Nats phenom Strasburg new TV "it" guy; reads Dave's Top 10 (VIDEO)
[this blog post has been updated]
David Letterman has anointed him worthy of Top 10 List reading on Thursday -- we've got the video here -- TBS has thrown over the Philadelphia Phillies AND the Boston Red Sox to clear its dance card for him on Sunday - TV is going gaga over Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
"Baseball's new original phenom - we haven't had one of these guys in a long long time!" Letterman enthused Thursday on "Late Show." "He has four incredible pitches, he has a 91-mile-an-hour change-up. He has a curve ball you will never - the only way you can see this curve ball is if you actually have seats in the parking lot - it breaks that severely, honest to God!" the CBS late-night host gushed.
In case you've just come out from under a flat rock, Strasburg -- TV's newest "It" guy -- is last summer's No. 1 draft pick and the guy the Nats ponied up a whopping $15.1 million to secure. Strasburg made his much ballyhooed Major League Baseball debut Tuesday night and -- in a performance that had TV suits madly scrambling to see if there was a way they could get a piece of this action -- he struck out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates in seven innings while hitting 100 mph on the radar gun twice.
Thursday afternoon, via satellite from Nationals Park, Strasburg read the night's Top-10 list:
Top 10 Little Known Things About Stephen Strasburg
No. 10: To keep my focus on pitching, I sleep on a mound of dirt.
No. 9: Every morning I spread Icy Hot on my toast.
No. 8: I got three of my 14 strikeouts while Twittering.
No. 7: To celebrate my first big-league win I bought a hot tub time machine.
No. 6: I wasn't really good till I got bitten by that radioactive spider.
No. 5: Dumb guys think I directed "E.T."
No. 4: I also scored the winning goal for the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals.
No. 3: I blew my signing bonus on laser back-hair removal.
No. 2: Don't even try to talk to me before I start, or while I'm watching "Glee."
No. 1: If I would have known I'd be on "Letterman" I wouldn't have pitched so well.
This is very big in TV circles. Look at a list of the athletes who Letterman has asked to read his list -- they're all very big stars having their moment, including, most recently, Oakland A's pitcher Dallas Braden after pitching that perfect game in May - the 19th perfect game in Major League history.
Meanwhile, Thursday morning, TBS announced it had blown out "Sunday MLB on TBS" schedule in order to make way for TV's newest sensation.
Bye-bye Philadelphia Phillies at Boston Red Sox - that's the game TBS had scheduled for Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Instead, the cable network is happily blowing off the Phillies - two time defending National League champs and '08 World series winner - and the Red Sox - one of the most popular teams in any sport - in order to cover baseball's new phenom as he takes on the Cleveland Indians. TBS says it's is even adding TWO super slo-mo cameras for Sunday's Nats game.
Meanwhile local sports network MASN reported giddily that Tuesday's game set a network record according to early Nielsen stats which indicate more than 165,000 homes in the Washington area tuned in to watch Strasburg's historic pitching performance. Last year the Nats averaged around 14,000 households on MASN.
"For a Tuesday night in June against the Pirates, these ratings are simply stunning," MASN rep Todd Webster said, gushing over Strasburg and nicking the Pirates in one swoop. Nicely played, Webster!
Lisa de Moraes
June 11, 2010; 12:03 AM ET
Categories: TV News
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