Dan Barry’s The Bottom of the 33rd tells the story of a 33-inning game played between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings in 1981. As a fan of baseball, I have been interested in this game since first hearing about it as a child. I would love to hear the recording of the radio broadcast of this game. It must have been a truly amazing event.
In The Bottom of the 33rd, Barry does a great job of telling the story of the game through the lens of some of the players, stadium staff, fans, and their families. It would have been easy to simply tell the story of the game, especially the first 32 innings that took place until after four in the morning on Easter Sunday in 1981. By choosing to tell the story of the game through the thoughts of so many people who experienced it differently, Barry told a much more enriching story.
I also appreciated the details he wove into the story about how some of the people he chronicled lived after the game. While he chose his subjects intensionally, it’s uncanny how that night will always live with so many who experienced it.
If you enjoy sports and especially human interest stories told through the prison of sports, The Bottom of the 33rd will be an enjoyable read for you.