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Nationals take time off the field for favorite causes

Max Scherzer had a busy weekend. (Nick Wass/Associated Press)

By this time of the year, clubhouses fill up late and clear out quickly. Everyone is tired. Games get longer as bodies grow wearier, and time away from families takes its toll. And yet even in those most grueling of baseball times, a few Washington Nationals used their brief time away from the field to do something different.

Not long after one of the longest nine-inning games in team history concluded Sunday, for example, Max Scherzer hurried up to Chevy Chase to meet his wife, Erica, at a book release. The book, “(D)ogs (C)ats, Sports,” is a project led by the Scherzers, NBC Sports Washington and the Humane Rescue Alliance, and it includes pictures of D.C. athletes such as Scherzer, John Wall, John Carlson, Sean Doolittle (and his wife, Eireann Dolan) and many others.

D.C. sports figures including Tony Kornheiser, Shawn Springs and former Redskin Rocky McIntosh attended the event. The book is for sale at the Human Rescue Alliance’s website, and proceeds benefit the organization, with which the Scherzers do a great deal of work.

A day earlier, after a late game Friday night, Adam Eaton arrived at Nationals Park around 6 a.m. Saturday for his second annual “Rev Up the Park” event. The event plays off Eaton’s love of cars: Collectors pay for a spot in the Nationals Park parking garage in which to show off their cool vehicles, and non-owners pay for tickets to walk around and take in the show. Eaton said this year’s event, which ran before the Nationals' game that afternoon, raised more money for the Dragonfly Foundation than even last year’s.

Manager Dave Martinez and Anthony Rendon got up early to attend the event, which benefits a cancer charity close to Eaton’s heart. In 2007, while Eaton was with the Arizona Diamondbacks, he met a young baseball player who had taken a comebacker to the head. When that player had surgery to alleviate pressure on his brain, doctors discovered a cancerous tumor. The patient’s mother is one of the founders of the foundation, which is based in Eaton’s home state of Ohio. The boy survived and went on to attend Eaton’s alma mater, Miami of Ohio. Eaton is also the Nationals' representative for K Cancer, an MLB-wide charity initiative that includes widespread T-shirt distribution in big league clubhouses to increase visibility. Eaton donates the proceeds from his efforts with the Nationals to Dragonfly, too.

At the stadium later that day, the Nationals held their annual Faith Day, at which players and coaches share their stories of faith. Retired former Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche returned to participate in the event, which included thoughts from Matt Wieters, the normally reticent Rendon and others. The event was hosted by McLean Bible Church pastor David Platt and was centered around Christian faith, as discussed by those players who attended after the Nationals' 6-0 win over the New York Mets that day.