I almost didn't buy a ticket to Stephen Strasburg's Major League debut, but I sure am glad I did.
What was stopping me? As a rookie sports reporter for the Washington Nationals/We Love DC, I've been to every game this home stand and will be at tonight's game as well. The sheer saturation of baseball I've been doused with has been heavy. But that's exactly why I celebrated Strasmas last night at Nationals Park. Had I missed that singular game, I would have kicked myself in the you-know-what over missing you-know-who pitch the most stellar game in modern baseball history here in the District.
Some Nationals fans still don't understand what it means to contribute to a a club as a fan in a true baseball town. Little things like staying until the game is over is lost on a majority of folks who attended Strasmas. A flurry of folks fled the Navy Yard once Strasburg was pulled for the game. Had they stayed they would have seen a 17 K game featuring a Clip 'N Save, which is likely to be quite the dominant force in the MLB for the remainder of the season pending any unforeseen injuries or blown games.
Fans cheered for every strike -- exciting but still a bit much. It felt like Wrigley Field lite with all the flashes going off with every Strasburg pitch and at-bat.
Stars like Ryan Zimmerman reminded the over-sellout crowd of 40,315 that the face of the Nationals is still very much active among the ranks of Saint Strasburg. In fact, I think it was Strasburg's confidence and execution on the mound that boosted the adrenaline in the heart of the Nationals batting order. Zimm, Adam Dunn, and Josh Willingham went long, providing the run support needed to steal a 2-1 victory away from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez even knocked a couple hits after coming off the DL just yesterday in order to catch young Stephen for what is now in the books as his first career win with 14 K's and no walks.
That's right. He didn't walk anybody. Not a single Pirate.
My experience in the stands of this game was exceptional. As predicted by many, my jaw hit the floor with each strikeout. I was dumbfounded by how nasty Strasburg's pitches were. But then again, I wasn't alone.
Each fan in attendance, those watching on televisions nation-wide, members of the press, everyone's talking about it or writing about it. The media overload associated with this game was and is unprecedented.
Here's to many more solid games in the District. Welcome to NatsTown, Mr. Precedent.