As the Strasburg Shutdown Strategy draws ever closer, the biggest drama is this: At what point will Mike Rizzo lose his mind upon being asked yet again about Strasburg’s innings limit, and commence either speaking in Slovak, or flinging rotten fruit into the air, or making up fanciful tales about teaching Strasburg to pitch with his toes while being suspended over the mound on a giant balloon castle affixed with pretty stars and rainbows?
This week, Rizzo appeared on both local sports-talk stations. In both interviews, he was asked about Strasburg Shutdown.
First, on 106.7 The Fan, a caller asked why reports vary from 160 innings to 180 innings.
“Because people don’t know what the hell they’re talking about,” Rizzo said. “This decision is gonna come from the organization. The speculators on ESPN and MLB Network, they’re guessing. We have a plan for him. We know exactly what the number of innings is going to be. And when I feel that he’s had enough innings, we’re going to pull the plug on him.
“And everybody else who makes a statement on it is speculating. That’s why there’s such a discrepancy between what one person is saying on TV and another. Because they’re guessing, and they don’t know nearly the facts that we have.”
That was on Wednesday. On Thursday, Rizzo was on ESPN 980, and was asked about national analysts who have expressed doubt that the Nats will actually follow through on this plan.
“I don’t really pay much attention to those guys,” Rizzo said. “They have their opinions. And they’re ex-players, so they’re so-called experts. And they’ve got a lot of answers for a lot of things. But I’m the caretaker of this franchise and this organization.
“I’ve got the Lerner family that I have to report to, I’ve got the fans of Washington, D.C., that I have to report to and the players in that clubhouse that I have to report to. So I’m going to do what I believe is right for the franchise, not only for 2012 but for the long term. And if the national media don’t get it, then they’re not listening hard enough and they’re not paying attention.
“I know they’ve got a lot of other things to talk about. There’s 29 other teams. But here in town I think that people kind of see where we’re going. Not everybody agrees with the deal. Not everybody agrees with the deal in the clubhouse, probably. But we’re going to do what I think is right.
“For the time being, I’m in charge, and I’m gonna run it the way I believe is right for us, not only for the short term but the long term. Hey listen, the easiest thing for me to do would be to just run him out there every fifth day and win as many games as we can and hey, see what happens. But that’s not the right thing to do, and I’m not gonna do it.”
Keep asking! Drive him crazy! Don’t stop until the Slovak stuff happens!
(Note: You don’t really have to keep asking. Though I’ll probably blog about it if you do.)