Try as I might, and to the relief of the few and unfortunate people of whom I actually know and interact with in real life, I cannot read and consume every crease and fold of the internet. It’s much too large. Some things are going to fall through the cracks. However, thanks to our fearless and gentlemanly Senior Editor, Blaine Blontz, I was alerted to a certain Tampa Bay Rays promotional giveaway that is extremely important and worthy of further, deep examination. For this information I am eternally indebted to him. We all are. The promotional item in question is being called the Zim Bear. A totally normal and not at all terrifying teddy bear affixed with the human face of current Rays Senior Advisor Don Zimmer. Just look at it for a second. Do not avert your gaze. Now that you’re sufficiently shaken to the very core of your being, let’s take a brief pause and consider just how in the hell we got here.
Don Zimmer: Man and Ballplayer
The good news for the lazy author of this post is that Don Zimmer the man and Don Zimmer the ballplayer are pretty much the exact same thing. One could say the two are inexorably linked. Zimmer, it’s popular to point out, has been a part of professional baseball since 1949. In 1949, the Yankees won their 12th World Series tile, Bruce Springsteen was born, and a gallon of gas cost 17 measly cents. Zimmer, a utility infielder, went on to play for seven different teams, coach for eleven, and manage four. As a player, he was not very good. Don has a career batting average of .235. He totaled 91 home runs, and compiled an underwhelming 7.0 fWAR over 12 Major League seasons. Zimmer found a bit more success as a coach. Since that fateful day in 1949, Don Zimmer has won six World Series Championships (two of them as a player), was awarded as an All-Star one time in 1961, and earned NL Manager of the Year in 1989. Other notable accomplishments of his include a charming commercial for Gillette razors (featuring a very safe looking and confidence inspiring design), and getting thrown to the ground through head grab by Pedro Martinez in the 2003 ALCS. Now that we’re all up to speed on the finer details of Zimmer’s playing career, I think our little stroll down memory lane has given us proper time to recover and prepare for more Zim Bear talk.
Don Zimmer: Nightmare-Inducing Plaything for Children
Let’s just take this thing head on and get it over with so we can all return to our normal lives only somewhat more scathed than we already have been. Holy mother is this Zim Bear horrifying. It looks like something that would be lining the walls of Buffalo Bill’s lotion house in Silence of the Lambs. Since seeing it yesterday, I’ve started jumping onto my bed from three feet away, lest it pop out from beneath the frame and devour my feet. I see it behind the wheel of passing cars while driving. It’s there when I close my eyes. Rays manger Joe Maddon knows what I’m talking about:
It’s Zim. It’s cuddly, it’s warm, it’s cute. It’s something you definitely don’t want to take to bed with you … I don’t want my 2-year-old putting that in the crib – that could be life-altering right there … I think it’s more appropriate on a grown-up’s desk.
Yeah, maybe the grown-up desk of a full-fledged serial killer, or a clown who works exclusively in haunted houses. Or an investment banker. But really, let’s stop this. I think we’ve all had enough. It’s time to erase this from our collective memories and go on to live fulfilling, happy, and well-adjusted lives. I mean, the baseball season is coming up and we all should really—
I can’t stop it.
It’s gaining strength!