I was in just 5th grade and settling into my collection of fandom. My true loyalties lay in video games and the eventuality of acquiring a cellular phone like my friends before me; sports were my brother’s thing. Things were fragile.
So with the Nationals giving my hometown a genuine affiliate, MASN finally had another team to air across their local broadband and a young star that felt very relatable – Zimmerman – a talented underdog surrounded by a fledgling organization.
Things were bleak for the Nationals following their redesign, but one thing never changed, and it was the man who began his career at the hot corner. It wouldn’t be until 2012, the 8th of Zimmerman’s career, that the Nationals would eclipse a .500 record.
As a younger man, my relationship with Zimmerman was one of what I can only describe as sympathy (and a purveyor of fish and chips). He wasn’t the problem, but it felt like an almost guaranteed victory when the Phillies would run at the Nationals.
From 2005-2011, the Phillies record against the Nats stood at 79-49. A 62% winning percentage isn’t half bad, and that initial contact encouraged me to let my guard down for what was coming for the rest of the 2010s. It’s funny how things flipped.
How it Affects the Phillies
I believe the Phillies have something of a Zimmerman hiding on their roster as well. A talented loner grew up in Philadelphia on losing teams, creating pressure that eventually led to the most beautiful of diamonds – Rhys Hoskins.
Hoskins will enter his 6th season as a member of the Phillies, not far from when Zimmerman finally started sniffing the playoffs. If the Philadelphia faithful is lucky, that’s our man.
You may not believe this, but through their first five official seasons, Hoskins hit 118 homers, and Zimmerman collected 116. If that isn’t a sign, then I’ll retire too.
So, this retirement announcement is a bit personal and bittersweet for this Phillies fan.
Although he began his career as just a kid from the University of Virginia, he developed into a larger-than-life figure in D.C.’s clubhouse. It’s a rare thing for a star to stay home for his entire career, but hopefully, it’s clear just how sweet it is.
Congrats, Ryan. The Phillies are always looking for bench coaches, but I guess that wouldn’t be your style.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire