Washington's Nationals put together a successful 19-4 Spring, outscoring opponents with a +81 run differential in Grapefruit League games, but they also got to know each other with a number of new faces on the coaching and medical staff and a few new ones in the lineup.
New Nats' skipper Dusty Baker talked this weekend about what they accomplished off the field in terms of building relationships and a positive clubhouse culture.
"Culturally I'm very satisfied," Baker said. "They're comfortable around me, i feel comfortable saying whatever I've got to say to them. They feel comfortable coming into my office. They'll just walk in like it's no big deal and they've made me like we've been together for a period of time, more than six weeks.
"It's still a work in progress, and winning helps whatever might not be going so good. So, culturally, I'm very pleased that we've accomplished what we have in a short period of time."
Not that stats in Spring Training games matter at all, in the big picture, but it doesn't hurt to have success and it's something that Baker hopes carries over into the regular season.
"The great Springs give you a great sense of a security and a great frame of mind. You'd like to win that first one right out of the gate, because you're always a bit apprehensive [about] some of the teams that have bad starts, you know what I mean?
"You want to win that to get that out of the way, then, 'Let's go!'"
Baker and the Nationals are ready to go this afternoon's season opener with the Braves in Atlanta's Turner Field.
Here is the lineup the veteran skipper is sending out against the Braves and right-hander Julio Teheran:
GAME TIME: 4:10 PM; FOLLOW: MASN2, MLB.tv, 106.7 the FAN in D.C.