First Things First -- Dan Steinberg on Stephen Strasburg

Jun 09, 2010

Post sports bogger Dan Steinberg discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

I think it was conventional wisdom this week to argue that Stephen Strasburg's debut was one of the three greatest moments in Nationals history, along with the 2005 opener and the first game at Nats Park.

Well, I was at the 2005 game. I watched the Nats Park opener on TV. Both were electric. And neither compared to Strasburg's debut, at least to me.

Maybe it's because I wasn't here long enough to understand the sting of not having baseball for decades. Maybe it's because I buy into the national media hype too easily. But for me, both 2005 and 2008 were about excitement, but they were also about satisfaction, about getting something that we deserved, and then reveling in it. Strasburg's debut was about more than that. It was about seeing greatness and expecting more, seeing something you have never seen before while celebrating years more of the same.

So I'm curious where that game ranks for you, both in Washington Nationals history and in your own sports viewing experience. Aside from George Mason beating U-Conn., I'm not sure I've seen anything better.

Geez, this is going to be a hard chat. Not much happening in the world of Washington sports this morning. Please tell us you have some updated Haynesworth news, lest you have no questions to answer.

Yeah, it's true.


Sorry for being late. Strasmas hangover. That, and a three-year old daughter who didn't really understand why I needed to try to get out the door.


Well, ask questions. I'll be here as long as you are.

So.... time for Teddy to win?

Apparently not. Thomas Jefferson won, and Teddy finished second, in a fairly unremarkable bit of Presidential shtick. That's the way it should have been, in my opinion. Sure, looking backward, knowing that the Savior actually delivered, it might have made a fun footnote, but


1) The baseball was plenty good without any gimmicks, and

2) If he would have given up three dingers in the seventh, or if Capps would have blown the save, the whole thing would have looked ridiculous and everyone would have made fun of the Nats today. So a job well done on not letting gimmicry get in the way of magic.

Now, when does Teddy win? I guess the first home game after the first playoff berth is clinched, I suppose.

Who won the contest?

The powers-that-be wanted to wait until today to decide. So I'm letting them decide. One of the powers-that-be sometimes produces this chat; maybe he can help? Anyhow, should be sometime today.

What in the $#@!% is going on. I have FiOS, channel 586 claims to be showing the Nationals-Pirates game, and after the first half inning they switch over to... the Mets. WHY?!?

I had one angry voice mail about something similar. I'm not sure if this was a real problem, or what. Others?

Trust me, nobody was more excited than I about Strasmas. Unable to see the game here in Canada, I followed the Post's live coverage and was through the roof. But a question from Shenin's story. He reported that Rachel Strasburg was able to buy souvenir #37 shirts in advance. But the Braves were prevented from selling Jason Heywood jerseys until the fifth inning of the home opener--after #22 had played an official game. Why the difference in DC? (Is the White House trying to keep Rachel out of a Democratic primary?)

I really don't know the answer to this, but is it possible there's a difference between a 37 t shirt (which were for sale all over that park for days) and a real 37 jersey?

One thing I really loved is how quickly he worked. And no walks with 14 K's. Amazing.

Any time you can get out of a pro sporting event in less than two and a half hours, you can't complain, especially on a weekday night with a crowded Metro looming. Kid doesn't mess around on the mound.

Okay I have been to a lot of Nats games, that may be the sickest single player performance I have seen. But I want to ask about a non-Strasburg play. How about that popped up one hand throw out by Zimmerman?

Zimmerman did what Zimmerman does: rose to the moment in an unforgettable game. His home run wound up being an extreme footnote, but you have to think that let everyone, and especially 37, exhale a bit. Just seemed to be setting the night up for success. And the play was great, too.

A few days ago Adam Kilgore (along with a blogger for another media outlet) reported that the Nats planned to put Stras on a strict five day rotation as opposed to the standard five game rotation which would suggest that fans should buy tickets for the home games on June 18 and 23, but now it looks like the next home start will be the Fox afternoon game on June 19. So twice already it appears that the Nats have leaked false information to the press in order to spurn ticket sales for games where Strasburg will not be starting. Have you ever used an unnamed source that you later felt had mislead you? At what point do you name the source? I would hope that information from this source is no longer considered reliable.

