where the text message that arrived at 6:05 p.m. local time said, "When did Strasburg turn into Batista?"
My Son the Braves Fan and his beautiful sister were using my tickets last night. I'm on the road again, making a tour of some football conference media days around the country. I had just arrived at the Rangers' stadium to see Cliff Lee take on the As when I got that message.
"Do NOT screw with me on something like that. Not funny. I'm old and fat and at risk."
"I'm NOT screwing with you. Miguel Batista is pitching. Hey, I wanted to see Strasburg, too. What's wrong with him?"
He's AT the stadium and I'm in Dallas and I have to get that info? Fortunately, the BlackBerry refreshes quickly and fortunately my media buds were all over it and had updates posted fast.
Did it ease my mind? Yes and no. I'm fairly convinced there's nothing serious wrong here but we all know the Nats' lovely history with injuries. When is Flores playing again? So until I see him go seven with 10 or so Ks I won't feel too good.
I do applaud the Nats for pulling the plug quickly. A thread started on SportsJournalists.com took the team to task for continuing to baby him. It's foolish to think this falls into that category. He's never had a problem getting loose before that we know of, and suddenly he doesn't feel right? No thanks. Miguel, you're up.
Let me also take this opportunity to apologize for everything I said back in the spring questioning Batista's presence on the roster. The Nats have lots of problems. He's not one of them. Every team needs a guy like Batista. He now has a win as a starter and a save. I saw him come in a few weeks ago against the Mets when things got out of hand early and strike out seven or so in a "save the rest of the bullpen" stint.
I got back to my hotel last night in time to see him highlights on SportsCenter. Some of his pitches looked positively Strasburg like. Good for him. That qualifies as a pretty clutch performance. The Braves, my son will tell you, are pretty good. They can hit a little.
What's next? Does Jee-SUS pitch as scheduled Sunday (my money is on no)? Does he visit the DL? Is he done for the year? I hope not, because I'd like to see him pitch some more. He's rather fun to watch. But if there are any questions? Shut it down and we'll see you in 2011.
I'm also rather curious to see what shakes the rest of the week. A Rangers fan told me last night they'd love to have a guy like Dunn. I told him to ship over Cliff Lee and I bet that would make it happen. I can't print what he told me.
Who goes, who stays? A meager 42 voted in last week's poll. Of those, 27 say trade Capps and only 15 say keep him. I'm a keep him guy - Store and Save in 2011.
They put us up in some suite last night, in the outfield. Very nice and all but I couldn't get a real feel for the ballpark. It looked awfully nice. I can check it off my list after attending a game there but I can't claim to really know anything about the place.
My tour continues today as I head to LA for the Pac-10 session tomorrow. Then I head home for two days before going to Chicago for the Big Ten session. Guess what? The White Sox are home Sunday and the Cubs are home Monday. I get into town early enough Sunday to catch the Sox. The session on Monday ends early enough to catch the Cubs, so a colleague and I are going to do that. I've never been to either of those parks.
I hope on Sunday I'm spending most of my time watching the Sox but checking my BlackBerry for Strasburg updates. I'm guessing that won't happen.
Oh, and this Cliff Lee guy? Pretty good.