The Aftermath Of The Stephen Strasburg(less) Nationals sweep in the NLDS Oct 2012
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer): Follow @chuckbooth3024
The Nationals are my favorite National League team. It is my firm belief that you are allowed 1 team in each League to cheer for. The Yankees are my team in the American League. The love for the Nationals goes back to when they were the Montreal Expos. It was a lean time for a lot of us fans until the last few years have given us hope. So before I go on about the contracts and payroll for 2013 tomorrow, I officially am going on record in saying that shutting Strasburg down is completely wrong. I don’t care about ramifications of the pitcher throwing his arm out. You never know when injuries are going to occur. The Babying method never worked for Strasburg the first time, or for Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes for that matter. This all stems back to the over using of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior by Dusty Baker in the 2003 year. Innings limits were soon introduced in every franchise to protect the players and managers from going after a championship and maybe shortening their career. It also has a lot to do with teams not being able to insure players any more.
Insurance companies (like Lloyd’s of London) realize that they will pay out teams at a less than profitable rate for Major League Baseball players based on how much these guys make now, so they will not cover any baseball player anymore. So Washington is freely shutting him down because they think it is the best thing to do for the player and the club. They think by preserving him from any injury at all, that this will prolong his shelf life and thus make the baseball team more profitable in the long run. This is a major role of the dice and could end up setting the fan base back with a sour taste in their mouth for generations. If Washington wins the World Series, this would be the only scenario where the question would not be brought up again. Anything short of this and it is going to start an epic debate.
The brass really missed the ball on this one. As I heard Curt Schilling so eloquently put it on radio recently, “they could have spread out his innings by holding him back a start before or after the break? They also could have held him back to the 4th or 5th pitching spot in the starting rotation to start the season? Then in the playoffs, you have him pitch 3 game #4’s if you go that far. It is always the most important game of the Series anyway!” I echo the sentiments of the 3 Time World Series winner. Everyone would know that he was still the defacto ace. Not only that, by why would they need to throw him out there every 5th day once they were ahead of the playoff bar by 9 games or above like they have been in the last month? My idea was to pitch him every 7th day like he did in college. It is poor management on all fronts that they have a talent such as this-that will be left off of the playoff roster. if you wanted a cap on his innings limit then fine, but they sure didn’t manage the innings wisely to have him available for the playoffs. I guess this was their intention all along!
It is a shame for the fans in Washington that have been shoveled a ‘bunch of crap’ baseball since the team moved from Montreal in 2005. It has been one failed promotion after another to try to reach the fan base. My favorite story all time is one I heard from Grant Paulsen of Minors and Majors on the XM Radio Air Waves The Nationals had an idea to shoot chili dog’s (from Ben’s Chili Bowl) into the stands for fans to grab. Only they were wrapping them into White T-Shirts and shooting them out of a cannon. Well, apparently they weren’t wrapped tight enough and once they shot (bullet-style in the air,) the chili dogs blew up in the air and sprayed a bunch of fans in the stands with hot chili! It is a fireworks promotion night that they needed to call the Fire Marshall in on because they set fire to a portion of the Park. It has not been easy to stomach being a fan.
If you take it back to even the Montreal Expos, that fan-base endured many hardships from MLB Baseball at the most inopportune times. The two player strikes in 1981 and 1994 disrupted or cancelled seasons in which the club did not receive every advantage it could get in order to bring a home a championship. They were at or near the best of the teams vying for a Title. So now after this Franchise is one of the best teams in baseball yet again, they are going to find a new way to screw it up. Having the ability to challenge for a World Series does not come around very often like this. Out of those 43 years in existence, the Expos/Nats only have one NLCS appearance in 1981 to show for it. If I lived in Washington, I would be screaming from the rooftops about this decision to not pitch the talented young phenom!
The team owes it to the paying fan to play their best players in order to try to bring home a title. The team owes it to the 24 other guys on the roster who are giving all of their blood, sweat and tears in order to win it all this year. It’s a mockery to the game and there is a reason you have never seen this idea put forth before. You don’t think players like Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Dwight Evans, Ernie Banks, Ted Williams and hundreds of other ex-players would risk just about anything to have their shot a World Series Trophy again?
The worst case scenario could be revealed in as early as the first round. This could be the 1st step in what could be a chain reaction of futility for the club. Lets fast forward to 2017. The Nationals have finished in 3rd in the NL East for the 4th straight year because the New York Mets have been sold and are spending 180 Million Dollars on player salaries now to win back to back NL East titles. The Philadelphia Phillies won a few more Division Titles in 2013 and 2014 having been backed by quality veterans: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. When the Phillies got old, Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves were battling each other every year for NL MVP’s-en route to a few Wild Card #1 Seeds themselves, while knocking out the Nationals on their way to the post season in a tough division. The Mariners were beat in the 2016 World Series by the Atlanta Braves. Even though they lost, they left the Nationals as the only team never to have been in a World Series.
Or what about the Washington Nationals? Jayson Werth‘s contract has killed them to the point where he retired in 2015. Adam LaRoche left after the 2013 year. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg are great players, but they are the only 2 productive guys on the team. They have traded Ryan Zimmerman to try to replenish the pitching that has recently left in free agency as that is their Achilles Heel after Strasburg in the rotation. So it is 2017, and Strasburg has won 4 straight NL CY Young Awards on 3rd place teams. Now it is decision time, oh wait the New York Yankees have announced that CC Sabathia is retiring and they went to offer Strasburg a 7 YR/210 Million Dollar contract. Strasburg can’t turn it down and admits to having always wanted to play for the Bronx Bombers. A few years later, with his buddy already in the Bronx, Bryce Harper signs a 10 YR/275 Million Dollar contract to join his former Nationals teammate. Strasburg and Harper go onto win 4 World Series titles in 7 years with New York. Washington continues to be the only team to never appeared in the World Series. But there is hope. In 2020, Memphis, New Orleans, Portland and Charlotte have all been awarded expansion franchises so they will be joined in this category once again.
Even the Chicago Cubs have won a World Series in 2015 after 106 years-against the Miami Marlins of the American League now after Division Re-Alignment took place. (Check out back to the Future 2 if you don’t believe that this will happen.) The Washington franchise is now drawing under 1 million fans a year by 2023. Micheal Lerner has passed on and his family has sold it to an investment group from Vancouver BC Canada for 1 Billion Dollars. But don’t worry Washington. Bud Selig is still alive and kicking as the Commissioner of baseball and awards Washington with a 4th try at a team-with the NL Expansion Washington Senators, who will be owned by Charles Barkley, Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan!
There were no additional pictures, videos or extra stats added like I normally do with articles because I want this point driven at home. You never pass up your chance to cash in a winning lottery ticket! Even if you get run over by a car after you cash your cheque!
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***
***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***
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Posted on September 6, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged adam laroche, back to the future 2: the movie, ben's chili bowl, bryce harper, bud selig, cc sabathia, charles barkley, charlotte, chicago cubs, Chuck Booth, curt schilling, don mattingly, dusty baker, dwight evans, ernie banks, freddie freeman, grant paulsen, jason heyward, jayson werth, joba chamberlain, lloyd's of london, memphis, miami marlins, michael jordan, montreal expos, NCLS, new york yankees, phil hughes, phillies, portland, roy halladay, ryan zimmerman, ted williams, the fastest 30 ballgames, washington nationals, washington senators, world series. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.