Williams reflects on opening day as a player and now as a manager

NEW YORK - Manager Matt Williams was the first to admit he was nervous and excited for opening day, his first as a major league manager and with the Nationals - so much so that he didn’t sleep very well Sunday night.

But he did appear relaxed in his red Nationals long-sleeve sweatshirt and athletic shorts, fresh-faced after completing a morning workout.

How does day one feel now that it is here?

“Good,” Williams said from his office in the visiting clubhouse at Citi Field. “Nervous energy, to be expected. Didn’t sleep well, but that is OK. That is part of the deal. We are ready to go. Everybody is ready, so am I. Just nervousness, just opening day. If you can’t get excited about opening day something is wrong. Just typical stuff.”

Williams has been through this as a player, spanning 17 seasons and more tathan 1,800 games. But opening day is opening day, and as a player or a manager, it is always very special.

“Been a lot of them, but it doesn’t change,” Williams said. “It is always the same. You wait all winter as a player, certainly you work out all winter, go through spring training and now it really means something. It is a little different energy, a different level of anticipation going in. It is good, it makes you feel alive.

“As a player, I was more excited about day two, just to get the pomp and circumstance out of the way and just get into the season. So I was probably better on day two and three than I was on (day) one. But it is fun. You get a chance to do it every year only once. So to be excited about is a good thing.”

And he knows what it is like as a player on opening day, so he is more than happy today to just let the Nationals take the field and do work.

“I will just let them go today and get out of their way and hopefully watch them do really well.”

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