OAKLAND -- The Nationals and A's might be Interleague opponents who rarely face each other, but it's clear that both managers have mutual respect.
Washington skipper Matt Williams and his Oakland counterpart, Bob Melvin, were teammates from 1987-88 in San Francisco, while Melvin was also Williams' bench coach for the D-backs when the current Nats manager was a third baseman for Arizona during the 2001 World Series-winning season.
Back then, Melvin was often the bearer of bad news for Williams.
"He was the turk late in my career. He would come to my locker and say, 'Hey, the computer got you, so you're not going to play tomorrow,'" Williams said. "We have a good relationship. He's always been willing and able to answer any questions, if I have them, or help in any way he can. There's not going to be any help this series, but he's always been there for me, for sure."
But the coaching connections don't stop there. A's bench coach Chip Hale was a Minor League manager in the Arizona organization while Williams worked there in recent years. Williams also said Oakland hitting coach Chili Davis "took me under his wing and taught me a lot" as a developing player with San Francisco when they were teammates.
"All of those guys are a big part of the reason why I am here today," Williams said.
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.