Nationals’ Dozier, Parra, Zimmerman, Rizzo talk World Series Game 1

Nationals’ Dozier, Parra, Zimmerman talk World Series Game 1
Photo credit Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals are feeling loose but determined ahead of Game 1 against the Astros, seven days after securing their place in the World Series.

106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier were on the field at Minute Maid Park before the game, joined by the stars you'll watch make their World Series debut Tuesday at 8:08 p.m.

"The Nationals were 19-31. They had the second-worst record in the National League and the fourth-worst record in baseball," Paulsen set the scene from Houston. "It was May 24 – you and I waddled down Half Street from our studio because we thought there might be a press conference announcing that Davey Martinez was out of a job."

"He told everyone that day that they would get healthy and they'd turn their season around," he said. "Mike Rizzo grabbed his back and here we are now, on Day 1 of the World Series in Houston, and the Astros are getting ready to host the Nationals."

Grant & Danny were joined on the field by Nationals second baseman Brian Dozier, first baseman and longtime face-of-the-franchise Ryan Zimmerman, General Manager Mike Rizzo, and the Baby Shark himself, Gerardo Parra.

Here are some bite-sized highlights from those pre-game interviews (audio below):

Brian Dozier

"I remember talking to you in spring training, Brian," Paulsen told Dozier. "You said, 'I signed with the Nationals.' I said, 'Yeah, but you had a two-year offer.' You said, 'Yeah, but this team can win a World Series.' Here ya are, getting ready to start. Everything seems like it's playing out for you."

"Yeah. It's been a whirlwind of a season, an awesome one," Dozier said. "A fun team, great character on this ball club. That's what drove me here. And then you look up eight months later and we've got a chance to win a ring. I know what it feels like to go away from a World Series and come all this way and not win one, so I just want to win one."

Gerardo Parra

"A big reason for that chemistry is the man they call the Baby Shark, who joins us right now, Gerardo Parra," Paulsen began. "And Gerardo, you come over to Washington and things weren't looking great when you got here. How soon after you arrived did you feel like this team was special?"

"The first day," said Parra. "The first day when in the clubhouse and I saw all their faces, all the talent we have. This only put in my mind, 'Hey, we've got a great team. We need to go to the playoffs.' And that's how we do it. We do it my best and we're here. We're here in the World Series."

"You start wearing the colored glasses. You come up to the 'Baby Shark' song," Paulsen said. "The first time that happened, I think the ballpark in some ways kind of changed immediately. It like loosened everything up. Was there ever a conversation with you, where someone said we want you to loosen up this clubhouse? Or did it just naturally happen?"

"Yes, my heart. Yes, my heart and God," Parra said. "That's the only people that talked to me before I did that. But I just want to say thank you to the fans for bringing all the energy, because all you guys, when everybody saw that, all my teammates, we go together, we bring a lot of energy. And that's the most important part, just continue like we do it and we try to do the best right now."

Nats GM Mike Rizzo

"There was a time before you got here where you could be driving around D.C. in Year 1 of the Nationals, and you couldn't hear the station that broadcast their games," Paulsen said. "There's trailers at RFK and you're just trying to build a fanbase. Now we're on the field. 106.7 The Fan is all over this thing and you guys have a fanbase that'll sell out watch parties back home. Have you taken a moment just to reflect on how far this thing has come before this week starts?"

"No I haven't, Grant. We'll reflect after we bring the trophy home. We'll reflect on it then," Rizzo said, exuding confidence. "We're proud of where we've come from and where we're at now."

"We're young, man," Rizzo continued. "We're just scratching the surface of this stuff and we're a proud franchise that we feel does it the right way, and we're going to continue to do it the right way. Like I said, we're not just satisfied to be in the World Series. We want to win the World Series and I'll be disappointed if we don't."

Ryan Zimmerman

"Ryan, 1,700 games in the big leagues. The first World Series game you'll ever partake in," Paulsen said. "How's this atmosphere feeling in this ballpark?"

"I mean, what'd you think it would be like for the World Series?" Zimmerman said. "It's been a fun experience coming here yesterday, obviously, working out and then coming out here, all the media, all the hype. It'll be nice just to play a game, honestly."

"How do you guys stay sharp? A seven-day layoff is just weird," Rouhier said.

"Yeah. I mean it's just like an extended All-Star Break," Zimmerman said. "The All-Star Break's pretty much, I mean if you think about it, pretty much five days. You know for us, with the way we've used our pitchers, for me personally, I enjoyed having three or four days to really just do some treatment, get some stuff done, and then the last two days you kind of ramp it up again. But I'm pretty confident we'll remember how to play baseball when we go out there."

Time stamps: Brian Dozier (5:15), Gerardo Parra (12:00), Mike Rizzo (15:30), Ryan Zimmerman (20:20), Tom Verducci (22:30).