Thursday, December 06, 2007
A Few Minutes With Ryan Zimmerman
Yesterday afternoon, after the Holiday Lighting Ceremony at New Nationals Park--Our Washington Nationals Ryan Zimmerman was kind enough to give me a few minutes of his time. A small update on his hand surgery, a look back at his sophomore season of Major League Baseball. And, his view forward concerning the near future of baseball on South Capitol Street.
Our Number 11 was sporting a light tan jacket, no gloves, and an open collar shirt on a wintry, cold, snowy day in Washington, DC. It must feel great to be young. He was in good spirits and enjoying his time with the assembled construction workers of New Nationals Park--despite still wearing a light brace on his left hand as he recovers from his two operations.
With that, here we go.
How is your hand? (SBF)
“Feeling good, everything is right on schedule. Luckily for us—we don’t have to rush or do anything desperate. If we had to, we could rehab five times a week and push it, but we don’t have to. That’s a good thing.”
When I first heard about the surgery, I read that this bothered you for some time? (SBF)
“Yes, sure. But, in baseball something bothers you all the time, every day. So, if you take a day off every single time you are bothered, you would be sitting out every single day. That’s just how I play. My hand was hurting, but I didn’t think much of it that I couldn’t play, so I kept playing.”
Since you are in recovery mode, have you had the chance to think about your second season in The Majors?
“You know what, I learned a lot. If was definitely harder than the first year as to the way people pitch you. They (pitchers) were not surprised by me. And, they did not surprise me anymore. Year number two is definitely harder than year number one, but I learned a lot more about the game. How people are going to treat you (on the field) in certain situations. How I have to adapt to their countermoves. All that experience is going to help me a lot this coming year.”
Before last season began, we talked about how you wanted to cut down on mental errors. The silly mistakes as you mentioned. You had some throwing issues this past season. Are they mental or technical? (SBF)
“No, I definitely don’t think its mental, its more physical than anything else. I never think about an error, the very second I make it. Everyone makes errors and I am going to make more this year (both of us laughing). Everything is going to be fine, really” (more chuckles).
I know that David Wright (NY Mets) is a good friend of yours. You didn’t get Rookie of The Year because Hanley Ramirez (Florida Marlins, 2006) beat you. Some would say—wrongly. Now, a good friend beats you out for a Gold Glove (in 2007)—does it bother you in any way—honestly? (SBF)
“Ah, no. Really, David is a GREAT PLAYER. We talk. He’s got one now (Gold Glove). Let’s see who finishes up (his career) with more (challenging Wright while chuckling, but serious at the same time). Let’s just put it that way.”
You are well aware of the flurry of moves over the past week by The Nationals. What do you think about the power, which has been added? (SBF)
“Well the power and the pitcher (Tyler Clippard) makes us younger. And, the young guys we are adding have great talent. If you look around the league—that is what you need to win. Young guys who can be here for a long time and get better every year together.”
Do you see Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes as protection in the order for you? (SBF)
“No, I don’t look at it that way. We have a great core here already that offers enough protection. At a certain point, you only need so much protection. You have to produce yourself. We (Nationals Teammates) are excited to have the fresh talent. And, to see that they (Management) want to make moves and they want to make us better. That just makes everything more exciting as a player, when the Front Office is doing stuff for you.”
How hard is it to take, knowing the team is moving forward—but at the same time—you are losing friends like Brian Schneider as teammates? (SBF)
“Its tough. Obviously I have friends and will miss him. That’s the part where it’s not really a game; it’s a job and business. But, its not like I will never talk to him again (chuckling).
(My time was up) Ryan, its nice to see you again. Good luck with the rehab and thanks for your time. (SBF)
“No problem. Always good to talk to you.”
PS--Pictured above with Ryan Zimmerman. On picture left--Ronnie Strompf--VP, Clark Construction. On picture right--Matt Haas--Project Manager, Clark Construction.