Well, I don't have a great answer for the sourcing question: I think everyone constantly revises their own plan based on each individual case.

But in this case, I think we should put these conspiracies to bed. The Nats ended up selling 33,000 or so tix to June 4, and 40,000 or so tix to June 9, and whatever other extras people bought by speculating. If Strasburg had gone out there on June 4, as speculated, and done what he did last night, the Nats would have easily sold 40k more tix on the 9th or the 10th. At the very very worst, the Nats were guilty of not publicly discrediting the June 4 reports earlier, but they certainly weren't repsonsible for spreading them.

Hey Dan, I'm not a baseball fan, but that doesn't mean I'm not interested in my local team. Can you please translate 7 IP 14 Ks 2 ER 0 BB into something a baseball ignoramous like me can understand? For instance, if he was a QB and I saw 23/25 400YDS 2TD 0INT...this I can understand. Thanks!

Good question. I like your attempt, but I don't think it does justice the 14k/0BB ratio. That's a lot more flashy than having a great completion percentage, and the fact that Strasburg is the FIRST PITCHER IN MLB HISTORY to get 14ks in less than 96 pitches needs to be reflected here.

I guess if we're talking quarterbacks, the only flashy stat is the touchdowns, so maybe call it a rookie debut who goes 17 for 25 with five TDs and 0 picks? I'm not sure, anyone else want to take a stab? It wasn't the best pitching performance in MLB history, but the 14/0 thing was really the stunner.

I saw three dozen of Pedro Martinez's starts at Fenway from 1998 to 2001, and the atmosphere at the ballpark for Strasburg's MLB debut reminded of that. The sellout crowd got its own two-strike cheering going -- except for the one time in the 2nd inning when the PA system started blaring stuff with no response from the crowd. Just an amazing game. I've never seen Nationals Park or RFK like this since the Expos moved here. One of the writers' articles was headlined "K Street" -- THAT should be Strasburg's nickname, considering all the political types and lobbyists in DC. We, Nats Town, dub thee Stephen "K Street" Strasburg. Long may he don the curly W cap!

Yeah, I saw something about this. K Street does need to be a thing, although it sounds more like a section of the stadium where the Ks are hung than a nickname for the kid. And in at least one section, security repeatedly refused to allow fans to hang Ks. BOOOOOOOOOO to that.

I'm an old guy who mourned for the loss of baseball so the 2005 Opener will always be number 1 for me (until the first WS win). Having said that I've never been to a more exciting baseball game. I've never been to a game where the crowd was into every pitch. I was skeptical about Strasburg being able to deal with the expectations for this game. Foolish me. Jeezus. Indeed.

Yeah, this.

I think long-suffering baseball fans will always remember 2005. Me, I'll remember this one more than any baseball game I've been to, at least thus far. The seventh inning especially. It was insane. Don't have many words for it.

Alright Dan. The Nats aside what are the chances the Hershey Bears win tonight and even the series at 2-2? I remember that you stated that if it goes at least 6 you will come to Hershey!

Uh, yeah, but I think that was before CSN announced they'd be broadcasting the games. So easy to sit at home!

Wow, a Hershey Bears question before anything Redskins related. What's the world coming to?

I dunno, in the last 30 minutes on Monday, the Bears sure appeared to be the better team. I wouldn't put their chances at less than 50-50, especially with road teams having won every game in the series.

I'm not exactly sure why Caps fans take as much pleasure as they do in this. It's kind of a weird thing. Nats fans, I have to imagine, would hardly care at all if Syracuse or Harrisburg were playing in the playoffs. There are legit prospects on the Bears who will be playing here very soon, but traditionally fans watch minor league affiliates to cheer for those individual players to excel, not for the whole team to win titles. It's an interesting dynamic.

@#$@#%@#%@#%@%"@&^)*!!!!!!!!!! Definitely the best Strasmas we've had in a while. Now onto my question- do you think he needs a little more time in the minors to work on his mechanics?

I guess I'm concerned with the way he throws from the stretch. Maybe send him back down to work it out?

Not really a question, but a response to your question about where this game ranks in my sports viewing experience. I was at the game, and it was the most exciting game and atmosphere I have ever witnessed. The roar of the crowd, especially after the 14th K, was great! I was also sitting about 10 ft from the guy who caught the Dunn HR. Guy was still on the phone about it when the game ended. Couldn't see myself in the replays really well, but when I paused it I was able to find my face in the crowd.

The only thing that would have made it better was if the 14th K was the last batter of the game. The Clip and Save felt a tad anti-climactic, which is weird, because it was clinching a most impressive win. But it's weird when the loudest cheers come in the 7th.

As good as Stras' hard stuff is, he doesn't need to throw a straight change when he can drop that 79 mph curve anytime and anywhere he wants.

The clever folks over at the new SB Nation D.C. are trying to name the curve. Maybe the  curve could be called K Street? Or that doesn't work, since K street is very straight and un-curve like.

...that you're planning to change your name to Dan Strasberg, and the Bog will now be called the D.C.Stras Bog?

There was some talk about The Post launching the Stephen Strasblog, in much the same way Internet writer Dan Shanoff launched Tim Teblog. But instead we have  a Strasburg Topics Page.

If you watched the end of last night’s NBA playoff game, you saw why I’ve come to detest instant replay in sports. For the entire history of basketball, from the playground on up, if I slap the ball out of your hand, and it doesn’t go off your leg or some other body part, it’s out on me. Now, in the world of hi-def, super-slo-mo, if that ball lingers on your finger 1/1,000th of a second after I made contact, it’s out on you. Even more absurd, in the past, if I smacked your wrist hard enough to make you lose the ball out of bounds, even if the ref didn’t see the contact, it was clear that I caused the ball to go out, and it would be rewarded to you. But now, because the rules don’t allow a foul to be called as a result of a replay review, and because I didn’t actually make any contact with the ball, it’s out on you. This is what has happened in football. The sixth replay angle detects that the running back started to lose his grip on the ball 1/100th of a second before his knee made contact with the tallest blade of grass, and it’s ruled a fumble. But real life doesn’t happen in hundredths of a second. In real life, these two events happened at the same time. It’s not a fumble. Most of you in the sports media love all this, because you watch sports from an analytical point of view anyway. You analyze what you've seen, and then try to put the emotion back into the event when you write about it. But for fans, the excitement of instantaneous emotion is being drained from the experience. Every important moment must be scrutinized and replayed before being confirmed. And now you want to bring this madness to baseball?

I did not watch the end of last night's NBA playoff game. I was drunk on life.

There are frustrating moments from replay, very often, and there are frustrating moments from non-replay, also very often. To me, the greater harm is done by the latter. The times when replay kills momentum and feels forced are bad, but the time when historic moments of perfection, or playoff games, are decided by glaringly obvious blown calls are, in my opinion, worse.

Dan, Everyone knows the DC is a bandwagon town, and outside of the Redskins its always the flavor of the week that becomes #2 in DC's heart. With Strasburg-mania and John Wall on the horizon are the Caps in danger of falling back to #3 or even #4 in the DC Sports scene. How important is next year for the Caps? It has to be the year, right? If they flame out (like usual) early in the playoffs, I'm afraid the only fans that will be left will be the ones that have been suffering forever with this team. The others will migrate to greener pastures.

Eh, I'm not sure I completely agree. I think there is a large core of D.C. sports fans who will root for any successful team, and the Caps are successful no matter what they do in the playoffs. There's no chance that a top-three NHL team in this market will actually lose fans.

Now, will there be tons of quotes in the paper about how they're the only compelling product in town, the only balm for a winner-starved metropolis? Maybe not. But people aren't going to stop liking one good team because there are other good teams around. And the Nats aren't exactly greener than the Caps yet. They have probably one of the five most exciting players in baseball, but they're also in last place.



Great, thanks for reminding me of the Mason game. Best thing about last night's game? 2:19. I got back from the beach (yes, the Gulf is still beautiful) and turned it on, and he was already done for the night.

The Mason game was really something, and the fact that the best something came at the very end added the beating heart. Although, truth be told, I had the beating heart a few times last night.

