PennStateHoops.com Discussion Forum

OT: Stephen Strasburg @ 1:05


#1

Strasburg’s pitching at Cleveland today, and it’s on the MLB, channel 720 on DTV for all the games. On Comcast, I think it’s channel 808 or 880. This is new this year included in basic package, not separate. Cleveland sold 50,000 tickets after it was announced he was pitching.

Charles Krauthammer had a fear Strasburg might threaten his “bliss” and actually make the Nats contenders. His take in April…

[i]…I go for relief. For the fun, for the craft (beautifully elucidated in George Will’s just-reissued classic, “Men at Work”) and for the sweet, easy cheer at Nationals Park.

You get there and the twilight’s gleaming, the popcorn’s popping, the kids’re romping and everyone’s happy. The joy of losing consists in this: Where there are no expectations, there is no disappointment. In Tuesday night’s game, our starting pitcher couldn’t get out of the third inning. Gave up four straight hits, six earned runs, and as he came off the mound, actually got a few scattered rounds of applause.

Applause! In New York, he’d have been booed mercilessly. In Philly, he’d have found his car on blocks and missing a headlight.

No one’s happy to lose, and the fans cheer lustily when the Nats win. But as starters blow up and base runners get picked off, there is none of the agitation, the angry, screaming, beer-spilling, red-faced ranting you get at football or basketball games.

Baseball is a slow, boring, complex, cerebral game that doesn’t lend itself to histrionics. You “take in” a baseball game, something odd to say about a football or basketball game, with the clock running and the bodies flying.

And for a losing baseball team, the calm is even more profound. I’ve never been to a park where the people are more relaxed, tolerant and appreciative of any small, even moral, victory. Sure, you root, root, root for the home team, but if they don’t win “it’s a shame” – not a calamity. Can you imagine arm-linked fans swaying to such a sweetly corny song of early-20th-century innocence – as hard to find today as a manual typewriter or a 20-game winner – at the two-minute warning?

But now I fear for my bliss. Hope, of a sort, is on the way – in the form of Stephen Strasburg, the greatest pitching prospect in living memory. His fastball clocks 103 mph and his slider, says Tom Boswell, breaks so sharply it looks like it hit a bird in midair. In spring training, center fielder Nyjer Morgan nicknamed him Jesus. Because of the kid’s presence, persona, charisma? Nope. Because “that’s what everybody says the first time they see Strasburg throw,” explained Morgan. “Jeeee-sus.”

But now I’m worried. Even before Strasburg has arrived from the minor leagues, the Nats are actually doing well. They’re playing .500 ball for the first time in five years. They are hovering somewhere between competent mediocrity and respectability. When Jesus arrives – my guess is late May – they might actually be good.

They might soon be, gasp, a contender. In the race deep into September. Good enough to give you hope. And break your heart.

Where does one then go for respite?[/i]


#2

[quote=“kidcoyote, post:1, topic:1227”]Strasburg’s pitching at Cleveland today, and it’s on the MLB, channel 720 on DTV for all the games. On Comcast, I think it’s channel 808 or 880. This is new this year included in basic package, not separate. Cleveland sold 50,000 tickets after it was announced he was pitching.

Charles Krauthammer had a fear Strasburg might threaten his “bliss” and actually make the Nats contenders. His take in April…

[i]…I go for relief. For the fun, for the craft (beautifully elucidated in George Will’s just-reissued classic, “Men at Work”) and for the sweet, easy cheer at Nationals Park.

You get there and the twilight’s gleaming, the popcorn’s popping, the kids’re romping and everyone’s happy. The joy of losing consists in this: Where there are no expectations, there is no disappointment. In Tuesday night’s game, our starting pitcher couldn’t get out of the third inning. Gave up four straight hits, six earned runs, and as he came off the mound, actually got a few scattered rounds of applause.

