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Nationals to share new spring training facility with Astros and lots of birds

Nationals to share new spring training facility with Astros and lots of birds

The Nationals and Astros will share a new spring training facility, the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Florida. But it looks like there's already a tenant ruling that roost: flocks of birds. 

According to The Palm Beach Post, hundreds of birds are flying around the construction project. They're not only perching in the trees around the ballpark, but also on the light posts, batting cages and club house buildings. 

Here's video:

The newspaper consulted a wildlife biologist from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who identified the birds as a type of crow that scavenges for food.

A nearby landfill could be drawing them to the area, or they could be returning to their usual territory.

Before construction began, the land had been covered in vegetation and pine trees. The birds may have been displaced temporarily by the building, but returned once they discovered new places to roost at the ballpark. 

Grass seed and fertilizer used at the site could also be attracting them.

Regardless of why the birds have flocked to the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, they probably aren't leaving any time soon. 

“Once the baseball stadium opens, with fans eating French fries and food, I’m sure they will be hanging around more,” the wildlife biologist said. 

MORE NATIONALS: BRYCE HARPER GETS MARRIED OVER WEEKEND

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Virginia General Assembly issues proclamation to commend Nationals for World Series run

Virginia General Assembly issues proclamation to commend Nationals for World Series run

“Baby Shark” may forever be ingrained in the memories of Nationals fans, but now the song—as well as many other key contributors to the team’s World Series run—is officially a part of Virginia history after the General Assembly issued a joint proclamation Tuesday commending the club on its title.

With general manager Mike Rizzo and the commissioner’s trophy in attendance, lawmakers met Tuesday and agreed to issue a proclamation to “commend the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball, 2019 World Series champions, on the occasion of their monumental victory.”

They also asked that the clerk send a copy of the document to the Lerner family “as an expression of the General Assembly’s admiration for the team’s success and its contributions to the Commonwealth.”

The proclamation details the path that led to the Nationals’ improbable championship run, including its 19-31 start, five comeback wins in elimination games, UVA alumni Ryan Zimmerman and Sean Doolittle, dugout dances and, of course, “Baby Shark.”

“The Washington Nationals demonstrated to young players all over the world what can be accomplished through grit and determination and gave fans a moment they will cherish for the rest of their lives,” the document reads.

It’s been a whirlwind of an offseason for the Nationals, who won the World Series and paraded down the streets of D.C. before a slew of key contributors hit free agency days later. The Nationals have re-signed several of those players, including the aforementioned Zimmerman, as they look to defend their title in 2020.

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Nationals officially announce re-signing of franchise icon Ryan Zimmerman

Nationals officially announce re-signing of franchise icon Ryan Zimmerman

Ryan Zimmerman is officially back with the only organization he’s ever known after the Nationals announced Tuesday that they re-signed the first baseman to a one-year deal.

Multiple outlets reported Friday that Zimmerman and the Nationals agreed on a $2 million base salary for 2020 with incentives related to playing time that could push the amount to $5 million. Washington also owes Zimmerman $2 million for the buyout of his team option for this season from his last contract.

Since being the inaugural draft pick of the Nationals after they moved to D.C., Zimmerman has set team records (2005-present) for games (1,689), hits (1,784), home runs (270), RBIs (1,015), runs (936) and walks (630). He endeared himself to fans as the face of the franchise during its early years of turmoil.

After sticking it through a rebuild and several prompt playoff exits, Zimmerman played a key role in the Nationals’ World Series run this past October—most notably hitting the first World Series home run in team history off Gerrit Cole in Game 1. He gave a tear-filled speech at the team’s celebratory parade in November, calling D.C. “the greatest city to play sports in the world.”

The Nationals’ 40-man roster sits at 39 after the move. Zimmerman is expected to split time at first base with offseason signee Eric Thames. That rotation could include postseason hero Howie Kendrick as well, but the addition of Zimmerman likely means Kendrick sees more action at second than first.

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