Zimmerman's commitment to the community is best illustrated through his work with the ziMS Foundation, which he founded in 2006, his first full season in the Major Leagues. The ziMS Foundation aims to raise money for multiple sclerosis awareness and programs benefiting those afflicted with the disease.
Serving as president, Zimmerman is actively involved in and donates his time, money and image to promoting the foundation. The foundation holds several fundraising events annually, including ziMS Funfest, the Golf and Gala and the popular Night at the Park held at Nationals Park. Zimmerman's community outreach also includes visits to local children's hospitals several times each season.
There is a reason Zimmerman is dedicated to raising money for multiple sclerosis awareness. His mother, Cheryl, has been afflicted with multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable disease that affects the central nervous system, since 1995.
During the first five years of her illness, Cheryl was able to work as a teacher, but it grew worse by 2000. She is now confined to a wheelchair.
Zimmerman said his mom's illness helped him become even-keeled throughout his life. It explains why one never sees him get angry with the media.
"That's a big part of it," Ryan said not too long ago. "Me and my brother [Shawn] had to do some things that younger kids wouldn't have to do. We were not the only kids that ever had to deal with something like that. That added to my [composure]. I don't get too high or too low.
"Before that, that's the way we were brought up. That's the way my parents were when we were young. I just think it rubbed off on us."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.