It’s My Party I’ll Cry If I Want To …Laugh If I Want To ………….. Oh To Be A Nationals’ Fan …….
What can you say about a baseball team whose high point of their year has been the call-up of their young pitching phenom ? The furor that surrounded the call-up of Washington Nationals’ pitcher Stephen Strasburg was met with such hype and expectation that one would have believed that the Nationals were actually the reigning World Series champions , rather than the perennial cellar dweller rooted to the foot of the table in the NL East .
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Courtesy of MLB.com
Nats edge Pirates in right-hander’s electrifying first start
By Bill Ladson MLB.com
Washington — Making his Major League debut after 11 sensational Minor League starts, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg pitched seven innings of two-run ball against the Pirates on Tuesday, earning the win and striking out 14 in the Nats’ 5-2 victory.
Delwyn Young’s two-run home run with two outs in the fourth was the only damage against Strasburg.
A sellout crowd of 40,315 saw Strasburg allow just four hits, and his 14 strikeouts established a club record. The 14 strikeouts by Strasburg in a Major League debut were one shy of the all-time mark of 15 set by Karl Spooner in 1954 and J.R. Richard in ’71. Even more amazing was that he struck out no more than nine batters in a game when pitching in the Minor Leagues.
Strasburg, who did the job without looking at scouting reports, threw 94 pitches, 65 for strikes, and didn’t walk a batter. The righty retired his final 10 batters, striking out his last seven.
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In front of an almost sellout crowd and with legions following the game on television , Strasburg proved to everyone who witnessed his performance that he’s as good as advertised. The pitcher’s performance at Nationals Park in the nation’s capital , was one to savor . And their 5-2 victory over the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates might just might be what brings some semblance of respectability to this team . In attendance were just over 40,000 fans cheering on Strasburg , as he pitched a “gem of a game” , striking out fourteen batters , allowing just four hits and two earned runs, in what can be best described as the pitcher’s introduction to the big leagues.
It’d be remiss to think that this one performance will be something that makes the team an immediate power to be reckoned with. But if this is any indication of what Strasburg will be bringing to the Nationals and the game of baseball in particular. Then the fans around in the league are going to be in for something special. As for the fans of the Washington Nationals the this augurs well for theirs and the team’s future. Of which has to be said that the fortunes of this team hasn’t been filled with pleasant memories or anything that borders on the team being successful. Team President , general partner Stan Kasten and majority stakeholder Ted Lerner knows in that
acquiring Strasburg as the overall pick from the 2009 MLB Draft . They knew that the player would be at least one part of the major building blocks needed to make the team all the more competitive and a force to be reckoned with. Strasburg as the overall number one pick of 2009, has risen up the ranks with a great deal of speed. Much of it some might say is undue pressure because of the team’s predicament and that the fans aren’t really coming to the ballpark in droves. The arrival of Strasburg to the league and in particular for the Nationals’ home games will now make that all the more of a reality. Beyond the Nationals , Capitals , Wizards and Redskins . By way of a fan based sporting endeavor there isn’t a great deal to be had on the professional level when it comes to sports entertainment and attending a game in the nation’s capital.
For the coaching staff of the Nationals led by team coach Jim Riggleman and the sending up of Strasburg from their AAA affiliate . This will augment what is a good pitching staff but not a great one. And statistically on both sides of their ball-game the Nationals have some real work to do. If they can show any sort of semblance wherein Strasburg’s appearance can jump start their season . However, they’ll need to work very hard on improving that rather mediocre mark of 28-31 record that has placed them some 6 1/2 games back of the division leading Atlanta Braves (34-25) in the NL East .
They say that when the sun starts to shine it tends to shine brightest on the meek and the most deserving. Of that I’m necessarily sure ! But if we can believe that to be true then God has made sure that the vestiges of his greatness shone brightly upon the Nationals’ organization. In this year’s MLB Draft __ once again the organization was able to pick up the best player in the draft , in high school sensation , Bryce Harper . GM Mike Rizzo was never in any doubt that Harper, an offensive minded catcher was the pick of the litter of a very good talent pool of collegiate and high school players. However, Rizzo has stated that he’d like to see the player converted to either a first baseman or a center fielder for the team’s outfield. Harper , College of Southern Nevada was taken number one overall ahead of pitcher James Taillon out of The Woodlands High School , Texas, chosen and taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates .
Now while we can all commend the Nationals on a job well done. I hearken back to when there was this much furor being supposedly made over another great pitching phenom. In fact there were two of them on the very same team. And “that team” too was an NL representative and much was expected from both Kerry Wood and Mark Prior of the Chicago Cubs . Suffice to say , the Cubs haven’t been the same since those lukewarm days shall we say ? In reality, even when Cubs’ fan Steve Bartman was amidst of the team’s most infamous incident , things still didn’t change for the better for the team or the organization . A leprechaun’s pot of gold, a four leaf clover and a cross bearing St Christopher’s name and the Chicago Cubs would still have been mired in the midst of mediocrity. That’s how bad things were and have become for the team.
Now I’m quite prepared to look at the glass empty or half full as the case maybe concerning the Nationals. But bear this in mind one stellar outing doesn’t a great pitcher or player make. We’ll no doubt get to see Strasburg real sense of character and determination when he has to face real adversity in pitching under pressure. A home game against the Pirates at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. for all sense and purpose he might as well have been pitching against a varsity team or a girls’ softball team. It’s not as if the Pirates are known for the competitive play or offensive presence to begin with ! Let’s see how Strasburg contends with such teams as the Braves, St Louis Cardinals , Los Angeles Dodgers Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres . Then we’ll see whether or not he’s got the mettle to withstand all of the rigors and nuances of major league baseball. I for one am not yet ready to anoint Strasburg as the “second coming” of Nolan Ryan . Give him four or five years and then we’ll see how those stats will compare. For the time being let those who choose to laud Stephen Strasburg continue to do so. I wonder if his career were to suddenly go south because he couldn’t get command of his pitches and find the strike zone. I’m inclined to believe that those who were calling him “great”, “magnificent” and “spectacular” , might just be willing to then call him a complete bust !
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What thoughts if any do you have on the rather impressive first outing of Strasburg in the majors ? And how do you see him performing in years to come ? What also , if any are your thoughts on Bryce Harper and what do you believe the game has in store for not only both of these players but also the impending future of Washington Nationals as a baseball team ? Do you believe that within five years they will be able to contend for a National League pennant or quite possibly a World Series title ? By all means chime on in with a comment on this and any other thoughts that you might have on the game at present . I’ll look forward to responding to your comments in due time . As always thank you for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !
Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………….. 🙂
Nas ……………………“Made You Look”