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Acta never lost his composure publicly or his faith in his players privately, and they responded by playing hard until the last out of every game.

The Nats have posted a 46-44 record since May 11, even after a sweep by the New York Mets this weekend. Two games over .500 in the National League over the course of a full season, and you are in a pennant race. You are “manager of the year.”

It may be a tough sell for a manager with a losing record to win that honor. Joe Girardi did so last year when he led the Florida Marlins to a 78-84 record, but that is only six games under .500, not 14, where the Nationals are. Acta, though, is more deserving of the honor than Girardi, who had far more talent on his squad and an ego he did nothing to earn.

But the Nationals can award Acta their own version of that prize in the closing days of RFK, surrounded by memories of Washington baseball past.

The Nats can make their commitment to Washington’s baseball future official by telling everyone — once it passes through the proper security channels, of course — that Manny Acta indeed will be the club’s manager next year and the year after that and perhaps beyond as well.