Drink Like a Major Leaguer: Which Washington Nationals Have the Best Taste in Alcohol?
During the height of the COVID-19 quarantine, the Washington Nationals, their coaches, and a few ex-members got together to celebrate their 2019 World Championship with a rollicking Zoom call streamed live on Facebook. It gave us a glimpse inside the personalities of the notoriously personable World Champions, especially as the night went on and the group of players got increasingly inebriated.
It also gave us a glimpse into the drinking habits of Major League ballplayers, which was interesting, to say the least – everything from apple juice to some pretty high-end bourbons. In total, 7 beers, 6 bourbons, 4 unknown whiskeys, 2 red wines, 2 waters, 1 tequila, 1 mixed drink, an apple juice, a Diet Coke, and 2 non-drinkers. So that you, too, can drink like a big league ballplayer, we’ve ranked their drinks of choice, player by player, one through 24.
24. Roenis Elias – Nothing
Elias, a relief pitcher who rarely pitched in 2019, makes an appearance on the Zoom as brief as his 2019 pitching tenure on the Nationals. He isn’t drinking anything.
23. Juan Soto – Nothing
Soto, the Nationals’ power-hitting left fielder, joins the Zoom for a bit where he predictably gets teased for being “16 years old” by Ryan Zimmerman. In reality Soto is of legal drinking age but he doesn’t drink on the Zoom. Instead he merely tells a story about shotgunning a beer after the end of the World Series in 2019.
22. Chip Hale – Unknown
Bench coach Chip Hale is shown drinking some kind of clear liquid in a tumbler with ice. We never find out what, but presume it’s some kind of alcohol.
21. Ali – Water
The mysterious Ali is the Nationals’ batting practice pitcher. His drinking habits are never discussed, and he’s only ever shown sipping on anything a few times. It appears to be water or some kind of vitamin or sports-flavored water from a large plastic bottle.
20. Anthony Rendon – Pilfered apple juice
The team MVP in 2019, Rendon now lives in California and plays for the Angels. Despite proximate access to some of the finest vineyards and distilleries in the word in California, Rendon’s five-minute appearance shows him first not drinking at all, and then later sipping on a tall iceless glass of apple juice. “I stoke it from my daughter’s side of the fridge”, he professes.
19. Sean Doolittle – Diet Coke
Nationals’ closer Doolittle is on the Zoom call for several hours, but is never seen drinking anything other than Diet Coke – it actually looks like caffeine-free Diet Coke – from a can.
18. Adam Eaton – Beer, maybe
Eaton was a vocal leader at the Nationals’ 2019 World Series parade. In the Zoom chat he is nearly silent. He doesn’t appear to be drinking much at first, and then later appears to be drinking a can of beer – maybe – in a blue koozie. Later on he gets ribbed for having an empty glass.
17. Paul Menhart – Beer
Menhart, the Nationals’ pitching coach, is seen briefly pouring beer – possibly Yuengling – from a can into a metal thermos. I’m not sure about the vessel, but you can’t fault a guy for drinking cheap beer every once in a while. Let’s hope he found something better later.
16. Max Scherzer – Yuengling, lots and lots and lots of Yuengling
The higher paid player on the Nationals and a potential Hall of Fame pitcher, Scherzer is seen pounding numerous Yuenglings from the can. He and Zimmerman joke that Scherzer is probably drinking about one an inning. By the fourth inning, he had already consumed three cans. 24 bottles of Yuengling can be purchased for around $18.99 online.
15. Matt Adams – Cheap red wine
Adams was the forgotten player who started most of the season at first base for the Nationals. His presence on the Zoom call is forgettable, as, generally, was his time on the Nationals. On the call, Adams professes to drinking a glass of 2015 “red blend” wine, presumably a bottle of cheap wine from the supermarket, probably retailing around $6.
14. Tim Bogar – Whiskey and Coke
We never learn what Bogar, the Nationals’ first base coach, is drinking, but it looks like it could be a whiskey and coke in a glass tumbler with ice.
13. Mike Rizzo – Whiskey
The GM of the Nationals, Rizzo makes a brief appearance and appears to be drinking whiskey in a glass tumbler with no ice. We never learn what it is.
12. Daniel Hudson – Whiskey
We never get a good read on the drink of choice for Nationals reliever Daniel Hudson. It looks like some kind of whiskey in a tumbler with no ice.
11. Dave Martinez – Whiskey
Manager Dave Martinez may or may not appear the most inebriated of the coaches on the call. He toasts what looks like a glass tumbler of dark hard stuff – probably whiskey – with a lot of ice in a glass, though we never find out what it is.
10. Gerardo Parra – Kirin Ichiban beer
Parra was the Nationals’ locker room spark in 2019 but was left to join the Japanese leagues for 2020. Parra joins the call from Japan, where it’s approximately dawn. Although his distant and disconnected appearance on the call is a testament to the many thousands of miles between him and the rest of the team, he eventually uncorks a Karin Ichiban beer, a fairly pedestrian Japanese malt beer that retails around $9 or $10 for a six-pack internationally.
9. FP Santangelo – Cabernet Sauvignon red wine
We don’t find out much about MASN color analyst Santangelo’s drink of choice, other than that he’s drinking red wine. Based on the glass it looks like a decent quality full-bodied red, probably a Cabernet Sauvignon.
