I think we’ve pretty well established that the community of retired tough-guy baseball players does not understand the Stephen Strasburg Shutdown Strategy.
But Cal Ripken has always seemed particularly non-meathead-ish, to me, and I’d imagine to a lot of baseball fans. He’s funny, and witty, and measured, and would probably never use his media perch to tell an injured young star to suck it up.
Even in delivering this opinion about Strasburg on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio, Ripken touched on both sides of the debate, and remained measured and rational. But he also made it clear that, like many other retired ballplayers, he would have been loathe to go along with such a plan.
“It’s perplexing because the competitor in all of us will say, ‘Wait a minute now,’” Ripken began. “You know, I understand the rationale for this, and I understand the future, and I understand what they’re doing. And I think they’ve put themselves in a position where they’re not going to turn back from it. [Mike] Rizzo’s not going to change his mind....
“If I was Stephen Strasburg, it’s not a foregone conclusion you’re going to get back to this position in another year,” Ripken continued. “I won the World Series in 1983 with the Baltimore Orioles, and I thought that would just be one of many opportunities. And we never got back all the way through.
“In some ways, you want to live in the moment, but I can certainly understand their caution,” Ripken concluded. “But I don’t think they’re going to turn back. We might hear from Strasburg a little bit. If it was me, if I was Stephen Strasburg, I’d be making a lot of noise, saying, ‘I’m pitching.’”
Maybe so. By the way, if you want someone who is less measured, here was Michael Wilbon during a PTI discussion of Strasburg this week.
“I’m not about to criticize the Nationals,” Wilbon said. “Every major judgment they’ve made the past couple years has worked out in their favor. Wise decisions. But how about pitching him every seventh day or every eighth day or doing something to keep hope alive for him individually? You could have done that.....
“Tony, they’re not gonna beat the Cardinals in a series without Strasburg at the top of that rotation,” Wilbon later said. “They’re not. They’re not pretty good, they’re damn good, but when you take an ace out of the rotation? I’m not gonna rip their decision making, but they’re in a tough place now, aren’t they?”
You’ll recall that the Nats just took 3 of 4 games from the Cardinals. Strasburg did not actually start all three of the wins. That means the team somehow stumbled its way to more wins than losses without Strasburg on the mound. But whatever.
Stan Kasten and Jim Riggleman are in favor
Bill James says it’s a ‘reasonable’ approach
Rudy Giuliani opposes the shutdown
Troy Aikman and Terry Bradshaw weigh in
Mitch McConnell supports the plan
Robin Ficker protests the strategy
James Andrews says you can’t criticize the Nats
Mitch Williams calls the strategy “absolutely absurd”
Dennis Eckersley says the Nats have to pitch Strasburg
Rick Sutcliffe has a plan for Strasburg
Stephen A. Smith says it’s disgraceful
Kevin Millar asks the Nats to look Strasburg in the eyes
Jake Peavy says it blows his mind
Scott Boras on possible legal ramifications
Rob Dibble blasts Strasburg and Rizzo
Andrea Mitchell discusses Strasburg on MSNBC