Former Cavalier baseball great Ryan Zimmerman is well known for his accomplishments inside the friendly confines of Davenport Field and in the Major Leagues.
A three-year starting third baseman for the Cavaliers, Zimmerman started in all 174 games he appeared and he concluded his career among the top 10 in Virginia history in batting average, at-bats, hits RBI and doubles. The fourth overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals, Zimmerman was one of the pioneers in the emergence of Virginia baseball as a national power.
In April of 2009, Zimmerman signed a five-year, $45 million contract with the Nationals through the 2013 season. He was selected to play in his first All-Star Game that season and was honored as the best defensive third basemen in the National League in 2009 earning his first Gold Glove Award. For the former collegiate All-American and inaugural recipient of ESPN’s Web Gem Champion award, Zimmerman’s biggest challenge is away from baseball – finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.
Zimmerman’s mother Cheryl was diagnosed with MS in 1995. A chronic, unpredictable neurological disease, MS affects the central nervous system and more than 400,000 people in the United States. In 2006 the native of Virginia Beach launched ziMS Foundation, which is “dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of MS by funding comprehensive support and educational programs.” The foundation is a tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) charitable organization classified as a public foundation working to raise money and awareness of MS.
The highlight of the foundations’ 2010 fundraising year will be “A Night at the Park”. “A Night At The Park” will be held August 9 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Nationals Park.
The benefit will include cocktails, dinner, silent and live auctions highlighted by special performances by world renowned magician David Blaine and recording artists Amos Lee and Mutlu. The guest list will include celebrities from the sports, entertainment and political world as well as Zimmerman’s Nationals teammates. Chuck Todd, NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent and co-host of “The Daily Rundown” on MSNBC, will serve as the events’ Master of Ceremonies.
Some of the unique items included in the live and silent auctions include the Jimmie Johnson Experience (Full VIP access to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on Oct. 10, 2010, which includes meet and greet with four time reigning Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson), Saddlebrook Resort Experience (A private work-out with Ryan’s personal trainer alongside Ryan and 15 other MLB stars at Saddlebrook Training Facility in Tampa, Fl.), a South Beach package which includes reserved seats to the newly loaded Miami Heat, U.S. Open Tennis Package (Stay includes courtside seats to the 2010 US Open, dinner at Tao, and “Rock of Ages” Broadway tickets), resort packages, American Idol (Live Taping Ticket Package) and reserved seats to Jonas Brothers and Maroon 5 concerts in Bristow, Va.
Nationals Park will be transformed into an intimate concert hall for 1,000 people (a special stage is being built on the outside concourse of the Presidents’ Club with attendees sitting in the Diamond Club seats). This is the ziMS Foundation inaugural event in Washington, D.C.
“We are extremely excited to be able to launch the ziMS Foundation in DC through such a unique platform,” said Zimmerman. “This will truly be a special event and a great night.”
Ticket information and sponsorship opportunities for “A Night at the Park” are still available by visiting www.anightatthepark.com. According to foundation representatives, the response to this event has been phenomenal and the remaining sponsorship opportunities are limited to one Hall of Fame Sponsorship (10K) and one All-Star Sponsor (5K) left. Fans wishing to secure tickets for “A Night At The Park” can visit the event Web site to order tickets. Those who cannot make the event but would like to make a donation to ziMS Foundation can do so at the Web site as well.
Zimmerman says the plan is to expand this event each year with even more talent and sponsorship opportunities with a hope of someday filling the stadium with 40,000 guests.
“We have big plans to grow this event each year at Nationals Park and greatly appreciate any and all support from the beginning and for years to come,” he said.