There are talkers and there are doers. Ryan Zimmerman is the latter and usually a man of few words, but his humble nature as a man who does not talk much all changed as he saw a need and put his money where his mouth is. Born out of necessity because of this COVID-19 crisis, Ryan and his wife Heather Zimmerman heard the words of a friend from Great Falls who happens to be a doctor at Inova Fairfax Hospital. There is a great need to take care of the families of our health care workers who are working around the clock at the hospitals during this pandemic and need to feed themselves and their families. Zim took his ZiMS Foundation and created Pros For Heroes within it. The first donation was from his pocket — $100,000. The Scherzer family followed with $20,000 and Patrick Corbin put up $5,000 and as of last night 900 regular people put up another $50,000 and within hours of its inception, over $200,000 was raised.
“Teamwork is the ability to come together towards a common goal. The Nationals are my team, but now that team has expanded,” Zimmerman said. “We are looking forward to attracting as many supporters to help join this cause and give back as much as we can to those who have given us so much.”
Going high tech with a ZOOM meeting shown on Facebook Live and emceed by MASN’s Dan Kolko, it was like Jerry Lewis was running a comedy telethon like some of us grew up watching on our black and white TVs as our parents phoned in a donation to WTTG-5. The entertainment value of this Zim production which was almost totally unscripted was a laugh out loud event. At some points there were over 6,000 tuned in with Game 7 in the background, and players, coaches, manager Dave Martinez, and general Manager Mike Rizzo kicking it off, we were treated to some hilarious moments. No, pitching coach Paul Menhart did not ZOOM in from his bathroom — although the curtain behind him sure did look like a shower curtain at first.
We got to really get to know the left-handed BP pitcher Ali Modami who most had never heard speak and a Twitter follower asked me who “Ali” is. Yes, he was with the Phillies years ago and Jayson Werth brought him to the Nats. He was also the man responsible for getting all of the players hooked up with the replica World Series “metal” through a company in Arizona. Some of the players like Matt Adams and Daniel Hudson had their replica World Series trophies at their side in the ZOOM video.
Besides the philanthropic part, we were reunited with old teammates like Gerardo Parra who ZOOM’d in from Japan at 10 am in the morning there (although he had no idea what day of the week it was as he thought it was Monday). Parra popped open some Kirin beer because you know it was 5 o’clock somewhere, and almost every player was drinking some adult beverage from wine to bourbon. The only champagne was being sprayed in our alternate universe after that Game 7 win that we watched — again. In total, I believe the final count was 17 players participated including a “5 minute” cameo appearance by Anthony Rendon who ZOOM’d in from California because they had more food than Houston (huh, what?).
The whole Zim Facebook Live is now reloaded for view on this link–> https://t.co/oM5KR697Gf
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) April 15, 2020
You can certainly watch the whole 4+ hours of this event in which Ryan Zimmerman must have talked for over three hours it seemed. The video froze a couple of times and maybe that was for some censorship but mostly it was clean fun with only a couple of curse words so it is safe for children to watch unless you don’t want them watch guys drinking or Brian Dozier taking his shirt off. We got to hear Juan Soto recalling an at-bat in Game 7 and deking Astros catcher into calling for a fastball by asking for a changeup and in the video young Soto called Chirinos an “idiot”.
“Yeah, he’s trying,” Soto said of Chirinos. “He’s like, ‘Oh, you don’t do that. Oh, you did buh buh buh.’ I said throw the changeup again, and he threw the fastball. What an idiot.”
There were multiple points of joking and the ensuing laughter about the Astros ace pitcher, Gerrit Cole, seemingly warming up for four innings in the bullpen as Zim said he must’ve thrown 130 pitches. Cole never came into that game and of course signed with the Yankees after the season as a free gent. All in good humor if you enjoy that type of thing.
“Was he getting his side [bullpen session] in for the Yankees for next year, or what?” Zimmerman said about Cole. “I didn’t realize he was out there in the fifth inning.”
Zimmerman admitted to seeing things on the game video that he did not really see before. Cole certainly was the brunt of much of the humor in a respectful way as some roasts go because on this night almost anything could be discussed in this uncensored event and some questions never got answered like whether Trea Turner is a paid spokesman for Clase Azul tequila, and Rendon would not answer the simplest of questions. The self-deprecating Brian Dozier as we learned had about 50 costumes in the locker room and at the end of this event he dressed up like “The Freeze” who is the guy who races fans at Atlanta Braves games. Dozier is hilarious and Zim joked that Dozier saved all of the costumes just in case he is traded to the Nats mid-season.
Zim told Dozier, who signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Padres, that he would make more money as the Nats flight attendant on the team’s Delta charter than playing for the Padres. It was just part of the humorous side of Ryan Zimmerman that few outside his inner circle ever get to witness. Dozier thanked his former teammates for what the whole 2019 experience meant to him. He was a coveted free agent signed by Rizzo on a one-year deal for the 2019 season. He went from a starter and then was relegated to the bench late in the season and the postseason and as Davey Martinez said, “He never complained.” That makes him in my book a Nats legend forever. He was the consummate teammate and always supportive even when his shirt was off. His renditions of Calma were a highlight for many.
Throughout the event, Ryan chimed in as the virtual tote board was ratcheted up with donations. About every hour, Ryan would explain to people who just signed on about the Pros For Heroes mission.
