June 8, 2010 was the Major League debut for rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Normally, I would not have paid much attention to something as common as a rookie’s first game in the big leagues; however, something was different about this player. There had been so much hype and publicity about Strasburg that this was no ordinary rookie playing in his first game as a professional. In fact, the expectations were set so high for the young Washington National in his debut, that falling short of these expectations was highly plausible. Remarkably, though, the young gun slinger exceeded everyone’s expectations in a recording outing on Tuesday.
There was something different about Strasburg, possibly due to the media surrounding him, that I made it a point to watch his first game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. I didn’t have many expectations leading up to that opening pitch, but I couldn’t help but wish that Strasburg would do well in his first game. After his first pitch, which he threw for a ball, I became skeptical, but after he retired the first batter on a line drive to the shortstop, Strasburg had successfully recorded his first out as a Major League Starter. From there on, it seemed as if Strasburg was in control.
Not only did he record a win in his Major League debut, but he also recorded an astonishing fourteen strikeouts. His performance was incredible for a rookie, especially in his first game. What I was witnessing on the television screen I knew would be history in the making. He had everyone complimenting his stellar performance and even had such former big leaguers such as John Smoltz saying, “He super-exceeded the unexceedable,” and, “I had goosebumps”. And Smoltz was right! The numbers that Strasburg put up would make any veteran pitcher envious. In 94 pitches Strasburg was able to strike out fourteen Pirates sluggers, and remarkably of the last 38 pitches he threw 31 went for strikes. Some may say that Strasburg is ridiculous, his Nationals teammates have even given him the nickname “Jeezus”, but there is no doubt in my mind that Washington and its Nationals has entered a new era, a era that will no doubt be “STRAStastic”! And Smoltz was right! The numbers that Strasburg put up would make any veteran pitcher envious. In 94 pitches Strasburg was able to strike out fourteen Pirates sluggers and remarkably of the last 38 pitches he threw