Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg has quickly become one of the young superstars in Major League Baseball. The start to his career has been been remarkable. The hype that surrounded his rise through the minors was unprecedented and most would say he’s lived up to the hype. In fact, he’s lived up to it so well that many are calling Phillies manger Charlie Manuel to tell him to put Strasburg on the All-Star team. Fans shouldn’t worry though, Strasburg will be an All-Star.
Pay no attention to what he does in his start against the Atlanta Braves tonight, what he’s done in his previous starts, or what he will do in any of his future starts before the break. Strasburg will go to the game for one reason: marketing and all the money it will bring in.
Let’s be real for a second. Money is really all that matters in sports. Strasburg has become the face of a franchise. He’s helped the Nats sell more tickets and even brought in bigger crowds to stadiums he visits on the road. For example, the Indians sold 8,0000 more tickets to the game he pitched against them than they have to any game since Opening Day. The fans want to see Strasburg pitch. He’s like a famous rockstar and the crowd is primed and ready to rock out to his facemelting solos, or maybe just watch hitters knees buckle to his devastating curve ball. If you don’t think I’m right about people wanting to see him, then please explain why Fox decided to drop the Cards/Brewers game on July 3rd and replace it with a Nationals game that Strasburg just so happens to be scheduled to start.
The decision to put Strasburg on the roster won’t be left to Manuel either. I fully expect Bud Selig to dip his hand in cookie jar and tell Charlie to keep a spot open for the kid. The Nats will tell Manuel that he can pitch to one or two batters and thats it. Enough to wet the mouths of the fans, while keeping the front office in Washington happy.
Major League Baseball is set to cash in on this opportunity and they’d be stupid not to take advantage of the chance to do it. As much as I hate to say it after listening to all the hype, this kid has real potential and could turn into the next great lefty power pitcher. Either way, welcome to the show rockstar and I hope you enjoy the All-Star experience, even if the stats say you don’t deserve it.