Without taking anything away from last night, which was magnificent, I was at both Opening Day 2005 and the Nats Park opener. I would rank them Nats Park opener-Strasburg-OD 2005. Zimmerman's walkoff puts it over the edge for me. As many good memories as RFK holds for me, being in a brand-new park felt like the "real" return of baseball to DC, and, as a DC native, it felt like the beginning of something for the city that will long outlast any of the current individual players, no matter how great. And then, with Zimmerman coming to the plate, when you started thinking, "Can this happen? Can the face of the franchise really christen the new ballpark by winning the game?" and then he does it, well, that was pure magic, and everything crystallized in that moment. That individual moment, to me, exceeds any of the great moments last night (even though there were a lot). It was awesome.

Fair enough. I wasn't there. Certainly the Zim game has the element of split-second jubilation that Strassy didn't have. I guess I'd point to the next few crowds:  it kind of dipped back, almost immediately. Even if tonight's game is sparce, Strassy's next home game will be a zoo again. To me, there was the sense last night that the Nats were instantly relevant, and electric, which I didn't have in 08, but again, I wasn't at the actual game.

Jeeezus had 14 strikeouts in his major league debut. He almost tied the record of 15 strikeouts by Karl Spooner. How many innings did Mr. Spooner pitch in his debut. If he only pitched 3 innings then I am in awe. If he pitched 8 or 9 innings then Stephen has a new record. What do you think?

Spooner went nine in his first start, though I'm not sure that was also his debut. I guess it probably was. But no, records are records. No one wants to say "I have the record for most strikeouts by a rookie pitcher in his MLB debut who went seven innings or less." Look, Strassy won't be hurting for records, I wouldn't guess.

  1. 5 Watching Michael Jordan play as a Wizard. Was he great? No, but he was Freaking MIKE JORDAN. If he came in and played again today everyone on the planet would watch!
  2. 4 Cal Ripken breaking the streak. Ripkens record had a major impact on my personal work ethic after seeing that as a kid. I know he was an Orange wearing Crab Cake Eating Hon' but that was all we had for baseball in the day.
  3. 3 Temple playing at the Eagle Bank Bowl... As a DC local who is also a Temple Alum, that just had personal satisfaction pour moi. And yes I just used a bit of French what of it!
  4. 2 First Nats game at RFK, I was not in area when the team returned but the first time I walked into that stadium after reopening for Baseball got me choked up, you combine the history and filth covered beauty of RFK with my own personal return of baseball to the city, how could you not be.
  5. 1 Redskins 91 super bowl, it's the earliest I remember with any accuracy, the prior one is to blurred in mind, as I was in kindergarten. Since I was there and watched every pitch, I think last nights game will break this list somewhere. My guess is it will get to the number 3 spot, so long Mike. So thats the list for a 26 year old who spent all but 4 years of his life living inside the beltway.

Those are some good ones. You've had a good sporting life. I imagine the Cal game would be completely unforgettable in a way that few other things could ever be. I remember that a lot more vividly than the 91 Super Bowl, and I was a Bills fan at the time. Maybe that's why, I guess.

Bog, great job by the Post getting on board with the Nats. I agree with a post you made a week or so back, this is a town driven by "events" - last night was a big event and the town stepped up. Not having baseball for 30+ years meant that a full generation of people missed the experience of having a home team to call their own. It's going to take a few years (winning helps) for the nats to become a habit and part of what people think about. When that have a free evening in the spring/summer.

People are talking about the game today. People who don't usually talk about baseball. I've heard it, and others have emailed me who have heard the same thing. That's nice.

I won't have much shame about being a bandwagon jumper on this one. The Nats had a bad product for a couple of years. Even if you knew (or thought) that better days were ahead, the current days were bad. Being a sports fan, or a sports writer, doesn't require you to pay as much attention to a bad product as a good one. Whatever slur you want to label me and others like me with, I think that holds true in every city in the country.

Was the game all that it was supposed to be? Did you get overly excited watching Stephen Strasburg and the fans and their reaction to his talent? Was it so exciting that you had your own pooh in the shoe moment? Everyone seemed very impressed with him last night. The future looks bright. Love your discussions.

Yes to all of this except the poo. Even Strasburg couldn't wean me from my habit of using flush toilets.

