Winning divisions doesn't get old for Johnson

Winning divisions doesn't get old for Johnson

Winning divisions doesn't get old for Johnson
WASHINGTON -- Davey Johnson wasn't around on Monday night to share his thoughts after the Nationals clinched the National League East. After finding himself on the receiving end of a few exuberant pours of champagne, the skipper kept mostly to his office.

On Tuesday, before Washington trotted out a lineup with only two everyday players for its first post-clinch game, Johnson recalled his experiences after the Nats took the division courtesy of the Braves' loss to the Pirates.

"Well, I've been in a few of those, and I try to stay out of harm's way," Johnson said, "although a couple of guys got me with some champagne. The one I didn't like after I got dried off from the first, pretty much, was Adam LaRoche. He got me good. I got recovered from that, and then a rookie got me, named Christian Garcia. So that's a no-no. He don't realize what that may cost him."

Jokes and playful threats aside, he acknowledged the thrill of winning yet another division title.

This marks the 69-year-old Johnson's sixth division title, but thanks to such sights as Ryan Zimmerman -- the franchise's first Draft pick, back in 2005 -- carousing around the field, it never gets old.

"I saw Zim running around, and I know it was really special for him, being in the organization pretty much long-term here," said Johnson, whose last title came in 1997, with the Orioles. "For the team to get where it's at right now is what he's been cranking for for a long time."

Considering that their offense was silenced in Monday's 2-0 loss to the Phillies, several Nats admitted to scoreboard-watching to keep tabs on the Braves-Pirates game. As fans learned of Pittsburgh's 2-1 win, their cheers grew louder, to the point where there was no way the players could avoid them.

The Nats began gathering on the top step of their dugout, and after Michael Morse, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa were retired in order to end the game, the party began.

"That was a little different," Johnson said. "[Clinching with a loss] caused a little complication at the end, because I'm used to being on the field celebrating so fans can see us. I was kind of like, 'Fellas, come on out. We're supposed to be on the field.' They wanted to get in and drink some champagne and start splashing everybody."