There are not many pitchers like Stephen Strasburg. Not now, not ever. When he went down and required Tommy John surgery, it was sad. Now, with Strasburg set to make his first rehab start on Sunday, we can all be happy again.
The Nationals announced today that Stephen Strasburg would start on Sunday for Class A Harrisburg in what is being dubbed “Straster Sunday.” Because he’s Jesus, you see.
Because Stephen Strasburg pitches like he does and employs Scott Boras and makes the money he does, everything about him is amplified. He is hype incarnate. The weird thing is he deserves it.
Before doing whatever it is I do here at Getting Blanked and theScore, I did liveblogs for the Score Mobile app. It is a fun if thankless task, more of a grind than you can appreciate when you’re doing it. I did dozens of games – World Series game 6, league championship game 7s, all manner of big games. The one that stands out the most? Stephen Strasburg’s Major League debut.
It was amazing. This kid, one year out of college, completely demolished the Pittsburgh Pirates in as dominant a pitching performance as you’ll ever see. He threw a 96 mph two seamer and a 90 mph change up. He broke the faces and wills of the hapless Pirates, completely invigorating a moribund fanbase in DC.
This, of course, took its toll on his right arm. Now, after nearly a year away from the game, Strasburg is ready to begin his comeback. This begin Stephen Strasburg it doesn’t happen without some controvery.
Former Nationals analyst (and barely employable moron) Rob Dibble made headlines last season when he criticized Strasburg for not pitching with pain. When the extent of the phenom’s injuries came to light, Dibble was belittled (more so than usual) and eventually lost his job – mostly due to him sucking at it.
Now Dibble’s spun 180 degrees – this time critcizing the Nats for rushing Strasburg back. From the DC Sports Blog:
But there’s absolutely no reason, other than to sell tickets and to put butts in the seats, to bring Stephen Strasburg back to make a few starts at the end of the season. He’s too valuable, he’s too talented to even think about stuff like that.
“But in their case, having worked with those people, the only thing I can say is that there’s some people there that think that they invented the game of baseball. Which they did not. And that they can do things differently than 29 other teams in the game. That’s the problem that I had when I was working there, and now, even working on this channel for the last seven years.
The gall. The bitterness around Dibble is so thick and pure it would really go well on a nice stack of pancakes. The only thing more transparent than Dibble’s resentment towards the Nats is his bald-faced desire to draw attention to his own poorly-conceived ideas.
Others Nats watcher don’t think bringing Strasburg back to the major leagues this year is a bad idea at all. Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider believes in getting the Club’s Future a few starts in 2011, if possible.
Minor-league rehab assignments for pitchers may not extend beyond 30 days, according to baseball’s collective bargaining agreement. After those 30 days are up, the pitcher must either come off the DL and return to the majors, be shut down with a new injury or be optioned to the minors. Because Strasburg has options left, the Nationals could choose to just send him to Class AAA Syracuse at the end of his month and have him continue to pitch there.
Just one problem: The minor-league season ends Sept. 5. After that, there’s nowhere for guys to go get more work than the big leagues. So if the Nationals want Strasburg to continue pitching, he’ll have to do it in Washington.
Seems simple enough to me. Let the kid pitch under careful scrutiny as much as they can.
The Nats have a great deal — some say the fate of the entire franchise — invested in Strasburg and must act in his best interests at all times.
Casual baseball observers and non-Nats fans should want to see Strasburg get back to 100% as soon as possible simply because he is so special, so exciting, so rare; he makes the baseball world significantly better when healthy and wowing us with his electric stuff.