Nationals' Davey Martinez teared up when Ryan Zimmerman hit team's first World Series HR

USA Today Sports 0 month ago

Baseball fans everywhere are talking about Juan Soto, the Washington Nationals nearly 21-year-old slugger and the team's hero in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night. Soto got the best of Houston Astros ace Gerrit Cole, and all the praise is deserved.

But let's not forget about Ryan Zimmerman.

The Nationals' 35-year-old first baseman was the team's first draft pick in 2005 (No. 4 overall), when it moved to Washington. He's been the face of the franchise for what seems like forever, so it was quite poetic that he hit the Nationals' first home run in their first World Series appearance.

Zimmerman, 1-for-4 in Game 1, cut the Astros' early lead in half with a 413-foot solo home run in the top of the second, making it a 2-1 game. The Nationals ultimately won, 5-4.

Soto may have been the star of the series opener with a game-tying dinger and three RBI, but it was simply perfect for Zimmerman to hit the Nationals' first homer in World Series history.

When Washington manager Davey Martinez was asked how appropriate it was for Zimmerman — the only player to wear a Nationals jersey for all 15 seasons of its existence — to hit the first home run and what the dugout's reaction was, he said, via ASAP Sports:

"They got excited. And I'll be honest with you, my eyes got a little watery for him. He waited a long time to be in this position and for him to hit that first home run and put us on the board was awesome.

In 52 regular-season games, Zimmerman hit .257 with just six home runs and a .415 slugging percentage. In the postseason, his batting average is up to .286, he has six RBI now and Tuesday's homer was his second in the Nationals' unlikely run.

Also thanks to Zimmerman and Soto, Washington is the first team ever to have World Series home runs by a player who's at least 35 and a player 20 or younger, the Associated Press noted.

After the game, Zimmerman reflected on his crucial home run that got the Nationals on the board. He said, via ASAP Sports:

"[I]t's been a long ride, I think. And this year has been, especially the year to start the way we did and the way we've been playing the last couple of months. First at-bat to hit a home run and run around the bases, you're kind of almost floating around the bases.

In order to be able to do that is obviously what you work for. It's what not only you sacrifice for but what your family sacrifices for. That's why you play the game, to play on the biggest stage."

Game 2 of the World Series is Wednesday in Houston at 8:07 p.m. ET (FOX).


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