Thursday, August 12, 2010 10:45 a.m.
By Holden KushnerCSNwashington.com
When it comes to Stephen Strasburg, the thrill is mostly gone. Just a couple of nights ago the face of the franchise was activated from the disabled list and not too many people seemed to notice.
Stras was drawing an average of 37,756 though his first five starts plus his late scratch start missed due to injury. 25,939 was the announced attendance Tuesday night at Nats Park against Florida. Thats just 3,000 fans more than the average non-Strasburg home start.
I have a few theories as to why the luster has faded when Strasburg starts.
I think Strasburg set the bar too high in his major league debut when he packed Nationals Park and struck out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates batters. Its important to note that the majority of the people who saw his debut were not die-hard baseball fans. They came for a show and they got one. The expectation level was set extraordinarily high.
What a large portion of the crowd couldnt comprehend was that 7 dazzling innings every outing is unsustainable at this point in his career.
Second of all, Strasburg also landed on the disabled list and was out of sight and out of mind to the casual D.C. sports fan. Heck, quite a few of the sellout crowd at his June 8th debut probably werent even sports fans. They were there for The Show.
I also believe his stint on the DL also forced people to come to an epiphany: Stephen Strasburg is a mere mortal. Hes a human being just like the rest of us. Superheroes dont get hurt. Strasburg went down. Reality set in.
Living in D.C., one cannot count out the fact that this is a football town. The Nationals are an afterthought now that Redskins preseason has begun. Local fans have already begun to turn their attention to the gridiron.
You also have to take into account that Tuesday nights temperature at first pitch was a soupy 95 degrees. Many of you want to escape the heat, not marinate in it.
Finally, you may scoff at this theory, but a video game may have kept some potential attendees at home. I know more than one of my friends was at home playing Madden 2011 just after was released hours before the game. Says a lot about the company I keep.
Will attendance drastically spike up for Strasburgs final starts of the season? Im not so sure. Being on a 90 pitch limit may make it hard for him to fan 14 in 7 innings, but another monster outing would help in packing Nats Park when the big pitches.