On what will likely be the last day that Davey Johnson stands in the Nationals Park dugout as manager, the Nationals honored Johnson with a ceremony lasting more than 10 minutes before this afternoon’s game.
The ceremony included a video tribute, the presentation of a Tiffany crystal from Nationals ownership, inscribed with, “In celebration of your decorated baseball legacy and contributions to the Washington Nationals,” and interviews with some of Johnson’s former and current players.
Two of Johnson’s former Orioles teammates - Jim Palmer and Boog Powell - were also interviewed, and messages from Cal Ripken Jr., and current Nats first base coach Tony Tarasco, both of whom played under Johnson when he managed the Orioles, also came across the JumboTron.
A number of Nats players and coaches gave Johnson well-wishes, and pitching coach Steve McCatty deadpanned, “I really appreciate all the kind and warm moments you’ve shared with me.”
General manager Mike Rizzo was the last interview to be played as part of the video tribute. He said that Johnson will have a position waiting for him within the organization next season as Senior Advisor to the General Manager, “with the emphasis on senior.”
“When you took the helm, we were a team in distress,” Rizzo said. “... You’ve transformed the Washington Nationals, and we will never forget that gift.”
After the video tribute ended, Johnson shook hands with Rizzo, owner Ted Lerner and other members of team ownership, and then saw his players and coaches waiting for him on the field to give him hugs.
Johnson made his way through the long line of hugs, tipped his cap to the crowd and bowed in a circle to all portions of the stadium, and then sprinted down the dugout steps, ready to manage another game.
Update: Giancarlo Stanton crushed a two-run homer to right-center off Dan Haren in the top of the first, giving the Marlins an early 2-0 lead.
It’s Stanton’s 24th homer of the season and the 27th longball allowed by Haren this year in 29 starts.
Haren allowed three hits in the first inning, and needed 25 pitches to get out of the frame. He and the Nats are in a hole early on this afternoon.