MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Zimmerman humbled by support for charity

'Night at the Park' event raises more than $200,000 to fight multiple sclerosis

Zimmerman humbled by support for charity

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals had the day off Monday and most of them spent a portion of it at the sixth annual "A Night at the Park" hosted by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

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The event benefited the ziMS foundation, which is dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of multiple sclerosis by funding comprehensive support and educational programs. MS hits close to Zimmerman, for his mother, Cheryl, was diagnosed with MS in 1995. She was in attendance Monday, in a wheelchair. Zimmerman reports she is doing fine.

"It's amazing it has already been six years," Zimmerman said about the charity event. "I think our success is completely dependent on the community. This is the city where I grew up and it's humbling to see how much support we get, not only from baseball fans but from people that I've met and they are my friends now. It's amazing how big this has gotten."

Quite a few Nats teammates, such as Drew Storen, Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond, and a large number of Nats fans were in attendance. Right-hander Max Scherzer appeared to be the most sought after by fans, especially after pitching a no-hitter against the Pirates on Saturday. Scherzer was accommodating to the fans and was pleased to be in attendance with his wife.

"Any time one of your teammates has a charity event, something he is passionate about, you always want to show support for him," Scherzer said. "I know about multiple sclerosis. My mom is affected by the disease as well. She has a benign form of it. I understand the sympathy for it, the importance for research. I know having events like this can raise a lot of money for a good cause."

Mingling with players wasn't the only thing that happened at "A Night at the Park." There was a live auction, which included playing golf with Zimmerman and a private cooking class with Zimmerman and chef Spike Mendelsohn.

There was also a silent auction. One could bid on, for example, a Wayne Gretzky-signed hockey puck or Taylor Swift's guitar.

There was also entertainment. Country music star Kip Moore entertained the folks. The event made north of $200,000, according to a person associated with Zimmerman.

The event at Nationals Park isn't the only thing that Zimmerman is involved in when it comes to finding a cure for MS. He has a golf tournament in Virginia Beach, Va. The 10th anniversary will soon be coming later this year.

"Then my parents do a ton of smaller things around the beach with the local MS chapters of Virginia Beach," Zimmerman said. "... They have done things with people who have MS. They have a weekend where they can get away from the normal day-to-day stuff they have to deal with."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.