Sunday, February 22, 2009

Zimmerman Versus Zimmermann

Playing out on one of the back fields at Our Washington Nationals Training Camp early this afternoon was the sight of Our Franchise Player--Ryan Zimmerman, facing up and coming righthander--Jordan Zimmermann in live batting practice.

Zimmerman had no chance because Zimmermann was on top of his game on the 4th full day of Full Squad Workouts.

As is the case early in spring practice, pitchers have an advantage and Jordan was slipping most all his pitches past the still getting in groove Ryan. It was the highlight of our second day at Spring Training. A little watched match-up between two young players both whom management has high ceilings for.

Twice Ryan Zimmerman was fooled by Jordan Zimmermann's pitches. Once getting Our Number 11 to swing and miss on a beautiful changeup--setup by a steady diet of fastballs. Then a second time on a wicked slider that had Ryan muttering, chuckling and shaking his head as he stepped out of the batting cage.

As for Jordan Zimmermann--he showed no emotion and continued to get in his work in against the other batters. "That a way to throw the hard stuff," stated Minor League Pitching Instructor Spin Williams. "You pitch consistently like that and you will stay on the mound for a long, long time."

After his live batting practice session and subsequent running-Jordan Zimmermann looked bushed and ready to take a break. But when he stepped into the clubhouse winded, he knew he had come out on top in The Zimmerman Versus Zimmermann Match-up.

Jordan Zimmerman throws hard.

Not as hard as Daniel Cabrera, but the very sight of the former Baltimore Orioles Talent standing heads above Our Pitching Coach Randy St.Claire but listening carefully to every word St.Claire said to him spoke volumes. Randy St.Claire seems to have found a flaw in Cabrera's pitching motion. Consistently, Our Number 46 marked off a forward foot landing point for Daniel to hit. At the same time, encouraging Our Number 40 to NOT pitch so straight up and down. "Daniel, extend your left foot toward the line, follow through and bend over. We want to see a nice and easy motion from you."

St.Claire was pleased with Cabrera's progress in the side session. But once Daniel got on the mound to pitch live BP--St.Claire was standing right there--yelling over to Cabrera to pick up the pace, find a better rhythm. Everyone knows Daniel Cabrera can consistently throw as hard as anyone in the game. The problem has always been he gets lost eventually and falls apart. Still a work in progress after five big league seasons--Daniel Cabrera is one of those guys that's hard to give up on--knowing his ceiling is so high--he could be a top pitcher in the game.

Cabrera is considered so important to Our Washington Nationals in 2009, Our Manager Manny Acta came running over to watch, JimBo, Mr. Kasten, Mike Rizzo and Bob Boone were all there too.

Speaking of Our General Manager, Jim Bowden conceded to the wishes of the assembled media and spoke with them at 11AM on one of the practice fields. Not speaking about The Gonzalez/Lugo Situation, Bowden talked about Our Washington Nationals in general terms. When not one single media member went running off to file a story, you could pretty well bet, nothing overly important was stated.

But what was fabulous to hear was The Quote Of The Day--this time coming from a story told by Craig Heist of WTOP to Sohna and I about current Washington National Josh Towers, when he played for The Baltimore Orioles:

Craig Heist: "Just the other day, I was talking with Josh Towers. He told me that when he was a member of The Orioles, they gave him Jersey Number 35. When Mike Mussina played all those terrific seasons in Baltimore, he wore that number previously and when he left to play for The Yankees, The Orioles Management and their Fans were pretty upset. Josh Towers says to me: 'One day, we are playing The Yankees, Mike Mussina comes up to me seeing I am wearing his former number. Mussina states: 'They (Orioles Management) must really HATE ME to give YOU that number!!' Inferring that Josh Towers was not worthy of carrying Mussina's weight."

True Story and a Good One.

Just like how nice it was to see both Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn standing among the gathered masses after practice today and sign for EVERYONE WANTING. Zimmerman his usual gracious self and Dunn continuing over the past four days to be one of the fan friendliest stars witnessed in some time. Adam Dunn talks to fans, says hello, thanks them for coming out. And of course--posed with The African Queen for the customary photo. Adam Dunn has been officially accepted as a player for Our Washington Nationals, on good manners alone.

And The Zimmmerman Dog (Sunny) was back for a second go round. You may recall last year, this family of Washington Nationals Fans showed up in Viera with their dog wearing a Zimmerman Red Tee-Shirt. Their goal to take a family picture with Ryan Zimmerman--their favorite player. Circumstances did not work out in 2008, but all the stars aligned today and Ryan graciously posed for them with their red tee-shirt clad Zimmeraman Dog. I don't think Sohna and I have seen a family so taken by any moment in our three years of coming to Viera. They profusely thanked Ryan for agreeing, and went home happy knowing their Favorite Player was kind enough to give them a moment of his personal time and pose for a Washington Nationals Family Photo.

We also enjoyed seeing Jeannette & Barry--season ticket holders for Our Washington Nationals and The Potomac Nationals. For a couple of years now, both Jeannette and Barry have worked at Space Coast Stadium and the surrounding practice fields for Spring Training. A golden opportunity to take in all the fun of attending the practices and the exhibition season Spring Training offers, while off-setting some of the travel expenses for the trip down from Northern Virginia.

Finally, Phil and Robert were back for more autographs with their supped up convertible. Last seen heading down Stadium Boulevard with The African Queen riding shotgun.

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Jeremy said...

SBF, I have a random question for you... where did you find that Nats white long-sleeve T that you are rocking in some of these pictures? I love that shirt!

Screech's Best Friend said...

Jeremy: Funny you mention that, a couple of players said the same thing yesterday. It's actually from the 2005 Inaugural Season. Target Stores and Wal-Mart Stores carried a ton of Nats Stuff that season in the DC area. This particular style was available in White, Black, and Gray versions. The black version really stands out with Red/White trim. Of course, I have all three.

Jeremy said...

Hmm... I suppose I'll just have to go to the WalMart outlet for their stock of last-last-last-last year's high fashions. Or scour Ebay!! Thanks for the info.