19 Innings of Heckling and Baseball: The Aftermath of Josh Hamilton Appreciation Night


I still don’t really believe I witnessed what I did last night at the O.co Coliseum.  A 19 inning affair that truly never seemed like it would end as neither team mounted much in the way of rallies save for the 15th inning where each team scored a single run.  It’s hard to believe it happened because it was a pretty gloomy feeling in the Coliseum as the Angels took a 7-2 lead going into the 8th inning, they looked to be in command to take game 1 of this series.  It took a furious rally in the bottom of the 8th to give the A’s life, and they tied it in the 9th on a Yoenis Cespedes single that he thought was a home run worthy of pausing to admire, he should have been at second base but at least he got the run home.

Chris Young should have ended the game with a 2 out walk off home run in the 10th inning, it was reviewed and determined to have stayed in the park, but TV replays seemed to indicate otherwise.  Little did we know that call would give us 9 more innings of baseball.

Brandon Moss with the self pie! (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

To say things got a little nutty during extra innings last night would be an understatement.  Three centerfielders pulled up lame, Coco Crisp and his replacement Chris Young, and Peter Bourjos for the Angels all left the game with leg injuries.  The status of Young and Crisp is unknown still.  But perhaps the strangest event was Brett Anderson, who was scratched from the start that night, was called into duty out of the empty bullpen and ended up pitching 5.1 innings, allowing 1 run on a bases loaded walk that by accounts from the pitch tracker from MLB.com should not have been.  Anderson himself would tweak his injured ankle and would leave the game, forcing the previously unavailable Jerry Blevins into action.

Jerry had pitched a lot of the previous two games, so Bob Melvin wanted to give him some rest, but this was an extreme circumstance. Jerry was enthusiastically greeted by chants of “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry!” by the remaining fans and he rewarded them with stellar relief pitching.  When Chris Young exited the game, Seth Smith had to vacate the DH spot and move into the outfield, meaning the A’s lost the DH and the pitcher would have to bat.  That pitcher ended up being Jerry Blevins and while he did strike out looking, he did manage to foul off a pitch.

Brandon Moss was the hero who finally freed us from the stadium in the 19th, but there were many who deserve credit for making this a victory.  Moss was given the honor of pieing himself after the game, and got another from Josh Reddick (who had been pinch hit for by Chris Young by the way).

As for Josh Hamilton, he went 0-8 on his own appreciation night.  But he took the abuse from the RF bleachers like a champ.  Whether it’s interacting with the fans, or asking for a few of the fun sized Butterfinger bars that were being passed around, and even posing for a picture holding one, Hamilton showed that at least for this night he didn’t take himself too seriously.  I give him all the credit in the world for that.

Who knows what ramifications this game will have for both teams, as the bullpens were heavily taxed, and position players have to be exhausted.  It’s a good thing this was the first game of the series so neither team has an advantage over one another, they can recover together.  Jarrod Parker pitches tonight, and he needs to go deep into this game to save the bullpen.

Last night just goes to show you never know what you’ll see at the ballpark, and last night we were witness to the longest game the A’s have ever played.  A 6 hour and 32 minute roller coaster ride, with the ultimate payoff at the end.