The Washington Nationals were eliminated early in the season from playoff contention. They were last in the NL East, and had the worst record in Senior Circuit. The trade deadline was approaching and their season was over. The Nationals had to trade some of their most important contributors in order to acquire prospects, as several of their top players were set to become free agents or enter the final year of arbitration.
Trea Turner, shortstop, and Max Scherzer, starting pitcher, were the most prized prizes at the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline. Both ended up wearing Los Angeles Dodgers uniforms. The Washington Nationals fandom was hit hard by these departures, but Juan Soto, the Nationals' superstar, may have been even more affected.
Juan Soto was seen behind the plate cheering on his former teammates and wearing the same attire he wore when the Dodgers defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in last night's National League Wild Card Game.
Juan Soto is sporting a Trea Turner Nationals jersey. Kevin Long, Nationals hitting coach, is next to Soto and is sporting a Max Scherzer Nationals Jersey. This is so cool! This is a star player and MVP candidate flying across the country to support a team that eliminated his team. Wow! Wow! It's not something I could think of.
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Turner and Scherzer also went to Soto for the first time after Chris Taylor's two-run walk-off blast sent the Dodgers into the NLDS.
Juan Soto is my hero. He loves baseball, and he loves his buddies. It's as if Benny The Jet Rodriguez, from The Sandlot, had jumped out of my VHS tape into the real world. He can't believe he is getting paid to play the game he loves. Go ahead. You can search YouTube for fun Juan Soto at bats. There are many videos that show a child who loves to hit home runs, and shuffle in his batter's box. Soto's actions remind me of children playing on the local diamond. It reminds me of Eric Byrnes, who was an outfielder for several teams in the 2000's, including the As, Diamondbacks, as well as a few others.
Byrnes, unlike Soto was not the greatest player on the field. There were moments when he was a great player, such as hitting for the cycle in 2003 and finishing 11th in MVP voting 2007. But Byrnes was one the most entertaining players to watch. With a giddy enthusiasm that made his fans smile, Byrnes took on every challenge with a joy that was infectious. He loved baseball, and it was obvious that he loved it. He was a tireless worker and encouraged his teammates to be better. It's still evident when he speaks about the sport on MLB Network. He loves being around the game. Juan Soto is Eric Byrnes's son, but he is so much better.
Soto wants to win and, more importantly, wants his friends to win. Soto could have stayed home and watched the game from his Washington bed, or sent congratulatory texts to Turner and Scherzer after the game. Soto did more than he could have. Soto bought a ticket to fly and went to the game in a jersey of a team that wasn't even involved in the match just to show his love to his friends. It's so sweet.
Baseball is a brotherhood. When you play with someone for a while, it can help you to bond in a way no other sport can. This is what I believe for the most part. It has always been my experience that the joy of playing the game diminishes when they reach professional levels. While it is great to play the game for fun, once it becomes a burden on your life, it can cause a player's passion for it to fade. Juan Soto is a reminder of how much baseball can be fun, not only because of the way he plays but also because of his support of other players. I hope to see him at every NLDS match and maybe one day playing in one.