Six full seasons in the major leagues has left Ben Revere with some important perspective on the sport he plays for a living.
“Baseball sucks,” the veteran outfielder said. “It absolutely sucks. You ask Jayson Werth - he’s been in the game 100 years - and he says it sucks. But it really does. It’s frustrating.
“I’ve had games where I hit four missiles, or four hard-hit balls right at people, and your average goes down. Then there will be games where I hit four bloopers, break my bat three times, get three or four hits. So it just sucks. It really does.
“But it’s just ... you just got to keep battling. It’s a long season, and that’s the way the game goes. That’s really the way the game goes.”
Revere said this shortly before midnight, perhaps still a bit delirious, not to mention still a bit soaked from the Gatorade bath he was given after his 14th-inning double off the wall in right-center propelled the Nationals to a 3-2 victory over the Reds some 4 1/2 hours after he took the field for the top of the first following a 35-minute rain delay.
Suffice it to say, it was a long night in the middle of a long season for Revere, who missed April with an oblique strain and has spent the last two months trying to rediscover the swing that made him a .300 hitter each of the last three years.
Nights like this, though, have a way of making it all worth it. Revere had never recorded a walk-off hit in his career, not in the big leagues. And so when he reached second base late tonight after driving in Danny Espinosa with the winning run and promptly was hoisted up on Max Scherzer’s shoulder while teammates punched him in jubilant celebration, Revere wasn’t worried in the least about his .225 batting average. He cared only that he had just contributed to the Nationals’ sixth consecutive victory.
“I’m glad we got the win,” he said. “Honestly, when you go to extras, you don’t care who wins it as long as your team wins.”
The mood inside the home clubhouse would have been vastly different had the Nationals lost this game. And they had plenty of opportunities to do that, with Cincinnati going 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-3 in extra innings.
Instead, the opportunities the Nationals missed to win this one earlier could be brushed aside thanks to the end result.
“Especially when it’s a 14-inning game,” said right-hander Tanner Roark, who pitched the first seven frames and then watched the remaining seven from a clubhouse couch alongside a growing parade of relievers who joined after each successive zero was posted. “You never want to come out on bottom. But that’s what’s great about this team. We scratch and claw until we get what we want, and we get that run.”
It has required some resilience for this team to bounce back from what last week looked like a potential turning point in the season: seven straight losses during a difficult road trip, several of them coming in excruciating fashion.
Since then, the Nationals have won six in a row, including a sweep of the defending National League East champion Mets, and now this dramatic victory deep into extra innings.
“It sure feels a lot better when you get that music in the clubhouse after the game than when it’s like a morgue when you lose,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It was a big emotional swing. We lost seven in a row and then turned around and won six in a row. Man, this is a funny game.”
Just ask Revere.