What made the 2019 Washington Nationals so special -- besides some strong pitching and clutch hitting -- was the camaraderie and fun the team brought to the ballpark each and every day. From 'Baby Shark' to dance parties in the dugout, there was never a dull moment during the run to a World Series championship.
In 2020, those fun moments will be a little more challenging to create due to the coronavirus pandemic. Though teammates will be close to one another during games, social distancing is something that will be suggested when at all possible. That means potentially replacing hugs with toe taps or elbow bumps, among other things.
Even with the new situation the Nationals find themselves in, they are confident that the good times aren't going away.
“Yeah, we’re gonna have fun with this. As much as you have all these new restrictions and all this stuff, this is baseball," Scherzer said to Dan Kolko on 106.7 The Fan Radio. "You still gotta find a way to go out and have fun with it. You gotta find a way to keep just having fun. If you stop and really think about this it could really be a headache."
Scherzer noted that the Nationals are essentially bringing back the same roster as last season, with a few new additions. While Gerardo Parra and 'Baby Shark' are now in Japan, the Nationals ace isn't worried about a lack of creativity.
Specifically, he knows that Aníbal Sánchez, who he credits as being one the leaders of the dance movement, will continue to bring fun to the dugout even with new protocols in place.
Manager Davey Martinez echoed that belief when speaking with Kolko. Based on what he's seen out of the group in the past, there isn't any reason for him to think there will be an absence of fun.
“We got such a unique group of guys," Martinez said. "They’re gonna obviously find a way, especially during games, to have some fun."
“They’re gonna find their way to have some fun. They are a close unit," Martinez said.
He's already seen it during scrimmages over the past week. After Kurt Suzuki hit a home run, the dugout put together a socially distant take on the "wave" celebration they've done in the past.
More importantly, Martinez knows that no situation will lessen the bond the players share. Amid all the problems the world is facing, and with a trying season on the horizon, he's confident that everyone is going to support one another.
“One thing I can say is that they’re going to pull for each other day in and day out," Martinez said. "I know, that whether they are two feet away or 20 feet away, they’re always going to pull for each other.”
Staying loose during the grind of a season is important for any team, the Nationals showed that last year. Despite a shortened season and a bigger importance on health, the fun will remain. However, as Scherzer notes, celebrations are a lot easier to come by when the scoreboard is in their favor.
"I think it’d be a lot of fun for us to get back together and have celebrations. That only can happen if we win," Scherzer said. "So we really gotta take care of business if we want to continue to have the type of fun that we want to have."
Stay connected to the Nationals with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS: