WASHINGTON -- The changes are subtle and obvious. They have taken place in the clubhouse away from the fans or on the field and in the dugout for all to see.
Williams, fired after last season, was detail-oriented and regimented perhaps to a fault. Baker brings spontaneity and enthusiasm that belies his 66 years of age -- and don't even think to call him old.
When Bryce Harper hit a go-ahead double in the eighth inning Tuesday night, Baker raised both of his arms in the dugout as the Nationals took the lead.
The next night, he shared some laughs in between innings with Tanner Roark, his starting pitcher who threw seven scoreless innings in another Washington win.
Throw in the results -- the first-place Nationals are 7-1 going into a series Friday in Philadelphia -- and the addition of Baker to the Washington clubhouse seems like just what the franchise needed.
"We are starting off strong," said Bryce Harper, who hit his 100th career homer -- a grand slam -- in a 6-2 win on Thursday over the winless Atlanta Braves.
Baker, who last managed with the Cincinnati Reds in 2013, signed a two-year deal and in January said this would be the fourth and last stop for him as a manager.
"The only thing left is the championship," Baker said when he was hired.
It is early, but the Nationals and their new manager are headed in the right direction.