There are great debuts, and there are times when you know that you are watching something special; amidst the unprecedented hype, Stephen Strasburg stepped up and delivered a performance worthy of telling my grandkids. Sure, he did this against the perpetually awful Pittsburgh Pirates, but this was not like any debut that has been witnessed by any of us. He got stronger as the game went on and his 4-pitch repertoire and absurd velocity simply overwhelmed the opposition. He struck out the last 7 batters he faced, and 9 of the last 10, and finished with 14 Ks in 7 innings, and no BBs. He really only had 1 bad inning, in which he gave up 2 hits before the HR, but only had 1 other ball hit extremely hard the entire game (by the first batter he faced). He tied for the most Ks in one game this season, and had the first 14+ K/0 BB game, I believe ESPN said, since 2007.
The stats just don't do justice though to what we just witnessed. This was no fluke, Strasburg is an immediate star worthy of every ounce of hype. My choice of the word 'witness' is no coincidence, as the last time I can remember someone having a debut so unprecedented was that of Lebron James. Before King James, every high school draftee had taken 2-3 years to become at least a solid NBA player. It was pretty clear that something special was being 'born' when Lebron went off for a 25-9-6 line in his first game, and made it appear like this was going to be pretty standard for him.
I am proud to say I was in the building tonight, and although Nats fans did their best to dampen the experience by booing obvious called balls and not understanding the rhythm of strikeout claps, I know I witnessed a special performance, and one that will be the first of many by Stephen Strasburg.
(Image courtesy of media.timesleader.com)