Brian Broderick, the most improbable member of their opening day roster, walked into the Nationals clubhouse for the first time Tuesday night. Last year at this time, Broderick started at Class A West Palm Beach. This year, after the Nationals picked him in the Rule 5 draft and he pitched his way on to the team, Broderick has a major league locker.
“I was in awe about everything,” Broderick said. “The whole clubhouse in general. It was just a phenomenal feeling coming in here. This is going to be my home for the next six months.”
For the past few days, ever since Broderick learned he had made the majors, Broderick, 24, has been “just trying to take it all in.” At first, he didn’t think his parents would be able find an affordable flight to Washington. But Joe and Susan Broderick found a better fare, and at Nationals Park today they’ll join Broderick’s girlfriend and her son, his two older brothers, his niece and his sister-in-law.
Broderick was asked if he could have imagined one year ago making the majors by this point. He laughed. “Definitely not,” he said. “I was hoping for it. It worked out for the best.”
On the end of the spectrum is General Manager Mike Rizzo, the man who brought Broderick, and most of the other Nationals, to Washington. His first opening day in professional came in 1983, when he was an infielder at Class A Peoria. In some capacity, he has experienced one every year since, and he still feels energized when it comes.
“There’s no doubt about it,” Rizzo said. “There’s a few mile posts through the season, and this is definitely the biggest one. Opening day is probably the biggest day of the year for us. Everyone is keyed up and ready to go.
“I’m excited, anxious to get the season started, see how all the moves mesh together. We’ll how all the players we put together compete, how they’ll do as a team.”
Rizzo will watch that team line up on a foul line today, and each and every one will hear his name announced, including Brian Broderick.
“I’m excited,” Broderick said “There’s not much more I can say about it.”