Mar 1, 2014; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (34), right fielder Jayson Werth (28) and manager Matt Williams (9) stand at the top of the dugout during the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

District Daily: 3/2

Checkout some great reads from our fellow Washington Nationals writers:

Five members of 2005 Washington Nationals are together again at team’s spring training

(James Wagner, Washington Post)

VIERA, Fla. — As the Washington Nationals prepare to play their 10th season in the District, their inaugural campaign holds a special place in many hearts. More than 2.7 million people, still the largest single-season attendance in Nationals history, filled RFK Stadium for the first baseball season in Washington since 1971. Before a second-half collapse, the ragtag collection of players sat in first place by 2 ½ games at the all-star break.

“You’re part of baseball history,” utility man Jamey Carroll said.

Much has changed since 2005 — ownership, the front office, the team’s record and notoriety — but vestiges of that season remain in some corners of the Nationals’ spring training clubhouse. Ryan Zimmerman, a first-round pick called up in September 2005 and now the longest-tenured player on the Nationals roster, has been reunited with Carroll and reliever Luis Ayala, both of whom rejoined the team this winter on minor league deals. Read full article here.

Washington Nationals need to look at Washington Capitals to see how window of opportunity can close

(Thomas Boswell, Washington Post)

As the Washington Nationals start their exhibition games, when rookies dot the lineup and vets try to hide how tickled they are to be back playing baseball, they might want to consider one thought that is as cold as ice.

The Washington Capitals’ window has closed.

Year after year the Caps said, as the Nats are now saying for the third straight year, we have the talent, we have what it takes, right here in this room, to play for a championship. Our window of opportunity is wide open.

Right up until it isn’t. Alex Ovechkin is in his ninth season. Nine. Even with the three-time MVP on pace to score nearly 58 goals, the Caps are 16th in the NHL in points and have a coin-flipper’s chance at the playoffs.

They are no longer one of the six or eight teams that is in Stanley Cup debates. They’re just a decent back-in-the-pack team, outscored this year, with a puncher’s chance to find a hot goalie in the playoffs, get their lines right, fall into a couple of advantageous early-round matchups and. . .

And be what? A miracle team? Great, love to see it. Only four months ago we enjoyed the last such team in a major sport — the last-place-to-World-Series-winning Red Sox. Such fun actually does happen. But it has nothing to do with open windows. That’s what the Nats should understand. Read full article here.

After two years with Nats, popular Chad Tracy finds new home

(Zac Boyer, Washington Times)

TEMPE, Ariz. – It took mere moments for a visitor to gain Chad Tracy’s attention on Friday when he told the Los Angeles Angels infielder he had made the trek westward from Washington.

It didn’t take much longer for Tracy, who played the last two seasons for the Washington Nationals, to make his affinity for his former teammates known.

“You tell those guys I said hello,” Tracy said, enthusiastically.

Tracy played both first base and third base over the last two seasons for the Nationals, captaining the “Goon Squad” – the nickname he gave to the team’s reserves. Popular in the clubhouse, Tracy had the moniker printed on T-shirts and handed them out to fellow bench players, and good-naturedly bragged when the reserves came through late in a game to lead the team to victory.

This offseason, the Nationals decided to head in a different direction.  Tracy’s contract expired, and after he hit .202 in 129 at-bats with 11 RBI, six runs and four home runs, he said they didn’t approach him with another contract offer. Read full article here.

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