- The Washington Times - Monday, April 22, 2013

Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa has a very vivid memory from his major-league debut.

It was Sept. 1, 2010, and the Nats were playing in Florida against the Marlins. Espinosa drove in a run with a double.

That isn’t the memory.

“I loved it. It was the day Nyjer Morgan charged the mound,” Espinosa said, chuckling about one of the more interesting moments in Nationals history. “Pretty easy to remember.”

Espinosa did remember the double, too, and more.

**FILE** Washington Nationals' Nyjer Morgan, center, is lead off the field after a brawl during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Florida Marlins, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010 in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
**FILE** Washington Nationals’ Nyjer Morgan, center, is lead off the field after ... more >

He called joining the big league club a “surreal feeling. You have this feeling, you’ve finally made it, you’ve finally made it. You have every emotion in the world running through your head. You don’t know what to think or what to feel. You call your parents, and they’re more excited than you are.”

The subject of debuts came up Monday as the Nationals prepared to open a homestand with a game against the St. Louis Cardinals. It was, if you will, the “mulligan” debut for third base prospect Anthony Rendon. He played in the Nats’ 2-0 loss in New York on Sunday, though his parents weren’t able to make it in from Houston because of an airline snafu.

Rene and Bridget Rendon made it to town Sunday night, so their son got to share a little bit of extra “debut” excitement with his folks able to watch.

But the reality is, you only get one. It’s something that stays with you.

“That’s something you never forget. Your debut, you have flashbacks of little league and high school and college ball if you played,” said first baseman Adam LaRoche, who had two hits for the Atlanta Braves in his debut April 7, 2004.

“That’s been your dream, being on a big-league ballfield, since most of us were probably 5 or 6 years old. You get out there, your name is announced, it’s a pretty strange feeling. You’ve had something on your mind for 15-16 years and it finally happens. It is an incredible feeling. I wish more guys could enjoy it. Your heart is going a million miles, so many things going on. You look back and you almost didn’t get to enjoy it at all. It’s almost like a wedding.”

The Nationals won Ian Desmond’s debut Sept. 10, 2009, against the Phillies. Desmond drove in four runs, including three with a home run.

Desmond has played in 466 games since and will play in countless more. That one will always stand out though.

“I don’t think anybody in here will ever forget their debut. It’s a pretty important part of your life,” Desmond said. “You’ve been working your whole life to get to the big leagues and you finally make it. It is quite the accomplishment. It is better than you can ever imagine. You come to work every day, you have everything you could need and more. Not only that, you get paid for it.”

F.P. Santangelo, part of the Nationals’ television broadcast crew, jokes that he has two things in common with Mickey Mantle. They wore No. 7 and each had hits from both sides of the plate in their debut.

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