Face of Franchise, Zimmerman Is One Attractive Selling Point

Two springs ago, when the Washington Nationals were preparing to return baseball to the nation's capital for the first time in a generation, Ryan Zimmerman was a 20-year-old junior at the University of Virginia. He had signed some autographs -- "maybe a few, for the Virginia baseball program and that kind of thing" -- but he was an unknown. On Monday, Zimmerman will be the Nationals' starting third baseman as the club opens its third season here. He has attended parties with Scarlett Johansson and Tom Cruise, gets paid merely for signing a batting glove, will pen a column in a local paper and will, if he so desires, soon be able to pick up the phone and order a Ryan Zimmerman pizza.