The Arkansas Travelers this morning secured a victory against the Tulsa Drillers in the longest professional baseball game in history. The game which lasted 31 hours and covered 97 innings wrapped up a little after 2 a.m. this morning with a 22-21 victory for the Travs in Dickey Stephens Park.
The game began on Wednesday night in North Little Rock and saw 22 combined pitching changes, including both mascots. The Travs secured the victory with a 4 error in the park home run by Kalab Cowart. The victory gives the Travs a 46-42 record on the season
The previous longest game was set in 1981 with a 33 inning, 8 1/2 hour game between Pawtucket and Rochester.
The clubs face each other again tonight at 7:10. The teams were set to play each other last night, but because of the extended innings that game has been moved to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Most of the 4,209 recorded people in attendance began leaving around the 14th inning. By the 23rd inning the only ticketed fan remaining in the stadium was local resident and super fan Danielle Fusco, who stayed for the entire 31 hours. Many fans began returning to the stadium late Thursday afternoon when word of the record setting game began to leak out.
“I think I dozed off for a few minutes during the 77th inning stretch,” Fusco tells us. “I didn’t want to miss a minute however. It really was the most thrilling game I have ever attended. The final score seems a bit deceiving due to the length, but it really was one of the best defensive contests that I have experienced in my 24 years of following baseball.”
Pitching became the major issue for both teams. Early in the morning hours both teams had used their entire bullpin, at that point they began switching to position players to pitch. Tulsa was the first team to use all available players for pitching. Rules officials agreed that teams could begin a new rotation at the 24 hour mark, which at the time was still 2 hours away.
Because both team mascots were dressed in an official team jersey officials confirmed that they were allowed to pitch the remaining time until the new rotation could begin. Hornsby, the Tulsa mascot, ended the game with 4 runs allowed and 2 strikeouts. Shelly, the Arkansas Mascot, gave up 4 runs and ended with 7 strikeouts. Shelly, who played an additional 3 innings in place of napping CF Delta Cleary, also finished the game with 6 home runs.
Buzz around major league is that the Angels, the Travs Major League affiliate, plan to call up Shelly to play CF as early as Sunday’s game against the Seattle Mariners. They are currently awaiting confirmation from the league as to whether Shelly is a moose or horse.