Looking back at past Nats’ home openers

April 3, 2020

WASHINGTON - MARCH 30: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with teammates after hitting the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Atlanta Braves on opening day on March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON - APRIL 14:  Vinny Castilla of the Washington Nationals bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the 2005 home opener at RFK Stadium on April 14, 2005 in Washington, D.C. The Nationals defeated the Diamondbacks 5-3. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON – APRIL 14: Vinny Castilla of the Washington Nationals bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the 2005 home opener at RFK Stadium on April 14, 2005 in Washington, D.C. The Nationals defeated the Diamondbacks 5-3. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON - APRIL 14:  Unidentified fans of the Washington Nationals react to a home run by Vinny Castilla at RFK Stadium on April 14, 2005 in Washington, D.C. The Nationals defeated the Diamondbacks 0-0. (Photo by Paul Cunningham/MLB via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON – APRIL 14: Unidentified fans of the Washington Nationals react to a home run by Vinny Castilla at RFK Stadium on April 14, 2005 in Washington, D.C. The Nationals defeated the Diamondbacks 5-3. (Photo by Paul Cunningham/MLB via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON - MARCH 30:  Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals hits the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves on opening day on March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON – MARCH 30: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals hits the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves on opening day on March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON - MARCH 30: Fans grab for the game winning ball after Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals gets hit a home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves on opening day March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON – MARCH 30: Fans grab for the game-winning ball after Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals gets hit a home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves on opening day March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON - MARCH 30:  Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals rounds the bases after hitting the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Atlanta Braves on opening day on March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON – MARCH 30: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals rounds the bases after hitting the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Atlanta Braves on opening day on March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON - MARCH 30:  Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with teammates after hitting the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Atlanta Braves on opening day on March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON – MARCH 30: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with teammates after hitting the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Atlanta Braves on opening day on March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON - MARCH 30:  Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with teammates after hitting the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Atlanta Braves on opening day on March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON – MARCH 30: Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with teammates after hitting the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Atlanta Braves on opening day on March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: 
Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman slides in to home plate winning the game in the tenth inning after a wild pitch by Cincinnati Reds' Alfredo Simon during opening day at Nationals Park on April 12, 2012 in Washington, D.C. The Nationals beat the Reds 3-2. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 12: Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman slides in to home plate winning the game in the tenth inning after a wild pitch by Cincinnati Reds’ Alfredo Simon during opening day at Nationals Park on April 12, 2012 in Washington, D.C. The Nationals beat the Reds 3-2. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON DC, APRIL 12: Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11), left, celebrates after scoring the game winning run on a wild pitch in the 10th inning. Teammate Washington Nationals center fielder Roger Bernadina (2), right, was at bat during the Washington Nationals defeat of the Cincinnati Reds 3 - 2 going ten innings in their 2012 home opener at Nationals Stadium in Washington DC April 12, 2012 (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON DC, APRIL 12: Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11), left, celebrates after scoring the game winning run on a wild pitch in the 10th inning. Teammate Washington Nationals center fielder Roger Bernadina (2), right, was at bat during the Washington Nationals defeat of the Cincinnati Reds 3 – 2 going ten innings in their 2012 home opener at Nationals Stadium in Washington DC April 12, 2012 (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 03:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals hits a double to right field in the eighth inning during a game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on April 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Nationals defeated the Marlins 3-0. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 03: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals hits a double to right field in the eighth inning during a game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on April 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Nationals defeated the Marlins 3-0. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 15:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals smiles against the Miami Marlins in the first inning at Marlins Park on April 15, 2013 in Miami, Florida. All uniformed team members are wearing jersey number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day as the Nationals defeated the Marlins 10-3.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL – APRIL 15: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals smiles against the Miami Marlins in the first inning at Marlins Park on April 15, 2013 in Miami, Florida. All uniformed team members are wearing jersey number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day as the Nationals defeated the Marlins 10-3. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper flips his bat as he watches his solo home run during the sixth inning of an opening day baseball game against the Miami Marlins, at Nationals Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper flips his bat as he watches his solo home run during the sixth inning of an opening day baseball game against the Miami Marlins, at Nationals Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 03:  Adam Lind #26 of the Washington Nationals hits a pitch hit home run pitches during the game against  the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on April 3, 2017 in Washington, D.C.  The Nationals won 4-2.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 03: Adam Lind #26 of the Washington Nationals hits a pinch hit home run pitches during the game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on April 3, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 4-2. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 3: Adam Lind #26 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a two-run home run against the Miami Marlins in the seventh inning of the opening day game at Nationals Park on April 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matthew Hazlett/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 3: Adam Lind #26 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a two-run home run against the Miami Marlins in the seventh inning of the opening day game at Nationals Park on April 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matthew Hazlett/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON DC -  APRIL 3: Nathan Cooner, center, holds his sleeping 2 1/2 year old son, Benjamin, as he cheers a 7th inning 2 run go-head homer by Washington's Adam Lind during the Washington Nationals defeat of the Miami Marlins 4 - 2 in the 2017 season opener at Nationals Park in Washington, DC  April 3, 2017. (Photo by John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON DC – APRIL 3: Nathan Cooner, center, holds his sleeping 2 1/2 year old son, Benjamin, as he cheers a 7th inning 2 run go-head homer by Washington’s Adam Lind during the Washington Nationals defeat of the Miami Marlins 4 – 2 in the 2017 season opener at Nationals Park in Washington, DC April 3, 2017. (Photo by John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON - APRIL 14:  Vinny Castilla of the Washington Nationals bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the 2005 home opener at RFK Stadium on April 14, 2005 in Washington, D.C. The Nationals defeated the Diamondbacks 5-3. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 14:  Unidentified fans of the Washington Nationals react to a home run by Vinny Castilla at RFK Stadium on April 14, 2005 in Washington, D.C. The Nationals defeated the Diamondbacks 0-0. (Photo by Paul Cunningham/MLB via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MARCH 30:  Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals hits the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves on opening day on March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MARCH 30: Fans grab for the game winning ball after Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals gets hit a home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves on opening day March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MARCH 30:  Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals rounds the bases after hitting the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Atlanta Braves on opening day on March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MARCH 30:  Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with teammates after hitting the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Atlanta Braves on opening day on March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - MARCH 30:  Ryan Zimmerman #11 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with teammates after hitting the game winning home-run in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Atlanta Braves on opening day on March 30, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Nationals won 3-2. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 12: 
Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman slides in to home plate winning the game in the tenth inning after a wild pitch by Cincinnati Reds' Alfredo Simon during opening day at Nationals Park on April 12, 2012 in Washington, D.C. The Nationals beat the Reds 3-2. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON DC, APRIL 12: Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11), left, celebrates after scoring the game winning run on a wild pitch in the 10th inning. Teammate Washington Nationals center fielder Roger Bernadina (2), right, was at bat during the Washington Nationals defeat of the Cincinnati Reds 3 - 2 going ten innings in their 2012 home opener at Nationals Stadium in Washington DC April 12, 2012 (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 03:  Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals hits a double to right field in the eighth inning during a game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on April 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Nationals defeated the Marlins 3-0. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 15:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals smiles against the Miami Marlins in the first inning at Marlins Park on April 15, 2013 in Miami, Florida. All uniformed team members are wearing jersey number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day as the Nationals defeated the Marlins 10-3.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper flips his bat as he watches his solo home run during the sixth inning of an opening day baseball game against the Miami Marlins, at Nationals Park, Monday, April 3, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 03:  Adam Lind #26 of the Washington Nationals hits a pitch hit home run pitches during the game against  the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on April 3, 2017 in Washington, D.C.  The Nationals won 4-2.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 3: Adam Lind #26 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a two-run home run against the Miami Marlins in the seventh inning of the opening day game at Nationals Park on April 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matthew Hazlett/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON DC -  APRIL 3: Nathan Cooner, center, holds his sleeping 2 1/2 year old son, Benjamin, as he cheers a 7th inning 2 run go-head homer by Washington's Adam Lind during the Washington Nationals defeat of the Miami Marlins 4 - 2 in the 2017 season opener at Nationals Park in Washington, DC  April 3, 2017. (Photo by John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

