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Nationals partner with chef José Andrés to turn stadium into community kitchen

Nationals partner with chef José Andrés to turn stadium into community kitchen

The Nationals aren’t going to be playing games at their home ballpark anytime soon, so they’ve teamed up with a nonprofit founded by chef José Andrés to cook and distribute thousands of meals across D.C. to help ease the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Eater D.C.

Two kitchens in the ballpark will be used to cook and prepare hot meals that will be distributed by Uber Eats drivers across the community. The first meals will be delivered to the surrounding Navy Yard and Southwest Waterfront neighborhoods in addition to the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Fort Dupont.

“We are stewards of this public building — it’s not used to play baseball now, so how can we use it in the best way possible?” said Jonathan Stahl, vice president of experience and hospitality for the Nationals, per the Eater D.C. report.

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After the first 1,000 meals are distributed Tuesday, Nationals Philanthropies (formerly the Dream Foundation) and Andrés’ nonprofit World Central Kitchen hope to get up 5,000 meals distributed per day by the end of the week. The goal is to get that number up into the tens of thousands if possible.

Andrés, a world-renowned chef who owns several restaurants in the District, has led the World Central Kitchen’s efforts to provide meals in the wake of natural disasters since 2010. He threw out the first pitch of World Series Game 5 at Nationals Park after the team invited him to the ballpark to commend him for his humanitarian work both in D.C. and around the world.

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Social distancing guidelines would make Nationals’ celebrations look very different in 2020

Social distancing guidelines would make Nationals’ celebrations look very different in 2020

High fives? Nope. Dugout dance parties? Not happening. Group hugs? No chance.

If the 2020 MLB season is played this summer, there are going to be extensive protocols in place that could reportedly limit everything from chewing sunflower seeds to showering after games. The game would look a lot different, and perhaps nothing would change more than how players will celebrate together on the field.

NBC Sports Bay Area talked with Oakland A’s outfielder Robbie Grossman last week about how his team might adapt to the health protocols.

“It’s going to be very hard not to celebrate, shake hands, hug each other, and do all the stuff we’re accustomed to doing,” Grossman said. “But it’s just something that we’re going to have to make an adjustment to. This is the new normal. We’ll get creative and come up with something.”

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The Nationals in particular were a team that relied on a tight-knit clubhouse and prided themselves on staying relaxed and having fun even when their backs were against the wall. Even with the departure of the fun-loving Gerardo Parra last offseason, Washington was expected to employ that same approach during its quest to repeat in 2020.

Instead, the Nationals will have to find other ways strengthen their relationships over the course of the season. With players such as Eric Thames, Aníbal Sánchez, Juan Soto and Victor Robles on the roster, creativity is to be expected.

There are still many hurdles baseball officials must clear before a season can be played. But if the Nationals do return to field, there’s little doubt they would find a way to celebrate together.

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Trea Turner ribs Juan Soto for not hitting a home run as far as him in 2019

Trea Turner ribs Juan Soto for not hitting a home run as far as him in 2019

Juan Soto is just 21 years old and already has his name scattered across the record books.

He’s drawn the most walks ever by a player before turning 21 with 187. He’s the youngest player to put up a .400 on-base percentage in each of his first two seasons. He’s the fourth-youngest to hit a home run in the World Series.

Have we mentioned he’s still only 21?

The hype is only just beginning for the Dominican outfielder, especially since he had the chance to showcase his talents on the national stage last October. So of course, it’s only natural that teammate Trea Turner do what he can to keep his teammate humble.

Even though Soto is considered an up-and-coming slugger and Turner is more known for his speed, the Nationals shortstop has one thing going for him that Soto does not: hitting the Nationals’ longest home run of 2019.

On July 5, Turner hit a 453-foot bomb off Kansas City Royals starter Brad Keller. That just barely beats Soto for his career best, the 449-foot blast he hit off Clayton Kershaw in Game 5 of the NLDS.

Soto may beat out Turner eventually, but for now the shortstop holds bragging rights over the longest home run hit between the two.

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