The Stephen Strasburg debut game is finally here tonight. Certainly, Stephen Strasburg’s debut may be the biggest baseball event in Washington history. That partly speaks to how sad Washington’s baseball history has been since the Nationals arrived. But, there is hope at last that the worst is over, and that the team will be respectable soon. This time last year, the Nationals were an even bigger laughingstock on and off the field than usual. But, with the Stephen Strasburg debut, last night’s latest No. 1 draft pick, and a near .500 record for the other Nationals, there is actual excitement in D.C.
Perhaps no major league debut in recent history has gotten this much attention. It is certainly one of the rare times that the baseball world is centered around Washington. For the first time in ages, the Nationals are not getting attention for being inept.
Tonight’s Stephen Strasburg debut begins the career of a projected ace. After lighting up the college ranks, and after dominating the minor leagues this spring, Strasburg has arrived in the big leagues right on-schedule. The minute he was announced as the starter tonight against the Pirates, tickets were sold out in no time.
Usually, a Nationals-Pirates game is a very low priority in baseball. But the Stephen Strasburg debut performance has changed that, as fans everywhere wait to see if he is that good. He is facing a Pirates team with a worse record than the Nationals, so hopes are high for a solid debut.
The Nationals ensured that his first start would be at home, since they are going on the road for the next week. Strasburg’s next start would be in either Cleveland or Detroit, which should have a little less hype attached. Of course, if the Stephen Strasburg debut performance is every bit as great as fans hope, it will ensure that he’ll be a major draw everywhere.
The entire future of the Nationals is riding on this pitcher, and on last night’s No. 1 draft pick, Bryce Harper. But Washington has been surprisingly better without them, as they are in last place, but only four games under .500. If this pace keeps up, the addition of an ace could make them respectable ahead of schedule.
Any long term payoff will take years to figure out, of course. But for tonight’s Stephen Strasburg debut, the short term payoff is already being felt. The nation’s capital will host the biggest event of the baseball year, with Strasburg’s first pitch at around 7:05 pm est.
Yahoo Sports- “Pittsburgh (23-34) at Washington (27-31)”
ABC News- “Is Stephen Strasburg Baseball’s Next Big Star?”