Here we are, the time that all fans of the Washington Nationals and even fans of baseball in general have dreaded the entire season… Stephen Strasburg Arm-ageddon (pun fully intended). That’s right folks, the Washington Nationals have officially shut down the best player on their team for the rest of the season with the Nats poised for a run at the World Series. Strasburg finishes the season at 159.1 innings pitched with a record of 15-6, a 3.16 ERA and 197 strikeouts on the year.
With 21 games left in the regular season, it’s safe to say that Mr. Strasburg is going to have a lot of free time on his hands. The bright side in this whole shutdown situation is not only that the Washington Nationals are saving their franchise player for the future, but also that Strasburg will now have the best seat in the house should the Nationals make it to the World Series. That said unless your favorite team is playing against Strasburg in the playoffs, then you most likely want to see him pitch because it makes the game of baseball more interesting and exciting. In light of that, here is a list of things that the Nationals could have done to keep Stephen Strasburg’s arm safe besides shutting him down for the season.
Cryogenically Freeze His Arm Between Starts
I’m not quite sure how I feel about baseball legend Ted Williams being cryogenically frozen, depending on the day I can be for or against. On one hand it’s creepy, on the other hand he is a legend and it would be pretty cool to see him come back to life in the future. Especially when you consider how well that worked out for Austin Powers, he got shagged all the time by beautiful women including Elizabeth Hurley and Beyoncé Knowles and he also managed to spoil the plans of Dr. Evil over and over again. As for Stephen Strasburg freezing his arm, it is common knowledge that if you put a batch of old strawberries in the freezer for a while you can actually keep them from going green long enough to enjoy the spoils of such a tasty fruit. Why can’t you do it with Strasburg’s arm? This way the Nationals get to compete with all hands on deck, Strasburg’s agent Scott Boras gets his money, Strasburg gets to pitch and the fans get to enjoy the show. Plus, your local cryogenic freezing lab gets to stay in business with the influx in exposure they’d be getting through each turn of the Nationals’ rotation.
Put Him On Steroids
Yes I know Bud Selig and Major League Baseball have been trying to crack down on the use of performance-enhancing drugs for quite a while now, but even if Strasburg got caught and faced a 50 game suspension, if you consider the fact that he only starts every fifth day and was not supposed to play in the playoffs anyway, he would’ve only missed two or three starts going into next season. Besides you can always do what seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong did and get teammates to provide clean urine samples for you. Sure maybe there is a chance that Congress and the MLB will cave in on Strasburg and force the team to relinquish their future World Series titles, but the world of professional sports is a "what have you done for me lately" kind of place. That’s not even mentioning that in cycling only the leader of the team gets all the publicity and the money (Armstrong). In baseball, there is no guarantee that Strasburg would be named MVP of the World Series and everyone will get the rings and money associated with being a champion, which means that there will be nobody to snitch on Strasburg in court, because those shiny championship rings would blind their morals. Lastly, the up-and-coming generation of sports writers who grew up during the steroid era in baseball (namely me) will still vote for Strasburg to be inducted into the Hall of Fame just so that this particular suggestion of mine holds merit.
When all is said and done and all of these jokes have been pushed aside the reality is that the Washington Nationals could have done so much to ensure that Strasburg was able to play in the playoffs. They could have put him on some sort of a special pitch count during each start, or skipped a start and made him pitch every 10 days instead of every five. They could also have limited his playoff action to relief appearances or used him out of the bullpen during the regular season too. There is little to no medical evidence that giving a pitcher that has had Tommy John surgery an innings restriction works or is necessarily better than having Strasburg pitch the full season. He makes a lot of money to go out there and pitch and there may be a time during his career where he holds out or decides not to. If he’s under a contract that makes him happy and the team has a shot to win the World Series, the owner, the general manager, and the coaches have a responsibility to the fans to put the best team out on the field and give them a chance to win. Especially considering what Montréal Expos fans went through when the 1994 season was cut short and the team had a chance to win back then.
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