A scary situation unfolded during the Nationals game against the San Diego Padres on Saturday night, as the contest was abruptly suspended following the sixth inning after multiple gunshots were fired outside of Nationals Park.
Speaking on the Sports Junkies on Wednesday, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo called the situation "frightening" but commended authorities for quickly getting the situation under control.
"It was something that was fortunately outside of the ballpark," Rizzo said. "I think our security and the police department did a magnificent job of keeping people as calm as they could in a very unsettling situation. My hat goes off to those guys. Our people in the ballpark were terrific about it."
Just minutes after the gunshots were first heard, police and security in and around Nationals Park were quickly able to get the situation under control. Fans inside the stadium were rapidly alerted that the incident was outside of the venue, but it made for a few tense and scary minutes prior. Soon after that, all fans and media were able to safely leave the stadium via a pair of outfield stadium gates.
For Rizzo, knowing that several Nationals fans were potentially endangered has not sat well with him in the days following.
"It was a scary situation. It really saddens me to think of things like this are happening in and around our ballpark, because it's where our fans are," Rizzo said. "Like [manager] Davey [Martinez] said, they're our family. They pay the bills, they pay my salary, they're the most important portion of our organization. When they feel uneasy and endangered, that's not right. We have to fix that."
As a resident of the Navy Yard neighborhood where Nationals Park is located, Rizzo also felt unsettled on a personal level, too.
"It's my neighborhood. I live there. It's unsettling that there are machine guns being fired outside of my house a block away," Rizzo said. "It's unsettling for me personally, it's unsettling to me as an executive of a Major League franchise that cares for its fan base. It's something that needs to be rectified."
Saturday night's game was resumed on Sunday before the regularly scheduled game took place. The Nationals dropped the first game to San Diego, 10-4, before winning the second in walk-off fashion, 8-7.