Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, Ryan Zimmerman

Cool in the summertime

This story is a bit behind the news, but I wanted to be sure it was posted up. Last Friday, as I sat on the VRE train from Washington to Fredericksburg, I was treated to Barry Svrluga's argument for RyZim as NL Rookie of the Year. In summary:

The transformation in Zimmerman has come on the field, in part, and his case for rookie of the year can be based in the pure numbers. Before Thursday night's game against the Colorado Rockies, he led all NL rookies in RBI (93), doubles (40), go-ahead RBI (22), extra-base hits (60) and walks (54). Fifty-three times, he has driven in a run that has put the Nationals ahead, a number topped in baseball only by the New York Mets' David Wright.
Svrluga goes on to talk about his main rivals for this honor, and it is worth the read.

I don't know a lot about Florida's Dan Uggla or Josh Johnson, said rivals, but Jose Vidro sums up RyZim's place on the Nationals: "he's been our heart." Strong words about a first-year player.

For fans, he's exciting to watch. When he comes to the plate, you think something good is going to happen. The Washington Post runs a daily stat on the Nationals page in the print edition, and it seems like I see him there all the time, always something impressive.

He has that aw-shucks quiet composure about him that reminds me of Cal Ripken. Just a guy going to work. Growing up in the 70s and being a huge baseball fan, RyZim today seems a little like a throwback. Marlins Manager Joe Girardi:
...he's not scared of the big moment...He can relax and do his thing no matter what the situation is.
Ryan Zimmerman for 2006 NL Rookie of the Year.

All photos of Ryan Zimmerman
Top image: Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP
Middle image: Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP
Bottom image: UVA Athletic Department