There is a lot for the Washington Nationals and their fans to look forward to once baseball is back, but there is just no way to know right now when that will be.
“This is going to be a very, very special Opening Day for us when it happens,” GM Mike Rizzo told reporters last week, of the impending celebration of the club’s 2019 World Series win.
It was the first MLB title for a D.C.-based team since 1924, and though they had a parade last November, and got to enjoy it all winter, the postponement of the 2020 season is delaying a final celebration that caps off what the team accomplished this past Fall.
“We’ve got ourselves a banner-raising ceremony coming,” Rizzo said.
“We’ve got ourselves some beautiful rings that we’re going to be able to wear around D.C. in the very near future, so although we’re thinking daily and hourly about the humanity of what’s going on right now, we also have that to look forward to when we get through this thing and we come out the other side and baseball begins again.”
There will be time for all of those things once it’s safe to gather in groups in stadiums again, and for now, banner raising and ring ceremonies are low on the list of priorities as the U.S.’s attempts to flatten the curve and slow the spread of a deadly disease is the most important thing on everyone’s minds.
But getting those rings will be nice when it’s time to start things up again, whether that’s at some point later this summer or next April if that’s the best approach medical experts think baseball should follow.
“It’s a little tough,” closer Sean Doolittle said in an interview with Steve Phillips and Eduardo Pérez on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio channel, which aired on Monday morning.
He did, of course, acknowledge that it’s hardly the biggest concern at this point, but for the players involved, getting those rings, whenever they do, is still a big deal.
“We don’t have any idea about the design of the ring or what it might look like,” Doolittle added.
“The organization was playing that pretty close to the vest and it was going to be a big surprise.
“The ring ceremony was set for Saturday’s game, [April 4th in D.C.], before the game they were going to do it, and I guess today [April 2nd] was supposed to be our home opener and they were going to raise the banner and fly the World Series championship flag, which, you know, there will be a time for that and we’re looking forward to it, but for so many people that I’ve talked to, ex-teammates and stuff, guys that have won the World Series, they said it’s all such a blur, it’s all very surreal, until you get that ring, that kind of cements it, and it’s a tangible thing that you have that reminds you like you’re a World Series champion, and to be honest, I’m still kind of processing the whole World Series run, and being a world champion, it’s something — I’m so lucky I got to be a part of that group, and I feel so fortunate.
“It will be worth the wait though, that’s for sure.”
“I think about that moment when we come back and get those beautiful rings and put up that banner in the stadium,” manager Davey Martinez told ESPN’s Marly Rivera recently.
“It’s still going to be there no matter what when we get back.
“But under these circumstances, I can’t think about anything else but the safety of the people and our love for this country.”
“[As Commissioner Rob Manfred] recently said,” Rizzo told reporters in a conference call last Monday, “... when it’s safe to play baseball, baseball will be back, and our fans will be back and it will be part of the recovery process in the country, but safety and health is paramount.”