From The Desk Of Mark Lerner – Extending Thanks

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Nationals Principal Owner Mark D. Lerner will be blogging throughout the 2012 Grapefruit League Season from Viera, bringing his own unique perspective of the goings-on at Nats Spring Training.

Good afternoon Nats Fans,

I’m packing my bags today to head down to Viera and Space Coast Stadium in a few days for what I think will be one of the most competitive and interesting training camps in baseball over the next few weeks. Honestly, I wish I left a week ago to get down there. I am ready for some baseball.

Zimmerman's teammates were on-hand to watch him sign his extension.

The competition to make the 25-man roster, the starting lineup, and especially the five-man rotation will be exciting. The fact that just about everyone showed up early this spring is a good indication of how eager they all are to impress Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson. I’ll also be interested to see the smaller, more condensed and personalized camp, which includes 54 players.

I’m also looking forward to congratulating Ryan Zimmerman face-to-face on his contract extension.  He is a special person, a fan favorite, and certainly a guy for whom I have great respect. Ryan and I traded text messages early Sunday morning after Mike Rizzo told me the negotiations were completed late Saturday night. I told him how excited I was personally that he has the chance to wear his hometown Washington Nationals jersey for – what all Nats fans would love to see – the rest of his career.

I would have enjoyed being a fly on the wall when Ryan made a call to his mom and dad telling them the contract negotiations had been finalized. I know he has always hoped that he could continue to play in front of his family and friends, and I know his parents, Keith and Cheryl, are thrilled.

Zimmerman and Rizzo make it official with a handshake.

I can tell you from behind the scenes that Ryan’s first priority in extending his contract was the ability to see his job through. He has been the cornerstone of our building plan in Washington, and we believe will be an even more important one in the team’s leap to being a contender. In the next few years, we should see our planning begin to pay off, and Ryan’s leadership and performance will be critical to it.

Hats off to Ryan, his family, his agent, to Mike Rizzo and his staff, and to Nationals fans everywhere.

Ryan’s extended contract means we will all see him in the Nationals lineup, where he belongs, for a very long time.


Congratulations On signing Someone Who has been 1 of the top 10 Third basemen in the major leagues his entire career and has one of the sweetest swings I’ve ever seen.

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Welcome back to another exciting spring training venue and congratulations to “Zimm” and the Nats for agreeing to play together for what will surely be some of the most exciting baseball we fans have ever seen, here in DC.

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