Former Wahoo Ryan Zimmerman Ready for MLB Playoffs with Nationals
Ryan Zimmerman will make his debut in the MLB postseason with the Nationals this week when Washington begins a best of five NL Divisional series against either Atlanta or St. Louis.
Zimmerman was the Nationals' first ever draft pick in June of 2005. He was selected fourth overall that year after batting a career .355 during his three seasons at the University of Virginia.
The Nationals celebrated their first NL East title this week with a champagne bath. There will be post-season baseball in D.C. this season for the first time since 1933.
Zimmerman says, "We knew we had a chance to be good, we were young we had talent, the team made some good moves, we got Gio and shored up our starting rotation which has been great all year... we're still a young team but all of us took that next step at the same time and it was kind of the perfect storm. "
Zimmerman finished this regular season with 25 home runs and 95 RBI. He is the franchise's all-time leader in hits, home runs, RBI and games played but he's had to endure a few seasons that approached or exceeded 100 losses.
"Its frustrating but there are a lot of guys in this league that don't get to the playoffs or who aren't on winning teams, it took me a little time but it was worth the wait, and hopefully it'll be like this for a long time now."
The Nationals drafted ace pitcher Steven Strasburg and slugger Bryce Harper with the number one overall pick in back to back years and Zimmerman had faith that nationals management was moving the franchise in the right direction.
Before the season started, Zimmerman signed a 6-year, 100 million dollar contract extension with the Nationals keeping him in D.C. for the foreseeable future.
"I knew that I wanted to stay here, this is home to me, they took a chance on me when I was young and threw me right into the fire, I thought it was only right to give then what they gave me and be here for the rest of my career. Its close to home, it feels like home, my parents family can come, its just a perfect situation for me."
Ryan's college teammate at Virginia, Mark Reynolds is going through a similar ride this season with the Baltimore Orioles, who are in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.
Zimmerman says, "I couldn't be happier for Mark what we both went through at the beginning,... both of us being on teams that haven't won in a long time its a special feeling to be in a city that hasn't had playoff baseball and to be that team that turns it around."
Zimmerman is batting .320 over the last three months. Even with ace pitcher, Steven Strasburg shutdown for the season, the former Wahoo believes getting to the world series this year is within reach.
"We just have to keep doing the things we've done all year, be smart, not make mistakes, and when we get a chance drive some runs in."
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Marty Hudtloff is the Sports Director at WVIR-TV. He joined the NBC29 sports team in October of 2003. He has a degree in broadcast journalism from Bradley University. You can reach out to Marty via Email or Twitter.