Rachel Levitin: Enough with the Strasburg shutdown hoopla

It’s impossible to avoid the name Stephen Strasburg upon mention of the Washington Nationals these days. Everyone around the country from sportscasters to politicians to your average Joe wants to weigh in and share their two cents about why they feel the Nationals’ ace shouldn’t be shut down later this season due to a post-Tommy John surgery innings limit.

I, for one, just have to say it - I’m sick of hearing and having to talk about Strasburg. He’s not the only guy on the team. For the record, there are 25 other guys on manager Davey Johnson’s daily go-to roster and Strasburg’s only one of them.

There’s no denying the young phenom’s greatness, but quite frankly, this hoopla surrounding him is only distracting from the fact that each and every member of this Nats team is just as responsible - if not more so - for the team’s overall success this season.

A starting pitcher only takes the mound every five days or so. And yes, it cannot be denied that Strasburg’s dominance is a major factor in Washington’s success in 2012. But beyond that, if general manager Mike Rizzo had not strategically placed all his puzzle pieces on the field prior to (and even during) this season, then that Nats wouldn’t have the best record in baseball and wouldn’t be sitting pretty at 31 games over the .500 mark.

Every man who has or continues to put on a Nats uniform this season has directly contributed in some way to the team’s success. That’s why hearing Strasburg’s name has turned into the modern baseball equivalent of having to hear all about Marsha Brady all the time, with the rest of the team being the Jan Brady in this situation, of course.

“Stephen, Stephen, Stephen!” Enough of that, I say. What about the rest of the team?

Steve Lombardozzi stepped up when Ian Desmond was out with an oblique strain, and continues to stay hot with the bat and glove. Roger Bernadina had one of the best web gems of the entire season after that one game in Houston. Danny Espinosa has proven essential time and time again from both sides of the batter’s box and on defense. Ryan Zimmerman is a cornerstone of the organization and the team. He’s a young veteran who poses as a mentor. What could be better? Sean Burnett has remained reliable. Chad Tracy comes through in the clutch off the bench and when needed otherwise. Desmond made the All-Star team this year. Drew Storen remains a fan favorite. Kurt Suzuki is a newcomer, but he’s already making a difference behind the plate as catcher.

Fact is I could continue to list at least one positive trait or comment about the complete Nationals roster and mean it. That’s why the Strasburg shutdown talk, at least to me, is completely mute.

Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC, and will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation’s capital 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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