One of the many great things about baseball is that you can see something new every time you go to the ballpark or turn on the TV. The game has a certain unpredictable nature about it where you never know what you will see or learn. You could witness a record setting performance from a player or team, or even see the enforcement or failure to enforce a rule that you never even knew existed. Record setting performances are especially significant because Major League Baseball has a much longer history than other American professional sports, while at the same time playing many more games per season. MLB celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 1969 and its 125th in 1994. In my opinion, this is a bit misleading because what they were actually celebrating was the anniversary of the first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who were founded in 1869. The National League was founded a few years later in 1876 while the American League dates back to 1901.
Four things happened on June 5th 2013 that had never happened before in Major League history. Three of these took place during a matinee game in Seattle where the Mariners squared off against the White Sox. The two teams were the definition of offensive futility playing 13 scoreless innings until a record setting 14th. In the top half of the 14th inning the White Sox finally broke out the bats and put 5 runs on the board. Instead of packing it in and calling it a day, the Mariners responded with 5 runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning and were propelled by a Kyle Seager game tying grand slam. The White Sox went on to win 7-5 in 16 innings but the 14th inning was the source of baseball history. With information provided by the Elias Sports Bureau, the Mariners sports information department declared that:
1) Kyle Seager was the first player in MLB history to hit a game tying grand slam in extra innings
2) The Seattle Mariners were the first team in MLB history to score 5 runs in the 14th inning or later to tie a game
3) This was the first game in MLB history where each team scored at least 5 runs after going scoreless for the first 9 innings
The fourth piece of history took place in Cincinnati later that evening when the Reds hosted the Rockies. The game was a blowout as the Rockies pounded the Red’s pitching, blasting 6 home runs en route to a 12-4 victory. Troy Tulowitzki went 5-5 with 2 home runs, while teammate Carlos Gonzalez went 3-5 with 3 home runs, one of which was a 476-foot blast that to this point is the longest MLB home run of 2013. According to MLB Network, never before in MLB history has one player hit 3 home runs in a game while his teammate went 5-5 and hit 2 home runs. It wasn’t even the first historically significant accomplishment of Tulowitzki’s career because on May 29th 2007 in his rookie season he turned the 13th unassisted triple play in MLB history and is now just one of 15 players to have accomplished that feat.
These four records may seem obscure in nature, but that is what makes baseball great and believe it or not, just a few days later on Saturday June 8th history was made once again due to two marathon extra innings affairs. The Blue Jays beat the Rangers 4-3 in 18 innings and the Marlins triumphed over the Mets 2-1 in 20 innings. According to Mark Townsend from the blog Big League Stew only once before in MLB history had two 18+ inning games been played on the same day.
It is clear that there is a never-ending list of things that could possibly happen on any given day. Part of the reason for this is the laundry list of rules applied to baseball, many of which are complex in nature. Excluding the indexes, the 2013 MLB rulebook has 122 pages of regulations, which is extensive compared to just 95 and 57 for the NFL and NBA respectively. Due to the combination of complex rules and the fact that every park in baseball is unique in its dimensions and the way it plays, it is reasonable to assume you will witness some unexpected things while at a game. A seemingly normal game may take a twist or turn that nobody could have possibly foreseen. So, next time you think about leaving a blowout early or changing the channel because it seems as if neither team will ever score a run, I recommend you think twice because you could end up missing MLB history.