Stein, Like you, I have Fios and do not have MASN2 on HD. I wish for a special event like last night they could have moved the game over to MASN. Any chance you can do a story on this and get Fios to carry MASN2 on HD.

Well, I certainly can't get FiOS to do anything. I asked them, and they said they were considering adding it. I think it's a fair question to ask MASN whether they would consider moving all Strassy starts to MASN, but I also think if they want to force FiOS to offer both stations in HD, they needn't go out of their way to take the heat off FiOS. As always, it's the viewers who lose.

The thing I remember about 2005 opening day are the little ones: fans spontaneously singing "God Bless America" when the PA system initially didn't work; Livan trying, but not quite succeeding, in pitching a complete game; the fans booing when Vinny Castilla was walked, thus ruining his chance at hitting the cycle. 2005 was about a city coming together to watch a team; 2010 was about a city coming together to watch one player. Do you think as this season plays out that fans will come to watch more than Strasburg?

Yes, I do.

And I agree with what you said about 2005, but not about last night. It was a city coming together to watch one player on one team. The place might have been packed if Strasburg was the pitcher for the visiting Pirates, but no chance it would have been electric like that. You didn't think the roar for Zim's home run was also impressive?

Dan- You are right! I'm a native Washingtonian, and in fact I did suffer thru the decades of no baseball. You hit the nail on the head- both 2005 and 2008 were exiting, but last night was so much more. Strasburg's performance gave us hope that for the foreseeable future, barring injury, every fifth day we will have a great chance at victory, since our potent offense is liable to score more than the 1 or 2 runs that Strasburg and company are likely to give up. By the way- I was one of those folks you chatted with in the line waiting for standing-room-only tickets, and it was well worth the wait!


I was a bit confused, by the way, when the listed attendance was under capacity, even after they sold previously non-existent standing room tix. Any theories?

When miracles are heaped upon miracles, the ancient Hebrew phrase, Dayenu (it would have been enough) is invoked. Watching from the top of the stands, I say, Dayenu.

If he had struck out Lastings Milledge but not every hitter in the Pirates lineup, Dayenu.

If he had struck out every hitter in the Pirates lineup but not cracked double digits, Dayenu.

If he had cracked double digits but not set a franchise record, Dayenu.

If he had set a franchise record but not reached 14, Dayenu.

If he had reached 14 but none done so with the fewest pitches in MLB history, Dayenu.

If he had done so with the fewest pitches in MLB history but not also gotten the win, Dayenu.

If he had gotten the win but not also done so on the most beautiful June night for baseball in Washington history, Dayenu.

Can't remember the next line.

That was by far the best Nats game I've been to. The opener in 2005 was good, but I missed the opening pitch because of presidential security. Plus nobody really knew the team or had developed a strong allegiance. The opener at the new park in 2008 was nice, but the game was actually pretty boring until Zim hit the walk off. This game was excitement from the first pitch on. The crowd hung on every pitch, and every strikeout was met with a thunderous roar. Those last three strikeouts were incredible. Of course, it was that much sweeter with the Zim, Dunn and Hammer home runs. Of all the DC sporting events I've been to, and I've been to a lot, I'd say this game narrowly edges out the Mason / UConn Elite Eight game.

Wait, who's writing this, me?


I live in Arlington and I have Comcast digital cable. I was not able to watch the game because the MASN2 signal was extremely glitchy and unwatchable. All the other channels seem to work fine, so I am wondering if this problem is not just mine? I am extremely disappointed that I had to miss the historic game last night because of Comcast. I watched highlights of it on ESPN and am even more depressed.

That's bad. Very very very bad. Others?

What a great night last night, you guys did a great job covering it Dan. And the front-page Wilbon column was the icing on the cake!

What, you don't care about LeBron?

When is Strasburg's next scheduled start?

Sunday in Cleveland.

The only thing close to a game living up to its hype in recent memory was Ripken's tieing and breaking Gehrig's Iron Man record in '94. You may recall, that Cal hit a homer in each game with flashbulbs popping and then took that memorable victory lap around the field in Camden Yards. It was as close as a DC baseball fam could get to the fun of going to a baseball game at that time. So great to attend the game last night. Almost the equal of witnessing Cal breaking the record.

