That’s why those, mostly outside the Washington area, who are (still) shrieking about Strasburg, deserve to be ignored. Don’t feed the trolls.
We live in an age that is addicted to trashy controversy, designed to distract us constantly. A byproduct of these fake debates is the need to disregard facts or science or common sense. Such things would ruin a perfectly good shouting match. If you want to spot such waste-of-time “issues,” do a simple trick. Invert. Turn everything upside down.
To illustrate, what would be happening right now if the Nats had chosen to continue to pitch Strasburg? We all know, don’t we? Right now, the Nats would be in the public pillory, pelted with rotten tomatoes, but for all the opposite reasons.
The Nats would be called win-now instant-gratification opportunists who didn’t learn the lessons of the ’03 Cubs, who ruined both Kerry Wood (for a second time) and Mark Prior (at 22) in a pedal-to-the-metal run at a World Series that failed, in part, because a Wrigley Field fan tried to catch a foul ball at the worst moment. Davey Johnson knows about fans that touch flyballs. His ’96 Orioles still wonder what Jeffrey Maier cost them.
For this kind of crapshoot postseason format, do you trash the same medical protocol that worked so well with Zimmermann?
If Strasburg kept pitching, the “rage” wouldn’t stop with Cubs comparisons: “Didn’t the Nats learn the cost of impatience from the decade-long Redskins fiasco in their back yard?”
The Nats might also, and with cause, be called two-faced. They signed high-pick pitchers, such as Alex Meyer and Lucas Giolito, by saying, “Look how sensibly we treated Zimmermann and Strasburg — like family, not raw meat. We’ll do the same if you get hurt.” (Giolito already has.). So what would the reaction be if they set fire to those promises for a 15 percent chance to win the World Series?
What about business ethics? Strasburg may have a $300 million future. But you exploit his youthful enthusiasm? Is that how you treat employees?
The District built the Nats a $630 million park. Don’t the Lerners, as native Washingtonians, have a civic duty to maximize their resources so the Southeast Washington waterfront can be as big a success as the Verizon Center neighborhood? How many bigger resources do they have than Strasburg?
When you hear the endless Strasburg Shutdown muttering, remember that if the Nats had made the opposite decision, the criticism would have been just as loud.
But it would have been justified.
Instead, save your attention for what matters: watching the birth of a formidable franchise. Listen for that “whack-O,” team code for one of Davey’s hitting tips.
That’s how this whole season has felt: wonderfully whack-O. But it’s not. It’s real.
For previous columns by Thomas Boswell, visit washingtonpost.com/