Albeit against the (23-35) Pittsburgh Pirates, Tuesday evening gave us and the nations capital a first look into the growing legend that is Stephen Strasburg.
No player in recent memory has come to the show with as much hype as this 21-year old right handed pitcher. For the baseball starved beltway, Stephen Strasburg is holding their baseball future in the palm of his hand. The 2009 top pick overall is arriving in the major leagues with little failure in the last two years. A phenomenal college season a year ago, chewing through the minor leagues this spring, Stephen Strasburg is ready to take the big stage not just for his first start, but for the entire season.
The crazy thing in all this hype, the 28-win Nationals who are currently in the cellar of the National League East, are the center of the baseball universe for every start this kid makes over the next month. Think people are going overboard? No. While trying to stream the Nats game live last night just to get a peak at Strasburg, I realized three things:
1. First off, Strasburg is pretty good and it isn't just hype. Aside from allowing a two-run blast at the hands of Delwyn Young, Strasburg looked great. Striking out 14 batters including his final seven, Strasburg electrified everyone in attendance and everyone on television. For a kid who got paid $15.1 million prior to ever taking the rubber, it seems as if they've just made a huge investment for D.C. baseball that will pay off.
2. The Orioles should be nervous. The Beltway is buzzing with baseball fever, despite their two franchises the Nationals and Orioles taking up residence in the basement of their respective divisions. Yet now, with Strasburg being able to pitch every five days and the Nationals getting their hands on the two most hyped up prospects in recent memory, if their bets payoff Orioles owner Peter Angelos is going to have a very empty Camden Yards and a very empty fan base.
3. Are we crazy to buy the jersey? Nationals fans may be great, they may have a magic eight ball in their homes, but who goes out and buys the jersey of a baseball prospect? A kid who might not even be in the majors for the full season. As I watched the sold out crowd in D.C. pile into the stadium wearing nothing but #37 Nationals jerseys, it was the first thought that crossed my mind. Would Yankee fans do that? What Cardinals fans do that? Of course the desperate Cubs faithful would. Yes, fans are this crazy!
The hope and optimism of the baseball enthusiasts everywhere lie in the arm of the young Stephen Strasburg, called a possible hall of famer in his first start, referred to as the future of beltway baseball, Stephen Strasburg is the real deal after one start, thas' bout it. Now that we've seen it, at least we can believe it!