Strasburg mania: the jersey prelude
"It's funny, we're in DC right now, and it's Strasburg everything," Reds outfielder Jonny Gomes said on Sirius XM's Baseball Today Sunday morning. "Strasburg tickets, Strasburg jerseys, Strasburg posters...."
I took my daughter to her first ball game on Sunday afternoon, and I saw what Gomes meant. If you've ever taken a three-year old to the ballpark, you know that it involves a lot more walking than sitting. So we made our way pretty much all over the place: before the game, between innings and during play.
We saw lots of fans and lots of concessions. And I'm here to tell you that Strasburg jerseys and t-shirts are already the second-most popular in the place, behind only Ryan Zimmerman's shirts. The Zimmerman stuff dominates, and that's not close yet. But for the second choice to be a minor-league pitcher who, as of this writing, has never taken a big-league mound, sort of tells you that the change won't take long.
(Aside from Zimmerman and Strasburg, the most-popular apparel-inspiration seemed to be Adam Dunn. And after that, I have no idea. Some Nyjer, some Dmitri Young, some Guzman, some Brad Wilkerson and Ryan Church, some Pudge, some Chad Cordero. It goes to show you how unmarketable this team -- and especially its pitching staff -- has been in recent years.)
(And I can't believe I'm writing this, but my daughter is already obsessed with Screech. "Look at that duck!!!!" she said when she first saw him, and was terrified, with tears and everything. But within a few minutes she was entranced, literally waving back at Screech when he wagged his feathers on the video screen, and demanding we follow him when he left the field. She even posed next to an advertisement featuring the duck. Kids.
On the other hand, he Racing Presidents -- or the "funny men," as she called them -- remained scary.)
Back to Strasburg. You know all those merchandise booths sprinkled between the concession stands? They mostly offer generic Nats stuff, but just about every one we saw was featuring Strasburg shirts, front and center. Often, his was the only personalized shirt available.
And the team store by the center field gates? First shirt you saw when you walked in on the right was Strasburg (one row in front of Zim), and first shirt you saw when you turned left was Strasburg.
The other team store, behind home plate? Racks and racks of the stuff. (That store was also displaying some Chien-Ming Wang shirts, which is a real head-scratcher.)
Just so there's no misunderstanding, I think it's great that the team is selling the heck out of Baseball Jeezus. And I think it's great that the fans are jumping on-board. I just think it's crazy how fast that's happening. All of which is my way of saying: Best buy your Harper jerseys now, if you want to be in front of the next trend.
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