Mar 31, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Anthony Rendon (6) greets manager Matt Williams (9) before the game against the New York Mets on opening day at Citi Field. Nationals won 9-7. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

District Daily: Washington Nationals News 4/1


Checkout some great articles from our fellow Washington Nationals writers:

Williams excited and nervous before Opening Day

(Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

NEW YORK — As he prepared to manage his first regular-season game on Monday, skipper Matt Williams acknowledged that he was both excited and nervous.

He didn’t sleep well on Sunday night, but he expected that to happen.

“That’s OK. That’s part of the deal,” Williams said. “We are ready to go. Everybody is ready and so am I. If you can’t get excited about Opening Day, something is wrong — just typical stuff.” Read full article here.

Ian Desmond has become the backbone of the Washington Nationals

(Adam Kilgore, Washington Post)

VIERA, FLA. — Once or twice every spring training, Ian Desmond walks into the clubhouse that houses the Washington Nationals’ minor leaguers and searches for himself. He wants to talk to them all, to make everyone who enters the franchise feel at home. He answers questions. He forges relationships. He looks for kids who remind him of what he was at 18.

“I was never one of those guys, if somebody would walk in, I’d be the first guy up talking to him,” Desmond said. “I was always kind of laying back, watching, observing. I try to look for that guy in there.”

…Ten years have passed since Desmond joined the organization. He feels those years — the roots in Viera and Washington, the connections. If Ryan Zimmerman serves as the face of the franchise, Desmond is the face of the organization hidden from public view. He represents the low-level coaches, the community relations staffers, the minor league players who bustle below the surface. He may know more people in the organization than anyone. He binds them.

“There’s men in this organization that have equally as much invested in me as my own parents,” Desmond said. “I came here when I was basically a boy. They basically can take half the credit of who I’ve become.” Read full article here.

For Washington Nationals and rest of MLB, hope springs on opening day 2014

(Thomas Boswell, Washington Post)

For 183 days baseball fans ask questions. Then for 182 days starting Monday, they get their answers. If you have the vague impression that half of your life is richer than the other half but you don’t know quite why, you’re probably a baseball fan.

“Opening day is the best day of the year,” Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth said. Chilly with the threat of rain in Queens against the miserable Mets is the best it ever gets? “It’s the best day on earth,” Werth amended, giving the galaxy a day off.

“If you’re not nervous, you’re not human,” right-hander Tanner Roark said of just thinking about his own start in the home opener at Nationals Park on Friday.

The Nats seemed loaded double with tantalizing questions. When or will Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper hit their true baseball maturity and become great players rather than very good young ones? Are the Nats as a team about to make a similar jump? Of 43 ESPN baseball writers, 19 picked the Nats to be in the World Series and 12 to win it. Sports Illustrated has picked them to win it all again despite an 86-76 record last year that missed the playoffs. Read full article here.

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