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What Nationals fans have to look forward to when they finally get a banner raising

What Nationals fans have to look forward to when they finally get a banner raising

This is a tough day. The coronavirus has had an impact on all sports and all fans are missing their escape, but Thursday is a tough day for Nationals fans as it was supposed to be the home opener and the day of the World Series banner raising. For now, that stinks. There's no way around it. This should have been a day of celebration for the city and instead we are all locked inside finishing "Tiger King" so we don't feel left out by the fact that everyone has watched it. But that day will come. At some point, this will all be over, baseball will be played again and the city of Washington will get its chance to celebrate the World Series one last time. As someone who was at the last banner-raising the city enjoyed, when the Capitals raised their Stanley Cup banner to the rafters at Capital One Arena, let me tell you what you're in for.

Nothing will compare to the excitement of the moment in which the championship was won. While the Capitals very publicly turned the summer of 2018 into one big party, the peak of the entire celebration came on June 7 when the clock hit zero in Las Vegas and the Caps streamed off the bench and onto the ice as champions for the first time.

That's the moment the players play for, that's the moment the fans cheer for, that's what it's all about. But that moment is fleeting.

It's not as if we can't look back on that day and smile, I sure can. It's more that, there is no way to replicate that feeling of the moment the championship is won after the fact. Nothing really compares to that. It feels surreal, like it's not really happening, especially for a team like the Capitals that had plenty of moments where it felt like it never would happen. Nationals fans can certainly relate. When the banner gets raised, that's when it all starts to feel real. That's when you realize, yes, it actually happened.

I am 33 years old. The Wizards won their championship long before I was born. And yet, of all the years and hundreds, probably thousands at this point, of games I have gone to at Capital One Arena, that banner has always been there, a constant reminder that in 1978 the Wizards were the NBA champions. They will always be the 1978 champions. No one can take that away. That's what that banner signifies.

That was the first thing I thought of when I saw the Stanley Cup Champions banner being raised to the rafters. That banner will always be there. The Caps will always be the 2018 champs. When I take my son to games, I will be able to point to that banner and tell him about all the great moments that went into earning that banner. Whenever I look at it, all the memories of that one glorious run come flooding back.

That's what a banner raising really means.

When the Nationals finally get the chance to raise their banner, it will be a party. There will be lots of cheering, you will see all the phones out with fans taking pictures, it will be a moment to celebrate and enjoy for sure. But ultimately what that banner represents is a memory. Whenever you see 2019 World Series Champions, you will remember how the Nationals scored three runs in the eighth inning of the wild card game to rally back and beat the Milwaukee Brewers. You will remember Game 5 against the Los Angeles Dodgers when the Nationals rallied from a 3-0 deficit to force extra innings and Howie Kendrick hit a grand slam in the top of the 10th. You will remember how the Nationals swept the St. Louis Cardinals to punch their ticket to the World Series. And you will, of course, remember how the Nationals won four times in Houston including Game 7 with five runs in the final three innings to forever silence the trash cans.

You will remember all of those moments because that banner belongs to you.

The Stanley Cup has the Caps players and managements' names on it, but not the fans'. The Commissioner's Trophy awarded to the Nationals is for the team. Most fans don't get to touch or even get close to it. But the banner is something that belongs to all of us. Everyone gets the chance to look up at it as it hangs. That is the part of the championship that fans get to share with the team. That's your trophy, you earned it by sticking with the team through all the ups and downs.

When you see the banner at Nationals Park, you won't get the same euphoric feeling you had when Daniel Hudson completed the strikeout of Michael Brantley to finish off the Houston Astros, but you will have the memories and the satisfaction that, yes, it was all real. That's what Nationals fans have waiting for them once we can get past the coronavirus.

Trust me, it will be worth the wait.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Scott Boras: Davey Martinez gave ‘a real lesson’ in how to believe in his players

Scott Boras: Davey Martinez gave ‘a real lesson’ in how to believe in his players

When the Nationals stumbled out to a 19-31 start to last season, Davey Martinez didn’t panic.

He was only in his second season as an MLB manager, but Martinez had a roster of players far more talented than what its record was leading others to believe. Amid swirling rumors about his job status and the future of the franchise, Martinez trusted that his players would be able to turn things around.

Five months later, those very same players took down the Houston Astros in seven games to win D.C. a World Series title for the first time since 1924. Longtime baseball agent Scott Boras, who represented several stars for Washington such as Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg, was among those who was particularly impressed with the way Martinez kept his clubhouse together.

Boras talked with NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas and Chase Hughes on Friday’s episode of the Nationals Talk podcast about what stood out to him when it came to Martinez’s approach.

“I really credit Davey Martinez because the one message he kept giving everyone was a true lack of concern for the moment and trusting very much about who all those players were,” Boras said. “Every player brought that to my attention at the end of the year, where this was not a compromised manager.

“This was not someone who questioned who we were. It was not someone who showed up and was really making more out of the future other than, ‘Be who you are today and go forward.’”

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

With sports pushed to the side while the world grips with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, fans have a lot of more important things on their minds than baseball right now. Yet Boras felt that Martinez’s approach was something everyone should try to emulate when dealing with the uncertainty that the future holds.

“It’s a real lesson for a lot of people,” Boras said. “I think particularly when you’re in an environment, ironically that’s in Washington, D.C., [with] what we’re going through with this pandemic and the focus on our leadership and our country…we really have to make sure that we’re looking about what’s within and not looking about the vague aspects of what the future may bring.

“The Washington Nationals represented their city and our country really well with that message.”

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Nationals championship rings revealed: Here's what they look like

Nationals championship rings revealed: Here's what they look like

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.

LISTEN TO THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

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.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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