Friday, May 24, 2013
Zim's "Night at the Park" raises $300,000
After a grueling, 10-day road trip to the West Coast that featured plenty more lows than highs and a red-eye flight home from San Francisco, the Nationals would have been excused had they simply wanted to take Thursday off and rejuvenate themselves.
How, then, do you explain more than a dozen members of the roster and coaching staff showing up at Nationals Park for Ryan Zimmerman's annual "Night at the Park" charity event?
"It means a lot," Zimmerman said. "We're obviously teammates, and on the field we're fighting for the same thing. But for them to take time out of their off-day — which we don't get many — and getting home at 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning from the West Coast, for so many of them to come out and support me and buy things and drive up prices on the auction ... I think it just shows you not only what kind of players, but what kind of organization we have. It's always kind of been the 'Nationals Way' to be a good person. You can be a great baseball player, but we're more than just guys who play on the field."
Support wasn't limited to the Nationals franchise. Several pro athletes from Washington's other clubs also attended, including the Capitals' Brooks Laich and the Redskins' Ryan Kerrigan. Third Eye Blind performed a concert to close out the night.
This was the fourth year for the event, which raises money for Zimmerman's ziMS Foundation, and it was far and away the largest and most profitable held to date.
The full allotment of 1,850 tickets was sold out, with plenty more seeking tickets but shut out, and the event raised more than $300,000 for multiple sclerosis research. Since creating the foundation in 2006, Zimmerman has raised more than $1 million, the majority of which has gone directly to the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic at the University of Virginia, which seeks to find a cure for the disease that has plagued Zimmerman's mother, Cheryl, since 1995.
"To be able to raise that much money, and more importantly, give back that much money in that short of a period of time, we're very proud of that," Zimmerman said. "They've come a long way in the last five years. And hopefully in the future we won't have any more of these, because they'll find a cure and we won't have to do these anymore."