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Williams on Ripken/Desmond; Taylor on his catch

Jul 21, 2015, 6:24 PM EDT

USA Today

Ian Desmond told a story after Monday night’s game that caught the attention of many baseball fans in the Mid-Atlantic area, how MLB Hall of Famer and Orioles legend Cal Ripken, Jr. gave him some advice recently that may have helped him snap out of an extended hitless streak.

Ripken saw Desmond before one of the Nats’ games against the Dodgers over the weekend and told him he had similar struggles to what Desmond is going through right now back in 1993. You can read the full quote here.

Desmond had two hits on Monday night, including a home run, and credited Ripken with helping out. On Tuesday, Desmond’s manager Matt Williams was asked for his thoughts on Ripken giving advice to one of his players.

“We welcome it. Cal knows all of our guys very well. He’s been around the ballpark. Anytime you can pick a brain like Cal Ripken’s then you gotta do it. So, yeah, words of encouragement are great,” Williams said. “[That] gives Desi nothing but encouragement to say ‘okay, what’s in the past is in the past and will always be in the past and you can’t do anything about it now except go forward.’ So we welcome it. Any help that anybody can offer, we welcome.”

Williams then shared how he would feel if a former big leaguer gave him similar advice back when he was playing.

“For me, if he was to say that to me in a time like that, it would just let me know that he’s watching me and he cares. And ultimately, that’s probably the best thing. It wasn’t necessarily words of mechanical advice or anything of that nature. It was ‘hey, I’ve been there. I know what your’re going through. Here’s how I came out of it. Here’s how I ended up having a good season after it was a struggle for me for a while.’ That’s nothing but positive mojo, positive feedback,” Williams said.

Tuesday also gave outfielder Michael Taylor a chance to reflect on his spectacular catch from the night before. The rookie ended the top of the fifth with a leaping grab in right-center field that likely saved two runs.

Taylor said he could tell it was a big play based on Bryce Harper’s reaction, as the right fielder ran right up to Taylor to celebrate. He also said he was able to watch the StatCast replay, which gives advanced statistics like speed, reaction time and route efficiency.

Taylor, in fact, took off before Mets’ first baseman Eric Campbell even made contact. He registered a 98.1 percent route efficiency and reached a top speed of 19.1 miles per hour.

Here is what Taylor said about anticipation and taking off before a ball is hit:

“That’s something that I work on during BP. In center field, you have the advantage to watch the ball go into the zone so I try to kind of anticipate where he’s going to hit the ball. Just get a little momentum going in that direction.”

And here is what Taylor had to say about reaching 19.1 miles per hour:

“I did [watch the replay]… I was just curious to see what the speed would be, so I checked it… I was hoping for better,” he joked.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at Click here for past audio clips.

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