Padres, Nationals reflect on shooting outside Nationals Park, finish game

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The Athletic 18 July, 2021 - 02:52pm 6 views

Why was the Washington Nationals game postponed today?

WASHINGTON — The game between the San Diego Padres and Washington was suspended in the sixth inning Saturday night after a shooting outside Nationals Park that caused echoes of gunfire inside the stadium and prompted fans to scramble for safety in the dugout. Chicago TribuneNationals-Padres game postponed after shooting outside park

The Padres beat the Nationals 10-4 on Sunday, resuming a game that was started on Saturday but was stopped in the middle of the sixth inning after a shooting occurred outside of Nationals Park.

“It kind of registered what it possibly could’ve been, and obviously it’s a nightmare,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Sunday morning before the game. “It’s the thing you think about in the back of your mind.”

The Nationals put out a statement at 9:47 p.m. Saturday saying a shooting was reported outside the third-base gate and encouraging fans to exit the ballpark via the center-field and right-field gates. Prior to the statement, fans were seen running onto the field and into the third-base dugout.

The DC Police Department said in a tweet at 10 p.m. that it was "responding to a shooting in the 1500 block of South Capitol Street, SW outside Nationals Park where two people were shot. DC Police reported again at 10:16 p.m. that two additional victims "walked into area hospitals for treatment of gunshot wounds," but later updated at a news conference that three people were wounded during the shooting.

Before their teams took the field on Sunday, Tingler and Nationals manager Dave Martinez spoke to reporters on video calls. Both became choked up at multiple points during their news conferences. Martinez became emotional when he was asked what message he would relay to fans and stadium employees who might be frightened of returning to Nationals Park.

"I love this city. This city's my home. It can get crazy. We all know that. And we all want to feel safe," Martinez said. "I can tell you that inside this ballpark, I feel safer than ever."

Martinez was among those on Saturday night ushering people to safety. He often talks about fans being like family members. On Sunday morning, he repeated the sentiment.

“I’ve said it before — for me, they’re family, they’re our fans,” Martinez said. “They sweat just like the players do, just like I do. They’re here for us. And a lot of these people I’ve seen before, that came through, they sit above our dugout. I just wanted to make sure that everybody was safe."

Padres players Fernando Tatis Jr., Wil Myers, Manny Machado and Jurickson Profar also helped escort people, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Tatis Jr. and his teammates entered the seating area and led children and family members into the dugout and clubhouse. Tatis Jr. said he didn’t have family members in town; he was just helping his teammates and whoever he could get to. Fans followed players onto the field and into the dugouts, which became packed.

“To be with the men in there. They’re going out, they’re thinking of their loved ones and they’re getting their families. It’s just human nature," Tingler said. "They’re seeing fans and seeing people in panic, they just, they did the right thing."

Myers, on hearing the gunshots: “The shots happened in one second. You heard constant shooting. From where we were, we didn’t hear any screams from any fans. It did take a little bit to realize it was gunshots. If we’d have heard screaming, we would’ve all known what was going on. At that point, you try to hear what people are saying and make your moves to get people safe in that instance.”

Tatis Jr., on the focus changing from baseball to getting to safety: “The situation changed immediately. There’s no longer player or fans. I feel like everybody is just people. Just human beings out there. Just need to be secure.”

Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, on what he witnessed: “You hear a lot of different noises throughout the years. That was something you’ve never really heard before. You go into the dugout and … you see people up in that third base gate area starting to scatter, and you don’t know what’s going on.”

Read full article at The Athletic

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“It kind of registered what it possibly could have been and — and then, obviously, it was just, it’s a nightmare,” San Diego Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Sunday morning. “It’s the thing maybe you think about in the back of your mind.”

And so, as the Padres prepared some 16 hours later to resume a game with the Washington Nationals that was interrupted by gunfire outside the ballpark, they worked to process the fear that was felt inside it.

Tingler was at home plate talking with umpire Jordan Baker in between the top and bottom of the sixth inning about making a pitching change when they heard what sounded like three loud bangs in succession.

As those leaving the field looked up, they saw fans running every which way.

“It was a panic situation,” Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. said. “I saw everybody running. It was crazy. You couldn’t figure out what was going on.”

Just a few minutes after the field had been cleared, as many fans were streaming out of a gate beyond center field and others were lying on the cement beneath their seats, Tatis sprinted out from the clubhouse, past the visitors’ dugout and pushed open a gate along the left field line. He grabbed two children and took them to the dugout. Then he came back for more.

“There were little kids,” Tatis said Sunday morning. “I felt like somebody had to go get them. I felt the safest place was the clubhouse. I was just trying to get the families and get to a safe place.”

Players did not stop fans from coming through the open gate and filling the dugout. In a matter of minutes, as players and family members huddled in the hallway leading to the clubhouse, the visitors’ dugout was full of dozens of fans.

The game Saturday night between the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals was suspended after three people were shot and wounded outside the D.C. ballpark.

“The situation changed immediately,” Tatis said. “There was no longer players or fans. I feel like everybody was people, just human beings out there.”

As this was happening, Padres and Nationals relief pitchers were stuck in the bullpens beyond the outfield wall for a good five minutes, until it was determined it was safe for them to head to the clubhouse.

That was a long five minutes for reliever Emilio Pagán.

“All I was thinking of was, were my wife and daughters safe?” Pagán said Sunday. “They were on the concourse. I was scared. I was real scared.”

He sprinted in and found them, his daughters crying and his wife “shook.”

What many in the Padres traveling party were thinking about Sunday was not whatever danger they were actually in the previous night. It was what they thought might be happening and what their children, especially, had to process.

