The following is a letter from a fan to Mike Rizzo and the Lerner Family asking them to ensure that Juan Soto stays with the Washington Nationals. This letter was originally posted on Facebook, and we just wanted to share it with you. We have edited it for clarity.
Dear Mike Rizzo and the Lerner Family,
I was born 16 years after the Expansion Washington Senators left for Arlington. For most of my childhood, the only team to root for in this area was the Baltimore Orioles. And because of my father, I would root for the Orioles as it increased my passion and love for baseball. It wasn’t until 2000 when I started to get curious about why baseball could be called the National pastime, yet there was no team in the Nation’s Capital. My grandfather, who grew up in Brooklyn a Dodgers fan, would often tell me stories of the Original and Expansion Senators and the likes of Frank Howard, Walter Johnson, Harmon Killebrew, Sam Rice, Goose Goslin, Bucky Harris, Joe Judge, Buddy Myer, Joe Cronin, Mickey Vernon, and Eddie Yost. I also would go on to read about the great Negro League players. They played at Griffith Stadium with the great Homestead Grays, including the legendary Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Ray Brown, Buck Leonard, Cumberland Posey, and Smokey Joe Williams. My love and hope for baseball in Washington D.C. was fully ignited. In 2002, when MLB first considered relocating the Expos to DC, I was never more excited about the time. And in 2004, it finally came to fruition.
The Washington Nationals were born, and baseball was finally returning to DC. I remember buying my first Nationals hat that following offseason and have since gone on to buy close to 20 more. I’ve bought shirts, shorts, pants, socks, pennants, banners, baseballs, and every other piece of memorabilia you could think of. I remember attending my first Nationals game on May 12, 2007, at old RFK Stadium as I watched the Nationals beat the Marlins 7-3, in which there were 2 rain delays. I’ve since donated blood at Nationals Park over 15 times and attended 12 Nationals games in person, including Opening Day in 2013 and 2022. I attended playoff games in 2016, a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers, and a 2019 NLDS Game 4 6-1 win over the Dodgers. But nothing compared to attending the 2019 World Series Game 2 Watch Party at Nationals Park with my 7-year-old son Devyn. 2019 was difficult for me as I lost my father, who succumbed to an aggressive form of cancer at the age of 56. Only two things brought me some joy in 2019. Finding out I was gonna be a father for the 4th time, and my beloved Washington Nationals finally won the World Series. This event pushed me to finally become a Season Ticket Holder for this team, and I am currently in my 2nd Season.
I live and breathe for this team. I have been through the rough years of the beginning seasons marred by multiple manager changes and tough losses that were winnable games.
I have watched or listened to every game since 2005. I have watched the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Vinny Castillo, Cristian Guzman, Ivan Rodrigues, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Max Scherzer, Michael A. Taylor, Sean Doolittle, Victor Robles, and Juan Soto take the field in those beloved Nationals uniforms. I have watched and listened to every game during this current rebuild with the same passion, love, and enthusiasm I began loving this team. It is for this reason that I write to you today. I am not naïve; I understand baseball is a business.
I also understand the significance of baseball in the community. Since the Nationals came to Washington DC, the area, especially near Nationals Park, has blossomed, even attracting the MLB All-Star Game in 2018 when the Wizards and Capitals couldn’t attract a similar event.
This brings me to my point: Juan Soto. While this fan base has watched the likes of Harper, Rendon, Turner, Desmond, Scherzer, and Jordan Zimmermann leave either via free agency or trade, we have still come out in awe at the pure talent and energy of Mr. Soto. His impact on the community can not be underestimated or overlooked. As the current administration and owners of these team, I implore you not to let Mr. Soto walk.
Children and adults alike line up to see Juan Soto wear that Curly W on his hat. We go to the ballpark to see him race to right field and his monstrous home runs from the left side of the plate. While it’s impossible to keep every player that comes through, Juan is a generational talent I’m sure you’re highly aware of. He brings life to this franchise despite its current struggles because of his passion for this sport. To lose Juan Soto would inevitably lead to a downturn in fan support, revenue, and my biggest fear, eventually a departure of yet another Washington Baseball Team. Juan is bigger to the community than I think you know. What he brings into merchandise sales will surly compensate for whatever value he is worth as a player.When the front office began this rebuild, the fans stood behind it because we all believed that it was to build around Juan Soto. And rightfully so. But, to trade him or let him walk will be extremely detrimental to this franchise.
I write to you in the hopes that you may hear the fans’ voices and the importance of how much he truly means to this franchise.I truly appreciate your time in reading this letter, as the franchise means more to me than you could ever know. I spend countless hours bonding with my four sons watching our beloved Nationals, just like I bonded with my father watching the Baltimore Orioles. Please don’t let this be the downfall of our beloved franchise.
Thank you for your time.
Yours Truly, The biggest Washington Baseball Fan
Corey J. Parkinson