For more than four hours, they laughed, joked, struggled with the mute button and reminisced about the Nationals’ World Series-clinching win, while also raising money for the Pros for Heroes Covid-19 Relief Fund that Zimmerman and his wife, Heather, recently established to benefit health-care workers during the novel coronavirus pandemic. It was beautiful.
The entire reunion is available to watch on Facebook, and you should do yourself a favor and watch it if you haven’t already. Here are 10 of the highlights.
1. Brian Dozier shows up shirtless
About two hours into the call, after General Manager Mike Rizzo, Manager Dave Martinez and the Nationals’ coaches had signed off, Dozier joined the festivities from his home in Mississippi. The infielder, who signed a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres in February, was shirtless, of course. He wore sunglasses and a backward hat, and with a drink in one hand he announced his arrival by dancing to “Calma,” the reggaeton hit that became the Nationals’ clubhouse celebration anthem.
“You’ve been working out during the quarantine,” Zimmerman joked.
Dozier’s connection had an awful delay, which created an echo every time someone else commented.
“Is it the Mississippi Internet?” Zimmerman cracked. “Maybe you need to log out and try again.”
2. Anthony Rendon makes an appearance
Dozier wasn’t the only former National to participate in Tuesday’s call. Matt Adams joined from St. Louis and showed off his replica World Series trophy. Gerardo Parra dialed in from Japan, where it was already Wednesday morning, and somehow had a smoother connection than Dozier.
“Where’s Rendon?” Parra asked as the replay of Game 7 on MASN moved to the top of the seventh inning. “He don’t have a phone?”
“He texted me that he’s hitting in the cage,” Dozier joked. “He’ll be here in about five minutes.”
About a minute later, Rendon, who signed a seven-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels during the offseason and has been hunkering down in California, appeared, just in time for his solo home run off Zack Greinke that cut the Astros’ lead to 2-1.
Sean Doolittle asked Rendon, who once admitted he doesn’t watch baseball because he finds it “too long and boring,” if he missed the sport.
“It’s kind of hard to miss when I’m swinging every day,” Rendon replied.
Staying on brand, Rendon would later masterfully avoid answering a question from Kolko about what it meant to win the World Series in his hometown of Houston.
“What does it matter? We already won. Who cares?” Rendon said. “Turn the page.”
Roughly 10 minutes later, Rendon was gone. “That was a miracle,” Turner said.
3. Dozier and Juan Soto dunk on the Astros
As Soto stepped to the plate in the eighth inning against Roberto Osuna after Washington had taken a 3-2 lead, Dozier picked up a trash can and started banging it with a wooden spoon.
“Juan, I got you,” Dozier said, mocking one of the methods the Astros used to cheat in their sign-stealing scheme. “I got you. [It’s a] fastball.”
“Take his camera away!” Trea Turner shouted.
After Soto proceeded to rip a single to right field to give the Nationals a 4-2 lead, Zimmerman asked him about the animated conversation cameras showed him having with Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos before the pitch.
“I said, ‘Throw the change-up again,’ and he threw a fastball,” Soto said. “What an idiot!”
“Dozier just got released from the Padres, and he doesn’t even know it,” Zimmerman later joked. “He’s just going to come be a flight attendant this year for us and play poker. You would make more money than you would with the Padres.”
Dozier would later dance, after removing his shirt, with the trash can on his head.
4. Yan Gomes shows off the baseball from the final out
Several items from the Nationals’ World Series run, including the baseball that Howie Kendrick doinked off the right field foul pole to give Washington the lead in Game 7, ended up in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. After Daniel Hudson struck out Michael Brantley for the final out, Gomes pocketed the ball. He also kept his mask, chest protector and shin guards from the game.
“We’re trying to do some things to display it all,” Gomes told The Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga last month. “You just don’t know if that’ll ever happen again.”
After Gomes produced the baseball during the call, Hudson asked him to cut it down the middle and send him a half.
5. “What’re you drinking?”
A little bit of everything, actually.
Zimmerman started with beer before switching to bourbon halfway through the game.
“I just made the switch from guns to missiles,” he told Kolko, who followed suit.
Max Scherzer was three Yuenglings deep when he joined the call, while Turner drank Clase Azul tequila from the fancy, handcrafted white bottle he was often seen holding in the clubhouse after series-clinching victories.
Patrick Corbin, who recently set a course record by shooting a 14 on his backyard putt-putt course, had an IPA. Stephen Strasburg sipped bourbon from D.C.'s Jos. A. Magnus distillery. Rendon drank apple juice, which he “stole” from his daughter. Aníbal Sánchez arrived with a Moscow mule, and Parra cracked open a Kirin Light. No better way to start the morning.
Zimmerman told a story about the Nationals arriving back at the team hotel after Game 7. It was about 1:30 a.m., and the hotel stopped serving alcohol at 2. Zimmerman didn’t name names but said “multiple ownership people” went around to hotel employees and offered to pay the fine.
6. Ump show
Gomes shared an amusing story about a conversation he had with home plate umpire Jim Wolf during the bottom of the ninth inning and the Nationals on the verge of clinching the title.
“Jim Wolf gets right in my ear, and he’s like, ‘Hey, take a deep breath, brother.’ I just turn to him and I’m like, ‘Hey, sit your ass behind me and call strikes.’”
Zimmerman said he had a similar encounter with first base umpire Doug Eddings after José Altuve struck out for the second out of the ninth.
“He said, ‘Hey, you deserve it,’” Zimmerman recalled. “I’m like, ‘Bro, there’s an out left, man. Don’t be saying that.’ It’s almost like the umpires were happy [for us].’”
7. Ryan Zimmerman, funny guy
Zimmerman’s personality doesn’t always shine through in his interviews, but he was legitimately funny throughout the reunion. The bourbon probably helped.
Having not watched a replay of Game 7 before Tuesday night, Zimmerman was unaware that Houston’s Gerrit Cole started warming up in the fifth inning, only to never appear in the game. He wouldn’t let it go.
“Was he getting his side [bullpen session] in for the Yankees for next year, or what?” Zimmerman said. “I didn’t realize he was out there in the fifth inning.”
“Now it kind of makes sense why the media got all over [the Astros for] not having Cole in the game,” Scherzer said.
“There’s Gerrit Cole,” Zimmerman said as cameras showed the Astros retreating to their clubhouse in disappointment after the game. “His arm is more sore than Patrick Corbin’s.”
Zimmerman said Rizzo will have to “rip the jersey” off him before he retires, but he acknowledged that he is closer than most of his teammates to potentially transitioning into a role as a commentator.
“Kolko stinks. I’ll just take his job,” he joked.
8) Sánchez and Parra in fine form
Sánchez joined the call wearing his navy blue Nationals jersey and lucky yellow sunglasses. Parra showed off his new World Series tattoo, played “Baby Shark” and “We Are The Champions” and complimented Strasburg on his glasses. “Stephen, you look so many sexy,” he said. Parra also managed to change his Zoom background to a Simpsons-inspired illustration of the World Series champs.
9. Dozier as “The Freeze”
Toward the end of the night, Dozier disappeared for a minute only to return wearing a costume of the Atlanta Braves’ “Freeze” character and pounding shots. Dozier said he has about 50 different costumes at home.
10. For a good cause
By the end of the night, more than $200,000 had been raised for the Pros for Heroes Covid-19 Relief Fund.
“I hope the fans enjoyed it at much as we did,” Zimmerman said.
Judging by the reaction on social media, they did.
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