Zimmerman’s field trip to Miami

Sunday, Ryan Zimmerman will be at a place where most football fans, passing or devout, dream about being.

He might not get recognized that much considering the amount of athletes and celebrities in attendance for the biggest football game of the year.

Zimmerman is expected to attend Sunday’s Super Bowl in Miami. How did he get his seats? Where are his seats? No clue. Not the foggiest idea. Nationals catcher Brian Schneider will also be in attendance at the game.

I am going to go out on a limb here and assume that this time last year Zimmerman was watching the Super Bowl in some place other than Detroit.

Then again, Zimmerman’s life has changed some between Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLI. 

When Zimmerman is in Miami, he represents a lot more than himself.  He is the face of the Nationals, the cornerstone of the team’s future if you will. Who else you do want? Stan Kasten or Jim Bowden? So far, Zimmerman has projected a calm, level-headed demeanor. It’s a trait that has served him well.

Still, Miami during Super Bowl week is a crazy place.  The mixture of nightlife, people, sunny weather and more people will be something Zimmerman hasn’t seen much during his young life. Think of it as an Upscale Spring Break with money, rich people, nice buildings, great nightlife and nice beaches but without the college smell and cheap bars.

I decided to give the 2006 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up some tips about surviving Super Bowl weekend. 

-Remember you play for the Nationals, not the Yankees. Think about this when you’re on the town. Miami isn’t cheap.  Don’t be spending A-Rod money on an R-Zimm salary. The Mrs told me martinis go for $20. This isn’t Old Ebbitt Grill or Ozio.

-When there are athletes and celebrities, there are paparazzi. Sure, they won’t R-Zimm from D-Zimm (Don Zimmer) so don’t give them a reason to know you. In other words, stay out of trouble. Remember, we Nationals bloggers are evil folks. The last thing you need is to end up on The Smoking Gun website. Keep your nose clean.

-Have fun. Heck, you deserve it. You had a great year last year. Don’t have too much though.

-Try to convince people we’re not a bad baseball town. Keep it positive and upbeat. When people say we’re going to stink, tell them “we’re going to surprise people this year” or “we’re going to open some eyes.” You know, something generic. I guess most people in Miami wouldn’t know a National from a National Bohemian. You’re our baseball ambassador this weekend. Promote us. Heck, you did a great job in the Post article about the 2007 lineup. Anyone who can say they’re happy to have Felipe Lopez AND Cristian Guzman batting ahead of you in the lineup with a straight face is pretty good. Lopez I’ll give you. Guzman I’ll wait on. 

-If Paris Hilton or some other well-known attractive starlet or celebrity comes up to you and makes small talk, run in the….screw it! If she talks to you, remember most of us married National loser fans will be living vicariously through you at that moment.

-If someone comes up, asks for an autograph and says you were great in the Royal Rumble, don’t get mad. Although, if you ran into Randy Orton, that would be freaky.

-Dude, you’re at the Super Bowl.  I’ve only known one person in my life to attend a Super Bowl. You’re at the most watched televised sporting event in the world. Great job getting tickets.  Honestly, though, I think too many people are picking the Colts. I’m bucking the trend and picking Da Bears.

This year, Zimmerman will be interviewed often since he is the face of the Nationals. He’s likely sound bite No.2 behind Manny Acta. In good and bad, someone will interview him. At times, the questions will be lame, repetitive and stupid. It’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old, to handle pressure that should be placed on a 32 year old. Zimmerman did great last year but the expectations bar was set low. On April 2, the 2006 records will mean nothing.  Last year’s success is expected to be duplicated. I like Zimmerman has the goal in mind of a 100 RBI and not home runs or batting average. Great thinking by a No. 3 hitter.

Zimmerman represents a nice pattern in the Washington sports scene. All four major sports teams have recognizable faces as their leaders. The Wizards have Arenas, The Caps have Ovechkin and the Redskins have Chris Cooley or Clinton Portis.

I hope Zimm has a fun time in Miami. I hear the Mojitos and Cuban Sandwiches down there are great!


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