In this installment of the Best Moments of the Washington Nationals 2011 season, we'll remember center fielder Roger Bernadina’s unbelievable catch he hauled in May 13 against the Florida Marlins.
Personally, I will always remember this catch because it happened one of the first games I ever watched from the Washington Nationals press box. I had always wanted credentials for the blog, and that first week of games that I was able to attend on blogger row will be something I will never forget.
The hardest adjustment to make when going from a fan in the stands to a reporter in the booth is that you are not allowed to cheer in the press box. Countless times that week I had to sit on my hands as the Nats completed late inning rallies, or when Washington starters got crucial strikeouts. I will always remember, however, that Bernadina’s catch, as seen in the video above, was the first moment that I saw everyone in the press box stand up in amazement. Professionalism be damned, that was a catch that turned even the most jaded reporters into boys again.
Perhaps the best part of this catch, which made it the third best moment in the Nats season, was the unbelievable string of emotions it brought out in those who watched it live. My first instinct when Mike Stanton made contact with the ball was terror. Mike Stanton had been crushing the ball that series and the Marlins had two runners on in a tied 5-5 game. Then, as I saw Bernadina’s ridiculous route to the ball, I became incensed. Bernadina can run like the wind, but man, that guy reads fly balls at a third-grade level. Then, his unbelievable athleticism, and the will to sacrafice his body, and yes, probably a lot of luck, helped him haul in the ball.
It was like the Willie Mays catch, on steroids. Sure the gravity of the situation was less, but with his back to the plate he made a fully extended snow cone layout heave to catch the ball. It’s a play I’ll tell my grand kids about someday.