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What they're saying about Stephen Strasburg's debut

Jun 8, 2010, 10:50 AM EST

Strasburg back.jpgThis is normally a retrospective feature, not an anticipatory one, but we all know what’s going to happen tonight: a normal baseball game in which Strasburg will either pitch well or he won’t but in either case all of the magic pixie dust will be gone and the hard business of actually, you know, forging his major league baseball career will be in front of him.

But that’s tomorrow. As of today anything is possible, so let’s capture that irrational exuberance for posterity!

  • Pirates’ outfielder Delwyn Young: “I really couldn’t care less, to be honest with you. I got
    nothing to say, really. It’s just another pitcher . . . Hey, Mark Prior.”
  • Carolyn Johnson Thomas: “I like everything I read about him. He’s got great potential, and I
    hope that he’s with Washington for 20 years, as my dad was.”  [BTW: Ms. Thomas' dad was Walter Johnson. He pitched a little.]
  • DangerNat of Nationals Inquisition: “After that first pitch tonight it is going to be
    something to see thousands of Nats fans have a Strasgasm all at once.”

  • Ken Burns: “This kid has a lot riding on his shoulders tomorrow night. It’s now
    moved out of historical precedent and into kind of The Natural;
    archetypal fiction in which we endow our baseball players with certain
    superhuman capabilities that transcend the game and life itself.”
  • Natasha Jasso: “Natstown is gonna be like church on Christmas and Easter; So many there– with so few who understand.”

Confession time: I want Strasburg to do well long-term because I love pitching and I want baseball in D.C. to be a success. But still, the hype is getting a bit much for me. When I woke up this morning I started thinking about how cool it would be if the Pirates came out and hung six runs on the kid as a little initiation to the big leagues.

Probably asking too much, sure, but this is baseball and all of the commotion is getting a bit too footbally for me.

  1. Jeff V. - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    “Phil Wood, D.C. baseball historian: “Joe Hardy is the only thing that rivals Strasburg in Washington baseball history, and Hardy was a fictional character.””
    So this Phil Wood fellow thinks that Strasburg (and Joe Hardy for that matter) is a bigger deal then Walter Johnson?
    Wow, just wow, talk about living in the now. One would think that a baseball historian would have a better grasp of, you know, history.

  2. YankeesfanLen - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    On Ken Burns comment:
    Nice, you made me throw up in my mouth and it tasted like maple syrup. Bring in the violins and sepia tones. Or have Floyd the Barber give you your daily Opie haircut-with-a-bowl and tell him about it.

  3. Jamie - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    “…that transcend the game and life itself.” Really, Ken Burns? Life itself?

  4. Natsochist - Jun 8, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    I think it’s pretty clear that Ken Burns was making the absurd exaggeration to point out how out of control the hype has become… If you don’t believe me, look at the quote in full context-
    “I also mentioned the occasional Jeezus references about Strasburg, and asked Burns if that nickname has a historical precedent in baseball circles.
    “Hilarious,” Burns said. “I don’t know whether there’s a specific precedent, but you’ve got that hyperbole that always attends the phenom, and then you set the kid up for failure, which is unfair to him and, in many ways, unfair to ourselves…..
    “This kid has a lot riding on his shoulders tomorrow night. It’s now moved out of historical precedent and into kind of The Natural; archetypal fiction in which we endow our baseball players with certain superhuman capabilities that transcend the game and life itself.”
    I asked Burns why he wasn’t bringing the camera crews, and he said he was confident the media contingent would handle the challenge.
    “I think maybe someone else will be covering it,” he joked. “Just don’t pay too much attention to the guy throwing out the first pitch.”

  5. Bill@TDS - Jun 8, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    Mention needs to be made here of Pat Lackey’s (@whygavs) excellent Twitter-poetic epic, “How the Bucs Stole Strasmas.”

  6. Omega - Jun 8, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    I just hope the Nationals don’t get overzealous with this kid and run him into the ground.
    I wasn’t going to comment, but couldn’t pass up the capture phrase of ‘uniform suction’

  7. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Jun 8, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    Rumor is they are going to shut him down at 100IP. Whether that’s to save his arm (Verducci Rule) or ensure he doesn’t get Super 2 status, is anyone’s guess.

  8. Scott - Jun 8, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    I don’t like how people say Washington is so desperate for a star when we have a 25-year old third baseman who was 9th in WAR last year among batters and 5th so far this year.
    That being said, I am NOT turning down my free ticket tonight.

  9. JK - Jun 8, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    Strasburg will hold the ball like an egg and McCutchen will scramble it.

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