Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Few Minutes With Ryan Zimmerman

(We Love The Cardboard Cut Out of ZIMMY on The Golf Course--even though The Real Z-Man posted up for the interview)

After the conclusion on The 3rd Annual ziMS Foundation Gala & Golf Tournament this past Saturday in Virginia Beach, Virginia--Ryan Zimmerman gave Sohna and I a few moments of his time to talk about Baseball and Our Washington Nationals. Ryan's opening remarks from last weekend are interesting, especially in light of Tuesday's Trade between Washington and The Florida Marlins.

With that, here we go with A Few Minutes With Ryan Zimmerman.

You really peaked our interest recently when you did an interview at where you had a little more authoritative style to your answers (Zimmerman chuckling). Is this the new Ryan Zimmerman? (SBF)

“No, I have always been like that. No one wants to lose. Obviously, you look around and you see what other teams are doing and it’s not real hard to see what you need to win in The Big Leagues. Not that it wouldn’t be expensive—and I never said it wouldn’t be. Like I’ve said, I am not the one writing the checks either. We are not that far away (from winning). But like I said in that article, why would a free agent come to Washington if they can go to Philly or Boston (where they always contend). That’s what we have to work up to—to be one of those teams that when the big name free agents are on the list—we are on the top (of their choices). I think we (The Nationals) have the resources to do that. And to build up to do that, you have to make some moves.”

Then realistically, what do you expect to see (from The Nationals) this off-season? (SBF)

“I really don’t know what to expect. I just think by spending another year being in neutral won’t do anything (good). Now, I am not saying they need to go there and spend $20 Million!! I am realistic. But each year you need to take a step forward, certainly not a step back. Obviously, no one wants to remain in neutral—but all of us know and we are realistic of what to expect. I just think we need to continue to move forward.”

How tough was it for you to come back late in the season after missing 50 games? (SBF)

“It was tough, but I was very excited too. The first couple of weeks it took me a while to, I think, trust my shoulder. I was hitting, but it was a lot of singles and stuff like that. But you can rehab all you want, but nothing rehabs the game situations and I think it took me a week or two to get back in there. I was happy with how I ended my season. I think that gave me some confidence going into this coming season. Never being hurt before, it was a new experience for me. So, it was a learning experience, it went well and I am happy with the way it ended.”

What was it like to go through--just sitting in the dugout and watching the team play? (The African Queen)

“It was very tough for me. I have never not played before. I have always been the guy that played every game. But in a positive way, I think I learned a lot. It contributed to the way I hit a little better. My approach was a little bit better after I came back from the injury. Just because you sit back and watch and see things that you don’t necessarily see when you are playing. I paid attention to the little things more. When you are playing you don’t have the time. You are thinking about what you are going to do next. What’s immediately in front of you. I think all that will help me in the long run now. Would I want that to happen to me again (a prolonged injury)—No—but if it’s going to happen you might as well make something positive out of it.”

Any thoughts on the new coaching staff? I believe you have worked with Rick Eckstein before (New Batting Coach). (SBF)

“Yeah, Rick came up in September. I’ve known him for a little while. He’s really the only one I know. I know Randy Knorr a little (New Bullpen Coach) from Potomac (Nationals). But other than that, I don’t know. I do know they are young and I think that is good. We are a young team too and we need young coaches to provide energy. We (as a team) need to go out there energetic every day. We can’t be that team that waits around for that three run homer. We can’t get away playing like that.”

Can coaches make a difference? (SBF)

“Yes, definitely. They are the ones teaching you the finer points of the game. When you are young, that’s what you have to do, to learn and continue to get better to where you become a consistent player. That’s why in baseball you have those six years until you can get your (Free Agent) contract. It’s a long time and it’s hard to be a consistent Major League Baseball Player. If you look around, there are not too many guys that play for six, seven, eight, or nine years, maybe 10. It’s hard to stick for 10 years. That’s the goal of all of us and I think the new coaches will help all of us reach those goals.”

Everybody wants to win a championship. At The Gala, Brian Schneider told us that's his current goal. (SBF)

“Of course (smiling), everyone wants to win that ring.”

Okay, no conversation with you right now can end without talking contract. (“Yeah, I know.”) You’ve said you would like to stay in Washington long term, do you think it will work out? (SBF)

“Yeah, I think it will. Obviously, I want to stay there. I love it there. It’s good for my family and it’s good for me. We just have to see what happens. I am there for three (more) years no matter what (arbitration eligible years). If the right opportunity comes about, it comes about, but I don’t worry about that. I think that’s more The Nationals and my Agents and all that. I am just going to enjoy playing and we shall see what happens.”

Jim Bowden commented on the radio the night of World Series Game One that he wanted to assure all the fans that Ryan Zimmerman is here for the long term and a deal would get done.

“I am sure it will be worked on.”

Between now and Spring Training—what do you with your free time? (The African Queen)

“I just relax. I go back between here (Virginia Beach) and DC. My buddies and me go, usually, over to Vegas or Atlantic City for a weekend. I try and go somewhere that’s sunny for a week or so. Really, I just relax, hang out and enjoy just not doing much—recharge the batteries. It’s nice.”

Just having fun (The African Queen).

“Yes, a lot of fun.”

With that final remark--our chat concluded. Ryan needed to say goodbye to the many friends and guests that came to support his Family and The ziMS Foundation Golf Tournament at Red Wing Lake Golf Course. As usual, Ryan Zimmerman is a Class Act. Sohna and I think very highly of him.

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