The first game of the Nationals homestand tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates is also Juan Soto Bobblehead giveaway night. The Washington Post wrote a story that Soto got a prototype of the figurine for his approval before they made the bobbleheads and Soto said he wanted them to remake the bobblehead with him smiling instead of a serious non-expression.
It would not be much of a surprise for a young player like Soto to just accept whatever bobblehead prototype he was given with his likeness and just move on. But he said he did not want an expressionless face on the figurine he was originally presented for approval, because that’s not the way he approaches playing baseball.
“I’m always happy,” Soto said of his request for the change to a happy expression on the bobblehead. “I told them make me smiling. They sent me one mad or something. I said no, make it smiling.”
Nationals manager Davey Martinez said a smiling version of the Juan Soto bobblehead is exactly how the 20-year-old is in real life, loving every moment of playing baseball for a living.
“Just a testament to what he is and who he is,” Martinez said. “He goes out there and he has a lot of fun when he plays and you could see it. You put him with the (Victor) Robles and (Brian) Dozier. He loves having fun.
“I love talking to him especially before the game. He comes up to you and we haven’t even played an inning yet, he’s all laughing and smiling. I said, ‘what are you smiling about?’ He said, ‘I love playing!’ He just loves to play. But that’s what you get from him every day.”
Soto said he and his family were thrilled to find out he was getting his very own bobblehead.
“I am pretty happy for that,” Soto said pregame Friday. “I feel amazing. I see a lot of players have one and I always dream to have it. My family is loving it right now.”
The Nationals played well on the road, winning series at the New York Mets and at Philadelphia against the Phillies. Martinez said his focus on any series it try to get off to a good start, regardless of being home or away.
“We talk a lot about just winning the first game of the series and then winning the series,” Martinez said. “The two teams we played on the road, they’re really good and they’re going to be good. Those are the two teams we have to beat and we got to compete every day. To come out of New York and going to Philly 4-2 was awesome.
“We had the day off and now we come back today and we got another pretty good opponent that’s playing pretty good in the Pirates. But I think we have some momentum. They are playing really well. We’re playing exciting baseball. We really are. We just got to continue doing what we do best and go out there and compete.”