12:30 PM ET, 06/20/2010
Growing up in San Diego, Stephen Strasburg had an easy time choosing a favorite baseball player. Jake Peavy, like him, was a right-handed strikeout machine. In 2004, when Strasburg was 15, Peavy led the National League with a 2.27 ERA. In 2007, Strasburg still in high school, Peavy won the Cy Young.
Strasburg loved to watch Peavy pitch, and once Strasburg arrived at San Diego State, Peavy started watching Strasburg, too. Strasburg and Peavy never met, but with Peavy now playing for the visiting White Sox, he hopes they can chat before today's game.
"I look forward to getting a chance to say hello to him today, wishing him the best," Peavy said. "I'm just a fan. Obviously his stuff, his ability, speaks for itself. He's going to be as good as he wants to be for as long he wants to be. Even more so, as a baseball fan, just the way he's handled the media attention, the hype, everything that has come along with it, makes me even more a fan from the outside."
Peavy saw Strasburg pitch at San Diego State in person once. He had tried to arrange a meeting with Strasburg through a mutual friend, but Peavy happened to be pitching on the same night Strasburg pitched during that day.
As Strasburg became one of the most dominant prospects of all time, Peavy followed his burgeoning career. "You couldn't help but," Peavy said. "If you picked up a sports page, you saw Stephen Strasburg." Peavy also spoke to Tony Gwynn, Strasburg's coach at SDSU, about Strasburg, and what he heard made him like Strasburg even more.
"I've been a fan, just the way he handled all the hype," Peavy said. "Even back in college, when he was the greatest prospect ever to come out, or whatever it was. Certainly, I've been a fan."
This morning, a reporter told Strasburg that Peavy had become a fan of his. At 21, he is still not far removed from when baseball players were heroes, not equals. For a quick moment, Strasburg let that show. While tying his Nikes for a workout, Strasburg smiled wide. "That's cool," he said.