HOUSTON - The city of Houston ran out of ambulances and there was no room at the morgue after more than 1800 fans died of boredom during an 18-inning game between the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astro's. Unaware that an attempt was being made to get into NL recordbooks for longest posteason game in baseball history, Chris Burke accidentally ended the sleeper by splatting a home run after more than 5 hours of play.
Houston came out one up over the Atlanta Braves 7-6 Sunday and advanced into the NL championship series, as fans read magazines, made unnecessary bathroom trips, cleaned out the souvenir stands, and even began stomping their feet to a chant of "No more, hit the ball, no more strikes go for the wall."
During the seventh inning stretch Roger Clemens went out for elbow surgery, and was back in by the 15th inning,completely healed. The Braves blew a five run lead they had heading into the eighth, by which smarter fans had already begun leaving the stadium. Concessions began running out of dogs and soda by the 13th innning, and all the beer was gone by top of the 14th, leading to a near riot in the cheap seats.
Marriott / Sodexho began bringing cots and roll-aways to the skyboxes after more than four hours of baseball, with the owners dozing off and waking up only to ask "Is it still going?"
The game ended up lasting 5 hours, 50 minutes, although fans had started dropping as early as the 15th inning. Since the weather was perfect, dehydration, sunstroke, all the usual causes couldn't be blamed; Houston city coroner said "It's clearly boredom that killed these fans. Many were found in a rigor mortis condition either yawning, or covering their mouths. Many had eyes shut, dozed off, and smacked their heads on the concrete stands above them." No, boredom is what killed these fans.
Roger Clemens, after taking massive amounts of No-Doz, entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 15th, and had a sacrifice bunt after a leadoff walk by Craig Biggio. But after another walk, Morgan Ensberg fell asleep at 2nd, tying the score with both teams having four players down for the count.
"I'm sure proud of the guys," Clemens said. "It's been a lot of work for us staying awake."
"It was kind of a microcosm of our season," Burke said. "We woke up a little woozy, and fell right back asleep"
Ultimately, three pitchers were relieved to go have arthorscopic surgery after throwing a total of 553 pitches, 44 by Clemens. Nicole Oswalt, wife of Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt, sang the anthem a total of six times in an effort to revive the flagging crowd, but even a risque' bump and grind version in the top of the 15th failed to revive any of the dead fans.