Baseball as we saw in the movie “Field of Dreams” brings many fathers together with their children, sons and daughters. Today, we celebrate fathers and father figures in our lives. For the Nationals, Anibal Sanchez will take the mound on this Father’s Day wearing that “baby blue” cap to celebrate a day that has a meaning for him beyond baseball. Sure, Sanchez has a young daughter Anabella with wife Ana and their son Anibal Jr., but he also mourns the loss and memorializes his baby son who died in 2007. Alan Sanchez was bit by a mosquito in his native Venezuela and contracted dengue fever and passed away.
Today is bittersweet for the 35 year old veteran of well over a dozen years in baseball — some great, and some awful. The low point of his life was losing Alan, but he has taken that pain to put his life in perspective especially when he has endured injuries. Sanchez has also been a player who believes in giving back. Sanchez and his wife Ana have hosted hundreds of families over the years to bring smiles to others, especially children. They have given their time and their money to families in need. When their daughter Anabella was born, she had a cleft lip and palate which led the Sanchez family to create even more charitable efforts especially in the Children’s Hospital networks in cities where he has played in Miami and Detroit.
For Sanchez, his son Alan was born on the exact one-year anniversary of the day he threw his rookie no-hitter on September 6, 2006 against Arizona. While his career started off so well, he tore his labrum in the following Spring Training in 2007 which many times ends a pitcher’s career. Sanchez worked his way back and the incision marks from that labrum surgery are also a reminder on the same shoulder as the tattoo image of Alan Sanchez. From adversity can also bring great strength.
“Every day I pitch, my son is with me,” Sanchez said.
We all know what a talented baseball player that Anibal Sanchez is, and his family and friends will tell you that he is a better person and father. As a baseball player today, Sanchez has to help his team get a win today and split this four-game series with the Diamondbacks. Sanchez will pull some extra strength today.
The Nationals have had a history of some memorable Father’s Day games, but none like June 18, 2006 when the legend of Ryan Zimmerman started as Mr. Walk-off. On that Father’s Day, Zim smashed the walk-off two-run home run to come-from-behind and beat the New York Yankees. It was the greatest pitching performance of Mike O’Connor‘s career as he held the Yankees to just one-run over 7.0 innings while facing Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada, and Johnny Damon. The attendance on that day was 45,157. That game ranks in the top-10 of Nationals greatest games.
Arizona will start former right-handed starting pitcher Archie Bradley our of their bullpen to replace the injured Jon Dulplantier. Bradley will go as long as he can in this game and hand the rest of the game over to his bullpen mates.
Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 1:35 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, FOX Sports – Arizona, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):