October 15, 2019
Washington D.C. – postgame 4
Nationals – 7, Cardinals – 4
DAVE MARTINEZ: Don’t ever call those guys old. They’re really young in my heart and my eyes. They’re playing like they’re 22, 23.
Q. What was the bottom of the first like for you? And then did the rest of the game feel like it went fast, or did it feel like it took a long time to get through?
DAVE MARTINEZ: The rest of the game went really slow, but you know, that first inning, we came out — I mention it all the time before the games, hey, let’s go out there, and let’s go first, especially in these games like that. And they came out, and I mean, we started swinging the bats from the get go. At first you think, man, that’s awesome. We’re probably going to score a bunch of runs, and it turns out we didn’t. That was it.
I’m really proud of the guys, just every inning, we try to win every inning and stay in it.
The boys did well. Patrick got out of some jams, and then our bullpen. I can’t say enough about Rainey, Doo, Huddy, what they did today. Huge game for the both of them, but they’ve done that through this whole playoffs.
Q. Davey, congratulations. You said on the podium that bumpy roads often lead to beautiful places. Could you reflect on that a little bit? What is it about the bumpy road that makes these places more beautiful?
DAVE MARTINEZ: If you look at how — where we came from and what we had to accomplish to get here, it wasn’t easy. I’ll be the first to say, you know, I never doubted these guys. I really didn’t. All I kept telling myself, hey, stay with them. Stick to the process. Stay positive. Teach. And as soon as everybody gets healthy, we’ll make a run. We’ll make a run. We’ll get back in this thing.
Didn’t know how far we’d get back in it, but I really believed that these guys could turn this around right from the get go, and they did. We played really well throughout. After May 24th, we played playoff baseball throughout the rest of the year. The result is what you see.
Q. Is it more beautiful because of that?
DAVE MARTINEZ: 100 percent. I can’t think of any — look, I’ve been through a lot of stuff in my career — Game 162, Game 163, World Series in ’08, 2016, 108 years waiting to get — but this right here, to me, tops everything I’ve ever been through. I mean, I’m so proud of the guys, honestly. They could have folded. They didn’t.
Q. Davey, this is the fourth celebration you guys have had like this. Does this one feel different at all? What, when you look back, will stand out from tonight?
DAVE MARTINEZ: For me, wet is wet. (Laughter).
I feel like a wet dog right now. I ain’t going to lie to you. Every one gets better and better. You can never get enough. I told the boys, one more. Let’s have one more champagne pop, and it will be a lot more gratifying than this one.
Q. Davey, you mentioned what you were a part of in 2016. It’s been 86 years since this city was in the World Series. What does that mean to you?
DAVE MARTINEZ: I’m just happy to be a part of it. Like I said, I’m just a small piece to the puzzle. I really am. Ownership, front office, Rizz, players, clubhouse, trainers — it means a lot to all of us, and I thank them all for sticking through this throughout the whole year. I mean, it took a village to get us to where we’re at right now.
So I’m really proud of everybody in this organization.
Q. Davey, I know every team in every sport runs its own race and you’re thinking about your team and nothing else. Is there anything to energy that comes in a city when the Caps win the Stanley Cup and the Mystics win the WNBA and UVA wins the National Championship, that either builds or brings things into focus or at least creates an avenue or a goal for everybody to shoot at when other teams in the city are doing the same thing?
DAVE MARTINEZ: You know, for me, I see those teams winning, and I talk — I often talk to the head coaches. I talked to Mike today. For me, I want to be a part of that, too, and it does mean a lot to me that our hometown teams are winning. I feel like, you know, quietly, I supported all the teams. I said, this is going to happen. It’s going to happen in our world, in the baseball world. It is. We’ve just got to believe. We’re one step closer right now.
Q. Dave, first of all, congratulations. I remember a day back in late May we were in your office after a game and we were asking about Gerardo Parra, and you said he’s already having an impact on the younger Latin guys in the room. Flash forward to tonight, Baby Shark is a phenomenon nobody ever saw coming. Did you ever think that somebody like Gerardo Parra, coming in the second month of the season, he could become so infectious and help the clubhouse in such an intangible way?
