Better Late Than Never. Nats Fans Finally Celebrate 2019 World Series Championship at Nats Park

Davey Martinez holds the Commissioner’s Trophy before last Saturday’s game. He is joined by Nationals Principal Owner Mark Lerner (left). Players from the 2019 team stand behind him. (Photo John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

WASHINGTON, DC-Last weekend, Washington Nationals fans finally got the celebration they deserved. Their team was crowned World Series champs a long time ago. But to some fans, including this one, 2019 feels like yesterday. The matchup with the Houston Astros was one for the record books. The Nats were the first team in MLB history to win all their games on the road to claim the Commissioner’s Trophy. There was excitement all over town, a parade stretching to the US Capitol, and then everything stopped. The covid-19 pandemic struck. The 2020 Season – when the Nats wore uniforms trimmed in gold thread – was shortened and played in empty ballparks under a cloud of uncertainty.  Covid-19 took and upended lives all over the world. Everything else was secondary. To make games feel more realistic and provide a brief respite from reality, stadium speakers played recorded noise and cardboard cutouts sat front row. But players and fans alike knew it wasn’t the way it should be.

Former battery mates Kurt Suzuki (left) and Anibal Sanchez (Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

Four and a half years later, everything has been made right. With the Astros back in town from April 19 to 21, the Nationals held a mini-reunion for the squad that shines the brightest in its 19-year existence. The stands at Nationals Park were packed for three days. And some of that storied team’s heroes, now retired, returned to relive cherished memories.

Ryan Zimmerman, wearing his World Series ring, waves to the crowd. (Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

The franchise’s first draft pick in 2005, Ryan Zimmerman, who was also, fittingly, the first National to hit a home run in the World Series, waved to the excited crowd.

Howie Kendrick (left) and Brian Dozier. (Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

Howie Kendrick, who hit a grand slam in Game 5 of the NLDS to ensure victory over the heavily-favored LA Dodgers, and then hit a go-ahead home run off the foul pole in Houston in Game 7 , also returned. He joined his buddy, Adam Eaton, who also homered in the chamionship-clinching game,  to rev up the fans before the start of Saturday’s game, just like they used to do after home runs.

Davey Martinez is all smiles with the trophy. (Photo John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

Manager Davey Martinez, who is leading a crew full of youngsters this year and has suffered losing seasons since the team won it all, walked out on the field to cheers. He will always be loved in the metro area, regardless of how the rest of his managerial career fares.

Gerardo Para greets Kurt Kurt Suzuki. (Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

Missing in action were players currently on other rosters such as Max Scherzer, Juan Soto, Trea Turner, and Anthony Rendon. The recently-retired Stephen Strasburg, who was 2-0 in World Series games – leading to his selection as MVP – and 5-0 for the entire playoff run, was noticeably absent.

Adam Eaton (left) and Brian Dozier (Photo: John Canery/Coalmine Photography)

Yet, for the ex-players and fans who were able to show, it was a welcome trip back in time. Perhaps one day in the future, all the stars will come back to celebrate a win that everyone with a connection to that team will treasure for the rest of their lives.

[SEE ALSO: Spring2ACTion Raises $2.9M for Nonprofits on Alexandria Giving Day]

Kevin Dauray

Kevin is Publisher's Assistant with The Zebra Press. He has been working for Alexandria's "Good News" newspaper since 2019. A graduate of George Mason University, he earned a bachelor's in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He also studied at the Columbia School of Broadcasting and holds a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. He is an alumnus of T.C. Williams High School. Go Titans!

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