …

• This note tumbled into the inbox only a day after the Rams acquired running back Sony Michel from New England, though the timing was coincidental: “L.A. Rams bettors’ favorites to win the Super Bowl.” Not that the Rams are now the darlings of the sportsbooks, since the Chiefs and Bucs seem to remain the favorites. But an entity called OddsChecker said 24 percent of wagers made over the last week through online books were on the Rams, more than for any other team in that period …

• And how resourceful is Rams GM Les Snead, finding a way to fill that gaping hole in the backfield via fifth and sixth-round picks (which could be upgraded to a fourth) and bringing in a player who, at 26, would seem to still have some viability?

Somewhere, George Allen – patron saint of the notion that draft picks come and go but Lombardi Trophies are remembered forever – is nodding his head in approval. “The future,” he would remind one and all, “is now.” …

• Anyway, think back to February of 2019 in Atlanta. Michel had 18 carries, 94 yards and the only touchdown in the Patriots’ Super Bowl LIII victory over the Rams. His fellow Georgia alumnus, Todd Gurley, had 10 carries, 35 yards, one catch for minus-1 yards and a ton of speculation over whether he was physically compromised. Asked this week about that game, Snead’s initial response: “The only thing I remember about the Super Bowl was we had less (points). The math didn’t work out for us.” …

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• You may have heard that UCLA’s football program is going to extreme measures to draw a big crowd next week against LSU: Free tickets to both UCLA students and area high school students. We will find out Saturday, when the Bruins host Hawaii, if maybe those policies should have started a week early. UCLA’s 43,849 average home attendance in 2019 was its worst since moving to the Rose Bowl in 1982, so there’s nowhere to go but up, right? …

• Responses to our question last week about what ads should go on Kings or Ducks jerseys this season: Harry Komsky of Redondo Beach suggested: “The perfect sponsor would be Johnson & Johnson. It covers both bandages and the COVID-19 vaccine.” And Janet Cerswell of Alta Loma, who also responded to our “fixing baseball” survey last week, added this: “Think the Kings should go with an ad for Swanson Frozen Duck TV Dinner on their jerseys, but only when they play Anaheim.” …

• This, by the way, is how a rivalry is supposed to work: The student government at Kansas State issued a proclamation commending USC’s men’s basketball team. Why? The Trojans drilled Kansas 85-51 in the second round of March Madness™. What other reason is needed?

jalexander@scng.com

@Jim_Alexander on Twitter





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