A bat boy for the Washington Senators when he was a 10-year-old. A major league infielder with the Baltimore Orioles when he was 22. Manager in the majors when he was 41 and still going strong at 70. Davey Johnson's been in the game for over fifty years and though he won't be managing in the nation's capital next season, he's said recently that he has no doubt he'll remain involved with the game.
The Washington Nationals held a ceremony before this afternoon's game with the Miami Marlins to honor the Nats' skipper's contributions to baseball in the nation's capital. The 70-year-old baseball lifer initially expressed some reservations about the tribute, but after today's game, a 4-2 loss to the Fish, Johnson told reporters he was really moved by the program the Nats put together.
"It was fun for me," Johnson said. "I mean, I was really moved by everything. It was really nicely done. Brought back a lot of old memories. It was fun seeing me in a Japanese uniform again. But that was really sweet and I was really moved by it. The guys were great and I felt like when it was over I should go ahead take off my uniform and go and crawl in a hole somewhere or something. But that was nice."
"Any time, I'm uncomfortable getting an award anyway," the Nationals' manager explained. "A tribute, something like that was really moving for me. I mean, it took me way back." The video tribute that played on the scoreboard in Nationals Park touched on Johnson's entire life in baseball, going back to when he was a bat boy for the Senators in Spring Training in Florida. "That was the old Tinker Field that I was mingling with all the big leaguers when I was just 10 years old," he said, "and then here I am going out to pasture managing my favorite team. So it was, I like to stay away from those emotions, but it got to me."
What really got to him, Johnson said, was the former teammates who recorded messages and the procession of players and coaches who lined up to give the veteran of 13 years as a player and 17 as a manager a hug and a kind word at the end of the on-field celebration. "The players coming out and the guys talking to me, that was moving, very moving," Johnson said. "I feel for them greatly and to get something like that coming back, is, you know, makes you happy and sad at the same time."
Unfortunately, the ceremony was followed by a loss to the Marlins which all-but eliminated the Nationals from the race for the second Wild Card spot, which was already a long shot. "It was a tough loss," Johnson admitted. "We can't afford to be losing any ballgames. Those guys' magic numbers going down, that's not fun and we helped it.
"This one hurt. We've still got to win out. We've still got a 'chance'..."
More from Federal Baseball:
- Marlins 4-2 Over Nationals: Home Runs Haunt Dan Haren Again
- Nationals To Recognize Davey Johnson Before Today's Game In Nats Park
- Nationals vs Marlins: Postponed Until Tomorrow; Doubleheader Sunday 1:35; 7:05
- Nationals' Saturday Night Lineup vs Marlins In Nats Park
- Stephen Strasburg Returns To The Mound In Nationals Park; Weather Permitting