Applause! In New York, he’d have been booed mercilessly. In Philly, he’d have found his car on blocks and missing a headlight.[/quote]

I think there’s a lot of truth in what he says. I believe it’s also one of the reasons that minor league baseball is so successful in a lot of places. The experience is enjoyable no matter what the result is (some of us find the same enjoyment in PSU basketball games :wink: ). Two years ago, I watched the State College Spikes still pack the ballpark despite having the worst record in ALL of minor league baseball (save for one obscure team in the Mexican League).

BTW - I think the game is on TBS too.


#3

Makes me want to thank the heavens I am a Pirate fan ::slight_smile:


#4

The whole Strasburg thing reminds me a bit of Fernandomania during Valenzuela’s rookie year. I happened to be in Dodger Stadium when Fernando was forced to pitch Opening Day (Jerry Ruess was scheduled to start but was injured the day before). Fernando was going with just a couple of days rest and the Dodgers just hoped to get 4-5 innings out of him. He wound up throwing a complete game shutout and winning 2-0. He went on to win his first 8 starts (3 of his first 4 were shutouts) and win the Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young Awards that season.

Fernando was completely different pitcher than Strasburg but the frenzy around him became similar (for one thing, Fernando had actually pitched in a few games for the Dodgers the previous September, so while he was technically a rookie by being, i.e. less than 45 major league innings pitched, when he made the opening day start, it wasn’t his first major league appearance). Strasburg has started with all the hoopla. With Fernando it took about 3/4 games.


#5

For people who are already anointing Strasburg as the Nationals savior, I can only point to Karl Spooner, another Dodgers phenom.

Spooner made his major league debut in September of 1954. He started two game for the Dodgers, both complete games, both shutouts, striking out 27 batters. Strasburg’s 14 strikeouts in his debut came up one short of Spooner’s 15 in his debut. Strasburg will be shooting to top Spooner’s 27 which is the record for KOs in a pitcher’s first two starts.

There was a ton of hoopla surrounding Spooner but one year later he was done when he came down with an arm injury His career record 10-6. Baseball is a fickle sport and you’re just one quick injury from your career being over.


#6

The game is on TBS, unless you’re in a MASN viewing area, in which it’s on MASN.

4Ks in 2 IP.


#7

[quote=“UncleLar, post:4, topic:1227”]The whole Strasburg thing reminds me a bit of Fernandomania during Valenzuela’s rookie year. I happened to be in Dodger Stadium when Fernando was forced to pitch Opening Day (Jerry Ruess was scheduled to start but was injured the day before). Fernando was going with just a couple of days rest and the Dodgers just hoped to get 4-5 innings out of him. He wound up throwing a complete game shutout and winning 2-0. He went on to win his first 8 starts (3 of his first 4 were shutouts) and win the Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young Award that season.

Fernando was completely different pitcher than Strasburg but the frenzy around him became similar (for one thing, Fernando had actually pitched in a few games for the Dodgers the previous September, so while he was technically a rookie by being, i.e. less than 45 major league innings pitched, when he made the opening day start, it wasn’t his first major league appearance). Strasburg has started with all the hoopla. With Fernando it took about 3/4 games.[/quote]

Fernando was something. These announcers mentioned Dwight Gooden. Not sure I’d put Strasburg up with Gooden just yet. Gooden has rookie record of 276K’s. He only had two pitches, though, and guys sat on the fastball. I thought Gooden got robbed on his big dropping curve. I think curves often fool umps. Strasburg does have a nice assortment of pitches, but the 100 mph fastball and the big dropping curve are really something. Nice composure too.

Back in '82 or early '83 Frank Cashen became GM of the Mets, traded for Keith Hernandez, got Ron Darling, and some other nice trades. He joined a country club I was a member of and of course I introduced myself, sorta like a kid looking for an autograph. I used to buy the baseball annual, “Bill Mazeroski’s Baseball”, which was great, a legal size magazine(then anyway), with everything, including minors. Well, there was this Dwight Gooden in AA ball, and he had 180K’s in 120 innings, which of course caught my eye. Well, evidently Cashen hadn’t seen him, as he didn’t draft him and was new to the Mets, so I asked him, “Frank, who’s this Dwight Gooden in AA? His number’s are awesome”. His response, “I haven’t seen him, but my scouts tell me he’s the best they’ve ever seen.” I hope Strasburg becomes a phenom. The Nats and the league can use heroes.


