Monday, May 26, 2008

Bring Back the Doubleheader

Today I went to a Marlins doubleheader, a regularly scheduled game with a second make-up game from last night's rainout, and it brought back loads of memories. Memories of my childhood, memories of 7-hour days and nights at Shea Stadium, and memories of days gone by.

When I was a kid, back in the 60's, we would all eagerly await the baseball schedule to see when there would be a doubleheader. See, back then, doubleheaders were a part of every team's schedule. As a Met fan in those days, there would be around two doubleheaders scheduled on Sundays during the year, often against one of the less popular teams to draw a crowd. They were the most sought after tickets. I remember my first, a doubleheader against the very popular St. Louis Cardinals, and they split. It turned out to be one of the greatest days I ever spent with my dad, at the ballpark on a hot June day in 1964 I believe.

Best of all were the twilight-night doubleheaders, the ones that started around 5:30 P.M. and ended around midnight (unless there were extra innings or a rain delay). There often used to be one of those per season too. Even if you got there late, or left early, there was plenty of baseball to be enjoyed, and the exhaustion at the end of the evening was well worth it. I once remember getting home so late that my parents thought I never would and couldn't reach me at all (no cell phones way back then).

Doubleheaders usually had a headliner pitcher in Game One, and frequently a rookie or part-time starter in Game 2. That was just the way it was today at Dolphins Stadium, with Hendrickson on the mound in the first game and an unknown pitcher, de la Cruz, called up from the Minors for the second. There was around a twenty minute break between games, and a twenty-nine minute rain delay to boot. The crowd was not too large, especially for a doubleheader, and particularly for game 2, but there was plenty of enthusiasm. It didn't hurt one bit that the Marlins swept, coming from behind in both games.

I wish they would schedule at least one doubleheader per season for each team. After all, if the Marlins get the retractable domed stadium as they expect, there won't be any more rainouts or doubleheaders at all. And that would be, well, just tragic!


Jay Warman said...

What a great day at the Stadium. After sitting with you guys, Eric and I sneaked into the club level during the rain delay and watched the rest of the first game from there. Then we noticed a vacant sky box that was unlocked and we sat there for a few innings before returning to the crowd for the final innings.

How 'bout those Fish!?!?!?! How bout those curtain calls? What a great day.

JSponge said...

Certainly a day to remember, and to be rarely, if ever, repeated. If the Marlins should go on to win the Division, it will be all the more memorable. And only a few will be able to say they were there on that day.

ASponge said...

A wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments. It was just wonderful.