Tuesday, June 1, 2010 12:30pm
By Miss Chatter
That's what I get for trying to be baseball-smart. I felt pretty much like a schmuck after my last post on guessing Strasburg's debut, which I detailed over on my blog. I was a little bit terrified to come back here and post something potentially controversial. But now here I am again with my tail tucked between my legs with the good news that the Nationals have officially announced Stephen Strasburg will debut at home on June 8th against the Pirates (with appropriate disclaimers based on weather and injuries). The worst part of all this? That's the date I was originally going to guess, but based purely on personal wishes rather than any baseball sense using extrapolation of innings and dates.
See, my birthday is June 7th, aka "Draft Day". All I wanted for my birthday was a Strasburg MLB debut (and an iPad, but that's irrelevant to this). Since the Nats are off on Monday the 7th, the 8th seemed like the next best choice, particularly since I already had tickets to that game in my shared season ticket plan. That seemed to be a lot to hope for and certainly no basis for how the Nationals would plan the pitching phenom's debut, so I tossed the idea aside. Silly me! I would have been better off throwing that out as my completely frivolous guess that no one could take exception to!
Strasburg could very likely have Pudge Rodriguez behind the plate as his catcher since June 8th is also the day Rodriguez could return from the 15-day disabled list. I have tossed around the idea in my mind that Strasburg was potentially "held back" to wait for Pudge's return. Despite the fact that both Wil Nieves and Carlos Maldonado, both currently filling in with catcher duties with Rodriguez on the DL, have caught 37 before (Nieves in spring training and Maldonado in AAA), I could see a scenario where the team would want "the best" backstop for his debut. No offense to Nieves, of course! (Do I need to put a disclaimer here that I'm merely wondering out loud?) Clearly Strasburg can adjust to different catchers since he's had a different one in his last few starts, but I also have to wonder if that had any impact on his most recent outing in which he took the loss, allowing 6 hits and 3 earned runs (and had a balk). Not that any of that matters anymore - the kid is coming next week after one more AAA start on June 3rd... Provided it doesn't get rained out. Because that can happen. Just so fans are aware!
Despite the disclaimers, tickets have flown off the internet (and many onto StubHub) as detailed by DC Sports Bog. What's that funny feeling? Strasburg's arrival in DC is putting this club smack dab in the national sports spotlight. Feels pretty good, huh? After five years of only being noticed for misspelled jerseys and other "Nats Fails", finally some positive attention is heading this way. I only hope Strasburg himself is rather impervious to the impact his arrival is having on the area as a whole. I can't even imagine the kind of pressure that would place on a person, particularly one so young.
I for one look forward to welcoming him to The Show for my birthday celebration and welcome all of NatsTown to celebrate with me. But please don't ask how old I'll be.