Washington Nationals News: Dusty Baker making right calls on and off the field

May 15, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker (12) in the dugout during the game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
May 15, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker (12) in the dugout during the game against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Today’s District Daily features stories on Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker‘s success so far this season and some interesting comments made by Barry Bonds about Bryce Harper.

Good morning DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily. get caught up on the latest Nats news and opinions with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

In today’s Daily, the Washington Post’s James Wagner discusses how Dusty Baker has been making all the right decisions — both on and off the field — so far during his first season at the helm as the Nationals’ manager.

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As Wagner writes, many expected Baker to be a great player’s manager and to help keep the team confident in the dugout and in the clubhouse. Of course, Baker has accomplished that so far, helping guide the Nationals to an early 23-15 record, which is good for first place in the National League East.

But, as Wagner notes, Baker has also excelled at making the right calls on the field, which is something that people often fail to give him credit for.

Here’s what Baker had to say about his abilities as a tactical manager, via Wagner’s article:

"“Everybody just calls me lucky or ‘I got a good rapport with the players,’ ” Baker said. “Most of the time it’s everything other than ‘I know what I’m doing’ or ‘I might be pretty smart.’ So therefore, I’ve gone the other way most of my life. Most people don’t give you credit for your brain, therefore I don’t want you to give me credit for it. The opposition or the press, let them think what they want. In the meantime, I’ll just keep on kicking your butt.”"

Also in today’s Daily, Stephen Wyno writes about some interesting comments made by Home Run King and Miami Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds about Bryce Harper. As Wyno writes in his article, bonds suggests that Harper diversify his game to adapt to the plethora of walks he’s been seeing at the plate in recent weeks.

Bonds, as Wyno writes, was intentionally walked many times in his career and leads the all-time list in that offensive category as well. When he was walked, however, Bonds tried to help his team win by stealing bases and keeping the pressure on the opposing team — which is exactly what he thinks Harper needs to start doing.

Here’s what Bonds had to say about Harper, via Wyno’s article: 

"“Bryce Harper can only do what his job is,” Bonds said. “If they walk him, his job is to go to first base and then run bases. His teammates’ job is to drive him in. Bryce Harper can only do what he’s capable of doing and what he’s given the opportunity to do.”"

Be sure to check out both articles below, they’re definitely worth a read. and as always, stay tuned to DoD for all your Washington Nationals needs.

Dusty Baker is making the right calls for Nationals, on and off the field

(James Wagner, Washington Post)

Everyone has a reputation — or, as Dusty Baker calls it, a jacket. This player can’t hit a fastball. That pitcher struggles against left-handers. This guy has a checkered past.

The Washington Nationals’ manager has a jacket, too.

Baker has always been known more for his gregarious personality and people skills, traits that have helped him guide teams for 21 years, than for his skills as a baseball tactician. On the field, Baker has been viewed as old school, relying on sacrifice bunts, leaning too much on his starting pitchers and laughing off modern statistics. Read full article here.

Bonds: Harper should diversify his game to adapt to walks

(Stephen Whyno, AP, via Washington Post)

WASHINGTON — When pitchers were intentionally walking Barry Bonds more than anyone else in baseball history, his father had a simple message for him.

“It’s your fault,” Bobby Bonds told his son. “You didn’t have to be this good.”

That’s what Barry Bonds thinks when he sees Bryce Harper getting so many free passes to first base. But he also believes the Washington Nationals outfielder and reigning National League MVP needs to diversity his game if opposing teams are going to take the bat out of his hands. Read full article here.