(Ralph Freso/AP)

Also, they talked about it on ESPN’s First Take.

I include some of the details here not to legitimize ESPN’s approach to sports programming, nor because you particularly care what the mechanized bullhorns known as Stephen A. Smith or Skip Bayless think, nor because I hate you and want you to suffer. I just find it to be hugely entertaining.

Stephen A. Smith

* “I still think it’s disgraceful. The fact of the matter is that this is a young stud. Somebody’s got to figure something out.”

* “I just don’t know what’s happened to the sport. I’m not in a position to argue about it. I just don’t understand how these guys are so coddled, and the need to protect these guys. I know he’s less than two years removed from Tommy John surgery. I understand that. I truly do. But I’m thinking about those paying customers.”

[Note: He’s not in a position to argue about it? That’s, like, the only thing he’s in a position to do.]

* “It’s not like you’ve been relevant any time before. And now the citizens of the nation’s capital have got an opportunity to be competitive, and you’re talking about taking this guy out? It makes me sick to my stomach. I almost feel like the fans are totally getting robbed here.”

[Note: This does not actually make Stephen A. Smith sick to his stomach. There has not been one moment when he thought about Washington Nationals fans, and Stephen Strasburg, and felt physically ill. You know what makes him feel sick to his stomach? Silence.]

* “They are competing for a pennant. I think they owe the fans in Washington a little bit more. You don’t know if you’re gonna be in this position again any time in the near future.”

Skip Bayless

* “We had heard from the GM before that they were starting to reconsider a little bit, that maybe they would push [the innings limit] up a little bit, that maybe they would push it up a little bit depending on where they were in the standings as they reached 160.”

[Note: This is pure fiction. I’ve listened to every Mike Rizzo interview in the universe, and he has never once suggested that the team’s Strasburg strategy would in any way be influenced by the team’s position in the standings.]

* “ I can show you too many studies done that after 160 innings, coming off Tommy John, you’re in the danger zone. I appreciate that very much, because you don’t want another Tommy John and maybe you lose him for good this time.”

[Note: This is also pure fiction. Quoting ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark: “There have been studies, such as the one we just cited, that look at teenage pitchers. But there has never been a similar study, anywhere in the sports-medicine sector of the planet, that has looked at professional pitchers in their early 20s who had Tommy John surgery and tracked their future innings and health.”]

Anyhow, vomit.

If you’d like to read truly interesting work on the issue, I’d recommend Stark’s piece or Jeff Passan’s Yahoo piece, both from Friday. But they won’t make you laugh, not even once.


Kevin Millar on shutting down Strasburg

Jake Peavy on shutting down Strasburg

Mike Rizzo on shutting down Strasburg

Davey Johnson on shutting down Strasburg

Gio Gonzalez on shutting down Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg on shutting down Strasburg