Results tagged ‘ ziMS Foundation ’

Awards Season

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We’ve mentioned in this space before that being the face of a franchise means more than just showing up every day and hitting third in the lineup. For Ryan Zimmerman, who holds that title for the Nationals, the team’s rise in prominence has coincided with increased recognition of the off-the-field work in which he has invested so much of his time and energy over the years. Already the first ever Expo/National to win the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, Zimmerman officially accepted his bid as the Nationals nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award before tonight’s doubleheader.

Zimmerman accepts his nomination before Wednesday’s doubleheader.

Previously the Nationals nominee once before back in 2007, Zimmerman’s commitment to the community is best illustrated through his work with the ziMS Foundation, which he founded in 2006, his first full season in the Major Leagues. His annual Golf and Gala fundraiser celebrates its seventh year in 2012, while the Night at the Park took place for the third year in a row this summer, helping raise more than $200,000 through ticket sales, donations and both live and silent auctions.

“You always get recognized for what you do on the field,” explained Zimmerman Wednesday afternoon before accepting the award. “Nowadays, a majority of athletes are doing things off the field. It’s important, not so much for us to get recognition, but for things that we’re supporting to get recognition. We’re in this good position to promote or help out a cause that means a lot to us.”

As the Nationals have performed better on the field in 2012, those efforts have gained more notoriety. Zimmerman understands that this is the natural ebb and flow of the game and the attention given to winning teams, and he is taking it all in stride.

“A lot of times those things go hand-in-hand,” he said. “The better you do on the field, the better things are.”

However, the added attention from the media regarding his exploits on the field has not taken Zimmerman’s focus away from his efforts in the community. He has still spent time during the everyday grind of the season helping both his Foundation and other causes, including a visit to Children’s National Medical Center a few weeks ago. Congratulations to Ryan – this is a well-deserved thanks for everything he does off the field.


The Face and the Foundation

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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.

MLB Network will air Zimmerman’s story this Saturday evening.

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.