I'm answering these in order becuase there are so dang many of them, but yes, this makes sense.

Im a life long washingtonian, a homer. I remember being 12ish, banging pots and pans in the streets after riggo secured our first Lombardy.. as well as the 2 subsequent ones. the only Skins home playoff victory in recent memory.. all exhilarating... I was at the 2005 Nats Opener... ... I just don't remember being as choked up (literally) with hope and excitement as last night, in front of the tv no less, and reading the papers this morning..... I can't be the only one with dust in my eyes? oh well.. happy to be a hopefull homer.

It was the kind of night where you talked to strangers standing next to you, and if you were the drinking fan sort, probably hugged them. There aren't too many of those nights in life. Unless you're Steve Phillips.

Dan, you've got me racking my brain over something to which this can compare. You have to eliminate any playoff or championship games, because they automatically mean more. That takes out of the running things like Super Bowl wins, Secretariat in the '73 Belmont and the 1980 Miracle on Ice. Once those are gone, I really don't think I can come up with a great individual performance under such a media microscope that had this much meaning attached to it. I'm still buzzing about it.

Well, I'm sure there were others. LeBron's debut has to be a stirring memory for Cleveland fans, just off the top of my head. I think it's best to limit the discussion to D.C., and it's been a long long time, if ever.

For the earlier chatter, FIOS 586 is the MLB Network who were airing the game nationally but were blacked out locally because of Peter Angelos and the scum at MASN. So while the rest of the country could see it in glorious high def, I had to watch on crappy low def (and the feed of MASN2 on FIOS is worse than even the other low def channels). Thanks MLB. And Baltimore, I will continue to revel in your HORRIBLENESS until MLB and Angelos give us back control of our market, which is Washington. Baltimore gets Baltimore.

There ya go.

Don't forget there are some people in the greater D.C. region who don't even get any MASN2, HD or not. So at least consider the bright side.

Can somebody please duct tape Dibble's mouth shut? Im as big a homer as anyone.. but broadcasters should, at least while on air, show a little, A LITTLE, objectivity.... his "we" and "our" comments make watching on tv almost unbearable....

This is not necessarily a new issue. But as TV ratings rise, maybe we'll see more who agree with you. I initially liked him, and still think he does certain things with an entertaining flair, but the grunting and the cheering over big moments and the ceaseless machismo wear on me. Especially ruining the big moments, though. That's about the worst thing a broadcaster could do, and I can't believe there are no producers there to tell him that he's grunting all over something that people want to remember.

Did you find your camera?

Yes. Had fallen under a seat in Sect 106.

Zimmerman's performance last night was awesome! Hopefully the national attention for the team will help build up his profile as well. He's leading the frickin NL in OPS, for one thing. Time for you to do your part on building up the buzz, Steinbog.

It's true.

Bog, I'm a season ticket holder. I thought we had vanquished the "O's" from the National Anthem but it made a regretful reappearance last night. Is that just because the casual fans still don't know better? 14 K's. JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZUS!

I think that, and the casual baseball fans who just showed up. I saw more than a handful of Orioles jerseys around the park. Whatever, it'll gradually die out, especially as the Nats get more popular.

MOre important, is "Jeezus" offensive? I thought by changing the spelling, and since the players themselves thought it up, we'd be ok. But at least a few people are definitely offended.

Last night I sent in the question about why in the #$%@! the game switched over to the Mets. It was blacked out locally, still don't know why because it was sold out. FiOS was showing the game, though... on channel 1, non-HD. Oh Well.

Blacked out because the game belongs to the local carrier in the local market.

Lets say thats closer to going. 24-25 completions for 320 yards(7 innings of amazing pitching) 6 TD's (14 Ks) 1 Int (he did allow a home run) 0 Sacks (walks)

I think walks are more like interceptions. I was using the hits, HR and runs to be the incompletions.

Hey cheeseboy, what's the deal with your old employer now selling Miller Lite? This does have a Nats/Strasburg angle, since the Miller Lite bottle/cans at the ballpark last night reminded me to ask you about this.