#8

[quote=“UncleLar, post:5, topic:1227”]For people who are already anointing Strasburg as the Nationals savior, I can only point to Karl Spooner, another Dodgers phenom.

Spooner made his major league debut in September of 1954. He started two game for the Dodgers, both complete games, both shutouts, striking out 27 batters. Strasburg’s 14 strikeouts in his debut came up one short of Spooner’s 15 in his debut. Strasburg will be shooting to top Spooner’s 27 which is the record for KOs in a pitcher’s first two starts.

There was a ton of hoopla surrounding Spooner but one year later he was done when he came down with an arm injury His career record 10-6. Baseball is a fickle sport and you’re just one quick injury from your career being over.[/quote]

7 KOs for Strasburg in 4 innings. He’s on pace to grab Spooner’s 50+ year old record.


#9
For people who are already anointing Strasburg as the Nationals savior, I can only point to Karl Spooner, another Dodgers phenom.

Spooner made his major league debut in September of 1954. He started two game for the Dodgers, both complete games, both shutouts, striking out 27 batters. Strasburg’s 14 strikeouts in his debut came up one short of Spooner’s 15 in his debut. Strasburg will be shooting to top Spooner’s 27 which is the record for KOs in a pitcher’s first two starts.

There was a ton of hoopla surrounding Spooner but one year later he was done when he came down with an arm injury His career record 10-6. Baseball is a fickle sport and you’re just one quick injury from your career being over.

7 KOs for Strasburg in 4 innings. He’s on pace to grab Spooner’s 50+ year old record.

TBS must be following this forum. :wink: They just put up a graphic showing Strasburg chase of Spooner’s record and are talking about Karl and his arm problems. ;D


#10

Talking about Spooner on MASN, too, though Rob Dibble half-jokingly said his record shouldn’t be considered since that was with a 15" mound.


#11

Strasburg struggling w/a divot in the mound at his plant foot, slipping all over the place. Grounds crew coming out for a second time to patch it up. Also not getting any calls.

Only 2 hits so far, but 5 walks and 8Ks. And as I type, his day is over, 5.1 IP.


#12

Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg likely to have Tommy John surgery

http://blog.pennlive.com/patriotnewssports/2010/08/washington_nationals_pitcher_s_2.html

Tough break for the young lad.


#13

Not a good omen at all, as the Nats did a very good job keeping his work load down.

Fortunately Tommy John surgery isn’t a career killer anymore.


#14

At least he has his signing millions to ease his pain. I feel worst for the minor leaguers without a big pay day who may lose a career due to an injury.


#15

[quote=“CAPPY, post:12, topic:1227”]Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg likely to have Tommy John surgery

http://blog.pennlive.com/patriotnewssports/2010/08/washington_nationals_pitcher_s_2.html

Tough break for the young lad.[/quote]

I’m not sure why but the first time I saw this guys stuff the first thing that popped into my head is that he’s going to have a career of injuries similar to Wood and Prior.


#16

I thought the same thing. The farther toward the extreme that you go the more prone to injury you will be. Throwing 100+ mph fastballs and 90+ mph breaking pitches with that much snap puts a tremendous strain on the elbow. Longevity-wise he might be better off coming back with less speed. I think he’s got good enough “stuff” to leave a little gas in the tank.


#17

Reports have a player in the Red’s organization, a Cuban defector named Aroldis Chapman as having a fastball “hitting” 105 mph, and “sitting” at 103 mph.

Aroldis Chapman’s fastball hits 105 mph? Really?