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Nationals players on the stressful process of choosing a nickname for Players' Weekend

Nationals players on the stressful process of choosing a nickname for Players' Weekend

Zimm, Brown Eye and T3 will all take the field against the Cubs in the annual Players' Weekend series August 23-25.

Some Nationals players got creative when choosing nicknames, and others (yes you, Javy Guerra aka Javy) could use some inspiration. 

Other nicknames just made sense.

Fernando Rodney's nickname, "La Flecha", translates from Spanish to "the arrow". If you had the opportunity to watch the Fernando Rodney experience, you know that he celebrates a save by shooting an imaginary bow and arrow to the sky. 

He described the routine just like pitching: "you know where it is going exactly, you got a good shot."

When asked if he had any other nickname ideas he joked that he thought about using "Plátano Power". A joke dating back to 2017. 

Patrick Corbin is using his Players' Weekend jersey to honor his late friend and Angels pitcher, Tyler Skaggs. His nickname will say "Forty Five", Skaggs' number which Corbin wore days after his death. 

Other nicknames were no brainers, almost decided for the players. 

Wander Suero will go by "The Animal", the nickname given to him in the minor leagues that stuck with him. One of his coaches, Donald Ray "Spin" Williams, would tell him all the time, "you're an animal" because of the way he hustled. It caught on with his teammates and Spin still calls him that. 

Sean Doolittle's nickname was teased for a long time, Obi Sean. His Star Wars-themed bobblehead was a giveaway earlier in the season, featured the relief pitcher as Obi-Wan Kenobi from the popular franchise. The nickname is also his Twitter name though no one calls him that.

Doolittle has changed his nickname for the past three years. "It gives you an opportunity to show a little personality and have some fun with it." He said he can show that he is "a Star Wars nerd." 

These nicknames are chosen in Spring Training, and Doolittle remembers this happening early in the morning. "It's 6 or 7 am and they are walking around the clubhouse with a clipboard asking what you want your players weekend nickname to be at the end of August." He joked, "it's not the most creative time, you're not really awake yet." 

Tanner Rainey was one of those players who may not have been awake yet. When asked if he would answer a few questions about his nickname he laughed and said, "I don't even know my nickname." (For those wondering, it's Rainman).

He said he never really had a nickname but a few guys started calling him Rainman.

"If there's not one I would have went with Rainey on the back of the jersey," he said.

This choice is not because he doesn't like the idea. Rather, he is just focused on baseball during Spring Training.

"Alright that's in late August, this is February," said Rainey. "Let's worry about tomorrow first." 

Doolittle had the perfect way to describe making such an important decision.  "You know-how like the month leading up to Halloween you are like 'I have no idea what I want to dress up as.' You scramble for a costume and you're like 'yeah this works, whatever, at least I dressed up'. That day and the week after it feels like you have all these great ideas and you are like 'aw I should write these down'." 

"So maybe I will do that this year," Doolittle joked. "Maybe I need to start a notes app on my phone."


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Will Anthony Rendon reach a point with Washington the way Nolan Arenado did with Colorado?

Will Anthony Rendon reach a point with Washington the way Nolan Arenado did with Colorado?

CLEVELAND -- Nolan Arenado and Anthony Rendon are forever running parallel. They entered the league together in 2013. They are always synced in discussions about the National League’s best third baseman (along with Kris Bryant). Their contractual situation is even intertwined.

Arenado was able to resolve his when he signed an eight-year, $260 million extension Feb. 26. That mark is sure to be used in Rendon’s petering extension talks with the Nationals. It’s a benchmark. Rendon’s agent, Scott Boras, will bring it up.

Signing the extension turned out to be easy for Arenado. He agreed to terms amid a climate shift from testing the free market to taking decent deals before hitting free agency. The winters Bryce Harper and Manny Machado slogged through alarmed many in the industry. Arenado said he watched those situations, but also was able to find a solution because Colorado came with such a potent offer.

“I think I did it based on what felt right,” Arenado told NBC Sports Washington. “They came with an offer that’s hard to refuse. There were a lot of things I appreciate that I felt like were good for me as a player. Obviously I’m comfortable in Colorado. All those things came into play. They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. It was hard to turn down. It was just all those things put together and the respect they showed me, is what I really appreciated.”

Arenado now owns the fifth-largest contract in the league. He can become a free agent in 2027 when he will be 36 years old. He could be carving a path to the Hall of Fame during the life of the deal.

Rendon is churning through the process during his best professional season. He’s a year older than Arenado and just as valuable to his current team -- if not more so. So, what would Arenado tell Rendon if asked for advice?

“I would tell Rendon, well, obviously, do what you want,” Arenado said. “Which he’s going to do. I think Anthony Rendon is a star player. He’s one of the best players in this game. I think he’s going to be just fine in free agency, personally. I think he’s just that good. 

“He’s one of my favorite — probably my favorite third baseman to watch in this game. I think any team is going to want him. I don’t think he needs to freak out about it at all. I know free agency hasn’t been great. [But] players like Anthony Rendon don’t come around too often, so I think when he comes around, a lot of teams are going to jump on him.

“He’s just going to try to do what’s best for him and his family, and if he stays...hopefully [they] try to figure that out. If not, it’s Anthony Rendon. He’s going to be just fine.”

The last part seems to be Rendon’s approach throughout. In spring training, he said, “If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.” 

Colorado found a way to make it happen with Arenado by making him an offer he couldn’t decline. Will Washington do that with Rendon?


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No Nationals, no problem: NL East dazzles 2019 HR Derby with mammoth homers

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No Nationals, no problem: NL East dazzles 2019 HR Derby with mammoth homers

Though there were no Nationals players in the 2019 Home Run Derby Monday night, the NL East still showed out in a big way. 

Not as big as Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s performance, or the Guerrero vs. Joc Pederson marathon 3OT round, but big enough to take home the trophy.  

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. knocked out 25 long balls in the first round to beat Pittsburgh's Josh Bell (19), while New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso sent 14 deep in his opening matchup to take down hometown hero Carlos Santana (13). 

But the bracket pitted the NL East foes against each other in the semifinals, where Alonso and his polar bear cleats beat out Acuña with a last second home run to win 20-19.

Then, after the Blue Jays' Guerrero put on a show with 69 home runs between the first two rounds -- including a 40-homer semifinal against Josh Pederson that required three tiebreakers -- Alonso finished off the competition with a 'walkoff' shot to left-center to beat Guerrero 23-22 for the Home Run Derby title. Alonso won all three rounds without having to take advantage of any of his 30-second bonus times.

(It should be mentioned that both players in the final round, not just Alonso, had customized cleats).

Ironically, Alonso has fared better against Washington pitchers than Acuña: in 47 at-bats this year, Alonso has five home runs, while Acuña has just one in 23 at-bats.

While no Nationals participated in the Home Run Derby this year, it's hard not to look forward to the second half of the season when Washington's opponents will include multiple battles with both Alonso and Acuña.