WASHINGTON — Washington Nationals Spring Training 2021 has a different look, especially for those of us looking on from here in D.C.
Face masks are prevalent, but media is not. We watched the Nationals’ pitchers and catchers practice from the fields in West Palm Beach Florida -- all via Zoom.
It’s only been a few days, but baseball is back, and despite the Zoom chats and long-distance viewing party, this season looks to be making a return to normalcy.
The Nats are eager…so much so, that many arrive at the ballpark when the sun comes up. Many of these players are lined up at the gates of the facilities at 6:30 a.m., ready to compete.
“These guys are hungry, they are ready to go. We set the precedent early this Winter about coming to Spring Training in shape," says Nats manager Davey Martinez. "I’m walking around, and seeing these guys, and they really look good. You know when you have a group of guys that want to come and work, it makes things a lot easier, and it’s a lot of fun!”
But the energy starts with Martinez, who says, “every morning I have a meeting with my coaching staff and I say it starts with us. These guys are characters. We bring it every morning. The players feed off of it, they like it. We never have a bad day if we stay positive. We are there for them and they understand that.”
Martinez keeps it fun and adds it’s so much easier to have fun when he sees so much promise on the field, especially in his pitchers, many of whom started preparing for this season, months ago.
“They all look really good. What I’m excited about is that they all look like they are in great shape, and ready to go. I watched Jon Lester today and he threw 41 pitches today, which is great for his second bullpen. I’m really excited to get some games in here soon and see how they are against hitters.”
The Nats' first spring training game is set for Sunday, Feb. 28. The Nats will play the St. Louis Cardinals.