Tampa Bay Rays record game: Raymond wears PJ's as Rays play longest game ever

7:38 AM, Jul 18, 2011   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- You can bet there will be some exhausted Rays fans heading into work Monday morning. The team wrapped up its longest game ever -- just hours ago.

It finally ended early Monday morning in a 1-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox, but not before playing 5 hours and 44 minutes, with no runs scored by anyone for the first 15 innings.

This game was a weird one right from the first pitch, just before 8 p.m. Performers from Cirque du Soleil got it going, juggling nearly a dozen baseballs, then tossing one over home plate.

Innings and hours passed by and -- bam! A pop-up from Sean Rodriguez shattered a light hanging from one of Tropicana Field's wonderful catwalks.

Everything stopped for several minutes as a clean-up crew picked pieces of hot, shattered glass out of the AstroTurf.

Then, in the 11th inning, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon expressed his disappointment after a call and was ejected.

He was gone, but about 8,000 to 10,000 fans stuck around.

Rays mascot Raymond put on his pajamas and settled in. At one point he propped up his feet and leaned back in a chair -- probably in the same pose as the thousands of people watching at home on ESPN; this was the network's national game of the week.

At 15 innings -- with the clock ticking past 1 a.m. -- still neither team had scored. In the stands, exhausted fans yawned. Some slept. In the dugouts, players were looking a little loopy. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz wiggled his fingers toward the field, looking to conjure some magic for his team.

It worked. In the astounding 16th inning, the Red Sox put a run on the board.

The Rays tried to muster a comeback, but those tired arms and legs just couldn't make it happen. Finally -- mercifully? -- the game was over. The Red Sox won, 1-0.

Afterward, a few fans at Ferg's sports bar near the Trop were still standing.

"Too bad we're on the losing end, but it was awesome to be part of Rays history," Rays fan Emily Henter said.

"It was a great game. It was a lot of fun. But it lasted forever. By the time the 15th inning came, it was time to go. It was like one o'clock in the morning," added Stacey Hoff, whose Rays face paint had mostly worn off during the marathon matchup.

The epic evening tied the record for most innings ever in a Rays game at 16.

And the game shattered -- like a stadium light -- the Rays record for total time played, lasting 5 hours, 44 minutes and the latest the Rays team has ever still been on the field, with the game ending at 1:54 a.m.

The Red Sox boarded their flight out of the Tampa Bay area sometime after 3 a.m. They'll have to play the Baltimore Orioles just 14 hours later, at 7 p.m. Monday.

The Rays broke their previous record, which was a 15-inning game against Baltimore back in August of 2000.

In case you're curious, the longest Major League Baseball game ever in terms of time was eight hours, six minutes and lasted 25 innings.

But another game lasted 26 innings! The Brooklyn Dodgers vs. Boston Braves in 1920.

The game finished in a 1-1 tie because it was too dark to keep playing, and the ballpark had no lights.

Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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