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Nationals players try to stay ready amid coronavirus wait

Nationals players try to stay ready amid coronavirus wait

What do the Nationals do now?

Camp closed, they scattered, and Opening Day was pushed back. Which makes it time for a litany of contingencies and questions.

How long would pitchers need to become ready when -- if -- Opening Day comes around? How about older position players? How do the Nationals set everyone up to be prepared while they are otherwise waiting?

“We’re going to be fully ready when we’re asked to be ready,” Mike Rizzo said Friday. “Obviously the ramping up of pitchers and players in a safe manner is of the utmost importance to us. There’s a fine line and a delicate balance that we have to strike between having them ready on Opening Day, whenever that is, and ramping them up to get to that point. We will have in place a protocol in our set of different criteria to get them to that point.

“We usually work back from our schedule from Opening Day and we work ourselves backward to and through Spring Training, to the beginning of Spring Training, to ramp up the pitchers and players to be ready on Opening Day. So we’ll get a much better feel for what we have to do and how ready we have to be when we finally get a feel for when is Opening Day.”

So, everything is temporary, until it’s not. The Nationals put their pitchers and players on a workout regimen which they perform at home, in West Palm Beach -- where 13 players remain -- or in Washington. Players are in contact with the team’s medical personnel on a daily basis to keep them informed about how they are feeling in regard to the coronavirus. None have reported symptoms, so none have been tested, according to Rizzo.

“Each individual player at their home is obligated to call in and give us their progress on a daily basis,” Rizzo said.

Rizzo said he thinks there needs to be another spring training period before the regular season begins. Washington’s pitchers and catchers originally needed to report by Feb. 12. The position players needed to join them by Feb. 17. Multiple players from both groups showed up early. Then, camp disbanded after the final spring training games were played March 12, just two weeks before the season was supposed to start.

So, now they wait and workout and wonder. Players no longer spend the entire offseason gaining weight and twiddling thumbs. They instead begin their preparation for February in December. Max Scherzer started working at the spring training complex on Jan. 1. Adam Eaton showed up not long afterward. No one spills into bad shape, then has to fully reboot their body in Florida. No one who wants to keep their job, anyway.

Which leaves the Nationals players conducting maintenance at home, where Sean Doolittle has a portable mound and others have batting cages installed. Preparation now can mitigate the time needed later, whenever later comes.

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Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Nationals' championships rings filled with flash and memories

Salivating and awe came first. Distribution will have to wait.

The Nationals revealed their jewel-laden championship ring during a slow-moving, hour-long telecast Sunday night which was originally supposed to include select players receiving their rings. After pushback from the players -- who wanted to receive the rings together when it was safe to do so -- the night was converted to more of a reveal than reaction.

The ring itself included several nods to the D.C. area, markers from the championship season, and specific personalizations.

Here’s a blow-by-blow:

-- The ring is 14-karat white and yellow gold

-- The “W” logo is made from 30 rubies to represent the 30 runs the team scored in the four World Series game

-- Around the logo are 58 pavé-set diamonds

-- Above and below the logo or the words “World Champions” set over the ring via 32 sapphires. This number represents the sum total of the team’s 2019 walk-off wins (7), shutout wins (13), longest winning streak (8 games), and playoff rounds won (4).

-- An additional 108 diamonds are featured along the ring top, representing the number of regular season and postseason wins (105), plus one diamond for the World Series title and two diamonds for the locations -- Washington and Montreal -- of the franchise.

-- The top and bottom of the ring have 12 rubies to represent the total number of postseason wins

-- On the left side in yellow gold is the player’s name

-- Beneath the name is a flag, the Capitol Building and the Roman numerals MMVI to represent the year the Lerner family purchased the franchise

-- The player’s number is in diamonds on the bottom left side

-- “Fight Finished” is on the right side

-- The interior of the ring is engraved with a shark symbol holding a yellow gold trophy. So, yes, a nod to “Baby Shark” has made it onto the rings

-- Also on the interior are the team logos of each opponent the Nationals defeated in the postseason

-- “Go 1-0 every day” is also engraved inside

-- In total, the average championship ring contains 170 total diamonds, 32 custom-cut sapphires, 31 custom-cut rubies, and 24 princess-cut rubies for a precious total stone carat weight of 23.2 carats.

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The lead up of the ring reveal included congratulatory messages from a slew of people associated with the Nationals in the present and past.

Former closer Chad Cordero and catcher Brian Schneider started the video messages. Denard Span and Adam LaRoche followed. Redskins quarterback Alex Smith, former Redskins player Brian Mitchell, chef José Andrés and Dr. Anthony Fauci were among several others to send congratulations.

In a post-reveal show, the players emphasized they were looking forward to receiving the rings in a group.

“I think the only thing better than seeing it is going to be wearing it,” Howie Kendrick said.

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Max Scherzer: Nationals players opening rings together will be ‘final piece to our championship’

Max Scherzer: Nationals players opening rings together will be ‘final piece to our championship’

One year to the day after the Nationals began their climb out of the depths of a 19-31 start on their way to winning the World Series, the team unveiled its championship ring design.

Introduced in a virtual ring ceremony hosted by a conglomerate of Nationals officials and media members, the rings captured many significant images and phrases from the Nationals’ historic season such as “Go 1-0 Today” and Baby Shark.

A few players were originally set to receive their rings during the virtual ceremony before the rest of the team, but the Nationals released a statement Saturday saying that “the players collectively decided they would prefer to receive their rings when the team could be physically reunited.”

Instead, the entire team watched on with the rest of baseball fans as the design was introduced. After the presentation ended, several players went on a Zoom call with MASN’s Dan Kolko to discuss their thoughts on the new bling.

“It’s cool to see in person but I think I’ll be with Davey [Martinez] when I can actually put that thing on,” Nationals starter Max Scherzer said. “I think all of us, when we’re all together, when we can have that moment together, that’s the final piece to our championship and that’ll be an emotional moment.”

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As part of the presentation, the Nationals invited fans to support their #NATS4GOOD community response fund that assists those who’ve been directly affected by the coronavirus outbreak,

“I’m with Max, I think it’ll be cool for us all to get it together,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “I think with the situation that we’re in, obviously nothing is normal right now so to give the fans a look at this and at the same time raise some money…it’s the least we can do.”

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