Cleveland loves Strasburg
By now, perhaps you've seen photos of this truly remarkable Cleveland Indians merchandise booth outside Progressive Field, featuring an awful lot of Stephen Strasburg attire. D.C. media members and fans have been sending back photos of the booth all weekend. And Cleveland's MLB.com writer confirmed on Sunday that yes, as it looks, this booth is actually entirely devoted to the star pitcher from the Nationals.
From Anthony Castrovince's story:
People were lining up to buy a No. 37 jersey at Progressive Field on Sunday, and it wasn't Tribe right-hander Jake Westbrook's No. 37 they were interested in. It was that of Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg, making his second career Major League start.
Taking full advantage of what some dubbed "Strasmas" -- i.e. the dramatic, Christmas-like effect Strasburg's presence had on ticket sales for Sunday's matinee, which drew their second-largest crowd of the season -- the Indians made what is believed to be an unprecedented move in this ballpark, dedicating an entire merchandise stand to an opponent.
"We just wanted to maximize the opportunity," said Bob DiBiasio, the Indians' vice president of public relations. "It only makes sense."
Every item in the store was apparently some form of Strasburg apparel. MASN's Byron Kerr reported that by the sixth inning, the booth had sold out of Strasburg jerseys in sizes medium and large. The Indians also announced a crowd of 32,876, only the second time they've gone about 26,000 all season. (The other was Opening Day.)
There's only one other D.C. athlete who has caused anything approaching this sort of frenzy away from home. And while Strasburg isn't generating Alex Ovechkin-type mobs of autograph seekers, photographers and frenzied fans, I'm not sure Ovechkin has ever inspired an entire merchandise stand in an away venue.
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