The debut of Stephen Strasburg is the single most hyped event in baseball this season, and probably going back further than that. This is as big a day as DC sports has seen since Alex Ovechkin first took the ice in a Capitals sweater. As the fans stream through the centerfield gate, and they’ve been streaming in steadily since 4:30 this afternoon, the final preparations are being made for his first start. Dozens of media camera crews are patrolling warning track around the infield, everyone from George Will to yours truly is here to report on the results of this phenom.
The expectations at this point are so high that anything short of an astounding first outing will be a massive disappointment to the fans for this ballclub. Talking with manager Jim Riggleman before the game, he was clear that the team is excited to have Strasburg, but they’re not resting all of their fortunes on his shoulders. His debut tonight, in front of an oversold home crowd, is the beginning of what the Nationals hope is a new era. It’s rare that a turning point for a club could be so clearly identified, but if Strasburg is what the label says, and from talking with future Hall of Famer John Smoltz this afternoon, he is, then we’re in for the start of something wonderful here.
As with many things in sports, it’s hard to know for anything for sure before the results are written in the books, but all the pieces are coming together to make this an amazing season for the Nationals. Bring it on.
Look for live tweets this evening on @welovedcsports on Twitter