Baseball Jeremiad


A Curiously Intelligent Baseball blog

Closing Strasburg Thoughts

DC Matt has covered his experience at the Strasburg debut, and his seats were a lot better than mine and so are his photos. I’ll refer you to the experts for a break down of his performance, which unless you live under a rock you should be familiar with by now.

What I did observe from the upper deck had more to do with baseball culture than a baseball game. For most people in section 408, this was not a game, it was an event.

Washington has facetiously been referred to as “Hollywood for Ugly People,” and there was a little bit of that on display last night. The DC publication Politico seldom wades into sports, but this article does a good job illustrating how the game became something of a scene.

The cheap seats were filled with young men and women who were too dressed up for baseball but not dressed up enough for work, with big sunglasses, Miller Lites, and and looks on their faces more suitable for a Coldplay concert than a baseball game. It is a scene that is very familiar around Washington today.

There was a tremendous amount of energy in the ballpark when Strasburg was pitching, no doubt about it. Fans were mostly cheering at the right time, and people seemed to have a sense of what was unfolding particularly when Strasburg struck out the side in the 7th. Unfortunately, that energy was not sustained after he departed. Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps are solid receivers and they did a good job closing out the Pirates, but by that time a large portion of the crowd had departed.

Washington is a town with a transient fan base. People (like yours truly) come and go, and largely keep their hometown allegiances. To really make it in this town, the Nationals need this kind of energy and “event” like atmosphere for a while. A pennant race could be very energizing, but only time will tell.

Filed under: Games Attended, Opinions,

Big Z Revisited

A moment from last week’s Pirates rain-out that I forgot to mention.

We’re sitting in the right field stands.  Carlos Zambrano walks across the outfield about 50 yards away talking to someone on the Cubs. 

Big Cubs Fan who came to the game with me, turns and says in a whisper, “Please don’t do anything stupid tonight, Big Z.”

Zambrano’s head whips around and stares right at us. 

No lie.

Filed under: Games Attended, ,

The Debut, part 2

Listen to the crowd as Strasburg is introduced.

Yes, it’s a ball.  But it was a really fast ball.

The crowd reacts after a K.

A look at Strasburg’s motion out of the stretch.

Another K.

What turned out to be Strasburg’s final pitch.  And 14th K.

Filed under: Games Attended, ,

The Debut

Stephen Strasburg about to take the mound to face his first major league batter.

Total pitches:              94

Strikes:                        65

First-pitch strikes:       16

Innings:                       7

Hits:                            4

Runs:                           2

Walks:                         0

Strikeouts:                   14

There isn’t much to say about Stephen Strasburg’s debut that won’t be said by everyone else in the next 24 hours or so.  He was great.  14 Ks and no walks.  His only blemish was the home run in the fourth.  Other than that he was dazzling.

Since the numbers speak for themselves and I don’t want to just parrot what you can and will read everywhere else, here are some pictures from tonight that I hope will give you a slightly different view of the big event.

Baseball Tonight is not often at Nationals Park.

I'll admit it. I wish I could have talked with Jayson Stark.

Ken Burns threw out the first pitch. He was there promoting the supplement to his baseball documentary, "The Tenth Inning."

Strasburg gets a standing ovation for walking onto the field to the dugout. This is pregame, mind you.

A common sight. No kidding.

Jersey Matt's arch nemesis.

Just to remind everyone about that other prospect guy.

Luckily no one is relying on his bat.

This picture shows how far behind Strasburg's fast balls some hitters were.

Scary to kids, bad for America.

Not a bad way to make an entrance.


Filed under: Games Attended, ,

Deep Thoughts, Tuesday Morning Edition

Will I watch more coverage of “Super Duper Tuesday” or the Strasburg Debut?

Answer: I’ll be focused on the Pierogi/President Showdown:

For the third straight season, the Racing Presidents will face the visiting Pierogies from Pittsburgh during each of the three games vs. the Pirates. Starting Tuesday June 8, Teddy, Abe, George and Tom will square off against Jalapeño Hannah, Cheese Chester, Sauerkraut Saul and Oliver Onion. The tradition started in 2008. In the inaugural race, the four Pierogies were chased by Teddy, wielding a large aluminum foil fork and knife. In the most recent race, held last season in Pittsburgh, Teddy was TKO’d by Potato Pete’s flying tackle, easily the most viewed moment in the history of the young rivalry.

DC Matt will be on-site at Nationals Park for the debut; no word if he’ll renew his on-again, off-again relationship with Jalapeño Hannah.

Filed under: Games Attended, , , ,

Baseball Musings

  • Adam Dunn could become only second player ever to have higher number of strikeouts than BA (currently 157 K and .163). First was M Reynolds. 8 years ago
  • At least the New York Times remembers the Expos... 10 years ago
  • MLB Network on Sabathia: "CC is one of the few pitchers in the league who is his own batting eye." 10 years ago
  • Sabathia vs. Halladay tonight: noted hitting hurler Sabathia is hitting .500 against Cy Young winners (okay, he's 1 for 2 against Johan) 10 years ago
  • RT @jaysonst: Now that Stephen Strasburg has pulled into town, the most important era in Nationals history has officially begun. http:// ... 10 years ago

Flickr Photos