The World Series: Now and Then

By Granville Wyche Burgess.

The third game of this year’s World Series broke all kinds of records: longest postseason game in history for time (7 hours, 20 minutes) and innings (18), most number of players used (44), most pitchers (a tie, with 18), most pitches by a reliever (97).  The time it took to play it lasted longer than the entire 1939 World Series.  I feel no shame in admitting that I went to bed after the game was tied through nine innings, some time after midnight—when the game was only half over!

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The fact is, I can’t stay up late enough to watch the games these days, and I’ve been thinking about that in the context of how the World Series used to be played.  When I was a boy, most of the games, if not all of them, were played during the day, when the whole family might be able to watch together, which my family often did, even my sisters.  And if the game were played during the week? No problem.  When I was in the 7th grade, my entire junior high school listened to Game 7 of the 1960 over the loudspeaker in my classroom.  In those days, schools had their priorities straight in terms of which was more important, baseball or math.

Ironically, this Game 3 ended with an 18th-inning walk-off homerun (Now).  Game 7, which many think is the greatest baseball gave ever, ended with Bill Mazeroski’s 9th-inning walk-off homerun (Then).  One happened when I was peacefully dreaming away. The other happened when my classmates and I jumped and shouted and pounded on our desks. The Pirates had beaten the Yankees! And everybody hated the Yankees.  Of course, we were in South Carolina!

Granville Wyche Burgess is an Emmy-nominated screenwriter, playwright and Amazon-bestselling novelist. His new baseball novel, The Last At-Bat of Shoeless Joe, will be published by Chickadee Prince Books in 2019.