In the bottom of the sixth inning during Fox’s national telecast of the Yankees-Red Sox game on Saturday, something weird happened. The broadcast team of Kenny Albert and Tim McCarver almost entirely ceased talking about the Yankees and the Red Sox, and began exclusively discussing the Washington Nationals.
This is not something that has happened very often in the history of the universe. It seemed cool at first. The discussion began with the two broadcasters talking about how amazingly well the Nats were doing. Yay, D.C.
But you know where this was heading. It was heading the same place everything always heads. There is only one place. It’s a dark and pungent place. Hint: It has nothing to do with Adam LaRoche.
“Of course, the discussions continue about Stephen Strasburg and whether or not — I guess the question is really when they will shut him down,” Albert said, as angels moaned and RFK Stadium creaked and poor, tired bloggers dragged themselves back to their keyboards.
“You’ve got to admire the guts, obstinacy, hard-headedness, whatever you want to call Mike Rizzo,” McCarver said. “He is sticking to his guns. And I mean, to me, there is no one on the planet that agrees with Mike Rizzo shutting down Stephen Strasburg, nobody that I’ve run into nor anyone that’s had an argument to the contrary, where you can make sense of it.
“I mean, how do you justify that, Kenny?” McCarver continued. “I mean, even Tommy John — after whom the surgery is named, obviously, Stephen Strasburg having Tommy John surgery last year, and that’s the reason he will be shut down, even when they go into the postseason — and Tommy John, the year after his Tommy John surgery, had 31 starts. So he wasn’t shut down. Even Tommy John wasn’t shut down the next year, so how can you shut down Stephen Strasburg?”
Etc. etc., brief throw to Ken Rosenthal, end of half-inning, on with the rest of the game, and on with the rest of our lives. Right?
“What about putting Stephen Strasburg on the disabled list?” McCarver continued in the top of the seventh, as Yankees and Red Sox fans began complaining that there was too much Nats talk going on, which was !!!!!! worthy.
“Or maybe you can create a new list and call it the Abled List,” McCarver said, in a line that must have sounded awesome over a cheese Danish during the production meeting. “And put him on the list, even though he is certainly able to continue pitching, for really the rest of the season and into the postseason. But he’s not, says Mike Rizzo.”
“Whatever formula it takes, if I were the Washington Nationals, whatever formula it takes to get him into the postseason,” McCarver said. “I mean, he’s the best pitcher on the Washington Nationals. He does not have any pain. If he were having pain in his elbow, pain in his elbow, those are signs that something’s wrong obviously. But we talked to him at the All-Star game, he expressed no pain whatsoever in his arm....It is a heretofore move that in my view has never been made by a Major League team, ever.
“Can you think of any parallel to this?” McCarver asked Ken Rosenthal.
Rosenthal then mentioned the Nats’ approach with Jordan Zimmermann in 2010.
“Yeah but the point is that the Washington Nationals were not contending last year,” McCarver countered. “They’re contending for the first time since 1933!!!! Are you kidding me?!?...
“I mean, the last time the Nationals were in the postseason, gas was 7 cents a gallon,” McCarver later said. “Or the city of Washington, I should say, not the Nats as they are today. The Washington Senators, I beg your pardon. FDR was in his second year of his first term! The Depression was on!”
Etc. etc. etc. etc. and it don’t stop, never, ever, it will never ever ever stop.
Anyhow, all this was being said while the Red Sox and Yankees played the seventh inning of a close game. It’s a powerful drug, the Strasburg Shutdown debate is.