Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams, sporting a tuxedo in New York City's New York Hilton on Saturday night, accepted the Baseball Writers' Association of America's (BBWAA) award for NL Manager of the Year after leading the Nats to a 96-66 record and an NL East Division crown in 2014.
"For me tonight is a night of 'Thank yous'," Williams said. "First and foremost, I think I would be remiss if I didn't thank Ernie Banks, for teaching us what love of the game means on an everyday basis."
Banks, of course, passed away this weekend.
The Chicago Cubs' Hall of Famer, 83, suffered a heart attack seven days short of his 84th birthday.
The Nats' skipper went on to thank his own former manager and the American League Manager of the Year in 2014, Buck Showalter, for providing an example, the Lerner family for bringing him to D.C. and Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo, "the true architect of our team," as Williams said.
"Thank you, Mike," Williams continued. "Thank you for allowing me to be at the helm of this and trusting me to be your manager."
Williams went on to thank the Nationals' staff, the PR staff and the players for the work they do on an everyday basis and his family for their support of his life in baseball.
In closing, Williams named every one of his coaches and accepted the BBWAA award on behalf of his coaching staff and the Nationals as a whole.
Check out the entire speech below:
Matt Williams looked sharp:
Now on to the links to catch you up on the last 48 hours or so of Nationals-related news, links, tweets, quotes and more...
Max Scherzer thanks Detroit, talks wearing the Olde English "D":
• "If you loved 'donning the Old English D' so much, why leave? It appears you like yachts a tad more." - "Max Scherzer Thanks the Tigers and Their Fans in a Full-Page Ad in Today’s Newspaper" - Rob Perez, The Big Lead
• "Truth is, Max, you are in Washington because of the money. You are in Washington because the Nationals are paying you $210 million..." - "Come on, Max, we know it was about the money" - Tony Paul, The Detroit News
• "Scherzer took out an ad on both the Free Press and News websites to thank the Tigers' ownership, front office, and fanbase." - "Max Scherzer thanks Tigers organization and fans" - Rob Rogacki, Bless You Boys
Boswell on Ernie Banks:
My col on Ernie Banks: "Let’s play two" isn’t just a quotation that’ll probably end up in Bartlett’s. It’s philosophy http://t.co/Whj8SRg7D9— Thomas Boswell (@ThomasBoswellWP) January 25, 2015
• "Even though I grew up in the District, I looked all the way to Chicago to find Ernie Banks. Then I didn’t let him go." - "Ernie Banks, 'Mr. Cub,' willed himself to be happy" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post
NATS BEAT: Roark to pen; Ohlendorf to Texas; Scherzer on Fister/Thornton; Where is Bryce?
Man, what a great time at the Clippers game tonight..Nothing like sitting down on the bench and… http://t.co/7N0xSq4qNV— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) January 23, 2015
• "It’s been a fun-filled week for Bryce Harper." - "Bryce Harper attends Clippers game, gets an autographed jersey from J.J. Redick" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post
• "Rendon did more than the Nats could have asked for in his Age 24 season and showed what he is capable of when healthy." - "Washington Nationals 2015 roster preview: Anthony Rendon" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
UMPIRE: "Son, you can't stand there." PLAYER: "What, why not?" UMPIRE: "Because David Ortiz is going to hit the ball there, obviously."— Bucs Dugout (@BucsDugout) January 25, 2015
• "Scherzer and Thornton are good friends and have been working out together all offseason. Though the left-hander pitched just over two months with the Nats, he had great things to say..." - "Scherzer talked to Fister, Thornton before joining Nationals" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
• "'I talked to Tanner,' Williams said, 'and here's what I told him: I said, 'Of course, you know this is gonna happen, and Max is gonna be with us. There may be opportunity for you to pitch out of the bullpen, maybe.'" - "Nationals Pastime: Matt Williams' message to Tanner Roark" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
