On Wednesday, the Phillies and Reds played 19 innings. An infielder got a win. Mariano Rivera set a record. Jo-Jo Reyes tied a record. Zack Greinke hit a home run. And then the day was ruined.
The great shame of Buster Posey's injury on Wednesday night ... well no, that isn't right. There is no singular great shame. There are many great shames. There are so many shames that one might call it shameful, although that isn't right, either. But among the unfortunate consequences of the Posey play is that it ruined what was otherwise a spectacularly interesting and captivating day of baseball.
There was, first of all, baseball all day long. Of the 15 games on the schedule, eight of them were slated to begin before noon Pacific, as if MLB heard Grant Brisbee's recent pleading and decided to make an immediate change. When every game begins within three hours of each other, it's overwhelming. When the games are stretched out all day, it's far less frantic, and it's easy to zone out and think about baseball from coffee to dinner.
And what did we see over the full day of baseball? We saw Jo-Jo Reyes tie a record by failing to earn a win in 28 consecutive starts. We saw Mariano Rivera become the first pitcher ever to make 1,000 appearances with the same team. We saw the Astros win on a walk-off. We saw Brooks Conrad deliver an extra-innings pinch-hit homer. We saw Zack Greinke hit a home run. We saw Justin Berg come in, throw 12 balls, and leave. We saw the Giants rally to tie the Marlins with four runs in the bottom of the ninth.
And, of course, we saw the Reds and Phillies go to 19 innings. We saw the Phillies concede by sending a position player to the mound in the 19th, and we saw the Phillies win anyway when by some miracle the position player pitched well and Raul Ibanez drove a walk-off sac fly in the bottom half. Wilson Valdez earned the win. Infielder Wilson Valdez now has more wins than Reyes, Ubaldo Jimenez, John Danks, and Tim Stauffer combined.
The way the Reds and Phillies game went, and the way it ended - that was a game that deserves to be talked about for days, if not weeks. That was a game that deserves to steal headlines everywhere, just because of the absurdity of it all. Wilson Valdez did something nobody had done since 2000. By another standard, Wilson Valdez did something nobody had done since 1921. In a tie game in the top of the 19th inning, the Philadelphia Phillies put a 33-year-old utility infielder on the mound, and in the bottom of the 19th inning, the Philadelphia Phillies won.
So many interesting things happened on Wednesday. So many things to spend at least most of Thursday and some of Friday talking about. It even looked like the Giants would provide an appropriate cap to the day after they forced extras with their huge rally. And then Emilio Bonifacio hit a fly ball, and Scott Cousins ran, and Buster Posey got hurt.
In an instant, the whole day was ruined. As Posey grimaced and laid on the ground like his leg had come off, nothing else mattered. The story was Buster Posey, and even though it wasn't clear how badly he was hurt, the story was about how devastating it was that what happened had happened.
That is not to say that this shouldn't be the case. Posey should be the story. Posey is one of the league's best young players, beloved and adored, broken in a controversial collision many have argued shouldn't be allowed. Baseball is worse without Buster Posey in it, and the images of his injury may be even more chilling than the severity of the injury itself.
It just sucks. All of it sucks. The collision sucks, the injury sucks, and the timing sucks. Baseball was having a perfect day. Statistically and visually, on Wednesday baseball was at its best, in terms of entertainment and silliness and bar-counter trivia. And then it all ended with a blow to the gut. Baseball can be a beautiful game. Baseball can be ugly.