VIERA, Fla. -- Ryan Zimmerman holds a special place in the hearts of every member of the Nationals roster, which probably explains why more than a dozen of them jammed their way into the tiny interview room at Space Coast Stadium today for the star third baseman's news conference.
Here's just a sampling of what some of Zimmerman's teammates had to say about his long-term contract extension and what he means to the organization...
"It's huge. And you know what? He's a great player, but he's an even better person. He's very deserving of it. You don't really see that too much. Obviously my college coach, he was a Padre his whole life. It's really great to see another guy who's going to be with one team his whole career."
"It's very nice to see guys be locked up for five years or six years that are very, very good. We have a great organization of guys. We've got veteran guys. We've got young veterans like Zim. It's really exciting to have that. It's going to be fun the next couple of years."
"Zim is a very special guy. He's a professional when he plays. He's a professional off the field. He's the kind of guy that, he's never having a bad day. And if he did, you'd never know because he's always the same person, the same guy. He's very consistent. I think to be as good as he is in baseball, you have to be consistent. If you wanted somebody to be the face of your franchise, why not Ryan Zimmerman?"
"There's very few guys that have done what he's done. His loyalty says a lot with that deal. If he really wanted to squeeze out a couple more bucks, he could have. But what he's saying is he really wants to stay here. He really trusts what management is doing and he really likes the core group we've got. That goes a long way."
"Not only is a teammate, but he's one of our friends. We hang out with him off the field and we support the decision on both sides to come to an agreement. He deserves anything that comes with that contract, he deserves. So we wanted to be there for support and show him we're there for him."
"He's the face of the franchise. He's been the face of the franchise since Day 1. If anybody deserves it, he deserves it."