Zimmerman: "No way we'll lose 100"
The Nats' winter caravan has inched its way onto the Beltway, which means you'll have plenty of chances to ask Rob Dibble for his autograph, talk with Drew Storen, and read transcripts of Nationals radio interviews on the D.C. Sports Bog.
The festivities got started plenty early Wednesday morning, when Ryan Zimmerman appeared on DC101's Elliot in the Morning and essentially guaranteed that the Nats would not reach the century mark in losses for a third consecutive season.
"I mean, there's no way we'll lose 100 games again this year," he said. "I think the hardest part for a young team is to learn how to win and to learn how not to lose, and I think last year we lost a bunch of games. We lost them. The other team didn't beat us, we lost them ourselves. And I think we' kind of learned in the second half last year what we can't do, and obviously with the acquisitions--and we're still out there trying to get a few more--if we can get a couple of these other guys that everyone knows we're going after, I think you can expect some good things. I'm a realist, I'm not gonna say we're gonna go out and win the World Series, but we're gonna be a lot better than we were last year, and we're gonna be more competitive. And we're kind of building that foundation to go on that run where you make the playoffs every year within a year, or two years at the shortest."
(A few hours later, appearing on ESPN 980's The Sports Fix, Nyjer Morgan seconded this proposition.
"I don't see 100 games getting lost this year. Very confident on that," he said. "You and I both know, you don't see 100 losses for the Nats in 2010.")
Zimmerman--sounding as comfortable, chatty and Face of the Franchise-y as I've ever heard him--also discussed what all the losing has been like.
"It's miserable. It's miserable to lose," he said at one point.
"The teams that make the playoffs every year, it's the teams with good pitching, good bullpens and that's something that we didn't have last year," he said at another point.
Still, he said that he, Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham and others have continued to talk up the franchise in conversations with friends around baseball.
"We truly enjoy playing in D.C.," he said. "I think we have a great team. You know, we're young, and it sucks losing all the time, but we have fun, we have a good group of guys, and we understand that when all of us young guys kind of grow up, this year or next year, we're gonna have something special. And people are enticed by Washington D.C. I think they love the city when they come in and play us, when they're on other teams. They obviously love the stadium. And they're excited with what can happen here. I mean, if we had a winner here, it would be one of the best places to play, and that's what we're looking forward to."
Aren't we all. And to all those who took excessive cheap shots at the Nats when they were down and out--present company excluded--Zimmerman had a few things to say. Sort of. This was him, talking about the time he and Dunn wore those Natinals jerseys onto the field.
"We had no idea," he said. "I mean, we don't pay attention to that stuff. We just put the jersey on. I think Dunn got a hit or I scored a run or something, and they came out and asked for our jerseys, and we're like, 'What the heck?' We were like, 'Sweet, we must have done something cool.' They told us after the game that they were spelled wrong. I guess it was just another thing for people to poke fun at us. But that's ok, we'll come back on 'em."
Zimmerman also praised recent moves by the front office, in the process hinting at something other than praise for the previous regime.
"This is the first offseason, I think, where they've actually gone after some people, and they've done some stuff that's legitimately made us a better team," he said early in the conversation.
"I guess we're now a Major League organization, finally, if you could say it that way," he said when asked about the changes in scouting. "You have to scout, you have to find people. And that's what all these other teams had, and now we have it, so we're on the same level now. And hopefully that will lead us to compete with them and be in the mix to make the playoffs every year."
(And many thanks to Tyler at DC101 for the audio.)
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