Over the course of 17 wild, wacky innings, Tuesday night's Blue Jays-Red Sox game had featured just about everything -- well, everything except for an ejection. Then, in the top of the 18th, Josh Donaldson checked that box, too:
If a player getting ejected that late into a game seems rare, well, you're right -- but it's not quite a Major League record.
Yes, really: During a 21-inning, two-day marathon between the Cubs and Dodgers in 1982, both Tommy Lasorda and L.A. third baseman Ron Cey were ejected, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Play began just after 1 p.m. CT on Tuesday, August 17. After each team scratched across an early run, both pitching staffs settled in, and the game quickly became a pitcher's duel of epic proportions. The score was tied at 1-1 at the end of nine innings ... and at the end of 12 innings ... and at the end of 15 innings ... and at the end of 17 innings -- until finally, after more than five hours, play was suspended and resumed the next day in the top of the 18th.
By the bottom of the 20th, Lasorda had already used all of the position players on his bench -- so when third baseman Ron Cey began arguing with first-base umpire Dave Pallone, the manager came sprinting out of the dugout to cool things down. That ... did not work out: In an attempt to show Pallone how he'd slid into first base, Cey put his hand on Pallone and was immediately ejected, while Lasorda also got tossed while trying to intervene.
Now the man in charge, bench coach Monty Basgall had to improvise a solution to his lack of a third baseman. He decided to move right fielder Pedro Guerrero to the hot corner, where he had some prior Major League experience. But, of course, this opened up a hole in the outfield -- a hole that Basgall decided to fill by bringing in staff ace Fernando Valenzuela.
The first two Cubs batters were righties, so Valenzuela played right field to decrease the likelihood of him having to field his new position. Then, when lefty Bill Buckner came up to bat, Valenzuela switched places with Dusty Baker (yes, that Dusty Baker) in left. Luckily, Dodgers pitcher Jerry Reuss was able to get out of the inning without incident, and in the top of the 21st, L.A. finally pushed across the eventual game-winning run -- some six hours and 10 minutes of game time and nearly 24 hours of actual time after first pitch.