OK, I’ve now officially had my “Strasburg moment.” It took place at the gym ironically, a place I haven’t seen after-work on a weekday in quite some time. Like everyone, I’d heard the Strasburg hype ad nauseam and caught plenty of highlights and a few live batters here or there when the Nationals found their way onto a national TV network. Tonight, though, I got hooked.
His stat line was not the most impressive. In fact, even as I watched I knew this wasn’t his best stuff on display. And I’m sorry, don’t judge me for the gushing, but that’s what made it even more unbelievable. Sure it’s complete cliche, but the kid’s stuff is electric. There were plenty of times I wanted to jump off the treadmill, but I didn’t want to miss #37 pitch to another Red.
The most telling pitch is one that didn’t even count (I don’t think). I’m only hoping SportsCenter and/or Baseball Tonight will be sure to play in soul-crushing slo-mo again and again.. In what was Orlando Cabrera’s first at-bat I believe, Strasburg threw a tight curveball that produced one of the worst looking at-bats (and I use that term loosely) I’ve ever seen. You may think you’ve seen bailing or jelly legs before, but this was off the charts.
Cabrera dodged and crumpled, falling away from the plate, as if a heater was heading for the center of his noggin. Instead, the ball gently curved right into the strike zone despite an umpire time call at the last moment. I couldn’t hear the audio but picked up the closed caption text and Bobby V.’s reference that Orlando wouldn’t want to hear from his teammates about that plate appearance. I have a feeling that will be a familiar phenomenon for many, many batters in the years to come.
Strasburg is effortlessly filthy – or at least that’s how it appears. Plenty of people have made comparisons, but, as a child of the 80s/90s, the one and only who immediately comes to mind is Doc Gooden. Doc gave the same impression that he could completely dominate a team with a blow your doors off fastball and nasty deuce alone — and he could. The same is true for Strasburg. Of course, the scary part is that the Nats rookie has even more polished pitches (let’s say four total) at his disposal.
Yup, I’ve had my Strasburg moment. Now, I know that whether he’s completely on or not, he is appointment viewing.
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About the Author: Cecilio's Scribe is the founder of The Legend of Cecilio Guante and a generally pessimistic fan of the Mets, Jets, Knicks and Rangers. A fine NYC-based gentlemen who hones his marketing skills as his primary trade by day. Husband, chef, father of a newborn and after-hours blogger by night. Proud alum of the mighty Big Red of Cornell. University. Hot sauce devotee. Staunch protester of the continued wussifcation of American sports. Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick.