I won't pretend that i've got anything particularly enlightening to say about last night's game that hasn't already been said.
What can be said, however, is this: If you're a committed fan of this franchise, you saw exactly why those of us in the media who have sung the praises of Mike Rizzo since he arrived in town feel that way. Rizzo's plan - irrespective of whatever other "plan" you had in mind - has always been based on player development.
Few players, like Strasburg, begin their pro careers with such finished skills, requiring little in the way of minor league repetitions. The idea of starting him off at the big league level was never a serious consideration, Yes, that's worked well for Mike Leake of the Cincinnati Reds - and it might've worked for Stephen as well - but when the goal is to bring a player up to stay, you take it a step at a time. True, delaying arbitration and free agency were factors as well, but this was a case you really didn't want to screw up.
A year ago it seemed like the ballclub was letting Rizzo twist in the wind, with the "interim" tag still attached to his title of GM. Looking back, and after discussions with various club officials, I now think that replacing him was, at best, a longshot. He'd done nothing to lose the job, and bringing in someone else, regardless of their experience, would be like starting over from scratch.
If you read the sports pages from coast-to-coast, it's patently clear that the Washington Nationals have finally registered on everyone's radar. There's a genuine respect in national coverage of last night's game that erases the "DC-baseball-is-a-joke" kind of coverage they've gotten the last two years. They were already playing competitive baseball this year; it took the hype surrounding the debut of one very special player to write the next act.
Dave Johnson, the former Orioles' pitcher who's a colleague on "Wall-to-Wall Baseball" every Saturday on MASN, addressed the issue of Strasburg facing the Pirates, not exactly a NL powerhouse, on the Orioles' postgame radio show last night. "Hey, they're a big league team," he said. "They're not great, but they're better than any Double A or Triple A team he's faced this year," adding "Give him and the Nationals the credit they deserve."
Will we experience the adrenaline rush of last night's game again anytime soon? I can't answer that, but it's sure a lot of fun to be at the ballpark when it's that loud.