I was going to tell you about Stephen Strasburg’s no-hitter against Air Force — he pitched well and looked great, as you might imagine — but I figured that everyone and their mother is already covering the story (try Google; I’ve heard it’s good for that sort of thing), which leads me to the topic I chose instead.
I’ve seen Strasburg pitch five times this year. I have definite opinions about his ability based on my own observations, discussions with others, and what I know about baseball from having followed it for many years.
I could throw out the names of pitchers he calls to mind. I could talk about his fastball, or his slider, or how hitters react to both pitches. I could tell you what I think about his chances to succeed.
Okay, I’ll go ahead and say that last one out loud. I like his chances.
By design, this is an understatement. Strasburg doesn’t need my hype. He doesn’t need anyone’s hype.
Have you ever had people tell you how awesome a movie is and that you must see it? Does this make you want to drop everything and see the movie, or does it have the opposite effect? If you do go see it, are you receptive to the possibility that it might be awesome, or are you looking for reasons that it isn’t?
I’m getting some of this with Strasburg. People who have never seen him pitch assure me he’s not that great. Who am I to argue with them?
I’ve noted elsewhere that a lot can happen between a successful amateur career and a successful professional career. Among other things, we don’t know how Strasburg will handle failure because he hasn’t had any to deal with at SDSU. There are other variables as well, health being the most obvious.
Life happens. The future unfolds in unpredictable ways.
As a writer, the hype and its effect frustrate me. I want to share what I’ve seen and what I think I know, but why should you believe me? I’m just one more voice echoing all the others. Hooray for me.
Instead, I’ll pay Strasburg the best compliment I can without becoming a part of the problem: It has been a pleasure to watch him pitch this year, and an experience I’ll not soon forget. I wish him well in his future endeavors.