Jayson Werth opted not to give a high five to Screech, the mascot standing next to the players and team staffers along the first base line, drawing a laugh from reporters here in the press box.
Adam LaRoche received his Gold Glove, and Silver Sluggers were handed out to LaRoche, Ian Desmond and Stephen Strasburg. Johnson was given his 2012 National League Manager of the Year award, Bryce Harper was presented his NL Rookie of the Year plaque and Mike Rizzo received his Executive of the Year award.
That’s a lot of hardware.
Before the game, Johnson was asked about his feelings going into his final opening day as a manager.
“It’s the same-old, same-old: I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about things,” Johnson said. “Everybody’s got to get excited about opening day. Be a little nervous until after the first pitch. Everybody’s starting out equal. It’s a good challenge for everybody. A lot of expectations, whether you had a good season last year or not. So it’s a fun day. Too much ceremony, but other than that, it’s a fun day.”
Johnson played 13 years in the big leagues. This will be his 17th season as a major league manager. He’s spent his entire life around baseball. So what comes next?
“I don’t know what lies in store for me,” Johnson said. “I have no idea. My wife talks about traveling, and then she also wonders what I’m going to be doing for a job. She wants me to keep working. She wants to retire. I want her to keep working. But we’ll see.”
Johnson did say that he plans on getting in better shape over the course of the next few months. He wants to throw batting practice this year. He hopes to take some ground balls from time to time.
He won’t let his personal circumstances impact how he manages or approaches the games, but he’ll soak up the positive moments.
“I’m going to enjoy this year,” Johnson said.
Bryce Harper is still dealing with some soreness in his left thumb, but Johnson isn’t concerned. Harper will continue to play through the pain and hope that he avoids getting jammed, which caused the initial soreness in the final stages of spring training.
“Not really worried about it,” Johnson said. “Last ball he hit (during batting practice yesterday), he broke some seat out there in right-center field. It didn’t look like he was too hampered.”
Christian Garcia threw from 45 feet yesterday, marking the first time he’s played catch since mid-February. Garcia is on the DL with a partially torn tendon in his right forearm, but he’ll now go about starting things up again as he tries to work his arm back into game shape.
“He finally got the OK (to throw) and he was all grins,” Johnson said.