Before the Washington Nationals homered and danced their way to a 5-3 win at Nationals Park on Tuesday, a surprise video broadcast on the center field scoreboard provided players a spark and served as a heartfelt reminder of one of the many challenges of playing baseball amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“I miss you, Daddy,” Adam Eaton’s 4-year-old son, Brayden, said while standing next to his younger brother, Maverick, to open a four-minute compilation of adorable messages from players’ family members who, even more than during a normal season, have been separated from their dads. “I can’t wait to see you again.”

“I miss you, Daddy!” Washington relief pitcher Javy Guerra’s son, Grey, said after Brooklyn and Greyson Gomes shared a similar message for their father, Nats catcher Yan. “I love you!”

Nationals Manager Dave Martinez checks in with his four children via text messages and FaceTime almost every day, but he said it was “awesome” to see them on the scoreboard.

“Very emotional for everybody,” Martinez said after the game. “It was actually a surprise. No one knew that that was coming. I was shocked. I saw my daughters and my sons all up there, my grandbabies. I miss them. I miss them tremendously. It was good to see them up there, and I think that uplifted the boys a lot. I really did.”

Nationals reliever Daniel Hudson’s three daughters, including 9-month-old Millie, who was born on the day of Game 1 of last year’s National League Championship Series, made an appearance and combined for a spirited cheer of “N-A-T-S, Nats! Nats! Nats!” Like most of his teammates, Hudson doesn’t have a permanent residence in the District. While players’ families might normally fly in for long homestands or see them on the road, the coronavirus outbreak has made such trips more difficult.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s tough, but it’s just part of it,” Hudson, who had a long conversation with his wife, Sara, about potentially opting out this season, said of not being able to see his family last month. “It’s probably more difficult on my wife than anyone, having three kids under 6 by herself. But she was willing to make the sacrifice, and I felt like I needed to be here with the guys to try to get this thing going.”

Eireann Dolan made the most of her chance to record a message for her husband, reliever Sean Doolittle.

“Hi, Sean. I always wanted the opportunity to embarrass you in front of your teammates and colleagues, on the video board, at your job, so this is fun for me,” said Dolan, who has asthma and is living separately from Doolittle this season. “I just wanted to say how proud I am of you. You were throwing into a net a month ago, and now you’re in a big league game, so you should be very proud. Sorry I can’t be there in person this season, so just know that every time you go out there to pitch, I’m out there in the world somewhere, curled up in the fetal position and terrified. Love you.”

Howie Kendrick’s sons, Owen and Tyson, who were regulars at Nationals Park last season, gave shout-outs to Juan Soto, Victor Robles, bench coach Chip Hale and hitting coach Kevin Long, in addition to their dad, in Tuesday’s video.

“I thought that was really cool because a lot of us miss our families,” Kendrick said after going 4 for 4 with a home run. “I’m out here without my family. My wife and kids didn’t come out. It gets tough. You can only do so much FaceTime and so many phone conversations. … To put that video together and to have everybody’s family on there, I think that was truly special for us as a team.”

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