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Stephen Strasburg, the debut and the polls

The anticipation for Stephen Strasburg's first spring training start, once it ends, will yield only to more anticipation. His career for now exists as a series of nexts. When will he make his first minor league start? Will he move from one level to another? When does he make the majors? They all lead to the same ultimate quesiton: What is he going to be?

"We're already to put him in the Hall of Fame -- and maybe he'll get to it, now," pitching coach Steve McCatty said. "But what you do on the sidelines, until a guy gets a piece of wood in his hands and they play that song, the national anthem, it's a different, different, thing."

All we can do is guess and try to have fun with what might happen. With that in mind, there's a series of polls right down there. We'll keep them open for a few days, and when I get a moment later in the week, I'll try to condense the results into something of an established public opinion on Strasburg at the moment. Away you go:

With Strasburg and Chien-Ming Wang in town, Viera is all of a sudden the center of the baseball world. Strasburg's teammates want him to feel normal today. The Tigers, who will bring regulars Miguel Cabrera, Magglio OrdoƱez, Carlos Guillen, and rookies Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore, are eager to see what's Strasburg's got. So is Walter Johnson's family. Don't forget: the game is on MASN today at 1:05 p.m.

In Arizona, Manny Acta is smiling again as the manager of the Cleveland Indians. Two years ago, he was ready to quit the Nationals. That's must-read stuff from Sheinin.

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 9, 2010; 7:23 AM ET
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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Next: Stephen Strasburg's spring debut: The vibe and the lineups


Thanks for the morning readings. FWIW, I particularly appreciated seeing the link to the Florida paper, as I'd not have seen the piece otherwise. The local blogs tend to link to each other, and there are links to them on this site as well, so I'm more likely to have seen those headlines.

I liked Sheinin's piece. Always fun to read about ex-Nats, IMO.

I only voted on a couple of poll items, as I don't tend to do the prediction thing, and it's waaay early for a lot of the items. (I know - all in good fun. I'm just saying.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 9, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I guess I'm supposed to say this, too.

"First." Woo hoo.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 9, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

If it were last year at this time, I'd be very concerned about fast-tracking him for the wrong reasons. Trust and faith much higher now, so whatever Rizzo et al decide, I've got to believe it's for the right reasons.

Posted by: joemktg1 | March 9, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Midsummer 2010 (actually, I'd prefer May if he's dominant in the minors)
Midsummer 2010
5-9 wins
Hall of Famer
Cy Young with the Nats
World Series with the Nats
Already have one - my brother got me a Strasburg jersey as a Christmas gift. Had gotten a Nats-Strasburg-37 tshirt before he was drafted and wore it to games last year.

Posted by: cassander | March 9, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

"We're already to put him in the Hall of Fame -- and maybe he'll get to it, now,"

all ready

he's a hall of famer, cy young winner, and world series mvp for the nats!

Posted by: longterm | March 9, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Great tone-deaf Post baseball coverage. On the day that Strasburg is to make his long-awaited debut, the Posr sports editor decides to run its prominent baseball story since ST began--on Manny Acta's "fresh start" (complete with a photo in which Manny's jaw takes up 1/4 of the page)! I could care less about Manny Acta's fresh start in Arizona or Cleveland or wherever--how about the Nats' fresh start here in DC?

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | March 9, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I'm wondering what happened to all of the sage wisdom they were spouting after they took him about not rushing him to the bigs etc. The way it's being described now, the only reason he might not be with the major league club to start the season is because of the "when the clock starts" argument for retaining his rights.

I thought the prescribed path was to give him a year in the minors to adjust, gain arm strength / endurance etc, and then MAYBE call him up for a look in September. I'm sure he looks great now in Spring Training. We all know he has major league stuff. But for a team that isn't challenging for the pennant in 2010, is there any reason to rush him other than to bolster waning fan support? I'm a fan. I can hang in for another year if it means the kid has a longer career than Mark Pryor or a better career than Ben McDonald.

Posted by: ts35 | March 9, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with CapPeterson1. Acta doesn't work for the Nationals anymore. Strasburg does.

I haven't been very into the "all-Strasburg, all the time" thing. But today really is a noteworthy day. Will the Nats finally win a ST game with the phenom on the mound for a couple innings? Or will they crash and burn like they have all this past week?

I don't wish Acta any ill will in Cleveland, but it's not a Washington story.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | March 9, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm thinking that there just might be a Strasburg story in tomorrow's birdcage edition. Call it a hunch. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 9, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The cancer that is Acta has reemerged in print form and will soon have the entire Post performing 15 games below their potential

Posted by: RickFelt | March 9, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I was going to vote for Strassburg on the Cy Young, but the Washington Post would not let me...

Posted by: natbiscuits | March 9, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Acta is a four letter word AK.

Posted by: dfh21 | March 9, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Manny Acta? Never heard of him.

Posted by: Section505203 | March 9, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Even I agree that a story about Acta at this point a waste. Bet we do not get a story when he is fired in June of 2012 after two 100 lose seasons. Low class to attack Zim too.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 9, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Actually JayBeee I wish he'd had the guts to argue with umpires they way he argues with Zim. For him that's about as emotional as he's ever got.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | March 9, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe people are saying Mid-summer for Strasburg. Are you kidding??? Have you seen this team??? They suck!!! This kid is ready. I don't care how he pitches today. It's just about money and arbitration. But I'll be damned if I want to go see this team without Strasburg pitching for them. And BTW Drew Storen better be the closer. Capps stinks - the Phightins' clobbered him last year. Storen is totally ready for this. If the Nats are in the tank and Strasburg's not up by June, Rigglleygum is gone like he should've been in the 1st place. Doggone this team is frustrating!!!

Posted by: billm32 | March 9, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@JayBeee: low class of Acta to say something about Zim? i guess you didn't read Zim's comments trashing Acta the day after we was releived of his duties. i swear some of you either a) read and interpret only what you want to or b) have no congitive skills whatsoever.

Acta was screwed here from day one and all he tried to do was his job with dignity. and for that, the fine know-it-alls that comment in this space continue to degrade and insult a guy that was working hard to turn a roster full of "toolsy" failed prospects and other teams' rejects into something watchable.

i agree it was a lousy decision for the Post to run the story/picture of Acta today. there's a bigger story and the Acta piece could have waited until later in the week.

but some of you just can't wait to continue to kick a guy. Acta's much better off where he is now.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10 | March 9, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Adam - should have included "the Jordan Zimmermann Plan" as an option in the poll. That is, he does not break with the team, but is called up in mid April far enough into the season so that he does not acrue 6 seasons of MLB service time until after 2016. That's about 2 - 3 weeks (whenever there is less than 172 days left in the season).

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 9, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

@BFeeder - I have often quoted Zim's comments about Acta here in the past.....My point is Acta loves to hold himself out as some kind of Zen Jesus Hollier than thou type....and he just proved that he is not by sniping back at a then 23 year old player....Acta is just an Act that will get very tired in a proven market like Cleveland....Those fans will expect him to confront players and umps and he will not do it until a year after being fired like this example with Zim....gutless phony is what Acta is.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 9, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Call me strange, but I'd be perfectly happy if I don't see Strasburg in a Washington uniform at all in 2010.

I also think there the optimism surrounding this guy is incredible. Maybe I'm pessimistic, or maybe I'm just playing the odds, but I just can't bring myself to imagine him winning the Cy Young with the Nats.

Also, I had no problem with the Acta article. It's a good piece.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 9, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

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