Nats’ star Ryan Zimmerman’s AP diary: Pondering retirement
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ryan Zimmerman is a two-time All-Star infielder who has played 15 years in the majors, all with the Washington Nationals. He holds most of the team’s career hitting records, and his two homers and seven RBIs last postseason helped the Nationals win their first World Series championship. With baseball on hold, Zimmerman occasionally is offering his thoughts -- as told to AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich -- in a diary of sorts while waiting for the 2020 season to begin. In the fifth installment, the 35-year-old discusses pondering the possibility of retirement.
It has been kind of nice to be home, spend more time with my girls.
In a way, I get to see what it would be like to not go to the park every day, to not have to face Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Clayton Kershaw.
My body feels unbelievable right now. Not having to go through the grind of a season, but still working out. I kind of envision myself being that way when I’m done playing: Still being active and staying in shape but not necessarily doing what we do every single day to get ready for a game.
Going the other way, though, being home and not being able to even go to the field -- you don’t realize how much you love it until it’s gone.
In that sense, this time has made me realize how lucky I am to play the game.
So it’s kind of shown me that I’ll be OK, either way: Whether I continue past 2020 or not, I’ll be great whenever I retire.
I would lean more toward that it shows me I still really enjoy playing the game and competing and putting the work in that it takes to be successful at that level.
I already had decided that from here on out, I’m just going to do one-year deals. That way I can assess how I feel, how my body feels, how I performed and if I’m still capable of contributing at this level and helping the team win. That’s the top priority.
A lot of people were saying, “You could have gone somewhere else and gotten a two-year deal.” Things like that.
I obviously didn’t want to go anywhere else. And I also didn’t want a multi-year deal.
I’m at the point now where it’s kind of nice to be able to see where things stand each year and go from there.
If it turns out there isn’t a 2020 season, and I had to decide right now about 2021, I would say: Yes, I definitely would plan on playing next year.
A lot of things could change. But part of the reason I decided to come back this year is I wanted to see what it was like to try to defend a World Series title.
That would be pretty cool.
Why didn’t I just win and ride off into the sunset? The No. 1 answer is I still love this and think I can be productive. And being back with basically the same group of guys to try and do what we did last season again was appealing to me.
If we don’t have a season this year, it would kind of be the same mindset going into next year.
Truth is, other than being a year older, having a year off wouldn’t be a bad thing for my body — and I wouldn’t be a “year older” in baseball terms, I guess. It’s not another year of wear and tear, so it kind of doesn’t count.
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