The Face and the Foundation
Simply being an organization’s first-ever draft pick is hardly enough to make someone the face of the franchise. Even ascending to become a star in the league, winning Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards, is still not sufficient on its own to bestow such a title. Sure, Ryan Zimmerman has achieved all of the aforementioned accolades, but it is his work off the field that has cemented him as the cornerstone of the organization, and is a big part of the reason why the Nationals felt it was crucial to offer him a contract extension through at least the 2019 season.
Many Nationals fans already know about the extensive efforts Zimmerman has put into creating and fostering the ziMS Foundation, to help find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. His own mother has been afflicted by the condition since Zimmerman was a teenager, so the cause is very much a personal one for him. However, outside of the Nationals family, Zimmerman and his work are not necessarily that well known. Hopefully that will change this Saturday, when MLB Network will air the hour-long feature MLB: My Life on Zimmerman and his family, as well as the foundation he created.
“I’m not really a guy who puts that much out there (about the ziMS Foundation),” said the soft-spoken Zimmerman on Thursday afternoon. “So doing the show was kind of a new thing for me. It was uncomfortable at times, because I’m not used to doing things like that. But it was a new experience and I had a lot of fun doing it. “
The feature will take fans back to the Virginia Beach, where Zimmerman spent his youth, as well as to his alma mater, the University of Virginia. While Zimmerman himself has yet to see the finished product, he was encouraged by the experience and hopeful that fans will learn more about the work he has put in away from the diamond.
They were great to work with,” said Zimmerman of the MLB Network crew. “Hopefully, in the end, it will bring some good publicity to the (ziMS) Foundation and help people learn more about it.”
Watch a preview of the feature below, and be sure to catch the episode in its entirety when it airs on MLB Network on Saturday, September 1 at 6:30 p.m.