Memories of covering Ryan Zimmerman after he announced his retirement…


WASHINGTON – When my household returned to the Washington space in the summertime of 2004, after spending the educational 12 months in Hungary, I picked up a print copy of Baseball America and was shocked to learn that an infielder from the College of Virginia was among the many high school prospects for the 2005 draft.

I grew up in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and adopted the Cavalier’s program from a distance, however wasn’t conversant in the title listed in Baseball America: Ryan Zimmerman, who introduced his retirement yesterday.

Baseball America, as is normally the case, was proper. Zimmerman had a robust 12 months in 2005 for Virginia and was drafted within the first spherical by the Nationals. And also you most likely know the remainder of the story.

I used to be in a position to land a couple of one-on-one interviews over time with Zimmerman whereas masking the staff for numerous publications.

Early in his profession, if my reminiscence has not failed me, Zimmerman instructed me at one level he deliberate to play baseball at JMU in my hometown of Harrisonburg.

However the inventory of Zimmerman grew in highschool, Virginia bought into the recruiting image and he was in a position to face robust pitchers within the ACC whereas in Charlottesville.

Throughout his profession, I did a couple of tales on Zimmerman for Cavalier Nook, which covers the College of Virginia, and likewise a characteristic for the Every day Press of Tidewater early in his profession.

I additionally talked to Zimmerman throughout spring coaching in 2011 whereas doing a narrative on Mark Reynolds for The Washington Instances.

Reynolds and Zimmerman had been teammates on the College of Virginia and in 2011 Reynolds was in his first season with the Orioles.

Zimmerman was a 12 months forward of Reynolds at Virginia and the 2 bought collectively for meals when their groups would meet.

They have been a part of a significant league pipeline from the Tidewater area which included David Wright, B.J. and Justin Upton, and Mike Cuddyer, amongst others.

“Humorous how that labored out,” Zimmerman instructed me in 2011. For good measure, New York native Brendan Harris, a former Nationals’ backup third baseman, performed in school at William and Mary and was in spring coaching with the Orioles as a non-roster invite as effectively that 12 months.

Within the one 12 months he performed for Brian O’Connor at Virginia, Reynolds was the shortstop for the Cavs whereas Zimmerman performed third. “The most important factor with Mark is the homers and the way a lot he strikes out,” Zimmerman mentioned earlier than a spring coaching sport in Viera, Florida in 2011. “He can hit the ball the opposite manner. If he wished to hit 20 homers and hit .300 he may do it. However he understands what his position is. So he tries to hit extra homers.”

Zimmerman, like many gamers, typically was hesitant to speak about himself. However when requested to touch upon a teammate, Zimmerman would come via with a very good quote.

After the Nationals received the World Collection in 2019, I used to be in a position to write a narrative for Cavalier Nook on Zimmerman and former Washington reliever Sean Doolittle, one other former College of Virginia participant.

They’d reached the last word objective as massive leaguers and received a World Collection title as teammates in Washington.

Zimmerman would play components of the subsequent two years, however his march in direction of retirement most likely started on that evening in Houston when the Nationals received Recreation 7.

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