On a sun-splashed afternoon in D.C., the minds of Nationals fans across town likely got in a workout on Thursday. Their minds likely wandered to South Capitol Street where Washington’s Boys of Summer were to return Thursday for a home opener unlike any in franchise history.

Sometime in the 12 p.m. hour, the Nationals were to have stood along the first base line as trainers, coaches and players would have been introduced to a standing-room only crowd. Soon after, they would have unveiled their World Series banner and received their championship rings.

It would have been special, there is no doubt.

But with the coronavirus pandemic delaying the start of the season, it’s unclear when that day will now come. A best-case scenario, it seems, would be for Major League Baseball to begin a shortened season by midsummer.

So with a potentially spectacular afternoon put on hold, we’ve dug into the archives and put the spotlight on five previous home openers in Nationals history. We’ve also included several highlight calls from Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler on the Nationals Radio Network.

Disclaimer: The Nationals are a modest 5-10 in home openers since 2005.

April 14, 2005: Baseball makes long awaited return to D.C.

After opening their inaugural season in Washington with a nine-game road trip, the Nationals’ first game at RFK Stadium proved to be worth the wait.

Third baseman Vinny Castilla went 3-for-3 with a two-run triple in the fourth inning and a two-run homer in the sixth as the Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-3 before a sellout crowd of 45,596. Castilla finished a single shy of a cycle.

Livan Hernandez took a one-hitter into the ninth inning before surrending a three-run homer with one out. Chad Cordero recorded the final two outs for the save.

APR 14 2005 - CASTILLA 2-RUN TRIPLE GIVES NATS 2-0 LEAD
APR 14 2005 - CASTILLA 2-RUN HOMER GIVES NATS 5-0 LEAD
APR 14 2005 - FINAL OUT AS NATS WIN FIRST GAME AT RFK STADIUM

March 30, 2008: Zimmerman christens Nationals Park with walk-off homer

The Nationals opened their shiny new digs on South Capitol Street in 2008 with Ryan Zimmerman delivering an opening night win.

Zimmerman clubbed a solo homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as the Nationals walked-off the Atlanta Braves 3-2.

It was the fourth career walk-off blast for Zimmerman, who had already established himself as the face of the franchise and was starting to develop a reputation for late-game heroics. More than a decade later, Zimmerman has hit 11 career walk-off homers with the Nationals.

MARCH 30, 2008- CHRISTIAN GUZMAN GETS FIRST HIT AT NATIONALS PARK
MARCH 30, 2008 - RYAN ZIMMERMAN WALK-OFF HOMER IN BOTTOM OF THE 9TH

April 12, 2012: Zimmerman scores on wild pitch in 10th inning as Nats down Reds

Zimmerman delivered the winning run again in the Nationals’ 2012 home opener. This time he came through with his legs rather than his bat, scoring the winning run from third base after a wild pitch from Reds reliever Alfredo Simon.

The Nationals beat Cincinnati 3-2, improving their record to 5-2 in a season that would culminate in an NL East title. Craig Stammen earned the win after striking out the side in the top of the 10th on just 10 pitches.

April 3, 2013: Strasburg, Harper shine for defending NL East champs

Bryce Harper homered in each of his first two at-bats of the season and Stephen Strasburg threw seven scoreless innings as the Nationals began their NL East title defense with a 2-0 win over the Miami Marlins.

Harper, then 20, had been honored during pregame ceremonies after winning the National League Rookie of the Year the previous season. Davey Johnson, who famously declared “World Series or bust” before the 2013 campaign, was also honored pregame after winning the NL Manager of the Year award for 2012.

The 2013 Nationals finished 86-76 and missed the playoffs.

APRIL 1, 2013 - BRYCE HARPER'S FIRST HOMER OF THE SEASON
APRIL 1, 2013 - BRYCE HARPER'S SECOND HOMER OF THE SEASON

April 3, 2017: Lind goes deep in Nats debut

Harper homered again on Opening Day in 2017, but Adam Lind had the biggest blast of the afternoon. With the Nationals trailing the Miami Marlins 2-1 in the seventh inning, Lind delivered a pinch-hit two-run homer in his Washington debut. The Nationals went on to beat Miami 4-2.

APR 3 2017 - ADAM LIND DELIVERS PINCH-HIT 2-RUN HOMER IN 7TH INNING

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