Matt Williams brings intensity to his new job as Nationals manager

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Sandy Williams was a carpenter who worked on big construction projects in the area. He and his wife, Sally, had four boys. Matt Williams was the youngest and maybe not even the best athlete. But he was the one given the opportunity to play baseball day after day every summer for the Carson Capitols, an American Legion team back then run by Williams‘ coach at Carson High, Ron McNutt. In a high desert climate where snows can linger into spring, but summers are clear and dry, it was the best way to learn the sport with as many as 80 extra games crammed into three months.

Sandy Williams never pushed his son into sports. They simply fed an innate need for competition. But he was always willing to contribute. Early in Matt Williams‘ high school career, his father asked McNutt how he could help around the Carson High field.

“Boy, it’d be nice to have a press box,” McNutt said.

The next thing he knew, Sandy Williams and his son were on the field building one out of cinder block. When they finally finished, it was two stories high behind home plate and had storage space, a small locker room for the coaches and, up top, windows that opened onto the field. It still stands today over 30 years after Sandy Williams took on a project in tune with his own work ethic and his community’s.

“State capital of Nevada and you get a lot of politicians going through there,” Dallimore said. “But they’re not the nuts and bolts of Carson City. It’s just a blue-collar town.”

That filtered down to Matt Williams, who was a three-sport athlete at Carson High, the quarterback and punter on the football team and a basketball player, too, before eventually giving up those sports to concentrate on baseball.

The New York Mets drafted Williams in the 27th round after he graduated high school in 1983. But he spurned their offer and scholarships from powerhouse college programs like Oklahoma State, USC and Arizona State to go to UNLV. Barely 175 pounds when he entered the Rebels’ program, by Christmas of his sophomore year Williams was 215. He was on his way.

“It was just something you could see, his work ethic and his mannerism about the game and how he approached it,” McNutt said. “Matt could have his fun off the field like anybody else. But when it came time to play between the lines, this kid was business.”

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