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"I Don't Care How Fast You Throw Ball Four"-The Nationals Put Up A Bizarre Sign All Over Their Spring Training Facility

Pitchers and catchers have finally reported. We're one step closer to baseball season, and my heart sores with the eagle's nest. If there's any guy who will be able to pump out blog after blog about spring training, it's definitely me. We already have our first strange story, and it comes out of Nationals camp. President of baseball operations Mike Rizzo has done an excellent job with the Nationals throughout the years. They might be going through an arduous rebuild right now, but he is the architect behind the 2019 team that won the World Series. Apparently, he said before spring training that he would put up signs telling the Nationals players he doesn't care how hard they throw the ball. He stood true to his word, and these signs are now littered all over the Nationals spring training facility. 

Look, I'm all for a team trying to set the tone in spring training. Every ball club needs an identity. I don't like the fact that Mike Rizzo did this, though. Mike Rizzo is the president. This is something that should come from the manager. In fairness, though, this is an issue that the Nationals need to address. This team ranked 23rd out of 30 teams and fastball location+ a year ago. With that said, I don't think the message of "throw strikes" is something that pitchers necessarily need to be told before the season. 

This is something I'm going to monitor throughout the season. I mean, I don't know how seriously the Nationals are going to take this. I think they'll be an improved ball club, but they still play in a really tough division. if I'm an opposing team, I am sitting on every single three-ball count that this team gets themselves into. Hitters usually have the advantage in three-ball counts anyway, but if you are afraid to walk guys, you better be seeing dead red.

No disrespect to the Nationals. They've won a World Series in my lifetime, and my Tigers haven't, but at the same time, something like this would only come from a team projected to finish and last place. I don't see the Dodgers putting up any signs asking their starting pitcher not to throw that hard when they get to three-ball counts. This is something you do for a young team in an attempt to try to establish a culture. I can't knock it, but it's probably going to be talked about every time they give up a homer on a three-ball count throughout the season.