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Jim Bunning mocks Stephen Strasburg

(Via @Jeff_Foust.)

Anonymous Internet comments aren't always the best source of dispassionate wisdom, and so it's been with this week's scratched Stephen Strasburg start. In my random perusals of the Internet's finest stuff about Tuesday's aborted 10th Day of Strasmas, I've seen people fault the Nationals, Washington baseball fans, Boston baseball fans, D.C. ushers, Stan Kasten, the Washington Post Science page, and at least 43 of the Miss USA contestants.

This, though, was something I hadn't seen: the suggestion that Stephen Strasburg was a no-heart wimp for not appearing on the mound. So, um, any U.S. Senators want to rectify that?

"Five-hundred twenty starts, I never refused the ball," Kentucky's Jim Bunning told Politico. "What a joke!"

Bunning, you see, was one of the faces in the sold-out crowd who were so cruelly treated to a nice July evening of 3-0 baseball instead of HISTORY. It was to be Bunning's fifth dose of Strasmas -- busy life those U.S. Senators lead -- and when Miguel Batista instead took the mound, the gentleman from Kentucky lost his mind.

"My arm!" Bunning sarcastically cried as he pretended to clutch his shoulder in the Capitol's Statuary Hall.

He said Strasburg's fallen greatly in his estimation.

"He was in the top one percentile," Bunning said, pinching his thumb and forefinger together. Now, Bunning said, he's closer to the 50th percentile.

Bear in mind, this is one of 100 men and women who run possibly the most important legislative body in the world. And he's saying Stephen Strasburg is closer to average than exceptional, because he missed one meaningless start late in his rookie season due to a potential injury.

Our Constitution may protect aliens, drunks and U.S Senators, as the saying goes, but sports blogs sure don't. So to Bunning, and to every other fan favoring lunacy merely because of one disappointing evening at the ballpark, I quote that other great orator from the Senate, Daniel Webster.

"Keep cool," he once said. "Anger is not an argument."

Also, Nats, don't run the above ad any more.

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 28, 2010; 11:39 PM ET
Categories:  Nats  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The fans and Strasburg's scratched start
Next: Stephen A. Smith wants Haynesworth crucified


Bunning is a jackass--and so is the writer of the Politico story for either not knowing or not mentioning in the story that it wasn't even Strasburg's decision to sit out the game--it was Mike Rizzo's call.

Posted by: TheFingerman | July 29, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

dear senator bunning,

you are a jerk. you are an idiot. and you are the reason that young athletes, the ones in high school, college, and their early years of professional play, will lie about the extent of injuries in order to not look "weak" to their coaches and teammates, in order to play hurt - and risk greater injury, even of the career- (or life-)ending type. i understand that you played professional baseball - in a different era, when we did not have such understanding. if you really think it's better to push through when there may be the early stages of injury, to risk the end of a career to make some idiot politician feel like his baseball ticket was worth the purchase price, then you should go back to backwoods kentucky where you belong.

you were probably one of the jerks booing miguel batista as he pitched 5 innings of a shut-out game. and you know what? miss iowa may not be miss universe, but she is pretty freakin hot.

Posted by: rubyx4soho | July 29, 2010 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Remember, Bunning is a Congressman - it's all about minimizing damage and frustrating the fewest number of people today, not tomorrow.

Posted by: VelocityAtrocity | July 29, 2010 6:50 AM | Report abuse

I look forward to Strasburg's evaluation of Bunning's recent legislative performance.

Posted by: wfyurasko | July 29, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse

Senator Bunning still dosen't know when he's hurt himself.

Posted by: fitzge | July 29, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Sen Bunning may have never missed a start, but as a senator in the 111th congress, only 13 out of 100 senators missed more votes than him. He was also the only senator not to vote on the health care reform bill. He's a large tool and I just wonder how he keeps getting sent back to dc.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | July 29, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Didn't Strasburg get pulled by his coach, who *saw* something in his throwing motion before the game? It was at least being reported that the ball was taken from him; it wasn't Straburg who "refused" the ball.

wfyurasko and dcsportsfan1 -- well done.

Posted by: WorstSeat | July 29, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

well he played in Philly so of course he is a jackass.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 29, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

And in my day, we had to walk uphill to school! Both ways! In two feet of snow! And I had an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time.

Posted by: CarlosdelVaca | July 29, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Most of the flameout of "phenoms" occurred in the Bunning era (Detroit and Philadelphia-1950s--by 1959 I had his card for both teams. In 8dth grade then). That was a long time ago and Burnning in his best year was not costing anyone 15 million, so no one cared if he blew his arm out. As great as he was as a pitcher he has been worthless as a legislator and is in his last term. He is also rumored to be senile. No, his opinion is worthless both as a former pitcher and current legislator.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | July 29, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Want to take Bunning down for these remarks? Just remind him of his performance down the stretch in 1964, when his "genius" manager Gene (Never Won A Pennant) Mauch decided he'd pitch Bunning and Chris Short on two days rest to squeeze one or two extra starts out of them. Bunning lost 3 straight decisions before finally getting a victory in the season finale on his normal 3 days rest (4 man rotations back then). Then add "maybe you never refused the ball, but you often should have."

Posted by: Fairfax6 | July 29, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Bunning...., thats the same guy that was a hold-out on the last unemployment extension debate. He didn't think it was right to keep giving people an incentive to not find a job......, hmmmm. Gather he feels the same way about pitchers. Gotta love these former jocks whose by-gone days are always bigger then their current days.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | July 29, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Interesting how the public has gone from a disdain of coddled athletes to a support of them. With the knowledge of hindsight, he should have pitched. Let's hope he does not get the yips anytime he does not feel 110%.

Posted by: kieran2001 | July 29, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Consider the source. What do you expect from him?

Posted by: boyn4884 | July 29, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

And in my day, we had to walk uphill to school! Both ways! In two feet of snow! And I had an onion tied to my belt, which was the style at the time.

Posted by: CarlosdelVaca | July 29, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

HAHAHAHAHAA great Simpsons reference.

Posted by: egoodman8 | July 29, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

what an absolute buffoon.

Posted by: SadieV | July 29, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Bunning stats:
year 1: 9 starts, 51 IP. Surpassed by Strasburg

year 2: 3 starts, 54 IP.

Maybe the reason he took the ball every time is they didn't trust him with it his first two years

Posted by: td010157 | July 29, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Bunning is a d-bag -- and not just because of this lame comment. He never was half the pitcher, nor a quarter of the man, that Strasburg already is.

Come to think of it, he ain't much of a Senator either...

Posted by: gr8day4bsbll | July 29, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Well, that's one more available seat for an actual fan.

Posted by: tha_prophet | July 29, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Sen Bunning - you work for us, the taxpayers now. So when it comes to this type of drivel, enjoy your free seats, shut your mouth, fix the country and that's all we really want to hear from you.

Posted by: hegemonic1350 | July 29, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

In true WaPo/Ezro-Journolist style, Mr. Steinberg reports. The Senator aspect is unimportant. The Hall of Fame credentials are important and the man knows from where he speaks Mr. Steinberg.

And I am much less concerned about Senators attending ball games than I am about Speakers of the House taking junkets to Copenhagen complete with $100,000 bar tab at taxpayer expense.

Posted by: hz9604 | July 29, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Strasburg won't need the Veterans Committee to get into the Hall of Fame, Jim.

Posted by: HowdyDCU | July 29, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Bunning, a total waste of space, proves definitively that he is a complete ass.

Posted by: lightenup2 | July 29, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Bunning must mean "duche" where he comes from.

Posted by: kmp1 | July 29, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

That Senator can cram it up his blowhole. As usual, nothing but hot air coming from those clowns.

Posted by: ericroks | July 29, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Jim Bunning--the man who used to cry and send out his own press releases each year he was denied entry into the Hall of Fame. I take back any and all sympathy I had for him in his quest for Cooperstown.

Also, I can guarantee you he didn't lay down his own money for a ticket.

Posted by: abiddlecomb | July 29, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Senator Bunning molests collies

Posted by: GerdTopsnic | July 29, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

WHO thinks Stras REFUSED the ball???

The GM took the ball out of his hands!!!

Senator Bunning favors imposing fines for workers inured on the job because they are being wimps!
"Management should not be held responsible for injured workers, sue the bums for being wimps!"

Posted by: rvrtis | July 29, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Bunning. Good pitcher once. BAD Senator for a long time since. Isn't he the guy who snoozed his way through a hearing a few months ago?

Absolutely no class or smarts left after all those pitching starts on hot fields years ago. Brain must have been fried. Shoulda taken a day or two off.

Posted by: caseyb1 | July 29, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Welllllll, Bunning DID have two no-hitters in his career (including a perfect game). I guess he feels that he's got gravitas and can say whatever he wants based on those two games.

Still, different eras.

Posted by: luv2bikva | July 29, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I disagree with Bunning on this issue; his arm never represented as large a portion of team payroll as Strasburg's does. But, if Bunning is "one of 100 men and women who run possibly the most important legislative body in the world,"--a cheap sarcastic shot--he's also one of only 136 former players in the HOF. As such, his opinion shouldn't be dismissed so cavalierly.

Posted by: trebor0012 | July 29, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

well said trebor0012 - but even the WaPo sports guys are infected with EzraKleinitis

Posted by: hz9604 | July 29, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Come on folks, let's give Bunning a break... I'm certain he was drunk and his paid escort stood him up for the night.... It's tough being a congressman these days. It takes real work to screw up our country this bad. Way to go Bunning, way to go!!!

Posted by: skinfannomore | July 29, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I would like for him to get into the batter box against Strasburg and talk that trash then. For some reason he has a hard on for Strasburg, but what should I think from a man who probably likes to slide his feet underneath while he's on the toilet.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | July 29, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Congressmen only want to hear from people they represent so if you enter a zip code not in his state or district, the site will not let you continue. Great idea huh? Wrong, Every time I contact a congressman not in Maryland, I use their home office as my address and my comment is accepted. That wasn't too hard to figure out.
So, let us contact his office, (he won't read it himself) and tell him what a buffoon he is. Anyone following the Nats knows Strasburg wanted to go but Rizzo would not let him.
Senator Jim Bunning
District 4 - Ft. Wright (Main State Office)
1717 Dixie Highway
Suite 220
Ft. Wright, KY 41011
Main: 859-341-2602

Posted by: chopin224 | July 29, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

While he was right on the unemployment benefits, there's a reason why the GOP forced him out in a year that is favorable for GOP candidates.

Posted by: CapsNut | July 29, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Jim Bunning, a man who was once caught wondering around the Senate halls in pajamas, a man who once tried to telepromt a debate, a man who is considered too crazy for the Republican party in a favorable election year.

Jim Bunning isn't exactly the most qualified to give an opinion on anything right now.

Posted by: jbanks979 | July 29, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Remember Bunning I believe is in the Hall of Fame, someplace many of the non-baseball DC crowd and hysterical media have already determined is SS future home. I think back to his debut and one can now only laugh at the fools who acted like this some major event. He pitched great against the worst team in he league and he as been progessively worse since that game. Now he's on the DL and you can start wondering if he'll even be 1/3 of the pitcher bunning was in this league.

Like usual the arrogant, yet unintelligent DC sports fan get treated as they deserve. From the deadskins who only win when there is Strike. Look out 2011! to the sorry Wiz and Nats they are so hungry for success that they'll believe anything ESPN tells them.

Notice I didn't include the capitals in the above. they have a great owner and loyal fanbase of Knowledgeable fans but those 9k people are the exception not the rule in this weak sports town. The wiz have hope to with teddy at the helm and a basketball savy town.

As for football root for the Regional winning organization: Go Ravens!

Posted by: jdb70 | July 29, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

That's funny, Bunning, because I used to hold you in higher estimation too. Idiot.

Posted by: shanks1 | July 29, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Well Sen Bunning, you do work for us... can you answer me this.... why do you always drop the ball when we (we the tax payers) give it to you and your other delegates to perform.... seems like your not giving us all you got :)

Posted by: rvanags | July 29, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Bunning is a hateful POS who could best serve the world as worm food as soon as possible

Posted by: mdrockjock | July 29, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

jdbd: Bunning wasn't elected into the hall of fame. He lobbied the old timers committee and got in that way.

He's a joke:

Bunning is remembered for his role in the pennant race of 1964, in which the Phillies held a commanding lead in the National League for most of the season, eventually losing the title to the St. Louis Cardinals. Manager Gene Mauch used Bunning and fellow hurler Chris Short heavily down the stretch, and the two became visibly fatigued as September wore on. The collapse of the 1964 Phillies remains one of the most infamous in baseball history.

You're not far behind.

Posted by: Loggie1 | July 29, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

What is your problem pen!s envy?

Posted by: chopin224 | July 29, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Bunning also predicted the imminent death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, threatened to sue the Republican Party and has made repeated declarations that he'd resign from the Senate on the spot. (If only he would.) He also once claimed to have been attacked by "little green doctors pounding on my back." He is 100% crazy. He can't leave the Senate soon enough.

Posted by: drischord | July 29, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

We've come to expect nothing less from the distinguished gentleman from Kentucky. Makes one wonder why those dopes keep electing the biggest idiot in Congress.

Posted by: spqr2k | July 29, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Bunning is senile.

When you get up there in age everything you did 40 years ago looks a lot better.

Also his words were spoken just like a guy that bought a ticket and was disappointed he didn't get to see an event.

He got to see a well played 3-0 game where Batista's final line looked much like Strasburg's would have, including 6 strikeouts in 5 innings.

Poor Bunning.

I bet if he owned the Nationals he would have been lot more conservative in his assessment given the monetary investment in Strasburg and what he holds for the future of the franchise.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | July 29, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Jim Bunning, champion of the anonymous (i.e., cowardly) Senate hold, as well as the clueless sports sound bite. A true utility player in the moron's league.

Posted by: homer6 | July 29, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Bunning is a miserable old pr|ck who just doesn't like people.

Odd that he took a job where he's supposed to "SERVE THE PEOPLE."

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | July 29, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Jim Bunning raped and killed a guy in 1984. Is this a fact? Someone needs to ask questions.

Posted by: trousers | July 29, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

It was a good decision. You don't want Strasburg on the scrap heap with Mark Fidrych, and many other fireballing young phenoms who blew out their arms. I will say though that there is a certain wussification of the Major Leagues that probably gave Bunning that reaction. Walter Johnson's complete game victory stats are safe for time immemorial. Bunning also was able to keep a ball in play for several pitches and hitters. A loose seam here, a scuff there and the ball bounced on the air like a dervish. Different game, different era.

Posted by: genericrepub | July 29, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Yes, this column should have mentioned that Bunning is in the HOF. He had a perfect game, even if it was against the Mets in their bad years. Very few pitchers can say either. Don't know if I agree with him, but I'm not going to dismiss his opinion out of hand as the columnist does.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | July 29, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I should add this. Bunning is a man who rose to the top in two intensely competitive occupations, baseball and politics, very few do either, almost none have done both (mainly because baseball keeps you too busy for politics). I respect the man. I'm taking his opinion very seriously.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | July 29, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

CAPSNUT He was right about not supporting unemployment benefits. Have YOU been unemployed for nearly a year applying to 10 jobs a week? Have you had to live on oh, 200 a week when your mortgage is 700 a month and COBRA health is 500 a month?!

You act as if you can live off only unemployment as your only resource. I have news for Mr. BUNNING and anyone else who thinks that way. NO YOU CANNOT. I KNOW BECAUSE ALMOST A YEAR AGO, I WAS ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE!

Bunning pitched in a different era. Maybe if our pitchers said how they felt we wouldn't have as many in rehab as we do now!

Posted by: CALSGR8 | July 29, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Considering the political insanity in Kentucky right now, that's probably the only place the senile old fool could get elected.
One source even says, "The G.O.P. wants to rid itself of Senator Jim Bunning, who has what one senator calls “behavior issues.” "

Posted by: pjohn2 | July 29, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Go Ravens!

Posted by: jdb70 | July 29, 2010 12:34 PM

Go f yourself

Posted by: Kev29 | July 29, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse


Jim Bunning is a senile, hate-filled idiot who's still bitter that he was forced into retirement.

Really, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Senator who reportedly did absolutely nothing in the Senate that wasn't connected to baseball and once claimed that his opponent's sons looked like Saddam's would go out of his way to make an idiotic comment about baseball.

Let's face it, the game passed him by long ago and his sanity waved "bye-bye" as well.

Really, the man should be pitied...and committed.

Posted by: Liebercreep | July 30, 2010 2:21 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't Bunning's beef be with the team and not Strasburg?

Or does he think Strasburg should have
A) ripped the ball out of Batista's hands, and pitched in defiance of the general manager, or
B) lied, and said he felt fine.

The first would have made great theater, but neither would make great baseball. And what we got that night was great baseball.

Posted by: KenNat | July 30, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Just like a Senator risk the future for a quick easy solution. Isn't it time for your retirement party Senator???

Posted by: abryant15 | July 30, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Just like a Senator risk the future for a quick easy solution. Isn't it time for your retirement party Senator???

Posted by: abryant15 | July 30, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Just like a Senator risk the future for a quick easy solution. Isn't it time for your retirement party Senator???

Posted by: abryant15 | July 30, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Well, Bunning has a point. If Strausburg is on DL after 6 weeks of MLB, is this a trend? Can he actually pitch a season? I sure hope he can.

Also remember Bunning pitched in an era when complete games was an important part of the equation for judging a pitcher.

Also, look at Bunning's career stats:

Record 224-184 (.549)
Career era: 3.27
IP 3,760.1
K's: 2,855
WHIP 1.179
He had two no-hitters, one of them a perfect game

So the guy may be a complete jerk, *but he knows baseball*

Denying that just makes people look silly.

Posted by: Skeptic1 | July 30, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

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