It is the summer of 2004 and Ryan Zimmerman is playing for Team USA.
While we make the drive up to Aberdeen, Maryland, Team USA like Team Canada had driven up from Durham, North Carolina. On the bus was nineteen year old Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman had just completed his second year at the University of Virginia. In 59 games he batted .361 with a SLG of .454. In 2004 Ryan had established him as a very good player in the ACC, earning a first Team All ACC selection. But his play for Team USA will show off his talents ad set the stage for the future.
Here is our diary entry for the USA – Canada game on 27 June 2004.
Sunday 27 June
We pull into Aberdeen with ten minutes to spare before the gates open, truly a great task of coordination. We pick our tickets up at will call and move in when the gates are open.
We have great seats right down in front. We talk to the usher about the new Ironbirds pitcher named Luis Ramirez He has received a lot of hype since his fourteen strikeout game. Our usher friend thinks the hitting isn’t there yet but time will tell. He leaves telling us to sit anywhere they won’t have a big crowd, he is wrong.
They end up with a good crowd and are forced to open a second concession stand because of the long lines.
We try the chicken and it rates a plus rating. The hot dog gets a 4.5.
The family in front of us has five kids. They are having a good time and devour snow cone after snow cone. Later they are happy to show the mom their colored tongues and stained clothes. The kids also get to sing “USA! USA!” several times and love it.
Two older fans behind us talk about the game. The husband has a good knowledge of the game and we listen to his remarks with interest. He talks about one Team USA batter is a sucker for a high fastball. He also thinks the starter for Team Canada is throwing a knuckleball, we don’t see it but it is possible. The husband supports baseball for the Distirct while the wife opposes it.
They talk about the problems the Orioles face and it is here that we learn that Ray Miller has been brought back into the fold as a pitching coach.
The United States National Team ran wild on the bases and clubbed three home runs to defeat Team Canada, 14-3.
Game #62 Team Canada vs. Team USA
4:05 PM 82 Degrees under scattered clouds
Attendance: 3.400 EST
Cesar Ramos (So., Long Beach State) starts and holds the Canadians to three hits and one run in six innings. Luke Hochevar (So., Tennessee) throws a 92 mph fastball but is hittable. He gives up six hits and three runs in three innings of work.
In the bottom of the first Team USA gets to work. Trevor Crowe (Airzona) led off with a double down the right field line and scored on a double by first baseman Alex Gordon (So., Nebraska, Lincoln, Neb.).
Ryan Zimmerman (UVA) singles up the middle to drive in two more runs to extend the lead to 3-0 and right fielder John Mayberry Jr (Stanford). capped the rally with a run-scoring single up the middle.
Mayberry hit the ball every time he came to bat. He has an athletic build and is highly rated.
Ryan Zimmerman hits his second home run of the summer in the third inning, giving Team USA a 5-0 lead.
Canada finally got to Ramos in the fourth inning with back-to-back singles to lead off the inning. Catcher Jake Elder (Minnesota) collected an RBI with a ground out.
Team USA continued its hitting barrage scoring runs in the fourth and sixth innings.
Canada rallied for three runs off Hochevar in the seventh inning.
Josh Krywionek started for Team Canada and took the loss. Josh is a big pitcher but doesn’t hit 90 mph on the radar gun.
Zimmerman leads Team USA with two home runs after hitting only one in two seasons with an aluminum bat with the University of Virginia.