Sportress of Blogitude

Nationals relying upon mannequin to navigate uniform combos

The Washington Nationals will have a multitude of potential uniform combinations during Grapefruit League action, so the team will attempt to navigate any possibly player confusion by relying upon a mannequin model in the clubhouse.

Cleverly dubbed “Manny,” the mannequin is on loan from the Nationals’ official team store. It already has become a fixture at the Nats’ spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., though not surprisingly, Manny’s presence takes a little getting used to.

“I come in here early,” Nationals veteran first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said of Manny, who admits being taken aback the first few times he came upon the mannequin, via ESPN’s Eddie Matz. “I turned the corner to go to the bathroom, and I was like, ‘What the f—?'”

The Nationals, however, believe Manny will serve an important purpose. After all, between three caps, three jerseys and two pairs of pants, the Nationals have a possible 18 uniform combinations during spring training. Despite some oddness to having a dressed-up mannequin informing them what to wear, players seem to be behind the routine, including Trevor Rosenthal, Anibal Sanchez and Sean Doolittle.

“I don’t have to guess what the uniform is,” says Rosenthal, who recalls the Cardinals having a grand total of two possible combos in spring training (one jersey, two pants), or 16 fewer than the Nationals have. “It’s amazing.”

It’s especially beneficial for clothing clods like Sanchez, who admits he has a history of wearing the wrong spring training outfit. “This is better,” says the veteran starter. “Just gotta pay attention to the mannequin.” Adds Doolittle: “Just because we’re professional athletes doesn’t mean we don’t need somebody to tell us what to wear to work every day.”

It will be interesting to learn of Manny’s fate once spring training wraps up and the dummy has served its purpose. Perhaps the Nationals will bring the mannequin back north with them and Manny can serve as a nattily attired, yet lifeless, clubhouse mascot. Stranger things have happened.