Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Strasburg’

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

October 11, 2012

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.

Opening Day Predictions

April 4, 2012

Okay, okay. I know the A’s and Mariners played in Japan and the defending-champion Cardinals already defeated the Marlins at the new stadium earlier tonight. But a big slate of games is finally set for tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited. 

We’ve got seven games lined up for tomorrow, capped off with reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and my Dodger squaring off against the Padres in San Diego. Without further adieu, here are my predictions for tomorrow’s games:

Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers: This is the first of the great pitching matchups we’ll see over the first weekend of play, but it might just be the best one. Jon Lester will take the hill against last year’s Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander. Normally, I’d expect a pitcher’s duel, but Lester is a notorious slow starter, so look for a big game from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder and the Tigers to take the home opener 5-2. (Side note: Jose Valverde will get his 51st straight save, creeping slowly towards the record of 84)

Atlanta Braves at New York Mets: I like this pitching matchup for a number of different reasons. First of all, I really enjoy watching Tommy Hanson pitch. If he’s healthy for Atlanta this year, it’s going to be huge for their playoff aspirations. But the real story here is Johan Santana’s return to the hill after a multitude of injuries have crippled the former Cy Young winner. I’m going to take my first upset, but don’t expect the Mets’ winning streak to last long. Give me the Mets 3-2.

Philadelphia Phillies at Pittsburgh Pirates: Another former ace takes the hill on Opening Day, hoping to rebound. Erik Bedard won’t have as much success as Johan does in New York, although I do expect an above average season out of the lefty in 2012. Roy Halladay is going to be too much for the young Pirates offense, and the Phils take it on the road 5-0.

Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs: Raise your hand if you’re as excited to see Stephen Strasburg on the mound tomorrow as I am! He takes on the re-tooled Cubs and Ryan Dempster at Wrigley. And I’m sorry Cubbie fans, but the curse will continue, starting with an ugly loss at the hands of the Nats. I’m going to enjoy watching Strasburg go 8 innings with 10 strikeouts in a 7-1 win.

Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians: This might be the most underrated pitching matchup of the day. If you like young, up-and-coming stars on the bump, this is the game for you. Ricky Romero is my dark horse candidate for A.L. Cy Young this year, and Justin Masterson for Cleveland isn’t far behind. I think this is going to be the best pitching duel of the day. Toronto takes it 1-0 on a late solo homer by Jose Bautista.

Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds: One of the Marlins’ big free agent acquisitions is opening this series, and Mark Buerhle can certainly be trusted to give a quality outing. Johnny Cueto gets the ball for Cincy and two very strong offenses will have their respective hands full. Give me the wily veteran for the new-look Marlins’ first win in a 4-3 game.

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres: You know this is the one I’ve been waiting to talk about. You’ve gotta like the young lefty Kershaw to start defending his Cy Young title with a pretty dominant win at Petco Park. I think the Dodgers put up a five spot on Edinson Volquez early and chase him from the game. I want to give the Padres a pity run to sound unbiased, but they just aren’t a good enough team to score against Kershaw. Final score: 6-0 Dodgers.

That’s all folks! Call in sick tomorrow, ditch school, and watch MLB Network all day to see my picks put into motion. Happy baseball! Peace.

National Treasure

March 1, 2012

I hate myself for that title. Cool movie, but anything with Nicolas Cage in it is going to piss me off. Anyway, it has nothing to do with the actual film. This is more a matter of sports, as a post of mine should be. If you missed it, I’ve already locked in my predictions for the 2012 Major League Baseball season. This isn’t what I think will happen, this IS what will happen. Wait and see.

My boldest prediction is that the annual N.L. East doormats in D.C. are going to win the division this year, after getting healthy and stacking their rotation with the likes of Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson this winter. Call me crazy, but they are the overall most talented team in the division. Yes, better than the new-look Miami Marlins, the powerhouse Phillies and the consistent Atlanta Braves.

You’ve got to love this offense – young guys at shortstop, second base and catcher that can absolutely rake. They’ve got Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman to beef up the middle of the order, and potential game-changing guys in AAA in Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon. And if Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche or Rick Ankiel put it together for a full season…watch out.

So the news today is this: Nationals manager Davey Johnson says ‘Fire me’ if Washington misses the playoffs. And I love it.

Swag is a good thing. You want your players to have confidence on the diamond, why not the guy directing them? And why not say it? First of all, Davey Johnson isn’t getting fired no matter what happens. So it’s an empty offer. But secondly, this team has a legitimate chance to contend.

The fact that these young Nationals are so set on making the playoffs and their manager is so confident in their abilities is setting the table for a special season in the nation’s capital, methinks. Looking at the National League, I see nine serious contenders: Arizona, San Francisco, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Philly, Miami, Atlanta and Washington.

By a mile, the Nats would be the biggest surprise team out of those nine to make the playoffs. But beating four of them should be very do-able for such a talented roster. Their pitching is as good or better than the D’Backs, Reds and Marlins. And their offense definitely matches up or dominates teams like the Giants, Phillies and Brewers.

All I’m saying is this team has the makings of something special in 2012. I think people underestimate how good their rotation will be with Stephen Strasburg, Gonzalez, Jackson, Jordan Zimmerman and John Lannan. It’s going to be young and they will have their struggles, but if the Nats aren’t at LEAST in Wild Card contention in the last week of the season, I will be shocked.

And apparently, so will Davey Johnson. Long live the dark horse!

Shout Out to Muh Bro’s

February 23, 2012

What an emotional rollercoaster today was. First, I had to wake up after only four hours of sleep with just a Yeti beer and three Smirnoff Ices in my belly. I drove an hour to work. I sat there, staring at my phone and the computer screen, frantically refreshing both.

They said they would tell us the results “sometime this afternoon.” So, as soon as 9:01 a.m. came, it was the afternoon in New York. But I still had to wait three agonizing hours to find out that I was not selected for the MLB Fan Cave. Bummer, right? Except after a moment of shocked silence and an exhale and body slump that just screamed “Dangggggggggg,” I looked at the 30 finalists who did make the cut.

And I couldn’t be more pleased with what I saw. In no particular order:

@itsallyduh: I never knew awesome Giants fans existed until I met you! I hope you rep Bleacher Report like a boss and get it done in Arizona, my radio angel.

@brjeffers13: A closet poet after my own heart – spittin’ rhymes like Tech N9ne, except a way better guy, damn so fly, lookin’ all us Tiny Chatters right in the eye.

@LindsayGuentzel: Speaking of droppin’ lines and spewin’ rhymes, this girl does it way too fine. If there is a rap battle in Arizona, LG’s got this ish in the bag!

@NickHamiltonLA: My Dodger brother. I know you’re gonna take this home for Dodger Nation! Paint that cave blue, homie. I’m so glad the Dodgers have a rep in the Top 30 and none better than you! #Beastmode

@iBlogBetter: Ricardo is the MAN. If you didn’t know that yet, you clearly don’t know what YouTube is. Nut shot extraordinaire, yet he’s still got the stones to recruit Tony Gwynn and Stephen Strasburg for a video.

@kelseyshea11: Where do I even begin? My book-writin’, Whitney-lovin’, rhyme-textin’, squirrel-interviewin’ girl. I love everyone in this group, but I’m surely most disappointed that I won’t get to meet you in person down in the desert.

@shakabrodie: The man with no plan to shave (ever, hopefully). The canvasses that are your obliques gets that inner bromance a-kindling inside of me. I know you’ll bring Brian Wilson-esque energy to that Cave!

@TaylorAHensley: Bikini babe of the Fan Cave! I’m not sure Tiny Chat would have even survived without you. Show ’em how to buckle a batter’s knees with more than just a curveball. Let’s kick it soon, neighb.

@AtTravisMiller: His name is Travi and he’s pretty much a big deal. But really, you’re the complete package. Dancer, singer, debater, actor look-alike, and baseball whiz. Cheers – this one’s for you, buddy.

@CandiedVinegar: I know I’m your favorite, your stars show it. No matter what, I know I can count on you to use that trigger happy clicky finger to make me feel good! By the way, even though he didn’t answer, I know Mitt’s got your back.

And so many more. Apologies to @sharpd06, @brianpasnik, @EddieMata, @siev27, @teammegan, and @RickyMast for not coming up with a clever two-liner. I’m not writing a novel here, although I probably could and probably should. Because you all provided some of the best, funniest and most ridiculous chat moments of them all. And I’m finally out of 140-character prison.

It’s amazing that this kind of thing has happened in just two weeks. And I haven’t yet gotten the chance to give a real high five to any of you. A real hug, or a real handshake. But it will happen. Because we are an FC family and you are all the reason I have absolutely no regrets about this competition.

I may not be seeing you in Arizona, but I solemnly swear to meet every single one of you at some point in our gloriously, baseball-obsessed lives.

Bring on the Cave class of 2013! @Mapes4FanCave, @falconKP, @GODF_TH_R, @RangerfanBrian and @go_go_sirico can I get a big ol’ HELL YEAH?

Congratulations to all of the Top 30! I wish you the best of luck. But come on, readers. You think I went to the trouble of linking all their Twitters into this blog just to be fancy? Click, follow, love and cherish. Thank you.

Until next year, this is @jamblinman, bro-in’ out in style. #TextMeEveryone #ButReally #Peace


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