8. Ryan Zimmerman – Stout beer, Russell’s Reserve bourbon
Mr. National and long-tenured first baseman for the Nationals, Zimmerman gets some credit for organizing the Zoom, which means he’s there for the full four hours. This gives a pretty expansive glimpse into his preferred drinks. Early on, while hanging out with his family on camera, Zimmerman appears to be drinking some kind of vitamin or sports water in a plastic bottle, but later professes to need to switch to “a beer”. He’s later shown drinking what looks like a dark stout or a Nitro beer from a glass. Later on, Zimmerman steps up his game even a bit further and discusses a trip his friends took to the Russell’s Reserve, which is a 10-year aged single-batch single barrel bourbon produced by Wild Turkey near Lawreneburg, Kentucky. A bottle of the stuff retails for around $35 for 750ml. Zimmerman shows off a number of custom-labeled bottles his friends selected from barrels at the distillery with custom names, including “Houston, You Have a Problem”, a reference to the World Series. Zimmerman also makes an allusion to possibly drinking Woodford Reserve, a 7.3-year aged bourbon also produced near Frankfort, Kentucky. Woodford Reserve retails for $28.99. Overall, Zimmerman’s tastes seem eclectic, but fairly pedestrian.
7. Patrick Corbin – IPA, Bourbon
The Nationals’ youthful but superbly-paid #3 pitcher is shown mixing up his drinks. He professes to be drinking an IPA to start, but announces he’ll have to switch over to bourbon later. He follows through and is later seen drinking a tall glass of presumably bourbon on the rocks, followed by presumably a different bourbon from a Glencairn whiskey glass.
6. Anibal Sanchez – Moscow Mule
The Nationals’ #4 pitcher, Sanchez is overall fairly quiet on the Zoom, but does spend the time he’s on the call drinking Moscow Mules. He may be the only player on the call drinking cocktails. At first Sanchez is seen drinking them from a Washington Nationals’ championship-branded wooden bat mug, and later on is seen drinking a Mule from a traditional metal Moscow Mule glass. The mugs, for what it’s worth, retail for $59.99 online. Sanchez also appears to have a nice liquor shelf behind him on the call.
5. Dan Kolko – Beer, Blanton’s bourbon
Commentator for MASN, Kolko starts out drinking nothing, and later, at the urging of others professes to switch to “a beer”, which he is later seen drinking in a Washington Nationals’ championship wooden bat mug. Several of the players are seen drinking out of the mugs, which retail for $59.99 online. Later, Kolko shows off a bottle of Blanton’s 9-year old single-barrel bourbon, sold by Buffalo Trace Distillery near Frankfort, Kentucky. Blanton’s is a nice bourbon, and Kolko appears to be enjoying it in a glass tumbler. A 750ml bottle of Blanton’s retails for $99.99
4. Brian Dozier – Blanton’s bourbon
Ex-Nationals’ second baseman Dozier shows up on the call shirtless and spends much of his time playing an inebriated class clown. Clearly in an altered state, Dozier is obviously drinking good, or at least effective, whiskey. In the early part of his appearance, he seems to be drinking some kind of unknown whiskey in a tumbler with no ice. Later on he mentions Buffalo Trace before bonding with Kolko that he, too, is drinking Blanton’s, in his case in a Glencairn whiskey glass. Blanton’s 9-year old single-barrel bourbon, sold by Buffalo Trace Distillery, retails for $99.99
3. Trea Turner – Clase Azul tequila
One of the few Nationals drinking hard stuff other than bourbon, the millennial shortstop defies his age by drinking an $81 tequila (for the 750ml bottle). Clase Azul is created by cooking harvested organic Tequilana Weber Blue agaves in a brick oven for 72 hours. It’s one of the more elite tequilas in the world, and Trea shows off his version of its notoriously beautiful hand-painted decanters. Other players joke that Trea is obsessed with the stuff, and during the Zoom he drinks it in a whiskey tumbler on the rocks.
2. Stephen Strasburg – Joseph Magnus bourbon
Strasburg, simple, quiet and dominant, is the Nationals’ #2 pitcher and one of the best in the game. He spends the call understatedly drinking Joseph Magnus bourbon without ice from a Glencairn whiskey glass. Strasburg’s whiskey of choice showcases both his DC loyalty – Joseph Magnus is produced in northeast DC – and his high taste in whiskeys. Joseph Magnus is a blend of straight bourbon aged in sherry and cognac casks. 750ml of the stuff retails for $99.99.
1. Yan Gomes – Blackberry Farm ale, Old Weller bourbon
Yan Gomes, who relinquished the starting catching role for the Nationals in 2019 to Kurt Suzuki, redeems himself with an elite drinking performance and probably more to come off-screen. The players clearly acknowledge his strength in this arena, and any of us would love to examine his liquor cabinet in detail. A late arriver to the party, Gomes shows off an extensive liquor cabinet behind him. At the outset he uncorks a wine bottle that he reveals is actually a bottle of blackberry farm beer from the famous Blackberry Farm Brewery in Tennessee. Assuming this is their Saison, it’s a Belgain ale among the highest rated in the country on BeerAdvocate. Like several of the other Nationals, amid drinking he shows off one of those Nationals-themed wooden bat mugs. Later on, Gomes unveils a bottle of Old Weller Antique wheated bourbon, a high-proof vanilla-tasting bourbon produced by Buffalo Trace Brewery in Kentucky. Based on the bottle he showed, it appears to retail around $128.