After Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Braves, the Nationals have the second-worst record in the majors at 30-57 and are dead last in the National League.
So, it may surprise some baseball fans next week when Nationals manager Dave Martinez is in the dugout as a coach for the National League All-Star team.
But Martinez’s selection to coach in the exhibition game has nothing to do with the Nationals’ performance this year. Instead, Braves skipper Brian Snitker, the manager of the NL team at the All-Star Game in Los Angeles on July 19, told reporters over the weekend that he chose Martinez to be on his staff to recognize the 2019 World Series champion Nationals.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that shortened the 2020 season, Snitker said Martinez and the Nationals didn’t fully get to celebrate their world championship, as the Braves have after winning the title last season. The 2020 All-Star Game was canceled due to the pandemic, and Martinez never got to manage in the All-Star Game.
“He didn’t get a chance to celebrate it,” Snitker told reporters before the Braves’ series against the Nationals this weekend. “They won a world championship, COVID hit and all that stuff. [He‘s] a World Series champion, and [he] never had a chance to celebrate it. I wanted to give him the opportunity to be on the staff for the All-Star Game, where he didn’t get a chance to manage it because of COVID.”
“It was awesome,” Martinez told reporters about being asked to join Snitker’s staff for the exhibition game. “[Snitker] and I go way back to my playing days here with Atlanta. He’s a great man. I appreciate him inviting me, and I absolutely told him that I’d love to be a part of the coaching staff with him and his guys.”