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Baseball welcomes Washington Nationals' skipper Dusty Baker back...

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Dusty Baker's career started in Atlanta and his new gig with the Washington Nationals started with a win over the Braves on Opening Day on Monday afternoon. Baseball welcomed Johnnie B. "Dusty" Baker back into the fold.

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Dusty Baker was drafted by the Braves in the 26th Round of the 1967 Draft and he played eight seasons in Atlanta at the start of his career. He put up a .278/.351/.440 line with 111 doubles, eight triples and 77 home runs in 628 games and 2,515 plate appearances for the Braves before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1975.

He talked this past weekend about returning to Atlanta for the season opener and his first regular season game as the manager of the Washington Nationals.

"That's where I started and I think it's coincidental that this will be the last year supposedly at that stadium and we're opening there," he said.

"Every time I go back to Atlanta it brings back childhood memories. I was a teenager when I was there. So it brings back very pleasant memories." -Dusty Baker on returning to Atlanta

"I'm looking forward to going back to Atlanta. Every time I go back to Atlanta it brings back childhood memories. I was a teenager when I was there. So it brings back very pleasant memories. Also lets me know how old I am, by -- some of the kids now are married and some of them are grandfathers.

"You know, you live your life. I remember when this new stadium was built. When I was there in '67, that stadium was about a year old.

"The Milwaukee Braves came over there and they tore the other one down and now they're about to tear this one down too. It just goes to show, life is grand and life goes on."

His first year with his fourth and final team started with a strong Grapefruit League run by the Nationals.

On Monday afternoon in Turner Field, Baker returned to the bench in the majors for the first time since 2013, when he was relieved of his duties in Cincinnati following a 90-win season with the Reds.

Washington won the first game for the Nationals' new skipper, but it wasn't easy.

After falling behind 3-2 on a bases loaded walk by reliever Shawn Kelley in the bottom of the eighth, the visiting Nats rallied to tie things up at 3-3 when the Braves' closer, Jason Grilli, gave up the lead in the ninth.

An RBI double by Daniel Murphy in the tenth inning gave Baker his 841st win as a major league skipper on the player-turned-manager's 42nd Opening Day.

So, Baker was asked, was managing in the majors just like he remembered it?

"It's kind of like the game telling me, 'Welcome back," the 66-year-old manager joked with reporters.

"There were a lot of highs and lows in that game and boy, that was some ballgame. I was just -- during the course of the game we left a lot of men on base. We could have broken that game open a couple of times. But we kept fighting and fighting and when I went to the mound to take Kelley out, I just told our guys, 'Hey, man, we've got to bail him out because some point in time we're going to have to bail everybody on this team out and that's how good teams operate.

"We won an extra inning game, on the road and a one-run ballgame. And this is what we had talked about in Spring Training.

"It's kind of like the game telling me, 'Welcome back.' There were a lot of highs and lows in that game and boy, that was some ballgame." -Dusty Baker on the Nationals' win over the Braves

"I felt very flattered that [Jonathan Papelbon] and the team, they gave me my first victory ball in a Nationals uniform.

"So that can go to the house with all the other ones. I don't think I've ever lost an opener... I don't think. No, I've lost openers, but I don't think I've lost one with a new team."

He did actually lose one of his three previous Opening Days with new teams. His San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cards in 1993. His Chicago Cubs beat the New York Mets in 2003.

In 2008 with the Reds, however, the Arizona Diamondbacks beat Cincinnati.

After the Nationals' win, they have a day off today before they play the second of two games with the Braves on Wednesday night.

Baker said this past weekend that his friends in Atlanta will know where to find him today, when he'll be revisiting some old haunts from his playing days with the Braves.

He also talked to reporters before the season opener about his early days in Atlanta when asked about the difficulty of facing divisional rivals like this year's Braves and the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies, who are stocked with young, relatively unknown commodities as they go through rebuilding phases.

Without detailed scouting reports and knowledge of their tendencies, it's tough, he explained, and these teams can't be taken lightly.

"Those teams are dangerous because you don't know a lot about them," Baker said. "Those teams are very dangerous because you don't know how to pitch them.

"You might tell your pitcher to keep the ball down and this guy is a low ball hitter and he hits you out of the park and beats you with it, before you find out he's a low ball hitter.

"Just like September call-ups. September call-ups are more dangerous than anybody."

Someone told Baker that once, back when he was just getting started with the Braves.

"I remember when I was a kid, I went out to dinner with Hank Aaron, Rico Carty, Ralph Garr, and Jerry Koosman and Jerry Koosman told me that I was the most dangerous hitter in the lineup and I was quite thrilled to hear that... until he deflated me by telling me he didn't really know much about me or how to pitch me.

"That's what happens when you're facing a lot of these teams that you don't know."