By Josh Kramer
“Operation Shutdown Strasburg” is an utter embarrassment. Many MLB players go through an entire career and never make the playoffs once, much less contend for a playoff spot. The Washington Nationals have failed to post a record better than .500 since making the move to the nation’s capital in 2005 (until yesterday). There is only one way to describe Nationals GM Mike Rizzo’s September 12th expiration date on the Nationals star pitcher: A simple ego struggle.
That’s right, Washington is willing to risk a deep playoff run due to their General Manager’s ego. I really have no other logical way to explain it. Health concerns are are fine by me, but within reason. There are always exceptions though. Stephen Strasburg is a 24-year-old prized prospect who is in good health. I realize that he had Tommy John surgery towards the end of the 2010 season. But how many pitchers go through an entire career without a surgery such as Tommy John in this day and age? Not many.
Live in the present. There are no guarantees that the Nationals will be in contention next year or even in the next decade. With the terrific trio of Strasburg, Gonzalez, and Zimmermann, Washington has a legitimate shot not only to qualify for the postseason, but to actually win the whole thing (people have been saying this since April). I thought most GM’s cared about winning first and foremost (or at least they should).
I realize that Rizzo made a statement back in February that Strasburg would be on an innings limit. That is fine. Back when the statement was made, Rizzo must have thought the Nationals were a year away like most of the baseball world did and he was unaware of how Strasburg would feel come September. They aren’t a year away though. They are in the thick of it now. Why wasn’t an alternative plan put into place anyways? When the Nationals began flirting with the best record in baseball, there should have been a plan to keep Strasburg active and available for October baseball. Whether that would have been to pitch every other start or take a month off, something should have been done.
The media has turned this into a massive spectacle and Rizzo does not want to look like a wimp. He does not want to be known as someone who goes back on his word: A flip flopper. Well grow up Rizzo. Ego isn’t everything. Winning is though. “Operation Shutdown Strasburg” should be canceled immediately, but it won’t be. And that is simply due to the Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and his big fat ego.
Geno “Video Game” Smith
Are any questions lingering about Geno Smith’s Heisman legitimacy after a Week 1 performance in which he completed 33 of 37 passes for 340 yards and four touchdowns? I don’t think so. Though the Big 12 is a step above the Big East in terms of caliber of teams, the defenses are still mediocre at best, yielding four 400+ yard passing performances to RGIII last season. After putting up 70 and 69 points in their last two outings, Geno Smith has helped turn the Mountaineers offense into a real life video game. Now don’t expect this team to score 70 a game, but do expect them to put up at least 40. West Virginia will be a contender in the Big 12 and Geno Smith will be the star. Put him on the Heisman list.
No Votto Effect?
The “A-Rod Effect” in New York City has been well documented as the AL East race has gone from non-existent, to a dog fight in a matter of two months. When Rodriguez went down, the Yankees were seven games up in the AL East and 19 games over .500. Upon his return yesterday, they were still 19 games over .500, but just two games ahead in the division (one game now). Ironically, the loss of Joey Votto has had really no noticeable ill-effects in Cincinnati. Despite Votto being the much more productive and valuable player in the present, Cincinnati has shown amazing resiliency in Votto’s absence, sporting an astounding 32 and 16 record. Plus, their lead in the NL Central has gone from one to 8.5 games.
Not too shabby Mr. Roddick
For years, Andy Roddick has “failed” to live up to the expectations. He has “failed” to carry American tennis following the retirements of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. But has he really? Roddick ended nine straight years ranked in the top ten in the world, reached five Grand Slam title matches, and set countless serving records. This is how to sum up Roddick’s career though: A Grand Slam title (last American to do so at 2003 US Open), world number one ranking, and marriage to SI Swimsuit Cover Girl Brooklyn Decker. I am not sure what fantasy world we are all living in, but whether or not Roddick met “our” expectations, he has done pretty well for himself and will be sorely missed when he retires after the US Open.
Just some “Food for Thought.”
Let me hear your thoughts though. Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.