The Lerners and Scherzers celebrated at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab http://t.co/1bpVIskEFB— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) January 23, 2015
• "The bullpen wouldn't be foreign to Roark, who worked in relief for 99 of his 166 career Minor League outings, plus nine of 14 as a rookie in 2013." - "Roark may land in 'pen with Nats' full rotation" - Andrew Simon, nationals.com
• "Ross Ohlendorf – who was a big contributor for the Nationals in 2013 – has signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers..." - "Former Nats pitcher Ross Ohlendorf follows Detwiler to Rangers" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
• "Rodriguez and Janssen might be the most attractive options remaining, both of whom closed last season." - "Nationals Pastime: Taking a look at the remaining free agent relievers" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "'I always thought Jordan Zimmermann was the best pitcher on that staff,' [Steve] Cishek said. 'Scherzer is a great pitcher, but they already had a great one there.'" - "Better days have been building in Toronto" - Nick Cafardo, The Boston Globe
• "Nationals manager Matt Williams mentioned Banks as he picked up his NL Manager of the Year award, saying, 'I’d like to thank Ernie Banks for teaching us what love of the game means on an every day basis.'" - "Alderson, Frates highlight BBWAA dinner" - Anthony McCarron, NY Daily News
NATIONALS Prospect Updates:
• "Manuel said Taylor will concentrate on working to lessen his strikeout rate, with 144 punchouts last year." - "Baseball America No. 3 Nats prospect: Michael A. Taylor" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "The Nationals agreed to terms on a Minor League contract with outfielder Derrick Robinson on Friday..." - "Nationals sign outfielder D. Robinson to Minor League deal" - Andrew Simon, nationals.com
• "Listed at 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, the long and lean Cole has a chance to fill out and put on some strength." - "Five Things To Know About Nationals Prospect A.J. Cole" - Luke Jackson, Pressbox DC
• "Despite fresh snowfall covering the ground, more than 200 fans gathered for the Senators' Fifth Annual Hot Stove Dinner on Saturday night to talk baseball and look ahead to the 2015 season." - "Anticipation builds for 2015 season at Harrisburg Senators Hot Stove dinner" - Mick Reinhard, PennLive.com
JJ sure does know how to tell a story. Happy to have him in Harrisburg. pic.twitter.com/ZTAfBKp8vY— Harrisburg Senators (@HbgSenators) January 25, 2015
• "The junior right-hander will anchor the staff with both senior Trent Swart and sophomore James Marvel both sidelined for the year with injuries and last season’s ace Drew Van Orden now in the Washington Nationals' minor league system." - "Young, athletic Duke baseball ready to build on successful 2014 campaign" - Ryan Neu and Brian Pollack, The Chronicle
• "The Nationals were concerned with the latter two on Sunday, when they held auditions for the 2015 Racing Presidents at the Nats' Youth Baseball Academy in Southeast D.C." - "Nats hold auditions for 2015 Racing Presidents" - David Wilson, nationals.com
• "Washington Nationals manager and former Diamondback Matt Williams and his wife, Erika, will host the Big Game, Big Give at their 20,000-square-foot Paradise Valley home." - "Big Game, Big Give party elevates Super Bowl event week" - Megan Finnerty, The Arizona Republic
NL EAST UPDATES: Phils' prospect; Braves' claim Eury; Ichiro in MIA; Wright talks
"Mets fans have been waiting all winter for me to introduce a shortstop."--Mets GM Sandy Alderson in presenting an award to Cal Ripken Jr.— Richard Justice (@richardjustice) January 25, 2015
• Phillies: "Zach Eflin isn’t the first pitcher and former first-round pick of a West Coast team to be acquired by the Phillies in a trade." - "Outs, not strikeouts, matter to Phillies' prospect Zach Eflin" - Jim Salisbury, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
• Marlins: "Ichiro Suzuki has been given an opportunity to join the 3,000-hit club." - "Ichiro's pursuit of 3,000 hits to continue in Miami" - Tracy Ringolsby, marlins.com
• "Through his first two years in Atlanta, B.J. Upton has provided plenty of reasons to assume his days as a productive Major Leaguer are complete." - "Seitzer encouraged by workouts with Upton" - Mark Bowman, braves.com