Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ryan Zimmerman--Gold Glove Recipient

For two years now, we've felt Ryan Zimmerman deserved the Gold Glove for defensive excellence at 3rd Base. Today, his peers of Managers and Coaches finally saw that light too and fittingly awarded Our Number 11 the trophy for real. Zimmy, the 2009 Rawlings Gold Glove recipient for 3rd Base in The National League.

No one deserved the award more because no one playing his position in the game:

Tracks a foul fly down the 3rd base line better;

Rushes in on a slow grounder, bare hands the baseball then whips that throw to first base to record an out so well;

And no fielder dives to his right, or to his left, and snares baseball after baseball with such grace--and still makes the out.

The best range, the best reflexes and the finest fielding third sacker to come up to The Big Leagues in some time.

No question about it.

You would have to be blind to miss his quality efforts on display throughout the past few years. Way more times than not--Ryan Zimmerman delivers on the tough play--making it look easy. The one's that happen so fast, only a video replay reveals his excellence. Anyone watching can "ooh!" & "aah!" over the spectacular plays Our Number 11 makes frequently, but his consistency with that glove makes him special. No other player in the game at 3rd Base makes those great plays so regularly.

No one.

Game after game. Night after night, The Z-Man is a wonder to watch in the field. His hitting skill and clutch prowess at the plate is not too shabby either. At 25 years of age, Ryan Zimmerman is rounding himself into a complete player. The Franchise Player envisioned since the very moment he was drafted with the 5th pick of the 2005 Entry Draft out of The University Of Virginia.

This evening, Sohna and I had the opportunity to chat with The Z-Man. He kindly returned our call to answer a few questions about being The 2009 National League Gold Glove Winner at 3rd Base. With that, here we go with Our Conversation with Ryan Zimmerman:

When did you first find out about the good news? (SBF)

“I knew about it the other day. I wasn’t allowed to say anything about it. I had to keep it a secret, even though it’s always tough to do that.”

Even then, what were your first thoughts of being rewarded? (SBF)

“I was very proud. I am very proud of that type of stuff. Ultimately, I would want the team to win more, but individual honors are cool to get. You work hard for them and the defensive honors are very special for me. I have worked hard for everything I have ever received. And now, this makes me want to work even harder each and every year to come.”

It is nice to receive awards, but this must also be rewarding that your peers are recognizing your talent? (SBF)

“Yes, definitely. And what I hope as I continue to get better, the team obviously gets better—and this will bring more recognition to D.C. and The Nationals—not just for me. I really believe we have a lot of talent on our team. We have some good players who probably don’t get as much recognition as they should because of where we play and our record (over the past few seasons). But that is how it is. That is how baseball and all sports go.”

“If I can do something individually that can bring more attention to them (his teammates) and our organization, that makes this even more special.”

You just touched on something that IS important about this Gold Glove awarded to you this day. This gives The Nationals national exposure. Many across the country have ignored this team in the past. That’s now going to be hard to do because of you. (SBF)

“Yes, I believe that is true. And I think a lot of people see that we have lost a lot of games the past few years and ignore us. I think we are heading in the right direction and me winning this will bring that attention to us and, hopefully, have people then saying: ‘hey, they are on the right track.’ It will all kind of change the way people think about us.”

How’s the family feel about all this? (The African Queen)

“They are excited. My Mom & Dad are, obviously, very proud of me. They know how hard I work. This means just as much to them as it does to me. So, this is a very good time for all of us.”

We are proud of you too. Have you talked to any of your teammates about it? (The African Queen).

“I got some text messages. They are all very excited and happy for me as well. So, it’s really all a lot of fun right now.”

Stepping back a little bit, when you were just graduating from high school and heading off to UVA (University of Virginia) some eight or nines years ago now—did you believe you would reach as far as you have in The Major Leagues at 25? Did you expect to do so well? (SBF)

“Honestly, I didn’t know that I was even going to be a Major League Player! I was OK in high school. I wasn’t anything special. I wasn’t drafted out of high school. I wasn’t heavily recruited, or anything. I just played the game and had fun. I enjoyed playing and it was something I wanted to continue to work hard at and hopefully get better. And as I went to college and had a couple of good years there—and continued to improve—I realized there was a chance (to play professionally). But, I really don’t believe anyone really thinks they are going to get to this level. You work hard and you continue to work hard, do things right and then good things happens.”

And you’ve improved while playing around the infield. You played 2nd, 3rd and shortstop as a youngster. (SBF)

“I was always a shortstop growing up. Ever since I can remember playing, I was a shortstop. Then, when I got to UVA, Mark (Reynolds—Arizona Diamondbacks) was playing shortstop, so I played third. I was also on a travel team when I was younger, and B.J. (Upton-Tampa Bay Rays) and I would switch off. He would play shortstop. I would play second. I was also smaller when I was in high school, so I could play second back then. So, I have played all over the place.”

But moving to 3rd Base turned out to be your calling? (SBF)

“Yes. I grew up (physically) and that size has helped me.”

This day for you is really great to see. Are you going to take a break from it all now? (The African Queen)

“Time to relax, enjoy the off-season some more, take a couple of trips and recharge the batteries.”

Well, enjoy your time off and we look forward to seeing you at Spring Training, if not before. (The African Queen)

“Thanks very much. We all (The Zimmermans) appreciate your support.”

With those final remarks, Sohna and I thanked Ryan for kindly returning our call and letting us know how proud he and his family is today--seeing hard work rewarded.

Ryan Zimmerman--Gold Glove Recipient.

Has a nice ring to it. Doesn't it?

Zimmerman Photo Copyright--AP


Mr. NATural said...

Fantastic, fantastic news!

We need to start winning, so the entire country can see what an amazing player (and person!) we have in Ryan Zimmerman.

We are lucky to have him in Washington, and it is evident from his comments how much he wants people to know about baseball in Washington--even for his award to reflect well on our home city.

If the Lerners put the right building blocks around him and our new skipper Jim Riggleman, we can WIN and everyone will see what a superstar Zimmerman truly is.

Mr. NATural

paul said...

Zim was arguably the best defensive player in the league this year. Considering his offense, he should be in the top 3 in MVP balloting.

Riggleman gets some credit for this. Zim's errors went down after Riggleman's ascension.

3rdStoneFromTheSun said...

it is about time

he deserved it last year too

and maybe the year before as well

natsfan1a said...

I was thrilled when I heard the news yesterday afternoon! I'm also very proud of Z-Man, and hope it's the first of many awards for him. Thanks for the interview. He always seems to know just the right thing to say and represents our team very well, IMO.

Chris S. said...

Well earned!

Janet said...

Thanks for this interview. I posted the link to Ryan's wall on Facebook this morning.

Tom said...

And who had the best seat in the stadium to see Zim day in and day out? The AQ of course!

Of course congratulations Z-Man!