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A Message From Stephen Strasburg to D.C.

I made a bet with Mike Wise the other day that he would be unable to get Stephen Strasburg to say anything blogworthy during their radio segment together on 106.7 The Fan. Strasburg ended up telling Wise one thing I didn't know--that his nickname used to be "Donkey"--but he said it as a clause and not a real quote, so I'm calling our bet a push.

Regardless, somewhat unbelievably, Strasburg has already been ripped in the media for a seeming reluctance to give interviews, during a week when he's been interviewed probably more than any minor-league camp soft tosser in the history of the world. If you've listened to past interviews with Strasburg, you would almost inevitably decide that he's not surly or churlish or unpleasant; he's just sort of awkward.

That being the case, I listened to three of Strasburg's interviews from this week: the one with Wise, the one with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro on ESPN 980, and the one with Johnny Holliday and Phil Wood on MASN. I figured I'd help Strass (another of his nicknames) out by pulling quotes from each interview and fashioning them into a sort of message to D.C. He can thank me later.

A Message to D.C., From Stephen Strasburg

I'm calling from the spring training complex down in Viera. (106.7)

They showed me around the clubhouse there, then they took me out on the field and played catch 90 feet and then just watched a rookie ball game with the team. I did a little pitchers fielding practice, but nothing too much. (MASN)

Obviously [the media] take their job real seriously and if they want to come out and watch me play a little catch for 10 minutes, then that's fine, but either way I'm gonna get my work in, whether there's media there or not. (980)

But you know, I totally understand. It's something that goes along with being the number one pick. Obviously it shows that a lot of people are excited for me to be in this organization, and in that case, I'm excited that I'm able to kind of spark a fire in the organization. So obviously you're gonna get a lot of interviews at times, but you've just got to work through it. (106.7)

I guess I have to get used to it, but it's big business now. (MASN)

You know, the thing in this business, the more money you make, it seems like you get more stuff for free, so I haven't really bought anything yet. (980)

I haven't even considered that. I'm just out here just working right now, thinking about maybe getting a car, not sure what kind. But I figure that'll be good, to have some wheels out here when the time comes. (106.7)

They don't really want to rush me too much, so it's a lot of down time. Just out here in the heat, enjoying it as much as I can, and hopefully chomping at the bit and ready for things to start picking up. (MASN)

I really don't think the organization wants to rush me or are going to. They want me to just gradually transition into pro ball, because it is a little bit different, pitching every five days, and I'm just comfortable doing whatever they want me to do. And I know that when they think the time is right, then I'm gonna get my shot. (980)

I know that I've just got to go in and work hard day in and day out, and hopefully when they feel the time is right I'll be able to help the team win some ballgames up at the big league level. But you know, it's a team game, and you've got to score some runs, you've got to keep the other team from scoring some runs, you've got to play some defense. It's a team effort. And not just one guy can do it. (106.7)

I just played a lot of catch over the summer and kind of wasn't able to do much right around the signing deadline, and then the whole whirlwind in D.C., so it's kind of just going to 90 feet right now and just working my arm a little bit more. (MASN)

A lot of people really focus on the velocity and stuff, because it's kind of like an attraction. But if you're a good pitcher, you can get a hitter out no matter how fast the pitch is. It's all about deception and location and just knowing what pitch to throw in certain counts. (106.7)

Maybe I'll hit [100] a couple times in a game. But I think it was the second outing this year, I hit like 102 like seven times in the game against Nevada. (980)

It's a pretty good feeling, but I didn't always have this fastball. You know, I was right around 88 to topping out at 90 in high school, and that's kind of where I started to learn how to pitch. And then I still had to do that my freshman and sophomore year and even more so my junior year because everybody was expecting an upper 90s fastball to be coming in. So when a hitter knows that it's coming and especially in college baseball where they can cheat with the aluminum bat, you really have to change speeds and you really have to pitch out there sometimes. (106.7)

I know I've got a lot to learn and I'm just gonna take it one day at a time and learn as much as I can. And you know, it's not about how fast you get up there, it's how long you're up there for. And there's a lot of guys who get rushed up there and end up their careers get cut short for some reason. But I just want to come up there ready, and I want to help the Nationals win some ballgames when the time comes. (980)

I went undrafted out of high school. It's just, what a difference three years makes. I'm just very, very blessed and fortunate to be given an opportunity to continue to play baseball. I mean, obviously to be the number one pick is great recognition. But that just means there's a bigger target on my back, and I've got to go out and work even harder. (106.7)

It's been pretty wild. (MASN)

I'm just excited to come out and play some baseball. (980)

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 2, 2009; 10:56 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Nats  
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Take that Feinstein!!

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | September 2, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I always thought that people were being a little too harsh on Strass, Donkey, whatever. I think we all need to get over ourselves and stop analyzing every little thing he does! You know how in high school, you'd call the beautiful, perfect girl a (bad word) behind her back for being popular with all the athletes, but you secretly wanted to be her? It's so easy for the media/Nats fans/whomever to point out everything about Strasburg that irks them because I'm sure they are dying to be in his position (and honestly, who wouldn't be?). That might not go for everyone, but I don't think it's extremely off the mark for some. From an outsider's perspective, someone else can always be doing something better.

Posted by: NatMeg | September 2, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Feinstein: 15 yards for unsportsman-like conduct and you're outta the game for intent to injure. Cheap-shot column. The kid sounds absolutely Bible-belt humble compared to a lot of pro athletes (hello there, Lastings Milledge). But anyway, do you want your starting pitcher to have a choir-boy mentality? Flaunt a little ego-muscle and strike out the side, that's all the Nats fans want.

Posted by: eyestreet | September 2, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The Mike Wise interview had the part about playing in Japan which I thought was the best segment of all the interviews he had given.

I think if I paraphrase - I was never going to play in Japan.


That was huge!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | September 2, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Nice comments from Strass. He's happy to be here, he's gonna take it one day at a time, and hopefully it will all work out.

Crash Davis and Nuke Laloosh would be proud.

Posted by: ElGordo9 | September 3, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

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