There is a feeling of optimism surrounding the 2011 Washington Nationals. The veterans general manager Mike Rizzo brought in during the offseason are having an immediate impact.
Jayson Werth sets the tone with his professionalism and desire to win. He is a baseball player and a guy the younger Nats watch, listen to and try to emulate. Jayson is a proven winner and that's what this team needs to turn things around.
"We are sick of losing," John Lannan told me this spring. The organization has made moves to improve the ballclub and the players appreciate that.
Ryan Zimmerman likes the fact there are more veterans on the team. He admitted it helps him focus on himself more.
This clubhouse will police itself, which will make things a lot easier for many people in the organization. Most importantly, manager Jim Riggleman has a supporting cast that will help him focus on the baseball aspect of things. He shouldn't have to worry if his players are ready or focused. That should be automatic with a professional ballplayer.
There is a new culture surrounding this team and it's moving in the right direction toward building a winner.
As the final cuts of the spring are made this week, we'll see the team start to take on a personality that should only get better as the guys get to know each other both on and off the field.
Hope springs eternal. Let's play ball, D.C.!