Despite Hurricane Matthew wreaking his havoc far away from Washington, the super storm still affected the Nationals' series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers in that it prevented former Nats pitcher Livan Hernandez from flying in to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The Nationals, with little time to spare, had to go a different route, they had to choose a new person to bestow the honor of kicking off the third playoff run in team history. They ended up settling on a guy who played a pretty large role in them getting to the postseason in the first place.
Despite tearing his ACL in the final week of the season, All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos suited up in his full uniform on Friday and participated in pregame introductions, then tossed a pitch to fellow catcher and Venezuelan Jose Lobaton. While he limped on to the field to make the pitch, the crowd of 43,915 roared and chanted his name 'Wilson, Wilson' to the tune of his famous walk-up song.
"It was great. We had not seen him in a couple days and all of a sudden he showed up," manager Dusty Baker said. "We're all happy to see him and the fans are happy to see him."
Ramos has a long recovery ahead of him and one that could lead to his departure from the Nationals. That could have been his final embrace with the fans in Washington as a member of the team. Free agency is looming and he himself has acknowledged his days as a primary catcher in the NL may be over.
Decisions of that sort are months away, though. For now, Baker wants Ramos around as much as possible.
"He brought a lot of life to the dugout and a lot of life to the stadium. There's a lot of love in the stadium going around for Wilson. So I'm hoping that he comes back tomorrow," he said.
Here is a video of the special moment with Ramos:
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