DAVE MARTINEZ: First off, I only put him in the game today to get the fans going again. (Laughter).
No, I’m just kidding. He’s meant the world to — not — to me. When we picked him up, I knew what kind of guy he was. I talked to Henry. Henry played with him. Henry was his teammate, Blanco, and I told him, I said, look, we’re going to get Parra. I know what kind of clubhouse guy he is. Tell me what you think. He says, you want him. I said, he’s a heck of a player, but he’ll keep that clubhouse loose. I said, well, we’re going to get him, and I need him.
Yeah, we needed him at that point. He’s just another veteran guy, a left-handed bat, can play first, outfield positions. But what he’s meant to this team outside of just — regardless of playing, what he’s done in that clubhouse has really changed the way these guys go about their business. I mean, it was business. There wasn’t a whole lot of — he made it fun for this team.
I said this earlier today, there was a point in time where he was struggling real bad. He was like 2 for 30, and it was kind of — everything was kind of down a little bit. I didn’t feel that energy, and I brought him in the office, and I said, hey, what’s going on? And he goes, oh, you know, I’m not hitting. I’m not helping the team. I go, no, no, no. I said, I don’t care if you’re 2 for 100, your job is to bring the energy every single day. That’s who you are. I said, you play that music loud. You pump up the guys. I said, you’re the guy that brings that energy every day, and he just looked at me, and he goes, you’re right. He said, I’m not doing my job. I said, well, go do your job.
Needless to say, after that, he started hitting again, and he came back to my office a few days later, and he goes, hey, thank you. I didn’t realize that I need to have fun too, not worry about — I said, yeah, hey, bring it every day. I told you, for me, 0 for 4s, 0 for 5s don’t really bother me. It’s what you bring on and off the field that I care about, and he’s that guy. Those guys up there, every one of his teammates love him, love him. All the fans love him. He’s just that guy. He’s the Parra Shark.
Q. What is the degree of difficulty for Howie Kendrick to not only recover from the type of injury he did in his mid-30s but do it to such an extent that he can produce what he produced this week?
DAVE MARTINEZ: He’s been — you know, I’ve got a picture on my phone that I took after the L.A. series when he — I hate to call them errors, but he made an error. Everybody knows that. They showed him in the dugout, and his face just said it all. He’s like — he felt like he let the team down. And for him to come back and do what he’s done in this series and there and hit that Grand Slam in L.A., that only tells you what kind of person, what kind of player he is.
I mean, he’s been the quiet leader all year. You could talk about Zim. Zim is the captain, but Howie, when Howie speaks, everybody listens. I mean, truly. For me, he’s definitely the Comeback Player of the Year and then some.
Q. Dave, you mentioned the bullpen earlier. Is it any vindication that those were the guys who secured the final outs of this clincher given all the up and down and kind of adversity they faced in the bullpen this year?
DAVE MARTINEZ: Yeah, it was — you know, it was awesome to watch those guys do what they did last few innings. I was so proud of those guys, and said this all along, I’ve asked these guys to do things that they probably didn’t think they could do. Doolittle going out there and getting five outs today. Huddy doing the same thing. Rainey putting them in big moments when everybody thought this guy’s wild. He walks everybody, and giving him the ball. He’s matured so much this year that he’s one of the guys. I mean, he’s got electric stuff. I’m very confident in putting him in the game.
So I’m proud of those guys, but for me, you have to — they bought in. The big thing is they bought in. I’ve asked them to do these things, and they didn’t hesitate to say, hey, whatever you need from me, I’ll do the best I can. I’ll do it. That’s the big part of it. They bought in, and they were ready to go. They knew what the moment was like, and they stayed in it.
THE MODERATOR: Davey, congratulations on bringing a World Series back to Washington, D.C.
DAVE MARTINEZ: I would love that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports