Jim Riggleman said before the Nats’ 8-0 win over the Brewers on Saturday that winning validates the team’s feeling that they can beat their opponents.
The fact that Washington GM Mike Rizzo has brought in players with post-season experience and proven track records has made a major difference. For the younger players to be able to catch a glimpse of the 2009 World Series ring that Brian Bruney received from the New York Yankees on Friday is good karma and something they can strive for.
No doubt the addition of Pudge Rodriguez has been great for the Nats clubhouse. Adam Dunn told me Pudge is a quiet guy but a true professional. He works hard on and off the field. His conditioning is second to none and his drive and determination is something the entire team can feed off of.
Ryan Zimmerman told me before the game that the Nats players expect to win. He said in the past they found ways to lose, but now it’s the opposite - they are finding ways to win. He admitted it’s a different mindset, the guys are having fun together, and it’s a great group to be around.
One tradition that continues when the team plays at home is the handing out of the “player of the game” wig.
On Friday, Josh Willingham sported the silver Elvis hairdo, but on Sunday, Livan Hernandez had the wig hanging in his locker because he told me it didn’t fit!