Drew Kinback: Storen’s choice of flat-brim shows definite closer style

There is just something about a ballplayer who styles the flat-brim.

Pardon the obvious and shameless pun, but a player who wears his ballcap flat-brim style is tipping the hat to an older school of baseball while at the same time showing defiance in the face of modern standards and comfort in ballplayer headwear. It is true that a new baseball cap is not conformed to the shape of the wearer’s head so it is necessary to bend the bill a little bit. Give it some flex. So in a way, flat-brim ballplayers who are chucking such menial amenities are their own version of an Opus Dei of baseball. The slight pinch at the side of the temples purifies and reminds them of the greatness of the game they play.

Or maybe the ladies just dig it.

It takes a special breed to wear the flat-brim and that is what the Nationals have in reliever, no, closer Drew Storen. I know what you are saying: “Drew, Drew, Drew, Blog Guy, whoa, hold your horses. Know your role. Jim Riggleman hasn’t set a firm closer yet.” Yeah, well he should and that guy should be the guy wearing the flat-brim, a flat-brim closer: Storen.

I’m convinced of it after Wednesday night’s bullpen debacle. Don’t get me wrong, I dig Sean Burnett. The guy can be a pirate; a complete villain on the mound and Wednesday night was probably just a hiccup that all relievers have, but he only wears his hat to the side and he doesn’t seem to have the mental make-up for the closer position. It wasn’t what he was bred to do But Storen? This kid is ready to claim what is his.

Storen was drafted by the Nationals in 2009 as the 10th pick in the draft and he immediately signed with Washington the next day. Storen knew what he wanted; he wanted to play baseball in the majors as soon as possible so he committed. Storen also wanted something else; he wanted a degree from Stanford University. So in the offseason, he attended classes to get it. When Storen knows what he wants, he goes out to get it.

The Nationals have wanted Storen to claim the closer role and become that closer of the future. It is time to give the guy what he wants. I bring this all up because I read an article from MASNsports.com’s Ben Goessling, who said there is a need for some solid foundation in a floundering bullpen. He is absolutely correct, but falls short of naming a permanent man for the closer’s job. The Nationals want Storen to be the closer? Well, let’s make him the closer and have him get to work. Enough poppycock and tomfoolery. It is time to mold this team into the team of the future and it starts at the ace of the rotation who we know is Stephen Strasburg and ends in the closer’s position which should be Drew Storen.

Storen is 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 12 games in 2011. Not too shabby so far, and make no mistake there will be hiccups along the way, but the kid is ready. You can see it when he takes the mound and burns one by a batter. You can see it in his posture, his readiness. You can see it on the razor-sharp bill of his flat-brim hat.

He needs to go up to manager Jim Riggleman’s office, walk in that door in full, crisp uniform, run his finger across the brim without cutting off the tip and say, “I’m ready.”

So is the rest of NatsTown.

Drew Kinback blogs about the Nats at Nationals Inquisition, and has given his take this week as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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