Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dr. Strasburg or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Hype

First, drop in over here for info on the August group break. Some really good teams have opened up.

There's been a lot of debate across the blogs as to whether Stephen Strasburg is good for the hobby, bad for the hobby, or terrible for the hobby. Wax has hit ridiculous, unsustainable prices. The stupid have thrown more money on Strasburg's cards than they'd put down on a new BMW. Beckett has been, well, Beckett. We all saw it coming. Those of us who were around for Van Poppel and Prior have seen it before. The proportions are larger, but that's as much due to media-driven psychosis in an age saturated with info as anything else. It's a mass delusion of the highest proportion.

And you know what? I like it.

My reasons are extremely personal, but I'll say it again: I like it. I imagine that I grew up like a lot of you and that, like a lot of you, there were years where baseball was about the only thing that sustained my relationship with my dad. My dad's fandom has never been quite what mine is, and now that I've gotten older I've come to the realization that he's really not much of a fan. He follows the game occasionally, he'll turn on the TV for a while, but he's never been THAT into it. In retrospect it seems like he introduced me to the game when I was younger as a means to give us something to do together, as guys. Now that I live about 10,000 miles away baseball no longer serves that need for him.

Fast forward to the week after I got back from Mexico. Stras-mania was in full effect and, oddly, the University of South Carolina was in the CWS. The phone rang on a Monday, I think, and my dad was on the other line. He wanted to make sure I knew that USC was in the CWS finals and might win it all on ESPN2, as well as tell me that some really hot new guy named Strasburg was pitching on ESPN. It was going to be a good night and I needed to watch.

I can probably count on one hand the number of times my father has called me on the phone. If Strasburg flames out after the AS Game and never pitches again I'll always remember him for having produced such excitement in my old man that he actually picked up the phone to connect with me. There's a lot NOT to like about the hype, but for that phone call I'll always be grateful.

Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!


  1. Good story. I, too, as a grown-up have discovered that my dad -- who introduced me to the game -- is really not much of a fan at all. In fact, these days, he has much more bad than good to say about baseball. But he created a baseball fan for life way back when.

  2. Whether people remember Strasburg or not, you'll have a good memory of him. Nice story.

  3. That is a nice story. You'll have a memory of Strasburg whether he's the next Nolan Ryan or the next Mark Prior.