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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jee-SUS is Absolutely Right

Nyjer nailed it. Dead-on nailed it. I have to believe every one of the 10 trillion who walked out of Nationals Park last night, including those with "Pirates" on their jersies, was saying the same thing.

Jesus. Jee-SUS. JEE-SUS.

Unreal. Amazing. I don't even know the right words. Could a debut have worked out any more perfectly? Short of a no-no or a perfecto, which wasn't going to happen, I simply can't see how.

I actually planned to NOT blog about the game today. I had some other things to say (see below) and I figured why go where everyone else was going? There were a jillion media members there and bloggers everywhere were prepared to chronicle this. I knew we'd wake up with no shortage of Strasburg material to devour.

But you can't ignore something like that. Spare me the "let's see what he does against a real team" lines. The Pirates are a major-league team. They aren't a very good one but they are a major-league team. And Jee-SUS did what you should do against a weaker team. He dominated. He shook 'em like a dog shakes its prey, snapping their necks and draining the life right out of them.

My Son the Braves Fan came with me. We're slowly turning him. He had on a Nats shirt and a Nats hat I got him. He was into it. And we got into quite a debate after the Home Run Derby in the sixth, which probably didn't sit well with our neighbors in the stands since he was sitting in another section.

Take him out, my son said. He's been great, he can't lose. Get him out now.

I see the argument, sure. But not with this kid. If he has the stones we're told he has, now is the time to see. Did we ever. That seventh inning should be framed. A stunning display, running a strikeout streak to seven and throwing his last pitch at 99.


I'm actually glad he gave up that home run. It'll happen with a guy who throws that hard. See Virginia in last year's NCAA tournament. What I wanted to see was how he'd react. Lots of hype, lots of excitement, lots of nerves. He's done OK so far. And now he's losing. What will happen?

He started shaking that bird and broke its neck is what happened. He got about a million times better after that home run. Ten more outs, eight of them by strikeout, seven of them in succession to close his night and that seventh inning that will be etched in our memories forever.

I'm still drooling, by the way. I've seen a lot of stuff over the years. That seventh inning is instant Top Five and only because I haven't thought about the others on the list yet. It's probably No. 1.

In my group were two friends who are not Nats fans. One is a baseball fan in general, the other a Pirates fan. When we left the stadium, both were wearing Nats jersies. I suspect the Nats fan base has grown considerably overnight.

Most impressive besides that seventh inning? Movement. Change of speeds. Command. Savvy. Even his at-bat music is outstanding. This kid (yeah, right) is 21 - 21! He was thrown into a national spotlight and all he did was kick as much ass as can possibly be kicked.


The camera views they showed from behind him were head-shakingly good. One early pitch broke about two feet in on a batter. That ought to be illegal. You don't know where it is going, which way it is going to move or how fast it is coming. My son noted he wasn't aware that Strasburg had so much finesse as well as that amazing power.

The whole world knows now.

Jesus. Jee-SUS. JEE-SUS.

When does he pitch again? How much is air fare to Cleveland?

A few other thoughts:

*Are we really booing Lastings Milledge? C'mon. We're better than that. What did poor Lastings do to deserve such scorn? Be a little immature? Wow, such a rarity at his age (not everyone is a Strasburg). Not be quite as good a baseball player as we were told he'd be? For all his faults, HE didn't hype himself. Not be a center fielder or a leadoff hitter? Yep, boo him because the Nats tried to put his square-peg self into a round hole. Lay off. It didn't work. He's moved on, the Nats have moved on.

*Umpire Tom Hallion has the best called strike three motion I've ever seen. My back would last about two batters doing that.

*My friend Michael and I did a lap of the stadium upon entry to pick up the free (and surprisingly good quality) hats we earned with our mini plans. We were in the stadium at 5:45 when it is usually just the two of us and some vendors. Not last night. People were everywhere. I told him I wanted to get to where this was a daily thing, not just a roll-out-the-stud-night thing. They must win, a lot, to get that. You can only debut Strasburg once. How soon can it happen? Can the Nats ever get to where 35,000 is the rule rather than an exception? We'll see.

Most important, can the stadium handle it? I didn't notice many problems last night until the end. We got around easily, got food easily, the bathrooms were never a problem. For some reason, exiting that stadium when it is crowded is more of a pain than I recall other stadiums being and I'm not sure why. It should NOT take as long as it does. My daughter, a bit behind us because she was a level higher, sent me a text as we cattle-called our way out: Who is responsible for this c*********k? (yes, she included the asterisks). Not sure and I sure don't want to let it put a damper on a great evening but it is something that has to be addresed. I've been in stadiums with more people plenty of times and have never had such exit issues.

