MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Nats fans fete Desmond with rousing ovation

Impending free agent homers as part of three-hit day

Nats fans fete Desmond with rousing ovation

WASHINGTON -- For seven years, shortstop Ian Desmond has given Nationals fans a lot of exciting moments. During Sunday's 12-5 loss to the Phillies at Nationals Park, the fans returned the favor by giving Desmond a thunderous ovation after he left the game in the top of the ninth inning in what could be his last home game in a Washington uniform.

Desmond is a free agent after the season and most likely will not re-sign with the club. If that's the case, the 30-year-old picked a great game to go out on for the hometown fans. He went 3-for-3 including his 19th home run of the season.

"I really didn't want to lose by seven runs," Desmond said. "At this point, I'm not really into numbers or hits or anything like that. We are out of it. The rest of the stuff is irrelevant."

Desmond's solo homer

Desmond was on the field when manager Matt Williams decided to take him out of the game and replace him with Trea Turner. As he went in the dugout, Desmond received hugs from his teammates before he went out for a curtain call.

"That was pretty special. It's bittersweet," Desmond said. "I spent a lot of time here. I have special memories. Certainly, it will amongst the better ones. … I thank the organization and the fans for supporting me and investing their emotions in me the last [seven] years.

"I appreciate the emotions, whether you cheered for me, loved me, hated me, booed me. … Not everyone gets that. Over history, there have been irrelevant players that didn't get any emotions from fans -- whether it's positive or negative. Whenever you decided to invest in me, I appreciated it, respect it. I went out there every day and grinded it out."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All theTime. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.