Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has seen the good, the bad and the ugly in the eight years he has been a part of the Washington Nationals organization. The face of the franchise will set a career milestone Friday night that is certainly a big deal for the Nationals.
When Zimmerman takes the field against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, it will be his 1,000th career game. He will be the first player in the history of the franchise to collect the honor. What is also unique is that Zimmerman has mostly done it at one position, with the exception of one start at shortstop in 2005, his first season in the big leagues.
“Obviously, the time has gone by quickly. It has been a lot of fun, and hopefully we could play 1,000 more and keep it going,” Zimmerman told Nationals.com. “It’s one of those things where I feel lucky to play at this level for that long, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s really nothing to celebrate. A lot of people have played 1,000 games in the big leagues. I don’t think it’s a big deal. It’s kind of what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to show up and play, and that’s my job.”
What will take place Friday is something many fans never thought would be possible years ago after back-to-back seasons with more than 100 losses. Someone as talented as Zimmerman does not belong on a team that did not have an appetite for winning, which made fans think he would not be in Washington much longer. However, things change quickly. Now, it is only matter of time until the Nationals clinch their first World Series berth.
There is no question Zimmerman deserves all the success that has come his way in the past and any accomplishments that wait for him down the road. He is a true leader and a player that the Nationals can count on every game. He also has no problems playing through the pain, even when most players would take a day off.
“If I can help the team, that’s what I’m going to do — go out there and play,” Zimmerman said, according to Nationals.com. “I feel good sometimes. I feel bad sometimes. I think people respect guys that go out there and play, whether they are feeling good and bad. That’s what I’ve been taught to do.”
Zimmerman has posted a .287 batting average with 153 home runs, 600 RBI, 401 walks, 252 doubles and 16 triples in 3,890 at-bats through the first 999 games. Hopefully, the 28-year-old will be able to post similar numbers over the next 1,000 contests.