It's 3:30 a.m. on a numbing Easter morning 30 years ago in the dying mill city of Pawtucket, R.I., and two minor-league baseball teams, the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings, are tied 2-2.
It's the 31st inning of what just became the longest game in baseball history and -- well, here's how New York Times writer Dan Barry describes the scene in his delicious new book, "Bottom of the 33rd":
"Most of them are too tired, too cold, and too hungry to contemplate the historic import of the night. They stamp their feet. They blow into their hands. They fold themselves on the narrow dugout benches and gather around fires that lick from a couple of 55-gallon drums, fires fed by broken Louisville Slugger bats, many of them imprinted with the names of the athletes freezing here tonight, the someday baseball famous and soon-to-be baseball forgotten."
Whether you're a baseball aficionado or a reader who just enjoys a good yarn, you'll love this book. And not just because future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr. are playing third base, or former Twins pitcher Mike Smithson takes the mound in the 15th inning. (His brown Monte Carlo with a cream-colored landau roof, the one he bought with half his $12,000 bonus five years earlier, gives you a hint at the delightful details sprinkled through the book.)