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Nationals Draft Pick UnFail

(By Donald Miralle - Getty)

I think I owe them one or two of these, especially after the franchise decided to wildly succeed on my birthday, no less. And now, 15.1 observations about the signing.

1) Around 10:45 I became convinced that there was no way this wouldn't happen and went to sleep feeling very proud of myself. Then I woke up at 4 a.m, checked my computer, saw that I was right, went back to sleep, and had a dream I found a great Arizona newspaper story about how some chef prepared a massive 1.5 pound burrito stuffed with seasoned meat and valuable cash for Strasburg in honor of his contract. No, I'm not making that up. That was going to be my first link of the day. Very disappointing to realize it wasn't so.

2) You can buy a Scott Boras autographed baseball on eBay for $40, and a Stephen Strasburg jersey for $149.95. Order has returned.

3) I was feeling good about this whole thing until I saw this Jim Bowden Tweet: "Congrats to the Nationals, Scott Boras and Stephen Strasburg for a fair and equitable deal for all parties!!!" That makes me think something's wrong here.

4) On the other hand, Drew Storen had this sweet note about his future teammate: "Great night for the Nats. Congrats out to Stephen. Pretty cool seeing the nights excitement fall into place. Can't wait to see him throw"

5) It's been suggested that whether the signing deadline was one day or 100 days or 1,000 days after the draft, deals like this would go down to the final 90 seconds. That being the case, can I cast a vote for a signing deadline 90 seconds after the draft?

6) What a day in D.C.'s HBCUs, huh? Howard AD Dwight Datcher resigns, and Jeff Ruland is hired to coach UDC's men's basketball team, within a few hours of each other. Something tells me these stories might not get maximum exposure today.

7) A few hours before the signing, Phil Wood convinced me that it wasn't even that important, writing "So many have written that, somehow, the future of the franchise is based on whether or not Strasburg signs tonight. Complete hyperbole. Does a major college football or basketball program shut down if they miss out on a blue chip recruit? Of course not." Maybe that's why his post-signing remarks were among the most sober I've seen. "Sign Here, Kid," was about the cheeriest bit.

8) For more unrestrained joy, I'd send you in the direction of The Nationals Enquirer, which observed: "Holy F**king S**t! They did it!"

9) Five swell observations from @imissrfk: "Teh Plan!" followed by "Now the nats only need three more starting pitchers." followed by "Does this count as a defining moment?" followed by "Just hope the NL East has worse hitters than UVA" followed by "nats only 22 back in the WC race."

10) Yeah, there are differences in their experience, and differences in their guaranteed dollars, and differences in their sports, and differences in their likelihood of injury, Strasburg still got a tiny fraction of Haynesworth money. So if they go out to dinner together, Haynesworth is still on the hook for the bill. In other words, for all the drama about his greed and brattiness, No. 37 is not the biggest hitter in town, not by a long shot.

11) If I'm the mayor of Strasburg, Virginia, I definitely hold a parade in Stephen's honor sometime next spring.

12) I agreed with almost everything Mike Rizzo said after the signing was announced, but I'd take issue with this: "The easiest thing in the world was to stick to more of a slotted type of system and try and hold the line, staying a little ahead of last year's No. 1 pick." The Lerners would have been mauled in the court of public opinion had they tried to hold that line; without even a credible offer, season tickets would certain have dropped. Holding that line would not have been the easiest thing in the world.

13) I noticed that Fox Sports's Ken Rosenthal also reported the signing. If I were him, I would have added an addendum: "At some point in the next 20 years, sources have told me, Stephen Strasburg will no longer be a member of the Washington Nationals organization."

14) If that greedy brat had just settled for $14 million, I'd be done with this list by now.

15) There were dozens of these predictions of black skies and hail the size of 100 mph fastballs, but I'll choose just one: Sports Illustrated, second week of June: "Everyone involved understands now what's coming next is the amateur Armageddon." But the world didn't end. Like, I didn't even see any buildings shudder and fall. Anticlimax makes my skin clammy.

[And now, Bob Nightengale is reporting that Team Boras was originally seeking a deal in the low 20s, never $50 million as reported.]

15.1) RIP, Nats Fail Campaign.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 18, 2009; 8:03 AM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Next: Fred Smoot and Teammates Discuss Strasburg


Ben McDonald 2.0

Posted by: fushezzi | August 18, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Whatever fushezzi - does a black cloud follow you wherever you go? It is so easy to be a Hater. Get over it. You will be the first one on the Strasburg bandwagon when he becomes the real deal. Lets Go Nationals.

Posted by: mjwies11 | August 18, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Will all those people that said teams should only draft players they are confident they can sign just "Shut Up"?

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | August 18, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

A great new day for our beloved Washington Nationals! The signing seems to signify a new beginning for a well-run organization.

Want proof? Look at 15.1..if Steinberg can see, we should all be able to!

Posted by: von_bluff | August 18, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for representing Upstate NY on the Junkies this morning, Dan!

Posted by: DPutnam1 | August 18, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Actaully mj, I'm an eternal optimist. I'm glad we signed our #1 pick but everyone needs to stop acting like this guy will turn water into wine.

Plus, Ben McDonald finished his career over .500. That's not too shabby.

Posted by: fushezzi | August 18, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday, Dan.

Put this in the book:

2010 Nats go .500
2009-10 Redskins make the playoffs
2009-10 Wizards win 50
2009-10 Caps win the Cup

I don't know what's worse, my completely unfounded optimism or the fact that in my wildest dreams, only one of our teams wins a championship.

Posted by: bryc3 | August 18, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

1. I'm glad the Nats realized that they could not blow this pick and survive to play five more years.

2. Sadly, you are right about UDC and Howard's news. But thanks for all your efforts to reverse the ugly trend.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | August 18, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I think it's too soon to say this isn't a fail.

Posted by: sitruc | August 18, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

It's not a *fail* and it's not a "save the franchise" moment (as Jayson Stark on ESPN wrote). It was the necessary and correct thing to do - and I think it was the right price for all involved. You can only judge the Nats by the fact that they did what they were required to do, pick and sign him, They succeeded - it's a PR non-fail. In fact, it's a PR win.

Whether Strasburg becomes a successful major league pitcher is completely up in the air and unrelated to last night's events. Best of luck to him, a lot of pressure will come with the cash. But the Nats visibility in the region (and nationally) got a nice boost this morning. And despite what the run of the mill Nats haters claim, the franchise is improving post-Bowden and (unfortunately) post-Acta.

Posted by: Kev29 | August 18, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Dan, it was my birthday yesterday too!

Posted by: trolly_time | August 18, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Enough about Strasburg already. It's lunchtime, and I want to hear more about this meaty cash burrito.

Posted by: mikeinrockville | August 18, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

How about just, "Nationals Draft Pick Win!" or "Nationals Draft Pick Success!" I think we can retire fail and cheap Lerners comments from now on. Teddy comments maybe, and we can still talk about Bowden till the rest of his signings are gone.

Posted by: futbolclif | August 18, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I like that we signed SS and I like that we kept costs reasonable and realistic. Especially with another Boras client on the way. Bryce Harper would sure look good as Strasburg's batterymate...

Posted by: jksesq1 | August 18, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Okay, now on to the important stuff. Strasburg needs a nickname.

"Strikeout" Strasburg?
Special K?

That's all I could come up with at this point. I'm sure there have to be some better options out there.

Posted by: kevharb | August 18, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Stevie Gas-burg

Posted by: fushezzi | August 18, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I seriously love Storen the more I hear about him. He wants this team to do well. Can't wait till he's up here.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 18, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

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