It was the middle of the seventh inning, and things were looking a little rough. Players were starting to quit and head home or take "time outs." Makeup was smudged, once-perfect hair was no longer poker straight and some batters’ eyes were looking a little glassy.
As for me, I wasn't nearly as put-together as I originally had been. My jean skirt was drenched in Miller Lite (after one teammate dropped a draft on me when she was trying to climb on the stage at Hardware Bar) and my Phillies shirt was marked with sweat stains.
But I was still in the game. In fact, I was in the midst of a fierce debate with a random guy over who had the better pair of gray Converses. And I was winning that one – mine were slightly scruffier and I wasn't wearing socks (bonus points for potential blisters).
The evening had started innocently enough. Dressed in girly Phillies gear, my friends and I arrived at Ceoltas promptly at 5 p.m. for the first inning. It's not enough to just go to the bars, we have to dress up, make up ridiculous rules and turn it into a competition. Upon arrival, we were immediately handed scorecards by the event's organizers, and we divided ourselves into teams.
The rules of the World Series of Bar Baseball Game 1 were simple enough: each drink constituted a hit (first at bat is a single, second at bat is a double and third at bat was a triple). Teams were limited to three people. Whichever team scored the most "runs" at the end of the ninth inning would be declared winner. Batter up.
After 45 minutes of strategizing and scoring a few runs, it was time for the second inning. Next up was Zembie’s, followed by Anthony’s and then McGrath’s to round out the first half of the game before the sun went down. Competition was intense, but we were in it to win it.
By the time we got to the fifth inning at Bourbon Street Saloon, it was 8 p.m. Most people were just coming out and this group was three hours ahead of them. The sixth inning divided the real players from the amateurs. Like the rest of the bars, we had 45 minutes at the beach-decorated Hardware Bar, but this time, drinks were only $1. This led to scantily clad baseball fans donning leis and climbing on the makeshift stage to demonstrate sweet dance moves to the latest autotuned song. We dusted off the sand to enter the eighth inning at Molly Brannigans, as the competition persisted.
"Do we get extra points if we do a carbomb? No? I'm doin' one anyway!" yelled one of my friends.
Before we knew it, it was time for the last inning at Sawyer's. Our group had been gradually diminishing, but there was still a strong showing, although we looked a bit out of place in our sneakers and baseball t-shirts. Those of us still standing (including my teammates and I) were diligently still marking our scorecards. The game was officially over at midnight, but I decided to go for extra innings back at Ceoltas until last call.
As I learned from running, it's important to pace yourself. This was a marathon, not a 5K. Sure, you can score a bunch of runs at first and then crash. Or you can know exactly how much you can handle and make it from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m.
The next morning, I picked up my phone and among several new text messages, one simply read, "Dude. We won."
Victory never tasted so sweet.