Tidbits from a week of Interleague Play

Willie Harris: Player of the World!
Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner admitted to me this week that Nats utilityman Willie Harris is his favorite player. He also added that he wished he had a whole team of players like Willie.

Last year when Willie earned Player of the Week honors (POW) the Nats owner said he thought POW should stand for Player of the World. That’s a nickname that will stick with Willie for a while as he continues to play with such heart and energy here in Washington. He’s one of a kind and he’s not only a special player but more importantly he’s a special person.

Manny being Manny: Acta gives back before going to Baltimore
Before making the drive to Baltimore Friday morning, Nats skipper Manny Acta teamed up with MASN to speak to some at-risk youngsters at Boys Town Washington, DC. These kids come from troubled backgrounds and Manny had some words of encouragement for them about how life is a lot like baseball.

His message was that they could overcome their obstacles and achieve anything they wanted. He used himself as an example of someone coming from humble beginnings and making it big in baseball. He told them not to make any excuses and to dream big, like he did.

He also pointed to D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and President Barack Obama as good role models who worked hard and made good choices to get to their positions in our Nation’s Capitol.

Red Sox Pedroia Pumped over Nationals Park!
Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia sat in the visitors dugout on Wednesday, the finale of Boston’s three-game set with the Nationals, and told me how much he loves Nationals Park.

He said you can’t even compare it to Citi Field or the New Yankee Stadium because it’s so much better. He said the character and charm of the ballpark are better than the other new parks. He was also impressed with the clubhouse, and he told me everything was built in a first class manner. I told him he should check out the park in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

Stan’s the Man according to Smoltz
Former Braves star John Smoltz spoke this week about how Nats team president Stan Kasten was able to build a winner in Atlanta around young quality pitchers.

The Red Sox pitcher also pointed to the Nats’ young rotation and said it was a mirror image to how Kasten turned around a struggling Atlanta team. He also added that the future should be bright here in Washington, D.C.