Each of the returning players who earned a ring got theirs and showed them off as the club prepares to defend their title in the planned 60-game MLB campaign which will, if all goes as planned, kick off on July 23rd when the Nats host the New York Yankees in Nationals Park.
Martinez was still beaming a couple hours after getting his ring.
“As you can tell, I’m still smiling about it,” the manager told reporters when he spoke on a Zoom call following the team’s workouts.
“Let’s put it this way, it was definitely worth the wait. We waited a while to get these things on our finger, but I look at it ... and like I said, it’s all about all the work we put into this. The players, the way we did it, the way the players did it just means a lot to me.
“It means a lot to my family. I’m proud. I’m proud to be wearing this thing today, and we’re here again hopefully to get another one.”
Both Martinez and World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg expressed regret that they didn’t get their rings in a ceremony with fans in Nationals Park, but they were clearly thrilled the rings finally got delivered.
“It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t have done it in front of a sell-out crowd,” Strasburg said, “because the fans were so special to us down the stretch there last year, but at the very least it was great to be in the clubhouse and see the reactions from my teammates when they got to open theirs as well.”
“For me,” Martinez said, “it’s definitely sad that we couldn’t have the fans here with us. I mean, like I said before, for me, our fans are our 26th man.
“They were there through thick and thin with us all year long, but I’ve always said this, we’ll do this again, hopefully with them in the stands, but it’s nice just to have these rings, see the players with the rings on. Just to see their faces when they open the box was tremendous.
“Everybody’s smiling big smiles and excited, so we deserve it, we worked hard to get it, and like I said, we’re here to try to get another one.”
A number of Nationals shared their ring unboxing on social media. Martinez said the team was told in advance it would be the day the rings were finally delivered.
“We gave them a heads up, but they had no idea that the rings were going to be in their locker in a box. When they got to open it they all opened — I watched a few of the guys open the whole — it’s a process, I mean it comes in a big box to a smaller box to a smaller box, to the ring box, and then to the actual case to put the ring in, so I watched a couple guys open it and they were all, like I said, huge smiles.
“Couldn’t wait to get them on. They put them on, they parade around with them for a while, and then they’ve all said, ‘Let’s try to go get another one.”