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A minor league team came back from a 16-run deficit to win last night

May 8, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

Do the Collapse

Via Deadspin comes a story of the Class-A Clinton Lumber Kings finding themselves down 17-1 after five innings and coming back to win 20-17:

There’s never really a bad time to score 19 unanswered runs. But trailing 17-1 after five innings, the timing of the LumberKings—a Mariners affiliate—couldn’t have been much better. Six in the sixth, five each in the eighth and ninth, and three in 12th adds up to a comeback for the ages. And all somehow wrapped up in a tidy three hours and 28 minutes!

That’s pretty trippy — Deadspin links to the radio call of the game, which is a lot of fun — but I think this is pretty significant in the world of the Unwritten Rules too. After all, the next time someone gets huffy about someone trying to lay down a bunt for a hit or steal a base in a blowout, can we not point to this game and say that no lead is safe? I mean, sure, no big league team is likely to be quite the choke artists the Burlington Bees proved to be last night, but the old saying about how I’ll stop trying to win when you do seems to be the best policy, always.

  1. Old Gator - May 8, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    Coming back from a 16-run deficit violates the unwritten rules.

    • jrbdmb - May 8, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      Yup … the Clinton Lumber Kings obviously do not respect the game.

      • apkyletexas - May 8, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        It’s the Puig-effect. You can see it has spread all the way to Clinton, Iowa now.

        Terrible shame. What’s next – moms baking gummy bears into apple pies?

      • Old Gator - May 8, 2014 at 2:03 PM

        You almost want to feel sorry for the Burlington Bees, but then you remember how easy townies are.

    • yahmule - May 8, 2014 at 1:43 PM

      No kidding. Talk about showing someone up.

  2. tbird05 - May 8, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Braves Fans: “16 runs? What? They were losing by 16 runs and came back to win? Now THAT is amazing….you think we could borrow 3 or 4 of those runs?

  3. garythebat - May 8, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    That GBV reference is doubly appropriate, given that the album title includes a nod to “collapse” for the chokers and the album itself contains the beautiful tune “Hold On Hope” for those comeback kids.

  4. jashton11 - May 8, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    “And all somehow wrapped up in a tidy three hours and 28 minutes!”

    In other words, faster than the average Yankees-Red Sox game.

    • sabatimus - May 8, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      Yep, a good half hour at least faster.

  5. shawndc04 - May 8, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    It sounded like a pinball baseball game. That was a fun call by the announcer on the grand slam.

  6. Bar None - May 8, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    Used to catch Lumber Kings games in grad school. Always a good time. Back then they were a Rangers affiliate with Danks, Kinsler, Volquez, and a couple other future big leaguers. They had the group patio that you could reserve for $20 per person and get a ticket to the game and all you can eat hot dogs, brats, and burgers. And all you can drink beer.

  7. Liam - May 8, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    (clears throat)

    This story was reported in the Hardballtalk comment section before deadspin got to it.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - May 8, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      I know the feeling…

  8. yankeesfanlen - May 8, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    And I thought for sure this was gonna be the Myrtle Beach Pelicans vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks

  9. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 8, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    Of lesser note – not a single bat flip by the Lumber Kings. See? Respect the game, and your team can come back from 16 down.

  10. mikhelb - May 8, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    mmmh… didn’t the Mariners themselves, in the big leagues, choked on a game vs the Indians when Seattle held a 15 or so lead? or was it vs the A’s? back in 2000 or 2001. I am thinking Vizquel had the winning hit.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 8, 2014 at 4:52 PM

      Yes and no. It was Mariners-Indians, but they were up 12-0

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CLE/CLE200108050.shtml

      The Cubs came back to tie the Phillies after being down 12, but lost in extra innings. Those are the two biggest come backs in the Majors.

      Not the same thing – but the Orioles once led 3-0 in the 4th inning, and lost 30-3. Yes….THIRTY (30) to Three!

      • jwbiii - May 8, 2014 at 11:57 PM

        And Rangers pitcher Wes Littleton got save for protecting an 11 run lead!

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BAL/BAL200708221.shtml

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 9, 2014 at 9:50 AM

        heh-heh, classic. I forgot all about that part!

        I’ll have to check the records, but David West once got a save in something close to an 11 run game – may have been 9 runs. But in his case, he did come in for the final out of the 8th with the tying run at the plate, not this weak “3 innings is a save” stuff

  11. mikhelb - May 8, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    Saw that game reported by Mike Axisa long before it was commented here in HBT and before it appeared in DeadSpin.

  12. infieldhit - May 8, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    I wonder if all of the score-based unwritten rules just don’t exist in the low minors. You’re up by 8 in the 8th? Go ahead and steal.

    • facebookuser111 - May 8, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      Its sort of like college football, those kids are out there trying to earn a job somewhere, so let it rip.

  13. denny65 - May 8, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    A Mariners’ farm team, as mentioned above. Interestingly, on the roster is Justin Seager, younger brother of Ms 3B Kyle Seager.

  14. Minoring In Baseball - May 8, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    This is one of the reasons the minor leagues are so great. Really, anything can happen and no lead is safe! What a fun game to have watched live. The fans certainly got their money’s worth.

    http://minoringinbaseball.com/

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