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Posted at 11:42 AM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Stephen Strasburg, local Little Leaguer connect over Tommy John surgery

By Adam Kilgore

A few weeks ago, I wrote a story updating Stephen Strasburg's recuperation from Tommy John surgery. Strasburg talked a bit about the support he had received, including a letter from a boy in Mechanicsville, Va., who told him he had also suffered a tear of his ulnar collateral ligament. The kid sent his prayers and passed along his advice -- playing lots of video games.

Well, that anecdote led to a must-read story in the Mechanicsville Local today. Reporter Charlie Leffler contacted local baseball coaches and tracked down the boy who sent Strasburg the letter. His name is Michael Warley, and his story is fantastic. First, he received a signed baseball from Strasburg and a letter typed by a Nationals employee:

With appreciation, Michael penned a follow-up letter to Strasburg, thanking him for the baseball and included photos of his rehab therapy.
It was around Thanksgiving that an even bigger package arrived at the Warley household, with a return address of San Diego, Calif.
Terrianne along with Michael's older sisters Amanda and Anna could not wait to see his expression so they took the two-pound package, hopped in their truck and went to pick him up at school.
Once again Michael was shocked. "I was frozen even more," he said. "It made me scream."
Inside Michael found a Stephen Strasburg autographed game jersey and a hand-penned letter from the player himself.
"I had to read the letter to him," his sister Anna said.
Strasburg thanked Michael for his letter but added a personal note. "So many times the mail I get is from people asking for something in return. It was great to finally read a note from a true fan like yourself. You are a tremendous young man and are destined for greatness!"
Furthermore, Strasburg asked that Michael keep in touch and gave him his personal email address.

Leffler's entire story is certainly worth your time. You probably won't read anything else quite like it any time soon.

By Adam Kilgore  | February 1, 2011; 11:42 AM ET
 
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Comments

Terrific story.

Football may now be America's favorite team sport, but there is something in this kind of story that still seems uniquely rooted in baseball's connection with kids that no other sport can match.

Strasburg deserves a lot of praise for the way he handled this, and so does the team, which has had more than its share of PR missteps. This time they got it right.

Posted by: Meridian1 | February 1, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Just continuing to reinforce his nickname!

Posted by: FrankartIT | February 1, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Just continuing to reenforce his nickname!

Posted by: FrankartIT | February 1, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Great story! Stras has a heart as big as his arm.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | February 1, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Ooooooh...so much good karma here, I can barely stand it!

Posted by: bertbkatz | February 1, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

love it

Posted by: dfh21 | February 1, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

It's gonna be even more heartbreaking once Stephen realizes the Natinals won't be contenders until around 2040 and bolts out of town as soon as he hits free agency.

Of course he'll probably just sign with the Orioles, who will be continuing to dominate the AL East, the entire AL, and all of MLB. That domination starts in 2011.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 1, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Nice, warm story. Feels good just to read it.

Posted by: baltova1 | February 1, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

What a blessing it is to know that there are young men like Stephen and Michael around today. Michael may all your dreams come true. Stephen may your time recovering be swift and strong. Baseball isn't everything in life but it sure is fun. God bless...

Posted by: Berndaddy | February 1, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I love, love, love it!!

Posted by: PattyinSJ | February 1, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey, hey now... What are all these off-season pieces about Strasburg's 'human' side doing in the press (the 5-K sponsorship, trying to give up smokeless, now a kinship with a 10-yr-old from Central VA)? What happened to the supposedly prickly, "controlled-exposure" draft pick that we heard so much about last year - Is this the same guy, or has something else occured?

My initial theories...
1) The real Strasburg has been swapped out for a warm, fuzzy clone.
2) The Boras Corp. never sleeps in their unending manipulation of client image.
3) Kasten is gone, and the real iron-fisted control freak of the orginization is being exposed, bit-by-bit.

You decide - I only make stuff up as I go along. ;)


Posted by: BinM | February 1, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Great story. Strasburg is a class act.

Posted by: js_edit | February 1, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Good to know we can still count on Poophead to be lurking on every Nats story to give us his Orioles fantasy update.

Posted by: justmike | February 1, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

A lovely story about Stras. I think that this does speak to what can be good about sports. It reminds me of the Mean Joe Greene commercial.

OTOH, why is this 10 year old undergoing TJ surgery? Did his coaches have him throwing too many curves in little league?

GOOD NEWS!!! The season before spring training begins at 5PM tonight. ESPN Deportes will be running the Caribbean Series. We'll get there, even if I can only see snow out my office window.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | February 1, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

So SS had a good heart all along, though a the career adversity he faces may have provided some perspective. Bryce Harper might be more of a project. Say spend some time working an area soup kitchen or help coach little league in Annacostia?

Posted by: HondoHomers | February 1, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

What a remarkable young man this Straburg is! In addition to the other offseason activities listed by BinM, let's not forget his San Diego State paper on the impact of the stadium construction on the Anacostia waterfront.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | February 1, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

BinM, great post, thanks.

20 years ago, my nephew from SoCal mailed a dozen MLB stars. To each, he sent their baseball card, asked for it to be autographed and put in the enclosed return envelope. He only got 1 back. And the 8 year old from SoCal has been a Cal Ripken and Baltimore Orioles fan ever since.
This stuff seems trite sometimes, but it's real powerful.
Way to go Stras.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 1, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

POOPY MC SH*T Head-

I know you love to stir things up b/c you have no job/life, nothing else better to do. I can't wait until you take an extended vacation from this site once the Orioles are mathematically eliminated from contention in late July. You'll be very bored sitting in your mom's basement all summer...

