I do not like the idea that I feel I need to put in my two cents on the situation, but it has gotten to the point of ridiculous. Writers, former pitchers, and critics everywhere have all provided their opinion on just how dumb the Nationals are for shutting down Stephen Strasburg. I do not like to talk about it too much, because I know I would not want people talking about it if it was me in Strasburg’s situation. It seems necessary though, to put it into writing for myself and my fellow Nationals fans who have, in my opinion, done an amazing job of not letting the national media tell them what to think.
First off, I just want to say that the one person I think has it the worst is Stephen Strasburg, but not just for being shut down. The shut down would suck, no doubt, especially when your team has been competing and is playing the best baseball they have ever played this year. Of course Stephen should want to keep playing, would you not feel the same way? If you were Mike Rizzo, would you not worry if your pitcher was just okay with being shut down? Absolutely. If I am Rizzo, I want Stephen to hate me for it. I want him to think every day that the next batter he faces has my head on his shoulders and the one thing that he will do is carve up the lineup in the name of my destruction. I’m certain Stephen doesn’t HATE Rizzo per se, but he is likely not happy with him or Davey Johnson, which he will likely get over in time.
I want to point out what the national media has made this whole shutdown situation into, though. The national media has made this into a selfish show so they can have their story. They already have it written, anything less then a World Series championship will be a failure for the Nationals, and it will be because of Stephen Strasburg. Now, imagine for a second that you are a young 24 year old pitcher, well known for your amazing abilites. Suddenly everyone is talking about how you will not be with the team when the really important games will be played. Does that not bother you? Strasburg had told Davey Johnson that he had been having trouble sleeping due to the shut down. Mark Mulder claimed that this was the Nationals fault, that it was because they were shutting him down that his head was in a different place. Consider instead the fact that guys like Mulder making a big deal out of it and saying how horrible the shutdown is might be part of the cause. Yes, national media, you are the ones who have placed this weight onto Stephen Strasburg’s shoulders, not the Nationals or the fans. Now actually say this to Mulder, he will call you a loser then block you. I know, he did it to me. Yeah, thanks Baseball Tonight for allowing a closed minded guy without a medical degree call me a loser for disagreeing with him. Pretty awesome, not going to lie. I have a question for you ESPN, do you hold your employees to any standards? How about you get Dr. Lewis Yocum on Baseball Tonight and let him put in his thoughts after years of medical research? I wonder if the critics have ever tried to work out before. Strasburg has never pitched 160 innings before, so I like to think of the situation like building muscle strength. You want to work it out, so you start with a 20lb weight then move up to 25lb, 30lb etc. You don’t take your noodle arm and start doing bicep curls with a 120lb weight. Similar, but not the exact same is Strasburg. You want him to start with 160, then go 200+ next year and so on/so fourth. It is simple logic, that is oddly beyond the national media.
How many articles have been written on the Strasburg shutdown topic? How many people have an opinion? Everyone, to answer both questions. I think, it is okay to have an opinion, but it is too bad there is not an article limit on the Strasburg innings limit. I am tired of hearing about it, as I am certain every other Nationals fan is. So many of us have seen the dark days, so many of us have been frustrated at Philadelphia fans, blown saves, and losing season after losing season. The Nationals have so many rough memories, but a few very good ones. This year, the Nationals clinched their first ever winning season. The only thing the national media wants to talk about? The Strasburg shutdown. It is ridiculous, it is almost reminiscent of the episode of South Park where Britney Spears was featured. The Nationals have had the best record in baseball for quite a while, but everyone wants to talk Strasburg shutdown. The other thing that drives me crazy? Media types saying “They are going to be shutting down their best player…” From now on, I want anyone who attempts to utter those words to stand in front of the 24 other guys on the team and tell them that Stephen Strasburg is the best player on the Nationals. Try an say that in front of Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, or Ross Detwiler. Can you imagine where the Nationals would be without those guys? Every other guy on the roster has contributed, which is how the Nationals have the best record in Major League Baseball on this day, September 9th 2012. That takes more than one starting pitcher, I don’t care how good he is. Ask Felix Hernandez about Seattle, he’ll tell you.
I want to point out yet again how I think most Nationals fans have done an excellent job of not letting the national media tell them what to think. Had Nationals fans known the night of September 7th that Strasburg was being taken out of the game after 3 innings, a rousing ovation would have begun, regardless of how rough of a game Strasburg was having. It is my opinion, that most Nationals fans see the positive side of what Mike Rizzo wants to do with Strasburg. How could you not have confidence in the Nationals? Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler, and of course Stephen Strasburg will be here in D.C. for a long time. The pitching outlook is enough to drool over. What have Nationals fans seen out of the offense and defense lately? Nationals fans have seen a Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Jayson Werth, and Bryce Harper offense and defense. It is enough to make you okay with Strasburg being shutdown, because Nationals fans have confidence in their team for the first time ever. That confidence can be accounted for beyond just the 2012 season as all of the aforementioned players are locked up for a decent amount of time. Did anyone expect the Nationals to have 86 wins on September 9th? I doubt it. I myself thought the Nationals might win 88 all year and never even considered having the best record in baseball, let alone first place in the NL East for nearly the entire season.
Having said all that, I want to say this (Mulder, I hope you are reading this): The national media have put it in the mind of just about everyone in the United States that the Nationals are wrong for shutting Strasburg down. Well, I trust my Manager who has been with the game for 50 years on when Stephen’s changeup looks off. I know that Dr. Yocum knows more than any “analyst” from Fox about the capabilites of the Ulner Collateral Ligament, rotator cuffs, and labrums. I have also concluded that you, national media, are trying to sell your product to achieve viewers and readers. Frankly it is pathetic. Nationals fans stand behind the Nationals and the idea that Strasburg will be a Washington National for a long time. It is exciting for Nationals fans, so let us have it! Also, unless you want to talk about how well the Nationals are playing right now, kindly mind your own business.