Don’t Hate the Game, Hate the Player…Wait…

So first Mike was like “Oh my god, we’re totally done.”

And then Stephen was like “Oh, HELL no, Mike.”

And then Mike and Davey teamed up and were like “Dude, you…are…DONE.”

And then Stephen was like “Fine. Ass…

And now some other guy is like “WTF MIKE! YOU’RE AN IDIOT. I HATE YOU FOREVER. BURN IN HELL!”

And I’m like “SHUT UPPPPPPP!”

Did you get all that? If not, it’s okay. I purposely made it as cryptic as possible. You have to closely monitor the shut down of Stephen Strasburg to understand all the drama surrounding the decision. It hasn’t stopped. Ever.

This is what broke today.

And I’m here to tell you why it’s absolutely ridiculous of Mr. Anonymous GM to root against the Nationals simply for an executive decision based on the health of the franchise’s long-term future.

You might want to sit down for this. First of all, there is a 100 percent chance that Mr. Anonymous GM has no right to hate because he is not nearly as good at his job as Rizzo.

I can guarantee that because nobody is better than Rizzo. In only three full seasons at the helm, Rizzo has turned a 69-93, last-place team in 2010 to a 98-64, best record in the Major Leagues, NL-East division-winning team this year.

He hired Davey Johnson to oversee the team, one of the best managers in the game and front-runner for Manager of the Year in 2012. It was a perfect hire for the type of team he had built.

Speaking of building teams, he helped draft Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Drew Storen, Danny Espinosa…the list of impact players on the current team goes on and on. He also used some of his best prospects to pull a few trades. No matter the cost, getting Gio Gonzalez (MLB leader in wins, by the way) this off-season was sheer artistry.

Now that I’ve appropriately pimped Rizzo’s resumé, let’s examine two more reasons why Mr. Anonymous GM is trippin’. Fool.

I can understand disagreeing with fellow executives’ decisions. That probably happens on a daily basis. I could throw a rock at the Winter Meetings and hit two or three GM’s who sat at home and laughed their butts off when Ned Colletti of the Dodgers dropped over $200 million on trades at the deadline this year.

But it’s one thing to question a decision and another to actively root against a team simply because of a decision made. Not to mention that it’s a question of health. In this day and age, we see on a weekly basis what bad mechanics or throwing too hard or too often can do to a pitcher’s arm.

Considering the Nats are paying Strasburg a boatload of money and the hopes and dreams of their future rotation rests on his right arm, I believe the boss man has the final say on how he is used. Strasburg is one of the better pitchers in baseball, but the Nationals are built to contend for the next half decade, if not longer. And they need him to stay healthy if they expect to continue down that path.

I get it – I really do. When Strasburg is on the hill, the Nationals have a very good chance to win. When he’s not on it…wait. What’s that? They STILL have a very good chance to win. 

The man who replaced Strasburg in the playoff rotation is Ross Detwiler, who had a good season in his own right. Aside from him, you have your choice of Gonzalez or Jordan Zimmermann, who are Cy Young candidates. That is why the Nationals had the best team ERA in the Majors. They have DEPTH.

And then there’s the lock down bullpen and opportunistic offense. Yes, the Nats lost a key piece by shutting down Strasburg. They also guaranteed that they have their star pitcher for another run at the playoffs in 2013, regardless of how this season turns out. They are also still the team to beat in the playoffs.

Straight from the article itself:

“If we don’t win the World Series, I don’t care who does,” one general manager told USA TODAY Sports, “as long as it’s not those guys.

“They don’t deserve to win it. Not after what they did.”

Said a National League GM: “I hope they go down in flames. I hope it takes another 79 years before they get back to the playoffs. That’s how strongly I feel about it.”

Wait, wait, wait. I’d argue that the Nationals don’t really have a natural rival in the National League. So who is so pissed off that they made the Strasburg decision that the Nats “don’t deserve to win?” Is it because they already won so many games in the regular season? They’ve reached their limit?

Because I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed the resurgence of the Nationals in 2012. It was one of the best stories in baseball and truly remarkable that they made such a large turnaround in just two seasons. They don’t have any players that most would consider to be “thugs” or something similar.

There are no Nyjer Morgan’s (anymore) or Alex Rodriguez’s on the Nationals. No Vicente Padilla’s or Jose Valverde’s. So, I just don’t get it. It’s a likable, impressive team that deserves to win games.

The Nationals deserve to be rooted for. But no matter who you are, don’t hate on a decision that was made to benefit the team long-term by the best GM in baseball. That is like telling the Parent of the Year that his decision to make his son wait until he’s 17 to take a driver’s test is so wrong that you hope he dies and shrivels in the pits of hell (yes, that’s the equivalent feeling to not winning for 79 years…just ask the Cubs).

Stephen Strasburg will not pitch in the playoffs. Mike Rizzo is totally fine with it. You should be too, because it’s the right move. Mr. Anonymous GM is probably watching this game from his couch, eating Ruffles and drinking a martini. So there’s that.

Unfortunately, the doubt will only end if the Nationals win the World Series. Guess they better do that, then.

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