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Ronnie Being Ronnie

Manny Acta, with Ronnie Belliard and friends. (By Jonathan Newton - TWP)

If it wasn't already obvious, I'm no longer in the land of gusting winds, sneaky sunburns, daily Manny Acta golf cart rides and Jalapeno cheese fries. Could one argue that there might have been a better way to blog Spring Training than a three-day stint, two of which were before the full team reported? Well, if one were being picky, probably.

Still, I have a couple of leftover items, including the full transcript of Ronnie Belliard's brief meeting with the media yesterday, during which we discussed his new braid-free haircut (yeah, I asked), his weight loss (not me) and the massive commemorative display of his 100th home run by his stall. I got drawn in a bit late, after I heard him talking about how much damage this Nats lineup could do. No, really. The first question I heard concerned Belliard's position.

"Where they need me to be in the field, I'll be there. like last year," he said. "I was there when they needed me, I just stepped up and let Manny know--not only Manny--I think everybody know what I can do on the field, on any given day and any position."

How much do you pride yourself on the fact that you're able to do that?

I don't pride myself, I just go out and do it. Like last year, I didn't practice all the positions, but this year I'm gonna be available to practice: third, short, second, even at first, you never know.

This team improved in so many areas, offensively and pitching. How excited were you to come into Spring Training this year?

I think everybody's excited to come here. Everybody's excited. Like I said earlier, we've got so many new faces, new guys in the bullpen, new starting pitching. We know they're gonna fight for a job and for a position. So it's gonna be interesting.

Nice little [100-home run] milestone there, it's a pretty nice piece of memorabilia for you.

I just got it. I did it last year. Hey, for a little guy, 100 career home runs, I feel great. I feel like I'm Sammy Sosa.

Well they call you little Manny, so....

You know, Manny's an unbelievable hitter. That's the guy I'm looking for every time he go to the plate. If I can see him, I see him, and you try to pick something from him. As a hitter, you pick from the good hitters.

They always say it's Manny being Manny, should we say it's Ronnie being Ronnie?

No. No. No. No. Manny, he's in his own world. He's one of the best hitters ever. Especially when September, October comes, this guy is unbelievable. So Ronnie is just a guy that comes to the stadium happy every day, and trying to give 100 percent every day, every day. Manny's a guy that everybody's waiting for him to do damage.

So what are you gonna do with that [100-homer thing] now?

Take it home. Put it in my living room.

Do you have a preference of all the positions?

No. You know, I am a second basemen, and I'm here to play all the positions, so whatever they need me to do, I go and do it. If somebody's hurt, somebody's sick, Hey, you go to first? I go to first. The next day, somebody's hurt? I go to short. It don't matter. Whatever they need me. I just want to win.

Does it still feel weird to you to do some of that?

Nah, it don't feel weird. I play third base in the Dominican. All my career in the Dominican, I've been playing the last 12 years down there, and I've been playing third, so it's nothing weird.

Did you do anything different this offseason?

I don't do anything different. I just stopped eating what I used to eat, and I just stopped eating certain foods, and I lose weight. I just stopped eating at night. I just stopped eating at night....I just stopped eating at night man, just have juice and fruit and thank God I lost a little bit of weight.

Do you know how much you lost?

Nope. I don't want to know, either, because I'm planning to keep losing weight.

Did you lose some weight up here too? [This was the hair reference.]

Yeah, I've been losing weight on top of my head, too. New look for you.

What was that about?

Nothing. It was just something that I decided to do last year at the All-Star break. It's just my wife didn't want it, because she said I looked good, so I don't cut it. But this time I just said, 'Look I need to cut it, I'm tired of it.' Five years is enough.

What does she think now?

I look even better.

Cristian's got the Mohawk going.

Who, Cristian? Cristian come with a different style every year. He look good, too. I think it looks great on him.

Any suggestions for this? [Rival media member, pointing at my head.]

I can't do nothing with that.

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 20, 2009; 11:42 AM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Next: The Nationals Hate Running


nice work. good to have ronnie back - hes one of my personal favorites. that HR he hit to beat the O's was one of my all-time favorite moments for the Nats.

Posted by: sect104 | February 20, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

No, no, no. Don't Leave!!! Go back, Dan, go back. We need more....sob...

Posted by: NatsNut | February 20, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

That was one of my fave Nats moments as well, 104.

I'm with NatsNut, Dan. Your ST coverage has been great this week. Thanks much.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 20, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Even if you don't much like the Nationals, Nats fans still like you, Steinbog. Thanks for suffering through 3 days in Florida on our behalf.

Posted by: NTPNate | February 20, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the posts, they were fun. i hope you had enough fun to convince you to spend a little more time on the nats this year. i enjoy the bog in general, but it would be nice to see a it little more "natty."

Posted by: sec231 | February 20, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about you guys, but this interview is up there in my all-time favorite Nats moments.

Hope you can make it out to Nats park and continue to feed the bears, Dan. This stuff has been great.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 20, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I've always preferred calling him Mini Manny over Little Manny. Alliteration is fun!

Posted by: frog7694 | February 20, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

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