I was talking to Drew Storen about how nice it was that the Nationals were able to turn this road trip around after such a terrible start and being swept in Philly. He told me the veterans on the ball club really are the reason for the turnaround.
Storen gave credit to Matt Stairs and Jayson Werth for providing a consistent daily approach, saying the way Werth carries himself really rubs off on everyone. He added that Werth doesn't ride an emotional roller coaster and that is big.
Shortly after this conversation, I wandered over to Werth's locker and told him what Storen had said to me. I asked him if he knew what an impact he was making on young players on the team like Storen.
He told he was aware of it and he said he was fortunate over his career as a young player to have good veteran leadership around him.
Werth went on to single out one player who really helped him along the way in 2004 when he was younger and played for the Dodgers. That player was Nats utilityman Alex Cora.
"He was always positive and good for me," Werth explained. "He believed in me and was always a good, positive influence on my career and my game."
Werth added that Cora's attitude never wavered. He was always in Werth's corner.
Now, years later, when the Nationals ride the roller coaster of ups and downs in a game, Werth tries to be the type of leader his teammate Alex Cora was for him.
"I'm glad I can generate that same type of feeling toward other players," Werth said.
After all, he was once in their shoes. For Cora, it puts a smile on his face to see how Werth is acting these days.
"I'm so proud of what he's become," Cora told me. "He's a good athlete and it's impressive to see him as a player come full circle."