Mar 17, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper (right) watches batting practice with manager Matt Williams (left) before a scheduled spring training exhibition game with the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

District Daily: Washington Nationals News 3/30

Checkout some great reads from our fellow Washington Nationals writers:

Nationals celebrate opening of youth baseball academy

(Bill Ladson,

WASHINGTON — The dream has come true for the Nationals and many kids in the D.C. area, as the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy had its official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday in Fort Dupont Park.

The academy is a year-round educational and athletic facility designed to provide quality after-school and summer learning programs for boys and girls in Washington neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. It is the result of a public-private partnership that includes the Nationals, the Nationals Dream Foundation, the D.C. government, Events DC, the National Park Service, and the local business and philanthropic community.

The academy uses baseball and softball as vehicles to help develop literacy and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills, as well as healthy lifestyles through fitness, nutrition and cooking lessons in a safe, nurturing environment. Read full article here.

Scott Boras suggests Mike Trout’s contract will not relate to Bryce Harper

(Adam Kilgore, Washington Post)

Angels outfielder Mike Trout, the consensus best player in baseball and a 22-year-old dynamo frequently compared to Nationals phenom Bryce Harper, agreed to a contract extension Friday night that, starting in 2015, will reportedly pay him nearly $145 million. The deal covers his remaining three years of arbitration eligibility and also three years he would have been eligible for free agency.

Given Trout’s stature and ability, he sacrificed significant earning potential for the perceived security of $145 million guaranteed. The deal may have stoked optimism among the Nationals and their fans that they could extend Harper with a similar contract, ensuring he will stay in Washington for at least three years after the 2018 season, when he can become a free agent.

Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, scuttled that optimism this morning. In his first public comments regarding Trout’s deal, Boras indicated, in his own indirect and creative way, that he and Harper will not view Trout’s contract as a template to follow. Read full article here.

Nationals’ Matt Williams is learning that filling out lineup card is just the beginning

(Adam Kilgore, Washington Post)

VIERA, FLA. — Matt Williams thinks of Dusty Baker as more than just one of his former managers. When Williams struggled to stick in the major leagues as a rookie, Baker helped fix his swing. When the Arizona Diamondbacks released Williams, Baker offered the 37-year-old a roster spot in Chicago with the Cubs. When managing in the major leagues became Williams’s goal, Baker shared advice on how to spark his career. He considers Baker a mentor, someone between friend and father-figure. “He’s a special man,” Williams said.

Baker’s first managerial job was in 1993 with San Francisco, where Williams played third base. Baker pared the roster and set the lineup based on ingrained expertise and gut feel. For the most part, players avoided his office unless invited in. Baker spoke to reporters before and after games, but most of his comments weren’t disseminated until the next day. His highest-paid player, Barry Bonds, made $4.5 million. Across the bay, the Oakland A’s employed an advance scout named Billy Beane, who filed reports on minor leaguers. No one paid him much attention.

“I think when we first came up, the general manager had less of a role in picking your team,” Baker said. “Everything is so much by the numbers, we forget there’s people playing the game. There’s a certain amount of heart and intellect and instincts that can’t be quantified.” Read full article here.

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