ZiMS Foundation May 12, 2016 A Night at the Park
Well, that was a fun event. A night after Max Scherzer’s 20 strikeout outing had a buzz that carried over to this wonderful charitable event for Multiple Sclerosis.
“We are family,” Max Scherzer said. “Obviously, an MS cause is close to Ryan’s heart because his mom is affected. I know research for this disease is paramount. Anything I can do to help out a teammate, help out his family, and at the end of the day, we are all family. This is a good thing to do and a great event to be a part of.”
OK, it was kind of loud, kind of warm and O.A.R. was the band for the night, and I had to stop bidding on the only item that fit in my definition of “I want/I can afford/spouse wants/have a place to put it” because someone with more money wanted it worse. (Daniel Murphy signed ball). There were things I would love but either had no place to put (framed photo of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs) or couldn’t afford (this year’s jewelry). Anything related to Scherzer sold, but there were a lot of items that weren’t bid on (sports memorabilia from other sports, the jewelry, expensive vacations, and oddly enough, one of the big Strasberg framed montages).
But the food was tasty, the booze was free, there were interesting baseball people to talk to, and enough places to sit down and enjoy both.
But that’s not what you want to hear, I’m sure. You want to hear about the conversations with the players, not the conversations between the attendees who were at last night’s game and those who weren’t. Because those sounded pretty much like the bloggers who were and weren’t there (heck, they may have been the same people for all I know!).
First, the ground rules. When I approach a player (or manager, or Rizzo, etc.), my usual approach is to catch their eye, and then either congratulate them on something they’ve recently done (walk-off, no-hitter, etc.) or just wish them luck with the rest of the season. If they want to continue the conversation from there, great. If not, then I just smile and leave it at that.
So the conversation with Rendon was that kind of brief. He appreciated the good wishes and that was it.
Stood close to Murphy watching him with folks. Lots of other people wanted him to sign stuff, or take photos with him. I got my turn, and just said “I don’t want anything, except to tell you that I’m really glad you signed with the Nats, and good luck with the rest of the year.” He looked almost surprised at that, but we shook hands and he said he was glad to be here.
Clint, on the other hand, was glad to talk about the walk-off. He really did lose track of the inning while down in the tunnel, so he thought it was the eighth inning when he came up to bat. He’s not as worried about what inning it is as where he is in the batting order. He said “Hey, in the eighth, pinch-hitting, you’re playing with house money. You get a hit, great: if not, the team has another chance in the ninth. So the eighth is a lot less pressure.” So we joked about hypnotizing himself into always thinking it was the eighth inning.
Gio and fiancé came in looking sharp. I told Gio to keep up the good work, keep “feeding the family.” He was a little pleased and surprised that I knew his mantra, but saw me again later and repeated it with a big smile.
I asked Dusty if he ever got in any fishing in Florida. “No.” And none yet up here, either: plus one of his friends has been fishing in Maryland and rubbing it in by sending a bunch of photos of their successful fishing trips. I suggested ice fishing like Jordan Zimmerman: at least that would be in the off-season! Dusty was drinking green tea, which he made for himself.
Probably the best conversation of the night was with Sara Espinosa (Danny’s wife) who, if you didn’t know, is pregnant. She had tweeted a photo of her having the baby listen to Charlie and Dave on the radio. In case you didn’t know, there are “baby phones” that the mom can use to play music, recorded stories, etc., to the unborn baby. I had tweeted to her that she’d need an MLB.tv subscription so she could download C & D in the offseason to use as a lullaby. She liked the tweet. So I introduced myself, and we ended up chatting for a few minutes while Danny (in his black cowboy hat) finished his dinner. Apparently Danny didn’t know that she was “feeding” the baby C & D until they got to the Park tonight and folks started talking about it! She also suggested that people on social media should wear name tags with their on-line names so we’d know who people are.
And if that weren’t enough, Sara said that Charlie and Dave narrated a National Geographic documentary on . . . wait for it . . . squirrels. She and Danny were watching this, and both of them said that “you know, that sounds like the Nats radio announcers!” So they checked it out (I think by tweeting C or D), who verified that they had done it a couple of years back, and it had just aired recently. I NEED TO FIND THIS!
Before the live auction, Zim thanked all the players and their wives for coming to this on an off day in town, as rare as those are. I know Scherzer was there, and he did give some great quotes on the event: I didn’t track him down since we’d chatted last year and in Viera. MAT was there as well. He was so cute taking photos with a couple of the kids (there were a handful of kids there. Needless to say, anything they had got signed and lots of photo ops). I’m sure I missed a few guys as well, so don’t count on me for official attendance!
The important part of this event really is the fundraising: ziMS presented a $100,000 check to the National MS Society. The quote below from Ryan explains why there was no more General Admission tickets and the price per ticket was increased to $500 each.
“Last year we kind of made it a smaller event and found our sweet spot raising money, which is the ultimate goal,” Ryan Zimmerman explained. “This event is, ‘Come have fun, let my teammates have a good time.’ It’s nice of them to come out to show support. I enjoy this event a lot.”
The ZiMS event benefits the ziMS Foundation, which is dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of Multiple Sclerosis by funding comprehensive support and educational programs. As most know, Ryan Zimmerman’s mother Cheryl was diagnosed with MS in 1995. She was in attendance on Thursday in a wheelchair she has been in from before the time Ryan was drafted by the Nationals in 2005. This foundation is extremely personal to Ryan and much of the work being done now behind the scenes is by Ryan’s wife Heather, and Ryan’s father Keith. A total of $225,000 was raised last night!