Mets announcers revisit Strasburg Shutdown


Screengrab via SNY.

You know what I haven’t done recently? Transcribe the remarks of out-of-market baseball analysts befuddled by the Nats decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg before the 2012 playoffs.

This might be because it’s now 2013. This might be because my brain attempted to block out all memories of my Strasburg Transcriptionpalooza. Or this might be because people wanted to wait an appropriate amount of time, make sure the Nats were actually struggling, make sure Strasburg’s health was not 100 percent perfect, and then jump on the pile.

And so, here’s the AJC’s Jeff Schultz.

“For those who believe Washington blew it, this is Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo getting run over by the karma train,” he wrote this week. “Rules of thumb: Seasons are fragile. Success can’t be assumed….Washington had the chance for a special season last year and let arrogance cloud their judgement, believing they would replicate that success again. There are no guarantees.”

Or there’s Jon Paul Morosi, writing about the Shutdown for Fox Sports last week.

“What if the Nationals miss the playoffs this year? What if 2012 was their best chance to win it all during Strasburg’s tenure with the team?” he asked. “What if there is something amiss in Strasburg’s pitching physiology that will prevent him from becoming the 200-inning workhorse he’s supposedly destined to be?”

Or there was the entire half-inning the SNY crew spent discussing Strasburg and the Shutdown during Tuesday night’s game.

It began with play-by-play man Gary Cohen going over the dramatically horrendous end to the Nats’ first playoff series.

“You can lay it on Drew Storen – who let that lead get away  — or lay it on Gio Gonzalez, who let the first half of that 6-0 lead get away.” Cohen said. “But the very fact is if they’d have had Stephen Strasburg starting in that series instead of Edwin Jackson, it could have gone very differently.”

“And when we’re talking about Edwin Jackson, this is a guy who, traditionally, throughout his entire career, has been a .500 pitcher,” Ron Darling said, although it wasn’t even clear that Strasburg would have replaced Jackson. “So in your biggest game, you had a weapon that you decided not to use. And NO team is that good that they can just say, ‘You know what, we’re better than that, we don’t need our best guy throwing.’ It doesn’t happen in the postseason.”

“The decision to shut down Strasburg – and we’ve talked about it a million times – was based on his health,” Cohen continued. “But it was also based on a premise in the Washington organization that hey, we’ve got a lot of young talent, we’re going to be good for a long time, he’ll get PLENTY of chances to pitch in the postseason.”

“Well, at the end of the 2006 season, the Mets thought they were going to be in the playoffs every year, too, and they had tons of talent,” Darling said. “You. Just. Don’t. Know. In ’86, that Mets team, we were supposed to win the next two, three years. Did not.”

“It smacked of a bit of hubris then, and it still feels that way,” Cohen said.

“Yup,” Darling agreed.

“With the Nats off to a less than stellar start, you wonder whether they’re wondering,” Cohen said.

“I think part of it for me is that Davey went to the whip with this team like he did with the ’86 team,” Darling said. “He said they’re going to dominate and go to the World Series, and that’s the only thing they’ll be happy with. Of course every team wants to shoot for that. But it’s just so tough. It’s so hard to get that chance. And when you get it, you want to give your best shot at it. And I think Strasburg not pitching was not their best shot.”

How long before a local columnist turns this into a talker? I think we’re still a few weeks away, frankly.

(Via @FederalBaseball.)

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.

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Sarah Kogod · June 6, 2013

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