D.C.'s Emmanuel Burriss Returns home to Face the Nats
Wilson High School product is an infielder with the Giants, who conclude a three-game series at Nationals Park on Thursday.
Emmanuel Burriss, while growing up in the nation's capital, would make visits to Georgetown with his friends.
"We would go to the movies; nothing crazy," says Burriss, who grew up near the Shaw neighborhood in Northwest.
Now, Burriss is part of another entertainment industry in which people pay money to see him perform. A graduate of Woodrow Wilson High in upper northwest, Burriss is an infielder for the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball.
Burriss, who made his big league debut in 2008, returned to his hometown this week as the Giants began a three-game series against the Nationals at Nationals Park on Tuesday. The series continued with a game Wednesday morning and ends with a 7:05 p.m. contest Thursday between two playoff contenders.
A switch-hitter, Burriss entered Tuesday's game in the bottom of the fifth at third base to replace starter Pablo Sandoval. The D.C. native had one hit in two at bats and improved his batting average to .216 as the Nats won, 9-3.
Burriss started at second base on Wednesday as the Giants lost, 9-4, to the Nats. Hitting second in the lineup he was hitless in three bats but did walk and scored a run as his average fell to .210. It was just his second start in a span of 33 games.
"My role is to fill in for guys to give them a rest and help this team out," said Burriss, standing by his locker in the Giants' clubhouse before Tuesday's game. "The team is playing well and that is always a plus. The season is going well. We are winning ball games."
Burriss said he planned to leave about 20 tickets for family and friends during the three-game series against the Nationals as the Giants made their only trip to Washington this year. "It is not much pressure," he said about playing in front of family. "Sometimes it is exhausting to be around so many people. But I get to see people I don't get to see most of the year."
His parents, Allen and Denise, still live in Washington, as do his two sisters, along with aunts and uncles. So have any of his family become fans of the Nationals since baseball returned to D.C.?
"My nephew, David Burriss, likes the Nationals," Burriss said. "He is 11 and is a big fan of Ryan Zimmerman," who is the third baseman for Washington.
Burriss was born Jan. 17, 1985 in Washington. He played baseball at Wilson High and then played at Kent State University in Ohio, where he was the Mid-American Conference player of the year.
He was drafted by the Giants out of college in 2006 and made his Major League debut with the club two years later. Burriss became the first product of a D.C. public school to make the major leagues since catcher Willie Royster (Spingarn) played in four games with the Orioles in 1981.
A switch-hitting infielder, Burriss is not the only member of the Giants with ties to the D.C. metro area. Reliever Javier Lopez, a big league veteran and part of World Series champs with the Red Sox and Giants, graduated from Robinson High in Fairfax, Va. and played at the University of Virginia.
"We are both Redskins' fans. It gives us something to talk about besides baseball," Lopez told Patch on Tuesday. Giants' manager Bruce Bochy spent part of his youth in Northern Virginia and Giants coach Bill Hayes was born in Cheverly, Md., just three Metro stops from RFK Stadium.
Burriss hit .211 in his first 114 at bats over 43 games this season, with just one double, four RBIs and four steals in six tries.
The suprising play of the Nationals has not gone unrecognized 3,000 miles away by Burriss, who also played basketball at Wilson High. He saw the Nationals play at RFK Stadium when he was in college. The Nats improved to 46-32 with Tuesday's win over the Giants, who fell to 45-36.
"From a distance, it has been something to watch. It is really good for the city," he said of the Nationals. "They are a team we want to beat but that is the same as every other team we play."