“These critical care unit members are the true heroes, and we believe supporting them in any manner is incredibly important,” Zimmerman said. “As we start this Pros For Heroes fund, we are focusing on a multi-pronged approach, keeping our first-responders covered at work and comfortable at home.”
Among the many revelations was learning that Davey Martinez went ballistic on the umps when they told him to “control his players” and that is when he got thrown out of the game. Umps were also discussed in a positive way as they were truly excited for the Nats when the game was seemingly wrapped up, but Zim wanted no part of premature congratulations because he lived through the Game 5 meltdown of 2012 with a big lead.
“Jim Wolf gets right in my ear, and he’s like, ‘Hey, take a deep breath, brother.’ I just turn to him and I’m like, ‘Hey, sit your ass behind me and call strikes,’” Gomes said.
Zimmerman also recalled encouragement from first base umpire Doug Eddings after Jose Altuve struck out in the 9th inning putting the Nats one out from being champs.
“He said, ‘Hey, you deserve it,’” Zimmerman said. “I’m like, ‘Bro, there’s an out left, man. Don’t be saying that.’ It’s almost like the umpires were happy [for us].’”
When the last out was recorded and the celebration started — so did the music. Of course there was some Baby Shark music and We Are The Champions. The funniest part might have been Brian Dozier beating on a trash can while Juan Soto was batting in this alternate universe in Game 7. Check out this excerpt from the ZOOM video:
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) April 15, 2020
Let’s see if we can name all of the players and coaches in attendance or maybe it is easier to name who was not there because unfortunately Howie Kendrick could not make it. There was no Victor Robles, and no Asdrubal Cabrera, Tanner Rainey, and Kurt Suzuki. Joe Ross was supposed to be there and not sure what happened to Michael A. Taylor. From the coaches there was no Bob Henley or Kevin Long. And the senior member, Fernando Rodney was not there but they showed his slow run to the celebration dogpile on the video (LOL). Oh and there was no Javy Guerra or Wander Suero.
We did have Patrick Corbin, Sean Doolittle, Daniel Hudson, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg from the pitching staff and even though Roenis Elias was not on the World Series roster he also made a short appearance on the video. From the position players we of course had Ryan Zimmerman and Yan Gomes, Brian Dozier, Matt Adams, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Adam Eaton, Gerardo Parra, and Juan Soto. That is a sweet sixteen players plus Ali Modami.
At one point, Zimmerman deadpanned that he could not stay up too late because he had to be up early in the morning which led to someone asking “What do you have to do?” and Zim responded while laughing “absolutely nothing”. Hey, Zim has two young adorable daughters who probably rise early, and we got to once again see on video the Zimmerman family of Mackenzie and her younger sister Hayden along with Heather who is due with their third child in June (a son).
In the video, they talked about who would be buying team dinner meals with expensive bottles of wine that Zimmerman had treated his teammates so often to, and Zim pointed out it wouldn’t be him anymore since he took a big paycut (LOL) and was looking forward to playing this season just to be the one being treated. They asked Trea if he would be treating and he said he is low man on the totem pole and said the “$400 million 21-year-old” could do that. Again some funny moments as Trea also showed off his “millenial” skills when he added a photo to his ZOOM background which others then followed like Parra who had a Simpson’s cartoon of the Nats for his background. Gomes had a photo of himself with Tiësto as his background. For those who don’t know, Tiësto music is very popular in the Nats clubhouse as it seems to fit the perfect music genre of “clubhouse music”.
Best part of Zim’s Facebook Live has to be the shirtless Dozier, Dozier banging the trash can, Soto calling Chirinos an idiot, Zim busting on Cole throwing 130 pitches in the bullpen, Trea being the millenial, Rendon’s 5 minute appearance, and raising over $200,000. Way to go! 🏆
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) April 15, 2020
Maybe you got lost in the entertainment value and forgot that the main purpose of this event was to raise money. Yes, we have all given to various charities including Nats 4 Good and other charitable endeavors and some of us are living on meager means now ourselves. As one person responded to me before, “I keep giving to every call for help, and my fear is at sometime soon I may be out of work if this goes on much longer.” That is scary as heck to think how vulnerable we all are financially in this crisis that one day you can be a giver and the next you could be the one in need. First off, stay safe and healthy. We are all in this together, and I hope you give even $5 if you can so we can reach Zim’s $250,000 goal.
“Hopefully it’ll snowball,” Zimmerman said to the media. “I’m going to reach out to my buddies on the other teams. You hear about athletes and celebrities doing great things during all this, but it’s kind of these one-offs. That’s great. That helps. But if we can bring everyone together from these different teams, we might be able to do something that has some staying power and might be able to grow.”
Zim got Nicholas Backstrom to contribute several thousand dollars to this, and he hopes to get Redskins, DC United, and the Wizards involved. As Zim said, $1 to $5 can buy a mask and $10 can buy a meal from their food sources SuperFd, with the help of Eco Caters DC. If over 6,000 were on the Facebook watching this event and only 900 donated then you hope some of those who watched the event and have the ability to give — do. Yes, I gave at the office. You can click here to donate. Take a look at WaPo’s Scott Allen’s Top-10 moments from last night.
— ItsLuisF (@ItsLuisF) April 17, 2020