By Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Sun
3:54 AM EDT, September 21, 2013
The Orioles' 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field on Friday night was many things: Eighteen innings. Six hours and 54 minutes. A master class in offensive cratering. A blow to the Orioles' postseason hopes. A test of sanity. An excuse to yell at your TV long past midnight.
Because we here at The Baltimore Sun were right there with you wondering when we'd get to go home (or see something other than an Orioles groundout), we decided to catalog what was one of the weirdest nights in recent Orioles history.
Social media aren't forever, but our memories of this game, unfortunately, probably are, so we begin our recounting of the night with a GIF of catcher Jose Molina.
Weighing in at 6 foot 2, 250 pounds, steamrollering toward third base, he is everything this game will soon become: slow, lumbering, impossible to stop, blissfully oblivious of just how this will look the morning after.
Nine innings came and went. The teams deadlocked. And so on they played.
#Orioles and Rays head to extra innings tied at 4.— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) September 21, 2013
Then Tommy Hunter did ... something ... to acting pitching coach Bill Castro in the top of the 10th.
Hunter rubs Castro's chest as if it contains a genie. We'll never know whether he wished for a nearly seven-hour game.
Either way, we got it. And Twitter, as it so often does, filled the void.
#whenthisgamestarted Manny Machado's only experience with a shift came during his driving test— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) September 21, 2013
'you see billy, i was 26 when baltimore & tampa started that game. ever since we keep the fire lit to let them know we're still watching.'— Martin Rickman (@martinrickman) September 21, 2013
If you're still up watching the #Orioles, who are now in the top of the 16th inning at Tampa Bay after a 7:10 p.m. start, retweet this.— The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) September 21, 2013
There's a pretty good chance that one of those sixteen people left at the Rays game is a dead person no one's noticed yet.— edsbs (@edsbs) September 21, 2013
Your attention please: The Baltimore Orioles have activated bullpen coach Scott McGregor and he has begun warming in the Orioles 'pen.— Billy Chapel (@BillyChapel14) September 21, 2013
We've made it -- 6 hours and 16 minutes. This is the longest game, time-wise, in Orioles history. And you stayed up for it (losers)— Dan Connolly (@danconnollysun) September 21, 2013
To the 18th.— MLB (@MLB) September 21, 2013
Die hard Rays fan. pic.twitter.com/TFYXx6kTb7— Wendy Thurm (@hangingsliders) September 21, 2013
Then, in the bottom of the 18th inning, David DeJesus came up to bat for the eighth time. Desmond Jennings, a ninth-inning pinch hitter who had by then played a full game's worth of baseball, was at second.
DeJesus took the first pitch. Strike one.
Then: a single, a run, elation, heartbreak. An end.
This is what happens when your game ends after 2 a.m.: pic.twitter.com/1a3EbG7YNt— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 21, 2013
I just watched that whole game. Now I'm gonna cry myself to sleep. #Orioles— Jason Spaniol (@aSLUGSlife) September 21, 2013
This being a Saturday, at least fans could sleep in.
The Orioles? It was off to the showers, then to bed, then back to Tropicana Field.
These two teams play again in just 11 hours.— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) September 21, 2013
Here's hoping that game lasts only three.
Copyright © 2013, The Baltimore Sun