Posted by: ByrceHarper_2012_ROY | February 1, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

OTOH, why is this 10 year old undergoing TJ surgery? Did his coaches have him throwing too many curves in little league?
Posted by: mikecatcher50 | February 1, 2011 3:00 PM
______________________________________

Re-read the article, it says that, given his age, Michael did not require surgery, just rehab:

"Michaels’ doctor diagnosed that he had suffered an ulnar collateral ligament tear, but because of his age surgery was not required and he would instead go through prescribed core-building muscle exercises and rehab therapy. However, it did mean Michael would not be able to play baseball again that season."

Posted by: TimDz | February 1, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

@ ByrceHarper_2012_ROY: Congratulations - by acknowledging his existence, you have just made his day and reaffirmed his reason for living.

Posted by: gilbertbp | February 1, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

When my mother was a little kid, she would send pictures of her favorite NY Giant players to them for autographs. She was a lifetime Giants fan.

When I was a kid I sent a picture of Roger Maris to the Yankees for him to autograph. It came back with his signature obviously rubber stamped. I hate the Yankees.

Posted by: ramgut | February 1, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

@mikecatcher50: Your point about a ten year old boy having such arm issues, possibly from throwing too many curve balls, is a point well taken. I was not trying to be disrespectful or snarky, just thought you may have missed the part about no surgery...

Posted by: TimDz | February 1, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Kilgore, nice story. A little hard to follow what you were trying to say

I thought after the colon was a letter written from a Nationals employee.

Oh well, I enjoyed Leffler's story. I also saw David Lint on the Leffler story. I have seen David post in NatsInsider before.

Anyway, thanks for bringing this to our attention and hoping for good news on young Michael in the future and of course continued success to Stephen Strasburg.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 1, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Great story that brought a tear to my eye (yeah, I'm something of a sap). Good on Stephen and good luck to him and to Michael.

(And after the colon is an excerpt from the Leffler story, I believe).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 1, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

@Sunderland: Thanks for the shout-out, and for 'having my back' on more than a few posts recently. I'm glad to see Strasburg showing a kinder, gentler side toward some of his fans - the storyline from Mechanicsville was a 'feel-good' read.

Now, about the Nationals' 25-man roster...

Posted by: BinM | February 1, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Hope the kid asks Strasburg to quit using tobacco!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | February 1, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

20 years ago, my nephew from SoCal mailed a dozen MLB stars. To each, he sent their baseball card, asked for it to be autographed and put in the enclosed return envelope. He only got 1 back. And the 8 year old from SoCal has been a Cal Ripken and Baltimore Orioles fan ever since.
This stuff seems trite sometimes, but it's real powerful.
Way to go Stras.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 1, 2011 3:21 PM
--------

Baltimore Orioles = Class Act.

Gotta love the commi-style of thinking trying to get a grown adult to stop using tobacco. Oh heavens to betsy, letting a grown man decide what vices he wants to succumb to and which he does not.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 1, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

He's already on it, poncedeleroy:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/30/AR2011013002738.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 1, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Nice story AK... glad this guy is in DC

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 1, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

@TimDZ...Sorry, this is one of my sore points. I have seen it too often.

OTOH, apparently, the Caribbean Series doesn't start 'til tomorrow. That one isn't my fault. I just checked with ESPN Deportes and they still show the Series beginning at 5:00 today.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | February 1, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

That kid sounds like me when I was with the 12 & under all-star team from Arlington, and we went up to Memorial Stadium because the Senators had already left town, and got to hang out in the players' runway, got a couple autographs - Belanger - but they let us hang out in the players' parking lot after the game, and I got Paul Blair's autograph while he's sitting in his Lincoln. How often do you really get behind the scenes with your favorite player? And actually get the chance to tell him you're his favorite. I played cf my whole life because of guys like him.

So are they going to meet up, or what? That would be the ultimate for the kid. He'd be frozen even more lol~~

Posted by: Brue | February 1, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, it's still listed in the guide for my ISP, too, Mikecatcher. Guess we'll just have to wait for the groundhog and the series to show tomorrow... :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 1, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Great article ...

Stras really seems to understand how special his gift his and how important it is to use his fame for a higher purpose?

Better yet I suspect he understands how important it is for DC to have another pitcher like Walter Johnson in DC after almost a century.

Sorry Poopy, there never was and never will be an Oriole pitcher who will even be close to Walter Johnson. And unfortunately for stoopid O's fans like Poopy Strasburg could be better than any O's fan could imagine any of their pitchers could be in their wildest dreams ...

Posted by: periculum | February 1, 2011 11:16 PM | Report abuse

DO. NOT. FEED. THE. TROLL.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | February 2, 2011 7:45 AM | Report abuse

My elbow hurts a little in the morning. Can I get an autograph?

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 2, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Sure, biscuits. Heck, I'll throw in a signed, game-used bat. Drop me a note with the address.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 2, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I'd be happy to contribute an autographed, game-used keyboard (with some wear-and-tear due to a blown save situation).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 2, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

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