WIP: Dan Barry’s “Bottom of the 33rd”

There’s this sense of wonder, that time has stood still or left the building entirely. It’s the archetypal endless summer baseball game, with all the trappings of a reality that is less than convenient. The players are burning bats in a barrel to keep warm, family members call hospitals trying to find out what happened to their loved ones who haven’t come home from the ballpark, and everyone is falling to the kind of ponderous desperation that makes coincidences feel like epiphanies. Between innings, the third baseman lies down in the infield with his head on the base. In Rochester, a fan is recording the radio broadcast on multiple cassette tapes, even over a mix tape of Elvis songs she received from a friend for her birthday. And the older players who are already running out of time, here they are, released into the night’s specific timelessness, trying to do something, god, anything. Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr. played in the longest game, but so did Dave Koza and Drungo Hazewood and Sam Bowen.