It was of little consequence to Pagán’s 4-year-old daughter — his other daughter is an infant — that what had happened was an exchange of gunfire between people in two vehicles on the street that runs along the third base side of the ballpark.

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Her fear was a product of the fear and chaos she saw around them. No one slept well in the Pagáns’ hotel room Saturday night.

“Nightmare,” Pagán said. “Just a nightmare. Stupid. Just stupid.”

It was too late by then to shrug and say they had been safe all along.

But that’s what they had to do.

In a way, Major League Baseball players are among the best at doing so. They spend eight months each year focusing one day at a time.

“It’s a new day,” Myers said. “Things happen. You move on.”

He spoke of the events the way he speaks of at-bats and games.

“You make adjustments and you move on,” he said.

Saturday’s game was suspended in the sixth inning with the Padres leading 8-4. The stadium was evacuated, and shortly after 11 p.m. local time, the Padres’ team buses were escorted by police out from the bowels of Nationals Park.

Tingler planned to speak with the team before they began playing Sunday. They had 3½ innings to complete, then a full nine-inning game, then a flight to Atlanta.

“I just plan on just speaking from the heart, and just telling them how proud of them I am as men,” he said. “And we’re going to go out, we’re going to do the best we can at clearing our minds, and going to play baseball. We’re going to also think about and keep our families and friends and loved ones on our mind, but we are going to go play baseball.”

Nationals manager Davey Martinez wanted to make sure his players were safe when the shots rang out.

“Then I started worrying about their families and trying to do the best I could to get them down to the players,” Martinez said. “And I started worrying about the fans as well.”

Martinez was emotional recalling the scene.

“There was a bunch of fans, they were in our dugout and I wanted to get them safe as well,” he said. “We got them in through the tunnel and got them in safely and tried to keep them safe. For me it was just about protecting our people and doing the best I can to stay calm.”

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Bystander waiting for Uber among those injured after DC gunfire sends Nationals game into chaos

Fox News 17 July, 2021 - 08:52pm

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Instead of a seventh-inning stretch, Saturday night's MLB game between the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres had a sixth-inning scare.

The game erupted into chaos after gunshots rang out near Nationals Park in Washington, causing players and fans to flee for safety.

Videos of the incident quickly spread on social media with the Nationals' Twitter account confirming gunshots outside the stadium. Players and fans could be seen running for cover.

One bystander attending the game was injured while waiting for an Uber, FOX 5 reported. She was taken to the hospital when non life-threatening injuries.

No arrests had been made in connection to the shooting as of Sunday evening. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in joint statement with the Washington Nationals that the incident occurred after a dispute "between individuals in two vehicles."

"Something crazy going on at Nationals Park," Boston Globe sportswriter Ben Volin tweeted Saturday night. "Players just sprinted off the field and fans running from the stands."

At a news conference late Saturday, D.C. Metropolitan Police confirmed that three people were struck by gunfire outside the stadium, after initial reports said four people had been struck.

Police believe the incident was a confrontation between occupants of two vehicles that were traveling near the stadium, FOX 5 of Washington reported.

One of the vehicles linked to the shooting was later located by investigators, police said, according to the station.

None of those wounded suffered life-threatening injuries, a police source told Fox News. The identities of those wounded remained unclear.

Police stressed that no gunfire occurred inside the stadium, according to FOX 5.

During the confusion inside the stadium, Padres stars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado opened a gate to the field area so that some frightened fans could seek refuge in the team's dugout, Andrew Golden of the Washington Post wrote on Twitter.

Tatis was among the players posting later on Twitter about his concern for the fans.

"Hope everyone is safe!" Tatis wrote. "Just keep the prayers up … thank you everyone that help in the front line ! God bless."

The stadium was not evacuated. Instead, fans were asked to shelter in place as police investigated, FOX 5 reported. Investigators were reviewing all available security-camera footage and other evidence to glean more details about what happened, the station reported.

The area near the stadium has seen a spike in gun violence recently, the police source said. Recent incidents have included an Uber driver being carjacked and killed by teenage suspects.

The gunfire came just one night after a 6-year-old girl was killed by gunfire in the nation's capital, with five adults wounded in the same incident.

The public-address announcer at the stadium told fans to stay inside the park.

The game was in the sixth inning at the time of the incident.

Just after 10 p.m., the Nationals posted a statement, saying the game had been suspended and would resume at 1:05 p.m. Sunday, followed by the game that was already scheduled for Sunday. The Padres were leading 8-4 when Saturday's game was interrupted.

Police assured fans that the area will be safe for Sunday's game, FOX 5 reported.

On Friday, reports emerged that White House press secretary Jen Psaki had been invited to toss out a ceremonial first pitch prior to Sunday's game at Nationals Park. There was no indication late Saturday that the plans would be changed.

Psaki was invited because she is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, which is being honored at the ballpark Sunday, WRC-TV of Washington reported.

The Padres also tweeted, saying the club's thoughts were "with everyone affected by the incident outside of Nationals Park."

Earlier, the Nationals posted on Twitter that gunshots had been reported. 

Firetrucks and ambulances were spotted on the scene.

Washington, D.C. Metro Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.

Nationals Park is located less than 2 miles south of the U.S. Capitol, in Washington's Southwest Waterfront area. It opened in March 2008, three years after the Nationals arrived in the city after moving there from Montreal, where they were known as the Expos for more than 30 years.

Both Nationals Park and nearby Audi Field, which opened in 2018 as the home of soccer's D.C. United, were built in the area as part of efforts to revive that part of the city.

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