The Strasburg Conundrum

In many ways, I don’t know jack about baseball. I’m relatively new to the sport, having developed an interest after losing a bet involving the Phillies, a team which I predicted to suck back in early ’08. Of course, I didn’t know that they didn’t suck because I’d last paid attention to them in 2004, the last year I was subject to all of my friends from Temple U. lamenting their lost cause. The other lost cause, that is—other than their football team. But that’s another story for another blog. This is a story about me knowing more about baseball than well-known sports pundits who manufacture controversy because they really don’t know how else to cover the team with the best record in baseball.

Now, that last statement is probably not a fact. But it certainly seems that way. I’ve turned into one of those people who tunes into local sports media on the off-chance that they will be covering Nats baseball, and that’s how I got dialed into this whole “OMG NOW I HAVE AN OPINION AND I NEED TO BLOG ABOUT IT” thing.

So. Stephen Strasburg. I think I understand a bit about where Rizzo is coming from. The argument that flat out pisses me off about the media frenzy over Strasburg’s impending shutdown is the one that goes, “If you get to the post-season and lose it all, won’t you be kicking yourself if you didn’t have your best pitcher?” Questions of whether he’s our best aside, as it all depends on what pitching stat you hold most dear, it’s not about winning at all costs for the Nats. To those people, I ask this question: “If you get to the post-season and push Strasburg so hard he injures himself again and then lose it all, won’t you be kicking yourself for not having your best pitcher… ever again, possibly?”

There’s no way to win this argument, so I’m not sure why some people have to keep having it. The way I see it, people who just want a championship at the EXPENSE of the team are the epitome of what people mean when they say “bandwagon fans” in a derogatory way. I know a little bit about this, having been dragged into the baseball fold on a heady wave of “EFF YEAH” after the 2008 World Series. But it took a bit longer for me to find my own team, and a real love of baseball. It took following Jayson Werth around like a groupie, really, but that’s another story. You bandwagon fans: either go find your own team or stop, watch for a while and fall in love. You’ll know when it’s happened: That moment when you cheer for the Nats over the team that made you start watching baseball. That moment when you start realizing the fan club you created for one player is so much better for his being part of his new team. That moment when you’re teaching your preschooler how No. 11 is Ryan, No. 34 is Bryce, No. 47 is Gio, No. 28 is Jayson, No. 38 is Michael, No. 1 is Lombo, and on and on and on are all part of this amazing team that can and will win regardless of who is on the mound and regardless of who is on the DL.

Sitting Strasburg is fine by me, and by most of the fans I know. He’s still as much a part of this amazing team, this amazing run, and everything about the 2012 Nationals.  We just want to make sure he’s part of the amazing team, the amazing run, and everything about the Nationals of days to come.

Helen Mosher runs the Jayson Werth fan site Eff Yeah Jayson Werth and lives in Strasburg. The town, not the pitcher, just in case you were confused.