In 2008 the Washington Nationals posted the worst record of any team in Major League Baseball. (They would go on to repeat the feat in 2009.) Their performance earned them the very first pick in the 2009 draft the following spring, which meant they had first dibs on a very sought-after prospect: Arizona State pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Despite their ineptitude on the field, the Nationals’ front office made what’s looking a lot like a very good choice when they picked Strasburg first overall. After a brief stint in the minors, Strasburg made his first major league start last night in Washington against the Pirates. It was a doozy. Strasburg threw 14 strikeouts in seven innings and walked exactly no one. His fastballs hit 100 mph on several occasions. The kid’s got the goods, and it’s enough to drive Washington to even further to distraction.
At least four local restaurants are currently offering “Strasburgers,” and one of them contains one pickle for every strikeout Strasburg threw in his debut (14!). Not to be outdone, Congress is getting in on the Strausburg love, with Senate Majority and Minority Leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell taking a break from not passing laws to finally agree, on the Senate floor, that Strasburg is awesome. Notice that Reid still calls it “the television” and that despite their agreement on Strasburg, McConnell can’t quite resist pointing out that he actually went to the game instead of watching it at home. Maybe even the magic of Strasburg isn’t enough to bring us together. Then again, somehow the Nationals are only six games out of first place…sure, that’s last place in their division, but anything can happen, right?