Sunday, September 09, 2007
Its a good thing Ryan Zimmerman does not play his Home Games in New York City--The Tabloids would have already hung and burned him in effigy over his four errors the past two games at Turner Field in Atlanta. As it stands--the local media has just been harsh on Our Franchise Player. There is no doubt that Ryan has struggled on throws all season long to first base. But, is it really that necessary to continually kick him-while he's down?
If you believe everything said over Ryan's throwing problems, you would believe no one wants to see him playing for Our Washington Nationals--ever again? My profession is The Media, I understand how EVERYBODY piles on--making a situation far worse than what it may well be. Four miscues over 18 innings by a player highly touted as A Gold Glover raises eyebrows and brings scorn. He's an easy target right now. Sure--"Z" now has 23 errors on the season. But, He also leads Major League Baseball in total chances for third basemen. Do you really think a correctable flaw in his game--severely takes away from his God Given Talents? How many times has Ryan Zimmerman made Outstanding Play after OUTSTANDING PLAY!! And, no one on Our Team--better--hitting in the clutch (but that's another story--seemingly forgotten by some overnight).
No--I don't believe for a second--that Ryan is being seriously harmed by working his problem out. If Zimmerman's error proneness was stuck on FLop or Nook Logan--we would be having a completely different conversation. But, Our Number 11 has earned the respect and opportunity to right his game. Leeway, which Felipe Lopez and Nook Logan do not get.
What concerns me about Ryan Zimmerman is the underlying pressure put on him to perform. During his Rookie Season of 2006, expectations were laid significantly low. Our General Manager Jim Bowden and then Manager Frank Robinson played down Zimmy's potential. If he hit 15 Homers and knocked in 70--Our Washington Nationals would be happy--so they said.
Well, we all know--Zimmerman FAR OUTDISTANCED those predictions. Along with Alfonso Soriano--Ryan was Our Most Exciting Player. Not one Washington Fan who personally witnessed that FABULOUS GAMER WINNER against The Yankees could ever think anything bad about "Z"--at least for while. Of course--he didn't stop there--impressing time after time--with a game on the line. Success, that has carried over into his second season--despite a Sophomore Slump.
Yeah--Ryan Zimmerman started slowly--but heated up nicely over the summer. Now--as the home stretch is upon us, those struggles have returned. In 2006--Soriano, Nick Johnson, Jose Vidro and Jose Guillen were sandwiched around Zimmerman, not only in the lineup, but The Clubhouse. And, one of my favorites--Livan Hernandez provided a HUGE presence--off the field, on the field and by filling out his rather large uniform, as well. "Livo" was larger than life--at times. Veterans that took the pressure off Z-Man to perform. Ease your way into the game, relax these veterans allowed Ryan to do. Cool and Comfortable--Zimmerman was fabulous in 2006!!
Still phenomenal at times, but not as consistent in 2007. All because to me--Zimmerman has attempted to fill one of the "Veteran" leadership roles vacant on Our Team. When it comes to Our 2007 Washington Nationals--Ryan Zimmerman is THE FACE OF THE FRANCHISE. Undo Pressure--forced on a youngster looking to carry his team. Dmitri Young can only do so much. Outside of Brian Schneider--there could not be any other player to look up to for help. If you sat in Section 320 over the past five months--you would have heard my consistent calling: "Zimmerman--CAN'T DO IT ALL!!" The nodding heads in agreement understanding the truth of the yell. Honestly, Ryan Zimmerman has shouldered SO MUCH. A burden that may well be getting to him. A lapse that can only be expected.
And, I understand that's THE HARD PART of rebuilding from within. No one is at fault within Our Washington Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman needs to just relax his mind. Hopefully, once the final three weeks of the 2007 season concludes--Our Number 11 can just get away from baseball, ease off, rejuvenate himself and come back strong to begin play, once again, at New Nationals Park in 2008. A coming year when Zimmy will STILL be just 23 Years Old. His entire career STILL well in front of him.
Its September, The Washington Redskins are dominating the late summer headlines. And, the local media needs something to hype up readership of Our Team. Don't let the negativity get you down. I'm not worried because, as stated before, Ryan Zimmerman is a MVP Candidate for years to come.
And, when that year comes--no one will remember two nights in September, 2007--when Ryan Zimmerman made 4 errors--without laughing--in DISBELIEF.