Everyone's favorite baseball institution that also looks like he's made of sugar cookie is back in the high life again. Yes, Don Zimmer is a "special advisor" to the Rays, and he's looking back at all his success like the delusional WWI vet that he is! Let's join Don on his doddering trot down Memory Lane.
Last week Don Zimmer and his wife dusted off the scrapbook and took out the Baseball Encyclopedia and started counting. The day before, after the Rays had won the Division Series over the White Sox, someone had asked the venerable baseball man how many celebrations he had taken part in, and Zim didn't know off hand.
So he and his wife Jean, known as Soot, did the research and determined that, going into this season, Zimmer had been involved in 30 baseball celebrations in 60 years in the game, an average of one every two years.
The first six pages of that scrapbook detail "The Best Pastrami Sandwiches I've Ever Aten."
If you told Soot that there is some controversy surrounding teams celebrating so often these days she may turn ashen. Zimmer's celebration pedigree goes back to 1955, but he admits that a good chunk of his parties came with the Yankees. After all, "We won the World Series four times, that's 16 celebrations right there." So besides math, what else is Don actually doing with the Rays these days?
Now 77, Zimmer doesn't travel on every trip with the Rays, and doesn't hit fungoes -- always one of his specialties -- any more. Dave Martinez is the bench coach, but Zimmer is a great guy to just have around. He's still there to talk to the players and help them develop both on and of the field.
"I love talking to the younger guys, showing them the way to do things," he said. "I'll call them aside and pass on some of the information that I've learned in 60 years in the game.
Here is some of the wisdom he's passed on to the kids this year:
- "Never share a sleeping car with Christy Matthewson. He'll snore from Poughkeepsie to Akron."
- "It's easy to lose focus now that women are allowed in the stadium. Concentrate."
- "If Tom Brokaw wants to tell you how awesome you are for living through the Depression, let him!"
Another fun fact: I saw on Entertainment Tonight that Don shares a birthday with the Grand Canyon. HE'S OLD!