Emilio Bonifácio was designated for assignment by the Nationals on Thursday, and if the veteran utility man has played his last game for Washington, he managed to leave quite the impression on this year’s team.

It remains to be seen whether Bonifácio’s most obvious contribution — the air trumpet that has replaced “Baby Shark” as the way Nationals players celebrate hits this season — will continue in his absence. If it does, a Washington-area music teacher would like to make one thing clear: Wiggling fingers on both hands, as the Nationals have been doing, is not how one plays the trumpet, which has three valves pressed by one hand.

Won’t you think of the children, Asdrúbal Cabrera, especially the little ones learning to play trumpet?

“I don’t teach band, but I do know instruments,” said Cathy, a Nats fan who teaches at a private school in Northern Virginia and preferred not to give her last name to maintain her anonymity on Twitter. “I knew immediately they were not playing their hands like a trumpet.”

Like most Nationals fans, Cathy, who goes by @NatsMusicTeachr on Twitter and is assuredly not losing sleep over this most trivial matter, first noticed the new celebration during the team’s two exhibition games against the Orioles last month. Some wondered if players were pretending to play a recorder, or perhaps a magic flute.

“I noticed the guys doing it and thought, ‘Are they trying to play an instrument?’” Cathy said this week in a phone interview. “It seemed like something musical."

Victor Robles cleared up any confusion when he sat down for his postgame news conference after the second game of the regular season wearing a red shirt with an image of a gold trumpet across the front.

“It’s our new little sign we use as a team,” Robles said through the team interpreter of the instrument he pretended to play toward the dugout after a second-inning double, which he demonstrated again for reporters. “Last year we had the Baby Shark hand gestures with Gerardo Parra, and this year it was Emilio Bonifácio that created that sign, just to make it fun and get some energy going.”

Bonifácio brought a trumpet to the ballpark for the series finale the next day and was photographed blowing into it while sitting in the supplemental dugout.

“He’s obviously a pretty good trumpet player,” Nationals Manager Dave Martinez said before the game. “… They got these T-shirts made up. We’ve got these trumpet T-shirts for everybody. He keeps everything fun.”

As noted by Federal Baseball, Bonifácio debuted the trumpet celebration with his Dominican Winter League team, Tigres del Licey, last year. Bonifácio wielded an actual trumpet in the clubhouse when the team danced to Dominican recording artist El Alfa’s “Mueve La Cadera” after wins. (The song’s trumpet-heavy opening blared over the Nationals Park sound system when Josh Harrison walked to the plate in the second inning before hitting a solo home run on Tuesday.)

Bonifácio’s teammates apparently could’ve used a lesson while he was here, as not one Nationals player has played the air trumpet with proper form.

“If it’s making them happy, that’s great, but it’s just so funny,” Cathy said. “They keep calling it the trumpet and they even had a trumpet there and they’re not playing it like a trumpet."

If not a trumpet, what air instrument could the Nationals be playing?

“It’s a clarinet or a recorder,” Cathy said. “The recorder was my first thought when they did it, but either of those works. ”

And what about a flute?

“The flute is held out to the side, so it’s not a flute,” she said. “You could say the saxophone, but the sax is usually swung over to the side. Unless they do it to the side, I would say definitely clarinet or the recorder. Trumpet, if you just use one hand and you don’t use the pinkie or the thumb, that’s what a trumpet is.”

Presciently, Cathy expressed some doubt even before Bonifácio was DFA’d that the Nationals would play the air trumpet all season, but acknowledged that it seemed to be catching on.

“It’s funny the things that stick,” Cathy, who has shared a half-season ticket plan with her sister for the last several years, said of the Nationals’ trumpet. “Who would’ve thought we’d have been Baby Sharking all last year?"

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