Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Oh, the Agony! Oh, the Memories!

Oh, my, that was ugly. My Los Angeles Angels are playing the A's in Oakland. I turned on the A's broadcast last night, thanks to XM Radio, when I went to bed. It was 6-2 in the 6th inning, and Albert Pujol's second homer in the 7th made it 7-2. Then suddenly, the A's scored 4 in the 8th, and tied it up in the 9th. Extra innings.

I fell asleep with the radio still on, woke up, and the game was still going. Repeat a couple more times One of the of the things being in the Midwest for a West Coast game is that as the hour gets later in California, it is 2 hours later in Peoria. It was now past midnight on the West Coast.

And as the poor A's announcers, Ken Korach and Ray Fosse, tried to think of what to say about a game that wasn't ending, where the teams were running out of players, where the Angels scored in the 15th, only to have the A's tie it up again -- at the top of my mind was another Angels-A's game in Oakland.

I was 12. Angel road games in Oakland (and Minnesota) were always televised in those days, and 1971 was to be our year for an American League Western Divison pennant. But the season was going down the drain fast. In those days I would usually sit in front of the TV keeping score, but for some reason I didn't have a score card that night. Good thing, as that game went past 1 am, too, long after I'd gone to bed fallen asleep with my transistor radio plugged into my ear.

In the morning I awoke. 20 innings! 1-0. Tony Congliaro, who had gone 0-8, retired before the Sun had risen. It was a game that reflected the frustrations of the 1971 season, one filled with hope at the beginning -- when this Angels fan had committed to listening closely to each and every game. It was, as Angels history tells, a season of one weird disaster after another, beginning several years of futility. It would be 1978 before we had a winning record.

I was actually half awake at 3:30 this morning (Central Daylight Time) when, in the bottom of the 19th, A's 1st baseman Brandon Moss hit his second home run of the game. Angels lose. 10-8. 6 hours, 32 minutes -- the longest game (by time) in A's history. Portents of things to come? The Angels are supposed to be contending for an AL pennant, but our 9-16 record after 25 games is tied for the worst in team history. Angels' center fielder Peter Bourjos pulled a hamstring and is on the disabled list.

I hope I don't remember this game as well 42 years from now.