I settled into the couch on Saturday at 3:30 to watch the best team in the country take on the best quarterback, figuring that I was in for at least half the game I saw last Saturday in LSU-Florida. Kickoff started a little late, maybe around 3:45-3:50, but I was treated to a triple overtime thriller, and Kentucky knocked off the nation's number one team 43-37. It seemed like there were an inordinate number of long commercial breaks, and the game went into triple OT, but it ended at 7:58 by my watch - about 4 hours and ten minutes after it began.
I know when it ended because my girlfriend was anxiously awaiting the start of game two of the ALCS. Over five hours later I was anxiously awaiting the end of it. Eleven innings, 5 hours and 14 minutes. What casual fan has any desire to watch this mess? After braving three innings I left my living room to watch two barn burners in the bedroom - #2 Cal lost at home to Oregon State when their QB but tackled in bounds down 3 with 10 seconds left, and #6 Oklahoma held on against previously undefeated #11 Mizzou. I missed two innings of the baseball game and saw nearly a half of college football in two different games. So I come back to watch some more of the baseball game, now in the sixth. I did like three sudokus, and that got me to the 7th, when Rafael Betancourt came in for Cleveland. Little did I know Betancourt takes longer between pitches than anyone in the bigs. So long he actually got penalized this year for taking too long between pitches - TWICE.
When this game reached extra innings at about 12:30, already longer than the triple overtime SEC football game. The light at the tunnel came in the bottom of the tenth when, perhaps in an effort to motivate the Red Sox to score, Terry Francona had Eric Gagne, who had a 6.75 ERA with the Sawx in the regular season, warm up in the bullpen. Sure enough he got hammered in the 11th, opening the doors for a postseason record 7 run extra inning, and sending us to bed well after the stale sketches of Saturday Night Live had aired.
Five hours and fourteen minutes. I could have watched Braveheart, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and a Tivoed episode of South Park. I could have driven to Philadelphia, gotten a cheesesteak, and drove back. Were I a Kenyan, I could have run two marathons. I would say baseball has to do something to ensure that games would be done before 1 AM EST, since for the last four nights they've been playing that late, but I know it will never happen. But 10-15 years from now when they've lost a generation of fans whose parents wouldn't let them stay up that late, they'll regret it.