Ian is one of the strongest leaders on the team, and now he has apparently taken on the challenge of giving up chewing tobacco. He stopped “dipping” during the Christmas holiday season and says he got through Spring Training without a hitch. Smoking, chewing and dipping are all habit forming (and are popular with athletes) and have all been linked to cancer, gum problems and tooth loss. Ian’s mother is still a huge influence and she has been encouraging him in this effort. He is well aware also that he is a role model for the younger generation.
Desmond has always been one of the most inspirational players on the Nats roster. He spent years in the minors working hard to reach “The Show.” I still remember seeing him playing for the Potomac Nats and during Spring Training in Florida (2005 or 2006).
This season has been a struggle for the whole team, including Ian. His hitting and fielding are both below what we know he’s capable of, though he is the team leader in runs-batted-in at this point. He is still excelling in a couple of areas however; he and Danny Espinosa together have more home-runs than any other middle-infielder combination in the major leagues! And as usual Desmond is a superb team leader. In every game we see him talking to his teammates (especially the younger pitchers like Treinen and Barrett) calming them and keeping them focussed on the essential task at hand.