Bottom of the 33rd: A book review


Some baseball games are longer than others. Some go to extra innings and some just feel like they did. The average Red Sox verses Yankees game lasts about four hours. In 1981 the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings (AAA) played a 33-inning game that lasted almost nine hours. Now that’s a long baseball game!

In Bottom of the 33rd, Dan Barry painstakingly details the longest game in baseball history. The amount of research Barry must have done is staggering. He gives background on almost every player, coach, and owner who was involved with that fateful game. Even the bat boys are profiled in this ode to baseball.

Barry has a passion for the game. His writing shows it. While the topic may not be an action-packed one (the game was tied 2-2 until Pawtucket finally drove in a run), Barry keeps the story moving. The two teams involved were in the minor leagues, but there are plenty of major-league connections to keep the reader interested.

Those of us who don’t live in a major league city have learned to appreciate minor league teams. There’s always the promise that some “no name” player will shine and get called up. There’s always the feeling that one of these guys could be the next big thing. Barry gets inside the heads of these hopeful players. There are the guys who are on their way up and there are the guys on their way back down. Even the umpires are hoping for a call up to the majors. He jumps through time to give the back story on a player and also the player’s future after the game.

Bottom of the 33rd is detailed, fascinating look at what is and will probably always be the longest game in history. If you love baseball, major or minor, past or present, you’ll want to read it.

Mar 20, 2014; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; A detailed view of a baseball on the field before the spring training game between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves at Tradition Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports