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Strasburg's debut, from the stands

(Photo courtesy Nats News Network)

I watched Stephen Strasburg's debut from a bunch of different sections, with a bunch of different people, from Canadian journalists to D.C. talk-show hosts to random fans to fans I marginally know. In every section, with every group of people, it was kind of amazing. So here are 10 quotes. (I was originally going for 14, one for every strikeout, but my ride was leaving the Park. Apologies.)

1. Charlie Brotman, the former RFK public address man and all-around celebrity, has seen everything in this town having to do with sports, and especially baseball. The list of people who have seen more D.C. baseball games than he has is pretty short.

"Pretty memorable, huh?" he said after the game, wearing his Nationals sneaks and a look of bewilderment. "I've been doing this since 1956, and I don't think I've ever seen something as exciting as that."

2. Ken Burns has watched his share of baseball, too.

"That was unbelievable," he said as he walked toward the exit. "I can't imagine a better game that I've been to. That was everything they hoped it would be and more."

3. After the first Strasburg strikeout -- amazingly, perfectly of Lastings Milledge -- a guy named Gary Green turned and high-fived his buddy. The interesting part was that Green was a Pittsburgh fan, and was wearing a Ben Roethlisberger jersey.

"It's the Pirates," he said, when I asked why he'd celebrate Strasburg. "They're supposed to lose. They're the sacrificial lambs."

4. After the second Strasburg strikeout, a fan named Greg Brown turned and hugged his wife. That doesn't usually happen after a second-inning strikeout in early June.

"Well, I don't know," he said, when I asked about the hug. "We're Nats fans. It's good to see him succeed."

I told him celebratory couple hugs made me think of the playoffs or World Series or something.

"That's what it feels like," he agreed.

5. Before the game, I ran into four kids from Connecticut. They drove down six hours to see the game. They were carrying a "Strasburg is our Savior" poster. They were more Strasburg fans than Nats fans, and they were fully invested.

"It's a prophecy," said Cody Herr, 19.

"We all call him Saint Stephen back home," added Zack Ulrich, 19.

6. After the sixth strikeout, I was walking down the concourse.

"Oh my God," a large white man yelled, "I love this kid!"

7. After the seventh strikeout, the inebriated fans standing behind me just started swearing.

"#&$*#$&*," they said. "$^@&@#*&."

They meant it as a compliment.

8. Stephen Strasburg himself was asked on the MLB Network whether the shaving cream stings.

"A little bit," he said, "but it's the greatest feeling in the world."

9. I was in Section 107 after Strasburg finished the sixth inning in dominant form. People went crazy. Just nuts. Standing, whooping, high-fiving random people. The sheer decibel level wasn't like crazy Caps or Redskins games, but for raising the hair on the back of your neck, this was as good as it gets.

"Leave Him In!" they all started chanting, and then it morphed to "Ste-phen Stras-burg, Ste-phen Stras-burg." It was the good stuff.

10. And by the end of the game, mobs of people stuck around to cheer Strasburg as he did his TV interviews on the field. Yet again, they chanted his name. And one fan flashed this poster:

"Welcome Jeezus!"

Don't think I could say it better than that.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 8, 2010; 10:54 PM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Next: Did Strasburg hit 103?


one comment for every strikeout? you know he got 14 k's not 10.

Posted by: samdman95 | June 8, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I had to settle for watching the first 4 innings on MLB's site and listening to the rest on car stereo. What was funny was they only broadcast for free the top of the innings where Strasburg was pitching.

It was beautiful though. I hope some day the stadium can sell out like that every game, regardless of whether Jeeezus is pitching or not. :)

Posted by: blackjack65 | June 8, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Was at the game in 204. Sheer euphoria consumed the crowd. Best I saw was a N-A-T-S Nats Nats Nats chant.

So much fun. Steinz I saw you near the gate looking very euro.

Posted by: JDP_ | June 8, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Two things I don't get...

1) He had 14 K's not 10.

2) Your quote from the last line is awfully puzzling to me- " "Welcome Jeezus!"

Don't think I could say it better than that."

If your folk liked 'Jeezus', He would have never been crucified, and Christianity and Judaism would be a single religion today.

Just saying... I had to throw that out there. After all, it's not like you hide it from any of us, going back to your tweets around the time of this year's Passover.

Posted by: washingtoncapsblog | June 8, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Washingtoncapblog save it for your priest.

Posted by: adh11 | June 8, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Can we get that removed, please?

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | June 8, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

I didn't mean anything offensive with the last comment. I just was puzzled by what you meant

Posted by: washingtoncapsblog | June 8, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

It's a nickname. Get bent.

Posted by: amorris525 | June 8, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

I, for one, welcome washingtoncapsblog's comments about Jews and Christians and Jeezus. For Xenu's sake, it's a baseball game guys, chill out.

Strasburg had an awesome debut. My money was on a 5 run first inning, so I've got frigging eggs running down my face right now.

Posted by: ncromcr | June 9, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

"If your folk liked 'Jeezus', He would have never been crucified, and Christianity and Judaism would be a single religion today."

Posted by: washingtoncapsblog

Wow. Just wow.

Commenters never cease to amaze me.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | June 9, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Dan Steinburg did not invent the "Jeezus" nickname, he is simply reporting on it. The fact that somebody would use that as an excuse to post anti-Semitic comments is completely uncalled for.

Posted by: smshadowman | June 9, 2010 1:15 AM | Report abuse

If your folk liked 'Jeezus', He would have never been crucified, and Christianity and Judaism would be a single religion today.

Posted by: washingtoncapsblog | June 8, 2010 11:25 PM

Oh jesus christ... go back to the Heights

Posted by: trousers | June 9, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

I love the Nats and baseball in general, and Strasburg was amazing. But yes, the Jeezus nickname is offensive to me as a Christian. I won't use it, and I wish others wouldn't but it's their right. It's also my right to think less of this reporter for endorsing the nickname.

Posted by: kateg1 | June 9, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I can definitely see how the Jeezus nickname would offend and will not use it either.

Washingtoncapsblog, please be aware that the charge that Jews had Jesus Christ crucified (check history -- it was the Romans) and that somehow (even if were true) that all future Jews are held to collective responsibility has led to widespread violence (murder and rape) and discrimination against Jews over the last 2,000 years. I accept that you "didn't mean anything offensive," but the fact that you could think it was not offensive, just shows how insidious the view is in society.

Further, I don't think you would have raised the writers religion as an issue if he had not been Jewish, so you might want to think about that as well.

(Similarly, we "welcomed" Ryan Church back to DC last night for the Pirates. He was last seen in a Nats uniform talking about Jews being doomed to eternal damnation, another widely used anti-Semitic canard.)

Hopefully you will take my comments in the constructive spirit in which they are intended.

Posted by: StrugglinSkinsFan | June 9, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Jesus friggin' Christ, people, can we all just calm down? It's a nickname for the kid, for Christ's sake. God almighty, you folks sure get testy when the subject of religion comes up. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, this is rediculous. GO NATS!! HAPPY STRASMAS!! Jeezus Dominates...but Capps Saves.

Posted by: jedd_narsavage | June 9, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

kateg1: I'm uncomfortable with the Jeezus nickname too, but don't put it on the reporters. Use your right to think clearly and understand that "endorsing" and reporting are NOT the same thing.

BTW, I've no doubt the #1 person (by a wide margin) who is uncomfortable with this nickname is Strasburg himself.

My best suggestion is to come up with a better alternative. Myself, I like "St. Stephen."

Yeah, it still has religious overtones, but its far better, it's alliterative, and somehow conjures up slaying dragons (fer me, anyway - altho that was St. Geo.)

Posted by: JefComment | June 9, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

From section 110: A guy wearing a Sidney Crosby shirt was walking back down to his seat when our entire section and the one next to us started a "Crosby Sucks" chant.

The next minute, a kid wearing an Ovechkin shirt brought his chicken tenders back to his seat to a resounding "Ovi! Ovi! Ovi!"

I have always bled burgundy and gold, but I never thought I'd be at a Nationals game passionately screaming expletives at a Penguins fan.

Last night was probably the best sporting event I've ever attended. The only one I can even compare to it was when I watched Troy Vincent block a Cowboy FG, and Sean Taylor return it to the 50, only to draw a 15-yard facemask. The skins hit a FG to beat the Cowboys with the clock at 00:00.

This is truly the dawn of a new day in DC sports. We already have the best print sports section in the country--it's about time we had the best sports.

Posted by: GreatWallofChinatown | June 9, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

JefComment: I agree with your thought on an alternative nickname, but I don't think "St. Stephen" would bode well for Strasburg -- St. Stephen was stoned by the villagers outside of Jerusalem for preaching stuff they didn't want to hear...

I think Steinz needs to start up a nickname contest so we all can get to the ubersensitive, politically correct, non-offensive, diversity-loving nickname that some on this board appear to want...

Posted by: gr8day4bsbll | June 9, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

It's a nickname, folks. Relax. Besides, Stephen Strasburg has brought a lot more joy to Washington in one start than Jesus has ever brought to this town. Go Nats! Go Jeezus!

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | June 9, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Also, I hope everyone can appreciate the irony of people attacking Steinberg for spreading the word of Jeezus. Dan - a loyal Jewish follower of Strasburg - is the first Apostle of Jeezus of Washington...

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | June 9, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the "Jeezus" nickname -- it was given to Strasburg by Nyjer Morgan in spring training, because the first time Morgan saw Strasburg throw a pitch, all he could say was "Jeezus!". It was meant to capture the reaction to seeing him throw, not to deify him.

Posted by: Scruffy3 | June 9, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

GreatWallofChinatown said: "I have always bled burgundy and gold, but I never thought I'd be at a Nationals game passionately screaming expletives at a Penguins fan."

I love love LOVE this! This is fantastic -- good for you guys!! What kind of idiot wears a Cry-babies jersey to a DC game anyway? He deserved the treatment he got.

Posted by: TheOtherGuyInSection117 | June 9, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Greatwall: nice to see DC sports fans sticking up for the other local teams. But please, the Wash Post sports section sucks.

Posted by: dcsportsdude | June 9, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I find "Big Donkey" incredibly offensive!

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | June 9, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Far better nickname "The Explosion"

Posted by: freehogan | June 9, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Right here. Deal with it:
The S.S. Stephen Strasburg. AKA The Good Ship.

Posted by: thembones09 | June 9, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

jedd_narsavage - I could not agree more! If got did not have a sense of Humor he would not have created humans for his constant entertainment. And if you are still uptight all you religous nutz, change the spelling! "GEEZUS!" because as Nyjer Morgan said, that is what his reacton was when he 1st saw the man pitch. My fist comment was Holy S&*&! Oh sorry, I meant Wholy Stuff! Give me a break!

Posted by: ace21lv | June 9, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"THANK YOU JEEBUS!" -- Homer Simpson

Posted by: MACCHAMPS04 | June 9, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

and on behalf of hammers, I take great offense at Josh Willingham's nickname

Posted by: buster_c | June 9, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Who knew Helen Thomas was a sports bog reader

Posted by: jpfterps | June 9, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

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