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Olympian Katie Ledecky visits Nats Park, players enthralled with medals

Olympian Katie Ledecky visits Nats Park, players enthralled with medals

Watch Ledecky throw out the first pitch in the video player above, which will begin momentarily.

Before Wednesday's game between the Nats and Orioles, as players, fans and media anticipated the arrival of U.S. Olympic swimming legend - and Bethesda, Md.-native - Katie Ledecky, one National remarked how Ledecky is the 'Bryce Harper of swimming.'

Yeah, in Harper's dreams.

The five-time Olympic gold medalist has accomplished far more in her sport than Harper, or any other Nationals player for that matter, has in theirs. So, in a funny bit to go along with her first pitch, she had Harper escort her to the mound. Ledecky then took off each medal, one-by-one, and handed them to Harper. She then threw a perfect strike to reliever Shawn Kelley.

Yes, it appears there is nothing Ledecky can't do these days. The 19-year-old is now just soaking it all in as she takes just a few weeks off before she begins her preparation for the next Olympics, in Tokyo, Japan in 2020.

"This will probably be the longest break I take in the next four years. It's just nice to be out of the water and recharge," she said.

Ledecky said Harper is one of her favorite players. She spoke with him and his teammates, as well as manager Dusty Baker in the team's clubhouse. A Nationals fan, Ledecky enjoyed seeing them as much as they liked seeing her.

"It was cool. They all wanted to see how heavy [my medals] are and things like that. They are pretty heavy. It was kind of a different feeling for me to have them be a fan of me when I've been a huge fan of theirs for a couple years. I know the Nats played part of my race [on the scoreboard] and that meant a lot to me. To have that support means so much," she said.

Ledecky has some rare free time now and was able to get some practice in before throwing her first pitch.

"I have two neighbors that play baseball and they always get excited when I throw a first pitch, so they always wanted to go down to the park and throw with me. So, I practiced a little bit," she said.

It's still a busy time for Ledecky, who is off to Stanford to begin college later this month. All the while, she's still processing all that she accomplished in Rio.

"Slowly, but surely. I expect it will sink in as we move forward in the next few weeks, once I get back in the pool and start working towards my next goals. You just have to kind of put everything you've done behind you and start working towards the next thing," she said.

[RELATED: Nats fall on wrong side of three challenges by Orioles]


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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.