(ed. note - "A few weeks ago, I conducted an email interview with the Nationals' All-Star third baseman before he'd been named to the 2009 NL All-Star Roster. In light of this morning's announcement, I figured it was worth another read. Congratulations to Mr. Zimmerman on his first All-Star selection. Rumor has it he might not be the only one representing DC's Nationals.")...
Q: How much importance do you place on awards like the Gold Glove or an All-Star selection (or a hitting streak!) that recognize personal achievements as opposed to team success?
I don’t ever focus or place importance on personal achievements on the baseball field. I play this great game of baseball to win, and to have my teammates and fans respect me for playing as hard as I possibly can day in and day out, 162 games (hopefully more) a season. Sure, the hitting streak, and accomplishments like a Gold Glove or All-Star appearance are tremendous honors and ones I would cherish. They’re also indicators that my teammates have been productive and done well also. In the end, the second a player focuses or concerns himself with individual honors, is the second he loses his competitive edge in this game and won’t be respected inside the clubhouse, really the only place where it matters you’re respected. If the personal accolades come with team success, then I will enjoy them with my teammates and be ready for the next obstacle.
(ed. note - "That's right. Through the magic of the SB Nation, I was given an opportunity to interview the Washington Nationals' Face Of The Franchise™, the Nationals' 1st 1st Round Pick, DC's favorite third baseman, and the man who'll man the hot corner in the nation's capital for at least the next five years and hopefully for as long as he chooses to continue playing, "this great game" as he called it in the response above, Ryan Zimmerma...THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! The rest of my email interview with Ryan Zimmerman can be found after the jump...")
Q: Knowing your personal relationship/friendly rivalry with David Wright, and knowing how good he is, would it mean more to you if you were able to beat him out for either the Gold Glove or the starting spot at third in the All-Star Game?
DWright is a great guy and one of my closest friends in this game. We’re from the same area, have played together and against each other for years, and respect what each of us does on a baseball field. He has had great success early in his career, and for that I congratulate him wholeheartedly. I really enjoy watching him play (when it’s not against us) and hopefully his team and ours can battle for the NL East crown year in and year out.
Q: I'm sure you've seen MASN's Defining Moments commercials, part of the reason I've been trying to rally support for your All-Star selection is that I think it would be a Defining Moment for the franchise to have a player elected to the All-Star Game, rather than named to the roster, do you think it would have any significance for the franchise?
If I were to be selected to the All-Star game (either voted or chosen) it would be a huge honor. There’s so
many great players in the Major Leagues that being recognized in that light would be awesome. But like I said earlier, I play this game for the guy on my left and the one on my right, and individual success is always trumped by team success. I’d trade any personal achievement for a playoff berth and/or World Series ring.
Q: You got to play alongside an All-Star third baseman, one of my personal favorites, and one of the better defensive third baseman in recent history in your first year in the majors, is there anything you learned from Vinny Castilla that sticks with you to this day?
Vinny was a great player, both offensively and defensively – and one who left his mark on this game, not only for the teams he suited up for, but also his country (Mexico). He will go down as one of the most solid all-around 3B of all-time. I’ll never forget watching him when he was part of the Blake Street Bombers in the mid-90’s. He was a good guy who was always willing to help out the younger players and next wave of big leaguers.
Q: One Non-All-Star Game question if you don't mind...Do you and the other players on the team get as excited as the fans of the team about adding a #1 overall pick, especially someone as highly regarded as Stephen Strasburg, to the roster? As the Nationals' 1st Draft pick, (4th overall in '05), is there any advice you would offer Strasburg as he starts his career (assuming he signs) in DC?
Strasburg is clearly a very talented pitcher, and one that we hope will pitch with the Nationals for a long, long time. With that said, it’s tough to put such huge pressure/expectations on a young man who has never pitched in professional baseball. However, we believe he has the skill and makeup to be a star for us. We’re all excited to follow his progress and hopefully help our club out sooner rather than later. I will give him a hard time for his only loss coming against my alma mater, the University of Virginia, in the Regionals in Irvine. I’m not going to let him down for that one. Haha.
(ed. note - "Thanks, Ryan. And thank you to everyone behind the scenes who made this happen. You know who you are and you have to know how much it's appreciated. I asked those who put this together if I could place an ad at the end here for Ryan Zimmerman's zIMS Foundation to thank Ryan for agreeing to do this, and they said go ahead and do so if i'd like to, so I will, and I hope anyone who's able to can contribute to the cause, below is the mission statement from the Foundation's official site."):
"The ZiMS Foundation, started by Washington Nationals' Third Baseman Ryan Zimmerman, is dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of Multiple Sclorosis by funding comprehensive support and educational programs."