Just a few weeks after the Nationals hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy last fall as World Series champions, Ryan Zimmerman had a decision to make.
The longtime Nationals infielder has played in every season since the club moved to Washington in 2005 and holds multiple franchise records. The two-time All-Star, who turned 35 this past September, had to decide to return to the Nationals for another season or to retire as a champion.
After a couple of months of contemplating the decision, Zimmerman decided to keep playing. The Nationals re-signed the infielder to a one-year deal in February, hoping to get a victory lap, if nothing else.
"That was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to come back," Zimmerman said in an interview with NBC Washington. "I still love playing and think I can be productive, but I wanted to see what it was like to have a season where you're the defending World Series champions, to see how much fun it would be. Going on the road and see our fans, people that are excited to see us that don't necessarily live in D.C."
The MLB season was supposed to begin last Thursday, and the Nationals home opener was set for April 1. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, baseball, like all other professional sports, is currently on pause.
"I always thought when I wasn't doing anything in the spring, that during the summer I'd be able to do anything I want," Zimmerman said. "It's like I'm retired, but I can't leave the house."
As for the sports fans that are missing watching their favorite teams every day, Zimmerman feels for them.
"Were just as bummed as they are," he said. "You don't realize how much you miss sports until they're gone."
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Zimmerman has been home with his wife, Heather, and two daughters, Mackenzie and Hayden. While the couple admitted they are not used to being home this much during this time of the year, they said they were "blessed" to be in the situation they are in.
The infielder has served as the primary cook of the household, making dinner for the family every night, while Heather said she has a good routine down with the two young girls.
"It's been an interesting time," Heather said. "We're just taking each day at a time, shift every day to make it work."
Throughout their time in Washington, Zimmerman and his family have been very active in the community. During the difficult times for many, they have helped hospitals by sending over lunches, donating money, and purchasing items for a local women's shelter through an Amazon wishlist.
While the Zimmerman's wait for the next time they can head to Nationals Park and resume their normal lives, they agree there are way more important things to be thinking about right now.
"The most important part is everyone stays safe and thinks about each other," Zimmerman said. "Baseball will come back at some point. But right now, there are a lot more important things than baseball."
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