The Washington Nationals aren’t necessarily trying to win spring training games, but the lure of fast food motivated at least one National on Thursday.
The Washington Nationals have played in 19 spring training games in 2019, and on Thursday the Nationals had a real incentive to win.
Well, perhaps not the entire team. However, Victor Robles had something on the line if the Nationals played well as a team.
Mark Zuckerman tweeted on Thursday that if Robles, batting in the leadoff spot, recorded five at-bats, manager Davey Martinez would buy the entire team Popeyes fast food after the game.
So, how did Robles respond?
In his first at-bat against the Twins, he recorded a double. In his second at-bat, which occurred in the second inning, he hit a home run off of Martin Perez.
In the third inning, Zuckerman noted Robles made a fantastic catch in the field.
Despite the team’s red hot start, Robles’ day ended in the seventh inning with him coming to the plate only three times.
However, this story does have a happy ending.
Zuckerman reported after the game that because the Nationals scored ten runs in their victory, Martinez bought the whole team Popeyes for the bus ride back to Palm Beach.
Robles wasn’t the only one with Popeyes on his mind. MLB.com contributor CJ Haddad tweeted that he observed Nationals pitcher Erick Fedde humming the Popeyes jingle during the game.
Martinez is indeed no stranger to implementing strange tactics during spring training.
On Wednesday, February 28, 2018, he brought camels to the field to celebrate “hump day.”
Additionally, a “circle of trust” starts each spring training session, a practice which began last season under Martinez’s first year as skipper.
It goes without saying these practices are unorthodox for a Major League Baseball team. As long as the Nationals keep winning, these strange occurrences may become traditions for the team in March.