It's a disgrace. I have no idea what they're doing. My boss would have vomited on himself if we were forced to not just sell light domestics, which I guess is understandable, but to actually build huge displays of them.

I mean, I guess it's like The Post and the Redskins during Nats/Caps season -- giving the people what they want -- but we always thought it was helping the people understand that what they really should want was just a superior drinking product.

What is with the Lerners? To the best of my knowledged, there was no coverage in Montgomery County of the game, whether on Verizon or Comcast, even though the Guide said Nats vs. Pirates?! Made 4 calls to Verizon and no one knew anything, other than learning on the 5th (with Direct TV) that the latter provides all the content for FIOS Verizon. Same crap as no PR denying conventional wisdom for about a week that Strasburg's 1st game would be Friday, the 5th--until selling one ticket at a time, selling out and then announcing his 1st start was the 8th!!! UGH

There was absolutely coverage of the game in Montgomery County. Go to and use their channel finder. Some people couldn't get it in HD, but no one in any inner suburb on any provider should have failed to get the game.

Yet! The Pirates stink! I get it, they are a Major League Baseball team, but don't they have the lowest batting average in the majors? Next up for Strasburg...the last place Cleveland Indians! The real test will come against the more heavily talented teams (ie the Phillies) and the second time around that he faces clubs.

No pitcher has struck out 14 batters against the Pirates this year. Full stop.

For the foreseeable future, hasn't Strasburg put the kibbosh on your peridoic "Who's the most popular athlete in DC?" posts? I mean, I guess it's your Bog and you can still do them. But it'd be sort of like Chris Cillizza pondering who out of Obama, McCain or Palin is the president. So self-evident as to not even be worth the effort.

Someone else said the same thing. I'm not sure I agree. Ovechkin took a franchise from the pits and elevated it to be the best team in the entire NHL. Sure, he had help, but that's on his resume, and he won this thing called the Hart Trophy twice in a row along the way. Strasburg might actually have a greater aura around him right now, and this is an impossible question to answer, but I believe if you took a random opinion survey of D.C. residents and asked them their favorite local athlete, he would not be first.

2005 comes first for me. Last night was fun though. What got me excited was all the fans in the park, and almost all rooting for DC or its pitcher. (I was saddened by all the folks that left in the bottom of the 7th)


Bog, last night ranks at the top of my short-lived live sporting life. If for no other reason than the place was packed and hopping from Strasburg's emergence from the bullpen to the eruption at his last K. Every strike drew a cheer, and each K had the crowd excited. The level of excitement during the 6th and 7th were great. The only experience that I can even relate is college football games between 2 top 5 teams. Amazing. Welcome to D.C.


Sorry, I'm just not into this baseball thing. But I am into the BIGGEST SPORTING EVENT IN THE WORLD. So, where will you watch the epic USA v England match at the 2010 FIFA World Cup TM on Saturday? Are you going to check out the Dupont Circle big screen scene?

I doubt I'll go to DuPont, but maybe.

There is no rule that World Cup fans cannot also appreciate a historical performance in their home city.

What would have happened last year? A rainout? The scoreboard crashing down? Strasburg tripping on his way out of the dugout and breaking his arm? I can't believe how perfect this game went. A franchise record for K's, the Nationals coming from behind to keep Strasburg in line for the win, and then the bullpen and Capps actually not blowing the save to deliver the win. I know the Nats haven't had much fail at all this season, but this game seemed to symbolically purge the franchise of the fail stink they've had the last several years.

The weather was indeed the capper for me. It was just a perfect, absolutey perfect, ridiculously perfect night for baseball. I'm with you on this. Every single thing that happened, aside from me leaving my phone charger in the press box, was perfect. I mean, the team's best three players each homered, led by the best player in franchise history.

One of the other folks mentioned that they have Fios and didn't get to watch the game either. I had the same problem. It was sad watching another Orioles-Yankees game while history was being made in the Nats game. Was it an Angelos decision to broadcast his team instead of the bigger draw?

