The whirlwind of his big-league debut behind him, Anthony Rendon arrived at Nationals Park today hoping he'll be able to relax a bit more and soak in the scene a bit more than he did yesterday in New York.
If nothing else, at least Rendon knows he doesn't have to worry about the whereabouts of his parents. After missing their son's debut when they got bumped from their flight, Rene and Bridget Rendon will be in the stands at Nationals Park when he makes the first home appearance of his career.
"Yes, there's a story," Rendon said with an eye roll and a smile. "They bought their tickets the night that I told them [I was getting called up], and they showed up at the airport early in the morning. Needless to say, they were in the system, but they didn't have a seat on the plane. So the airline messed up somewhere. I don't know the full story, but they didn't end up making it."
Unable to get from Houston to New York in time for the Nationals' series finale against the Mets, the Rendons instead caught a flight to Washington last night. They arrived safe and sound and are now looking forward to attending tonight's game against the Cardinals.
"My mom was kind of furious," Rendon said.
The travel hiccup was just one of several things that didn't go quite according to plan for Rendon in his first major-league game. Surprisingly promoted from Class AA Harrisburg after Ryan Zimmerman landed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, Rendon wound up going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and an error at third base in the Nationals' 2-0 loss to the Mets.
The 22-year-old admits now that nerves might have gotten the best of him.
"Yeah, obviously you're going to have extra nerves your first big-league game," he said. "You don't know what to expect. There's 30,000 people in the stands now instead of the 100 you've been playing in front of in the minor leagues."
Rendon looked far more comfortable with his surroundings in the clubhouse at Nationals Park today. Though he hasn't played in D.C. yet, he's familiar with everyone on the roster, having spent the last two springs in big-league camp.
That familiarity with teammates puts Rendon at ease.
"It helps out a lot," he said. "Being fortunate enough to be in big-league spring training my first two years and then actually being here, knowing I've seen them before, I've talked to them," he said. "It's not like showing up and it's like, 'I don't know what to say to that guy. I don't know how he's going to react.' It's definitely more comfortable."
The Nationals don't want Rendon to get too comfortable with the surroundings. Davey Johnson made it clear today the 2011 first-round draft pick will be sent back to the minors once Zimmerman returns from the DL.
"I don't care if he hits .900," Johnson said. "He's not going to beat out Ryan Zimmerman."
Before Rendon can even think about hitting .900, he needs to record his first career hit. That will probably help ease his nerves a bit. So will the sight of his parents in the stands, even if it's one day later than they hoped to be there.
"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them," Rendon said.