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Bryce Harper injury came after a 3-hour delay and heavy rainfall in Washington

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Harper slipped on first base after a long delay.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals Michael Owens-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper suffered a non-contact injury in the first inning of Saturday night’s Nationals-Giants game in Washington. We don’t yet know how long Harper will be out. But the play that knocked him out of the game looked ugly.

Harper hit a ground ball and ran hard into first base in an unsuccessful attempt to leg out an infield single. Harper lunged for the bag, and when his left foot made contact with it, it slipped forward through the surface of the base. The area around Harper’s knee appeared to bend in a dangerous way, and he was holding it after he fell hard to the ground. No matter his status, that he was injured is a huge shame.

This might make you angry:

It was pouring in the Washington area on Saturday night. The game didn’t start until 10:06 p.m. local time, three hours after the scheduled first-pitch time. When it rains in D.C. in the summer, it rains really hard, and this was a really hard rain.

The conditions just a few miles from Nationals Park looked like this:

It’s the second time this year a player’s gotten hurt in a circumstance like this.

The YankeesDustin Fowler suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first inning after a nearly three-hour delay at the White Sox in June. He had a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee, the Yankees said. It was Fowler’s major league debut, and he went down before he even got a plate appearance.

It’s going to make for the Nationals’ second delay controversy of the year.

The Nationals drew criticism in July, when a home game against the Braves was delayed three hours despite little actual rain.

The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg wrote then:

That the Nats screwed up is obvious: Their decision-making was suspect (much of the delay was conducted without benefit of a tarp, a crucial clue that something was amiss); their communication was inadequate (fans weren’t told what was going on until 9:35, about five minutes before the tarp was removed); and their response to the misfire unsatisfactory. By the time the teams started playing ball — after a delay that lasted as long as a typical game — most of the crowd was gone, and justifiably so: Kids had bedtimes, Metro was closing and the information void offered no particular reason to remain.

Getting rain delays right can be a tricky thing. You don’t want to keep fans hanging around for nothing. You don’t want to play a game in conditions that are either dangerous or so messy that baseball can’t adequately be played. You don’t want to lose money, and you don’t want to make people mad at you. This series is also the last one of the year between the two teams, and there’s not much time left in the year, and they reside on opposite coasts. The league likes everyone to play 162 games. There are a lot of competing considerations, and it’s not like these decisions are easy.

Nonetheless: The Nationals have a 14-game lead in the NL East. The Giants are way out of the race in the West. The Nats will not catch the league-leading Dodgers for the top seed in the NL playoffs, and they probably won’t fall behind whoever wins the Central. This game is as close to meaningless as a regular-season ballgame can be. But it happened anyway, and the league’s most marketable star is now injured.

Major League Baseball, not the team, reportedly made the decision to play this game. Whoever decided it, Harper’s injury by slippage makes it seem like a waste.