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Strasburg to the All-Star game?

(By Jonathan Newton - TWP)

By the day after Stephen Strasburg's first start, Mike Francesca was discussing on New York radio waves what it would take for Strasburg to start in the All-Star Game. By last weekend, according to Capitol Punishment, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver were discussing what it would take for Strasburg to at least be named to the roster. And by the day after his second start, one columnist was saying it was already a done deal.

"Bank on it," wrote Ray Ratto in the San Francisco Chronicle. Strasburg, bear in mind, has played in two games. So, why should we bank on him being in Anaheim, not all that far from his hometown, next month? More Ratto:

Because it's buzz. And because the All-Star Game needs all the TV ratings help it can get. And because there are 34 spots on the team, and when you have almost 10 percent of the league's employees available and someone has to be a National, well, there you are.

Someone has to be a National? Well, what about the guy who's 10th in the NL in batting average, 6th in on-base percentage, 6th in slugging and 3rd in OPS OBP? Mightn't he have a shot?

Anyhow, Ratto suggested that "a bunch of league officials and other low-level buttinskys" will pressure NL manager Charlie Manuel to select Strasburg, and that "even if Manuel thinks this is a bad idea, he'll be overruled by some marketing yutz who has a master plan for moving "Natstown" shmata."

And you know what? The marketing yutz would be absolutely justified. People will turn on the television to watch one inning of Strasburg, and that helps everyone. If you haven't already, check out Jayson Stark's piece about Strasburg's meaning to the Nats. This is the best part:

Before Strasburg burst through their door, the Nationals were 14th in their league in attendance this year, ahead of only the Marlins and Pirates. They were 12th last year. They were 13th in 2008 -- the season their beautiful new ballpark opened. So this was a group about as unfamiliar with the concept of in-stadium electricity as any team in baseball.

"I can remember one day last year, where we had about a three-hour rain delay against the Braves," Dunn reminisced, not so fondly. "I think I counted 73 people in the stands. So that was pretty un-electric."...

Just so you know what we're seeing here, there isn't a lot of precedent for one 21-year-old baseball player single-handedly performing CPR on a once-moribund franchise. But we're seeing it here, if those 35,607 extra bodies Strasburg has put in the seats in two games (compared with the previous average attendance in D.C. and Cleveland) tells us anything.

"That just doesn't happen," Kasten said, "in this sport."

Not usually, which is why they should let Strasburg give a jolt or two of life to the All-Star Game.

(Thanks to ESPN 980's Sports Reporters for the Ratto link.)

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 15, 2010; 12:29 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Nats  
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Strasburg will probably be there, unfortunately our gold glover and silver slugger winner probably won't be. Neither will Dunn, Willingham, or Pudge.

Posted by: futbolclif | June 15, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

SS has 5 more starts before the ASB, if he is 7-0 or 6-1 then let him in. If he is anything less let him have the three days off. Believe me, I love having this kid on the team but lets not forget Zimm, Pudge, Dunn and Willingham who are all close to being league leaders in several categories. Please get on and vote for them. BTW the Jason Stark article was really good, its shocking how quickly things have changed.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 15, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Tippy. If any pitcher is 7-1 at allstar break they should be in. But if he has a couple of losses then rest him.

Posted by: ged0386 | June 15, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I'll take it a step futher and say, watch for an all-star game here at the ballpark within 2-3 years. For "The Stras" to make this years all-star team, he'll have to go at 6-0 with an ERA under 2.00 and at least 70 k's.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | June 15, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Bonus points for "mightn't".

Posted by: NateinthePDX | June 15, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

"6th in on-base percentage ... and 3rd in OBP"

Zimmerman is so good, he occupies two spots on that list.

Posted by: StuScott_Booyahs | June 15, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

As I posted yesterday, he does go, if for nothing else, for the ratings boost he'll give to the game. Also, July 13 would be his scheduled day to pitch, so I'd like to keep him in that every 5 day rhythm.

Posted by: RPrecupjr | June 15, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

anyone who thinks zimmerman won't be put on the team by charlie manuel is an idiot.

Posted by: sec231 | June 15, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I was very favorably impressed with Strasburg, to say the least. (Can't help but be partial to a guy who shares the same first name and has a birthday close to my husband.) But I think naming him to the All Star team for this year is premature. Believe he needs more time to prove himself as a major leaguer (although he had a fine season in the minors before being called up.)

I would say Zimmerman and/or Dunn would be more logical choices for this year's All Star game.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | June 15, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

anyone who thinks zimmerman won't be put on the team by charlie manuel is an idiot.

Posted by: sec231 | June 15, 2010 3:59 PM


Just because front running fans and some writer in California might not know how good he is, doesn't mean managers are that dense. Ryan Zimmerman might be the first name on Manuel's list of all stars after the fans silly starter votes are tallied.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 15, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I can see the Nats not wanting him to go to the ASG to save the waer and tear on his arm, publicity be darned.

Posted by: metatext | June 15, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

"when you have almost 10 percent of the league's employees available and someone has to be a National, well, there you are."

I'm always amazed by the breathtaking ignorance and laziness that so many out-of-town sports columnists show about D.C. teams when they're supposed to actually be covering sports. (And I imagine they show the same ignorance about teams in other cities as well, I just am not familiar enough with those other teams to know about it.) Whatever one thinks about whether Strasburg should be on the all-star team, to not even know that Zimmerman and Willingham are having all-star seasons and that you could make a case for Clippard and Capps (isn't he still the save leader?) on the all-star team as well is just lame. Five minutes of googling--or a quick check of the league leaders--would have been all he needed.

Posted by: TheFingerman | June 15, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

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