Michael, by the way, gets a big rib on me next time we go. I'm a gracious loser. I bet the game would be a sellout. He disagreed. Weak sauce. I needed someone to pad those numbers for me by about 1,000 and failed.

That's OK. If I get to see that kind of performance, I'll buy Michael an entire cow.


Carl the Big Fool said...

I think getting out of Nats Park when it's crowded is difficult because almost everyone heads for the center field gate. There are five other exits from the ballpark, but who uses those?

MikeHarris said...

Good point. The subway is out CF and how much of the parking? Just about all.

Ryan said...

I only had trouble getting from our seats in the 400s down to the main concourse. Just a ton of people.

After that, we exited through the LF gate and the crowd along S. Capitol was minimal. Very nice chance of pace from the inside. And fortunately, coming up Potomac to the S. Capitol light, we made a right onto the bridge, so no line there at all. Huge line turning left, heading for 395, though.

Got home in record time, actually.

Even if it took me 4 hours to get home through the worst traffic in DC history, it still would have been worth it. Big time.

Anonymous said...

I think part of the problem getting people down from the Gallery Level last night was that the escalator on the third base side was broken. They must have bought that one from the same place Metro gets theirs.

Carter said...

Mike -

You won the bet. Game was completely sold out. The less than capacity number on the attendance was due to freebies Stanley gave out.

MikeHarris said...

I don't think Michael is going to be convinced. Our deal was the number had to be 41,888 or higher.

But he reads this, so maybe he will concede. Doubt it. The kid likes his ribs.

An Briosca Mor said...

Here's why Milledge got booed: Because he sucks. Nothing personal, but he symbolizes the underachieving nature of the 2008-2009 Nats. Not only did he and they not live up to even modest expectations, he and they actually regressed during the time they played in Washington. Any time memories of that period of Nats history show up again in Nats Park, they deserve all the boos they get. My only regret from last night's game was that the Pirates didn't bring Hanrahan in so he could have been booed too.

MikeHarris said...

You're a hard man my friend. When JimBow comes back, boo him. Milledge didn't create those expectations.

An Briosca Mor said...

Milledge's play in 2008 created expectations for 2009. He failed to deliver on them. That's on him, not Bowden.

Nyjer could be digging himself into the same hole, but for now it looks like he won't.

MikeHarris said...

I'll never boo Nyjer, simply because he came up with Jee-SUS.

An Briosca Mor said...

Not to mention the silver Elvis wig.

bdrube said...

They booed Ryan Church, too. At least in my section. I have no hard feelings aginst either of them, or Hanrahan for that matter.

Felipe Lopez on the other hand...


Mike - protip on getting out. Use the side entrances and the outside sidewalks. You'll have no trouble.

MikeHarris said...

bdrube - the biggest problem is getting down from the 300/400 concourse. Once there, it doesn't speed up a lot but does some. I will try those side doors.

Ryan said...

I hope everyone who took Metro last night got their shots this morning.

ckstevenson said...

Milledge got boo'd because he said "I really don't care. I'm not a National anymore. I'm a Pirate. I just know I hate going against them. That's what I look forward to do."
(Lastings Milledge, via Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 6/8/2010)


I wasn't cool with him getting boo'd till his comment was relayed to me, then I was almost totally ok with it. It's a particularly stupid quote given his performance in DC and now in Pittsburgh. Sure, he shouldn't have been playing CF or leading off here, but we fired the guy who did that and those were just a few of the reasons.

As you point out, Milledge didn't hype himself, it was originally the NY press with "Thrilledge" etc. But he still made the statements he did.

Had to have a bad guy from Strasburg's heroism, Milledge was the bad guy.

Anonymous said...

the biggest problem is getting down from the 300/400 concourse. Once there, it doesn't speed up a lot but does some. I will try those side doors.

When there's a huge crowd, it's usually quicker to get down from 300/400 if you do it on the first base side. Either go all the way down and exit via the grand staircase, or if that doesn't work (like on Fridays when that gate is closed due to fireworks) go down to mezzanine and walk behind the scoreboard to the stairs/escalator behind the Red Loft, then at the bottom go right and out the exit-only gate by the kids jungle gym.

MikeHarris said...

Thanks for all the tips. I think the fact I need a road map to exit "my" stadium indicates my point is pretty valid.

Of course, I could just hang out until the next time Jee-SUS pitches. As long as they have wi-fi, I can get my work done.