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Friday, September 11, 2015

Two games for the price of one. Who will attend all 18 innings?

Yesterday the Toronto Blue Jays were scheduled to start a four games series at Yankee Stadium that would last through Sunday with one of the teams emerging in first place.  The game was rained out and rescheduled as a very rare natural doubleheader: two games for the price of one.  Game two will start about 30 minutes after the end of game one with the same fans able to attend both games.

Who will?

I attended my first doubleheader on July 4, 1961 between the Yankees and Detroit Tigers at the Stadium with first place at stake.  More than 74,000 of us attended and as far as I can remember we all stayed for all 19 innings (game two went 10).  The games were played with much more pace back then.  youtube.com has plenty of examples.  The batter stayed in the box, pitchers hardly jerked around.  Blah, blah, blah.  You've heard it all before.

I can remember the voice of the Yankees Mel Allen back in the late 1950s and early 1960s encouraging fans while announcing game one of a doubleheader: there's plenty of time to come to the ball park and see the rest of this game and all of the next game.  Mel would also do a commercial in which he would encourage fans to go to their local tavern, make the three ring sign and ask the man for Ballantine (beer).

I only wanted to attend doubleheaders.  I couldn't get enough of it.  Even into adulthood, attending twi-night doubleheaders, including two in which game two went extra innings for totals of 29 and 28 innings.

Now I don't attend even single games.  I've been to only one game at the new Stadium, which opened in 2009.  It's just too boring.  The games are slow, with no pace.  Just endless jerking around for no good reason.

Plus, now there are many more things to do.  I still watch the games on TV but always with other stuff going on.  Something else on the second TV in the room and often also checking stuff on a laptop.  Maybe I'll record a game and watch the replay by fast forwarding between each pitch to simulate a much quicker baseball pace.

Younger fans are much more accustomed to the current pace but also to the many other options to occupy their minds.  A doubleheader will be jarringly long.  The people who had already bought tickets for the game scheduled for 1:00 PM Saturday are entitled to stay for game two.  I'm guessing that the crowd at the beginning will be full.  But how many have other plans for later?  How many who do not will have had more than enough, expecially if the Yankees lose game one?  Of those who start watching game two, how many will last for five innings when the game becomes official?

And finally, how many will watch all 18 innings in person?

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