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Minor League Potomac Nationals to play a rare tripleheader today

A tripleheader in baseball is a once in a blue moon occurrence, but it has happened before even at the major league level.

Nationals pitching prospect Erick Fedde will be starting game two of the tripleheader.
Nationals pitching prospect Erick Fedde will be starting game two of the tripleheader.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Potomac Nationals and the Lynchburg Hillcats are high A level minor league teams and they are going to play a tripleheader today.

It takes a lot of things to go wrong for a tripleheader to happen. It takes a unique mess of bad weather and bad scheduling for teams to willingly agree to play that much baseball in a single day.

In the Carolina League, where the Potomac Nationals Play, the last triple header was played 20 years ago.

You will never see a tripleheader be played at the major league level. That said, it has happened before. Way back on the 2nd of October, 1920, the Pirates and the Reds were in a similar situation to the one the Potomac Nationals face today but with even less flexibility. October 2nd was the second to the last day of the season, so there was apparently no way to push off one of the games to another day and so they played three games in one day.

They did cheat on that day in 1920, in a manner of speaking. The Reds crushed the Pirates by a score of 13-4 in game one in two hours and three minutes.  In game two the Reds won again, this time 7-3, in an hour and 56 minutes. Game three lasted only sixty-one minutes, but the game only lasted six innings as the teams apparently invoked the mercy rule once the Pirates were up 6-0.

How grueling an endeavor is a tripleheader?  In a day and age when a nine inning game routinely takes three hours, the idea of a tripleheader can seem incredible.

That three game, 24 inning matchup between the Reds and Pirates took five hours of game time. By comparison, the Nats' 16 inning game against the Twins on April 24th that ended with a Chris Heisey walkoff home run lasted five hours and fifty-six minutes.

Obviously, the game was very different in 1920. The Reds used only pitcher per game, a total of three, while the Pirates used five. In their 16 inning game the Nationals used six pitchers and the Twins used eight.

The Potomac Nationals are not playing a true tripleheader. The first game will start in the top of the 5th inning where it was left off when the weather hit.

The second and third games are only scheduled to go seven innings each. This means that there will only be roughly 19 innings of baseball played in Lynchburg today.

Nineteen innings is still a lot of baseball, but it is far closer to being a traditional doubleheader than a true tripleheader.

If any of the games go to extra innings and push the innings played total to an improbable 27 innings, that would be poetic and astounding.

Apparently this is not something a baseball fan is likely to get a chance to experience more than once in their lives.

How much baseball are you as a fan willing to sit through in a day? Three hours, five hours, six hours, nine hours?

It's baseball...