Mar 23, 2014; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA;Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) makes a play against the New York Mets at Tradition Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

District Daily: Washington Nationals News 3/27

Checkout some great articles from our fellow Washington Nationals writers:

Washington Nationals to unveil Youth Baseball Academy in Southeast D.C.

(James Wagner, Washington Post)

When baseball returned to Washington in 2005, it was with the understanding that the Nationals and the District would work together to build an academy that would help promote baseball among young people in the inner city, where interest and participation in the sport has been declining for years. Rough details were included in the lease between the District and the franchise for Nationals Park. But for a time it was unclear when the dream for the nine-acre plot of land in Fort Dupont Park in Southeast would become a reality.

But after years of fundraising, preparation and bureaucratic and construction delays, the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy is finally open. The ambitious, gleaming building that cost nearly $18 million welcomed its first class of children three weeks ago and will be officially unveiled Saturday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony before the Nationals’ exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers.

Third- and fourth-graders fill the 18,000-square-foot, two-floor facility after school, learning to play baseball and softball on its three artificial turf fields and doing their homework and extra classwork under the watchful eyes of mentors in the seven upstairs classrooms. Read full article here.

Carpenter thinks Nats can write different story in ’14

(Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

VIERA, Fla. — Bob Carpenter is now in his ninth season as the television play-by-play voice of the Nationals, and he feels the 2014 team is more balanced than it was last year.

In Carpenter’s opinion, the team is not going to rely only on starting pitching.

Last year, the Nats’ offense got off to a slow start, and it didn’t help that outfielder Bryce Harper had to miss time because of a knee injury. The team didn’t get it going until the second half of the season. It turned out to be too late, as the Nats finished in second place behind the Braves in the National League East.

It could be a different story in 2014, according to Carpenter.

“I think the Nationals have all the ingredients in what you are looking for in a ballclub,” Carpenter said. “The defense has to be better than it was at times last year. Obviously, the offense has to get off to a better start than last year. When you add a guy like Doug Fister and whoever becomes the fifth starter — whether it’s Taylor Jordan or Tanner Roark — it’s a solid rotation. The bullpen looks good. I don’t see any weaknesses on this ballclub.” Read full article here.

Emotional Barrett ecstatic to make Nats’ roster

(Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

JUPITER, Fla. — Reliever Aaron Barrett was emotional when manager Matt Williams told him that he was going to make the Nationals’ Opening Day roster.

Barrett was in the team’s weight room when he was summoned to Williams’ office. Barrett didn’t know what to think. Did he make the team or was he going to start the season with Triple-A Syracuse?

“We had to make some really tough decisions, and you are one of those tough decisions,” Williams ominously told Barrett. Read full article here.

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