WASHINGTON -- With former Nationals/Expos pitcher Livan Hernandez unable to make it for Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Friday because of Hurricane Matthew, the Nats said they had a surprise as to who would throw the first pitch at Nationals Park. That surprise turned out to be catcher Wilson Ramos, who is out for the postseason after tearing the ACL in his right knee.
Ramos walked slowly to the mound and threw a perfect pitch to teammate Jose Lobaton. The crowd was almost delirious when he came out of the dugout, and the noise was deafening as fans chanted "Wilson!" The Nationals dropped Game 1 to the Dodgers, 4-3.
And for good reason. Ramos had the best season of his career, hitting .307 with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs.
"It got very emotional. It was exciting to hear the crowd yell my name," Ramos said. "It got real loud. Unfortunately, I'm not able to participate and help the team, but I'm here supporting them any way I can and cheer them on."
Ramos plans to attend Game 2 of the NLDS, originally scheduled for Saturday but postponed due to rain until Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, and then travel with the team for Game 3 in Los Angeles on Monday. After that, Ramos said he plans to have surgery to repair his ACL. He most likely will rehab the knee in Florida.
Manager Dusty Baker was pleased to see Ramos, who brought life into the dugout, according to the skipper.
"We had not seen him in a couple days and all of a sudden he showed up, and you know, we're all happy to see him and the fans are happy to see him," Baker said. "... He brought a lot of life to the dugout and a lot of life to the stadium. There's a lot of love in the stadium going around for Wilson."
Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.