WASHINGTON - As the Nationals hosted Colorado over the weekend, it was a match-up of the Rockies' Mark Reynolds and Washington's Ryan Zimmerman - a pair of players from Virginia Beach who grew up on the baseball fields of Hampton Roads.
"I have a couple buddies from high school coming," Reynolds said to News 3 Sports Director Adam Winkler when explaining his guest list for the Rockies series in D.C. "My Mom, my aunt, my uncle, my Dad."
The two have a combined 24 season of Major League Baseball experience, so squaring-off for some Virginia Beach ball on a big league diamond is nothing new. But just because the two former UVA standouts have taken their swings against each other at the sport's highest level, doesn't mean they don't catch on to how neat it is each season when it happens.
"I think you always have a sense of pride where you come from," Zimmerman said. "You wouldn't be where you are if you didn't learn and go through the things you went through growing up."
But this season is different for Zimmerman and Reynolds - because of where they came from.
Reynolds was only offered a minor league contract by Colorado this spring. But after an injury to teammate Ian Desmond opened a door for Reynolds at first base, he's left his mark by being on pace for career-highs in hits, batting average and runs batted in.
"Playing meaningful baseball this late in the season is great," Reynolds, a First Colonial High School product noted. "And I'm having a pretty good year, getting to play a lot."
2015 and 2016 were the two worst seasons of Zimmerman's 13-year career. But here in 2017, it's a Ryanaissance. Zim, an All-Star for the second time, ranks in the top 10 of the National League in batting average, home runs and RBIs.
"You forget how fun baseball is when you can just show up and play every day and go out and do what you've always done," the Kellam High School alumnus said.
Another thing that makes 2017 fun for these Virginia Beach boys? With just two months to go in the the Major League Baseball season, both Reynolds' Rockies and Ryan's Nationals would be in the playoffs in the season ended today.
"It's my 11th year and I've made the playoffs three times," Reynolds recalled. "You learn not to take that stuff for granted and enjoy it while it happens."
"When a bunch of your teammates are playing well and hitting the ball well - you want to keep up with them," Zimmerman said when discussing his and his team's success in 2017.
The opportunity to share a diamond is dandy - because of where they came from. But where Ryan Zimmerman and Mark Reynolds may be going in 2017, could make this season and postseason even more special.