Howie Kendrick stood toward the back of the podium, off to one side, clapping and smiling in as much anonymity as one can achieve amidst a screaming stadium full of people. Like his Nationals teammates, Kendrick wore a gray “National League CHAMPS” T-shirt and hat, neither yet soaked in the beer and champagne that would come.
When his name was called, Kendrick shuffled to the front of the crowd and punched a fist into the air. He turned in all four directions, showing off a National League Championship Series MVP trophy as improbable as it was impactful.
At age 36, a year and a half removed from major surgery, Kendrick -- not Anthony Rendon, not Juan Soto, but Kendrick -- led the Nationals’ offense during their four-game sweep of the Cardinals. He hit .333, with four of his five hits going for extra bases. And so after Washington’s 7-4 victory in the clinching Game 4 at Nationals Park, Kendrick hoisted the trophy over his head and grinned.