Everyone, just about everyone, has been asked to opine about the soon approaching shutdown of Stephen Strasburg. On Sunday, the right-hander made likely his third-to-last start of the season for the Nationals — a dazzling six-inning, nine-strikeout performance in a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals — and then the highest official in the land was asked to consider the Strasburg situation.
In fact, President Obama may be the highest-ranking official to be asked and offer some thoughts, though incomplete, on the subject.
In his gaggle with reporters aboard Air Force One en route from Boulder, Colo., to Toledo, Ohio on Sunday afternoon, the President’s press secretary, Jay Carney, was asked about baseball fan Obama’s thoughts on the Strasburg shutdown. The following is the exchange:
Reporter: “Mitch McConnell last week endorsed the Washington Nationals’ plan to shut down Stephen Strasburg despite them being in a pennant race. Does the President share the Senate Minority Leader’s view that the team should shut down their best pitcher?”
Carney: “Well, I have had this discussion with him, although not this week. As I think he’s mentioned, he’s following the Nationals closely. He is, first and foremost, a diehard Chicago White Sox fan, and that hasn’t changed. But I think he has, like all of us in Washington, been caught up in the remarkable success of the Washington Nationals this season. And I don’t have a firm opinion to state for you about whether — from the President about whether or not Stephen Strasburg should be shut down, as you say. But he –”
Reporter: “Shouldn’t he have an opinion?” (Laughter.)
Carney: “But he certainly appreciates the conundrum that Nationals management faces as well as Nationals fans, including myself. He pitched a great game today. I don’t know if you saw that. Six solid innings. I think one run. Pretty good. Nats won 4-3, you’ll be glad to know.”
Earlier in the day, following Sunday’s game, Nationals Manager Mike Rizzo was asked why he thought the issue had become such a disputed issue.
“Stephen Strasburg is one of the most popular players in baseball and it is a good conversational piece,” he said. “It is a debatable subject, but most of the people who have weighed in on this know about ten percent of the information that we know, that we’ve made our opinion and based it on.”
The discussion on Strasburg just never dies, and likely won’t.