20-inning game pushes fireworks to July 5: Emeralds offer fans another ticket
EUGENE, Ore. - On the night of Independence Day, the Eugene Emeralds hosted their Fourth of July baseball game and fireworks show called, the "Red, White, and Boom!"
However, the "Boom" came a little late this year.
It was just after one in the morning before attendees were able to see fireworks.
The Ems' General Manager, Allan Benavides, said the game was sold out, with just over 5,000 people at the game and others watching from outside the park waiting for fireworks.
One fan we spoke with said she was waiting in the parking lot for four hours to see the fireworks.
"There was a lot of debate on whether or not we needed to leave," Jessica Alansky said of her conversation with her son, "but he insisted we stayed because it's not the Fourth of July without fireworks."
But many left throughout the game, as it went 20 innings and lasted about six hours.
If fell short five innings of being the longest game in Ems history - a record set back in 1989 (pg 33/62).
"It was too late to go home and do our fireworks," said Alansky's son, "so, I was thinking we just stay and watch these fireworks because that's better than no fireworks."
The Ems released this statement on Facebook Wednesday.
Benavides said once the fireworks were set up and ready to go, they had to shoot them.
"We told the pyro-guys, the pyrotechnicians to shoot those things off as quickly as we could," said Benavides. "So, I understand it caused a lot of frustration and honestly the Emeralds are very apologetic about it."
Benavides said many upset fans have asked why they did not stop the game, but he said, "The umpires wouldn't let them stop the game, you've got pitchers ready to go; there's no stopping a baseball game."
And he said moving the fireworks and waiting to launch them the next day after being set up and checked by the fire marshal is not an option.
"There's no picking up those explosives and throwing them on the rack - throwing them on the truck and setting them away," said Benavides. "They're shooting them."
Leaving them overnight is not an option either.
"It's a very public area; there's a lot of student housing across the way, people are going back and forth," said Benavides. "We have to light that show there's no way around it."
He said there's a lot of talk in professional baseball about shortening extended innings. Until then, whether it is seven innings, or twenty, they play ball!
The Ems said those who bought a ticket for the Fourth of July game can bring their ticket to the box office, and get another free ticket through July 10.
The Emeralds ended up losing Tuesday night's game against Boise, 7-5.