‘I love this city’ — manager Martinez on how Nationals Park shooting was handled

Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Sunday morning that the way the shooting outside Nationals Park Saturday night was handled made him feel safer at the ballpark than ever.

Three people were wounded in the shooting outside Nationals Park during the sixth inning; the game was halted and will be resumed Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

Martinez said at his regularly scheduled news conference Sunday morning that he heard the shots, and wasn’t sure at first whether it was happening inside or outside the stadium.

He said safety protocols were in place, and the Nationals and Major League Baseball go through procedures, “but like I said, you don’t ever think it’s gonna happen, but when it does, it’s definitely a different situation. It really is.”

The manager’s first reaction was to think of his players — “to get all the guys inside” — and once that was accomplished, to reassure them that their families would be safe, and to shepherd families and fans, some of whom had made it down to the field and crammed into the Nationals’ dugout.

“I wanted to get them safe as well,” Martinez said. “So I thought it was important to get them in; we got them through the tunnel and got them in safely and tried to keep them safe as well.”

Martinez had praise for the first responders, as well as MLB staffer Brian Sedwick, who were instrumental in restoring order and safety.

He pointed out that the ballpark isn’t immune to the gun violence that’s happening all over the country — “it’s happening everywhere” — and broke up while talking about the fans and the District.

“You know? I love this city,” Martinez said. “Yeah, it’s — the city’s my home.”

He said a lot of the fans who came toward the Nationals’ dugout were regular fans whose faces he recognized. “They’re family, you know; they’re our fans. I mean, they sweat, just like the players are, just like I do. You know, they’re here for us.”

The shooting happened at about 9:30 p.m., and Martinez said he left the ballpark between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. “I just wanted to just kind of sit and, you know, gather my thoughts and be ready for the day.”

As for Sunday, Martinez said the team was calm “for the most part,” and they want to “get back to some kind of normalcy today and just play baseball.”

“I mean, that’s why we’re all here.”

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.

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