Last night MASN was re-airing the broadcast of Stephen Strasburg's major league debut game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That is a day I will always remember well, it is just one of those summer days that reminds you of childhood the way everything falls into place perfectly to end with a magical moment.
I had just scored tickets the night before from an old baseball teammate. It happened to be his dads birthday and they were throwing him a surprise party in a private box at Nats Park. They happened to have a few extra tickets and were able to get me one. When I got to work that morning I knew it would be painfully slow, that was until I opened my inbox to see I had received an email from ESPN telling me that The Nats Blog would be featured on Sports Nation as the site of the day.
Wow. Not only would Strasburg be making his major league debut, in front of my own eyes, but The Nats Blog would be making it's national television debut.
I lied about...something....to get off work early so I could catch the Metro from Rockville down to Nats Park. I knew that the Metro would be an absolute zoo so I got off early so I could try and beat the rush. In one of those moments of fate that you can't ever really explain, I happened to run into one of my absolute best friends from Childhood entering the park through the Metro entrance at the same time. I had no idea he was going to be there, but as chance would have it he was actually there for the same persons party.
The night only got more amazing from there. The park was packed not just with people but with an energy I hadn't felt in a stadium since the 1997 Camden Yards days when Baltimore/Washington cared about baseball. Strasburg took the mound and with millions watching he went and surpassed expectations by striking out 14 batters.
It was, in my view, the best night in Nationals history up to this point. I had snuck out of work to see it. I just had my blog featured on ESPN, and I was enjoying it all alongside my best friend...That day couldn't have been any better.
I honestly believe baseball is a sport where half of the enjoyment you get out of it is the memories you make from it. Whether it's a memory of my father throwing me up and down in the stands at Camden Yards after Cal Ripken had just drove in the go ahead run to help the O's win a crucial game in the playoff hunt, or getting that autograph from the player you idolize when you're nine years old...it's the memories that last throughout.
Nationals Flirt With Duchscherer...But Lose Him To the Orioles
This afternoon it was reported that the Washington Nationals were finalists to sign former two-time all-star Justin Duchscherer. The 33-year-old has 454.2 career innings pitched he has produced an ERA of 3.13 with a 6.87 K/BB ratio as both a starter and a leading bullpen arm. His best season came in 2008 when he went 10-8 in 22 starts with a 2.54 ERA.
It wasn't clear what role he would serve for the Nationals, as they already have 7-8 pitchers vying for a spot in the rotation this spring.
The Orioles however were the frontrunners for Duchschere from the beginning and landed the righty to a one-year contract worth a base salary of $1.1 million. With incentives, he has the opportunity to make up to $4.5 million, although he would have to make 30 starts, which he has never done in his career.
Shawn Hill and Mike MacDougal both sign minor league contracts...
Federal Baseball has a great post about the top Spring Training story lines...can't say I disagree with any of them...
Bryce Harper says he's shooting for a September call-up...