The game was scheduled for MASN2 months and months in advance. I think the ONLY people to complain are the FiOS customers, and that's about HD/non-HD. Which, I understand, is very very important to a lot of people. And I don't want to let Angelos off the hook here; the MASN deal was a stinker. But in this case, I'd call FiOS and cry bloody murder and threaten to change, and not just every five days. It's been the same thing for every game since at least the first game in Houston, if I'm remembering right: the Nats play 81 games a year on MASN2.

Why did security not let fans hang "K" signs from the stands? Why did the sausage stand run out of sausages in the 5th? Why did Nats fans boo Ryan Church and Lastings Milledge? How the $^&# is Strasburg so good?

This is the first sausage, or food complaint, I've heard all day.

I didn't ask security, but they apparently told the kids hanging the Ks that it isn't permitted at Nats Park. Needs to change.

I'd buy a season ticket if I could get 81 games at 2.5 hours. I might watch an entire game on TV too.


I was at the game and I was really impressed that everybody stayed after Strasburg was pulled. I would have thought that a Washington crowd with work the next day would start streaming out of the Park once Strasburg wasn't pitching anymore, but credit the fans -- they stayed til the last out and a fair number for a while after that.

I agree. I was by the exit at the seventh inning (had watched from the back of 106), and it seemed like thousands and thousands were leaving. I mean, it was a full-on rush, from where I stood. But when you went back and looked at the stands, they still looked full. Not exactly sure how to explain that one. The crowd at the end was still dynamic, and hundreds and hundreds stayed well after, to the point that the security folks were trying to figure out how to make them leave.

I was eager this morning to find out what happened with the Nats last night. Normally I don't really care, but all the hype reminded me of Ben McDonald becoming an Oriole and bombing. I wanted to hear if all the hype was real. I don't think this will bring me back to baseball, but it's nice to see a local high draft pick working out.

This should bring you back to baseball. Not to be an evangelist, and sure, something bad could happen, but for one night, at least, this really was something remarkable to watch. Why wouldn't you want to see more?

How do you feel about the large number of people that went streaming out of the ballpark after Strasburg was pulled last night? I understand that he was a major draw for the game, but to see the night ended correctly for him, and then the shaving cream pies was something that I'm sorry so many people missed. And it wasn't like the game went on for much longer after he was out.

See, just the opposite of the previous question.

I'd have preferred people stay, I guess, but I also kind of understand why you'd leave, especially if you really bought the ticket to see one guy. And obviously lots of people did. People do leave early from every sporting event in the world, including playoff games that aren't yet decided. It's weird, but they do.

Even if the phenom wins 30 games a year the Nationals will still not win anything.

Hey, thanks. Eat nails.

Guy throwing Young's HR ball back into the field - I figured any ball from Strasberg's first game would be worth something, so I was really glad that guy did the right thing by throwing it back!

Talked to that guy and his friends at length. Post coming soon. Or, as soon as I stop doing this anyhow.

You see the section of like 40 bright yellow shirted people in the upper deck? At first I thought it was Pirates fans bussed in by Rizzo, but then I figure its some school group who bought the tickets months ago. What luck by them, I bet they had kids signing up for whatever group it was just to go to this game.

I did, and I came to the same conclusion. There was a similar gang of blue shirts in the upper deck, closer to home plate. Was gonna try to talk to them, but ran out of time. Game went too fast.

Dan, although I myself am not religious, I'm sympathetic to some religious folk who have signaled their dislike of Nyjer's chosen nickname for HIM. Therefore, I'll get this comment out of my system now and move on.... Do you think the Nats will start a new promotion on Strasburg start days? You buy a bottle of water and get wine instead. OK, that's on to finding a new nickname.

I guess this is a fair complaint. This is what people always say, but I truly wasn't trying to offend anyone. I don't consider "Jeez" offensive, despite it's origins, and this strikes me as just a natural continuation of that -- an expression of shock, not a suggestion that Strasburg is like God. Nyjer said it was because that's what you say out of surprise, not out of piety.


Obvious answer here is The Ellipse

That's good.

Hey, Boz is chatting at 11. He knows more about this stuff than me. Save all your good questions and teary memories with him, and I'll run off and start blogging again.

Seriously, have fun with this, everyone. I feel like Ted Leonsis, but be happy. You can do it.

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Dan Steinberg
Washington Post staff writer and D.C. Sports Bogger.
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