I’m going to preface this post and mention that my post about Dibble’s comments came from a passion for this team and a protection instinct over its players because… well just because. I felt he was prematurely wrong with his ‘be tough’ statements, and I don’t have any desire to hate on anyone. No matter how much he tries to backpedal and change the original context – which is apparently still the fault of the internet. But he’s not the story here.
A strange mix of excitement and irony swirled around Nationals Park over the roller coaster last 24 hours. Anticipation and eagerness surrounded the start to the day when Nationals introduced top draft pick Bryce Harper to fans and media in “Oppo Boppo” fashion before he heads off to begin his professional baseball career. A familiar rush of hope surged when right-handed starter Jordan Zimmermann made his first start on an MLB mound post Tommy John surgery, facing the Cardinals in place of Stephen Strasburg, on the 15-day DL awaiting results of an MRI. Both events tempered the fear of the unknown lurking in Nats fans’ hearts while the lead roller coaster car click-click-clacked up the steep hill. The cars crested and careened down as stomachs clenched and the latest punch was thrown as the ride surged into the first loop of today’s morning press conference — Stephen Strasburg will miss the remainder of this season and likely most of next season with ‘likely’ Tommy John surgery.
Oof. What a horrendous punch to the gut for Nats fans. Strasburg has intrigued both ardent and casual fans alike nationwide since before his June 8th MLB debut, filling stadiums across the country. He brought buzz. He brought intrigue. He brought passion. He brought 92 strikeouts and 100 MPH fastballs that made opposing batters look like little leaguers. In addition, he brought hope and a reason to watch and pay attention to the Nationals after coming off a 100+ loss season. He brought (positive) national media attention. MLB Network took notice of the team in the Nation’s capital. ESPN took notice. Even though this season is likely a wash, fans eagerly looked forward to next year’s trot out of the opening day gate. All that – crushed. Gone. In one pitch plus six days of nailbiting while waiting for MRI results.
The initial shock is extremely difficult to overcome. Cry. Drink (wait til you get home from work, though). Eat cheese fries (or whatever comfort food you prefer, that just happens to be mine). Take a bubble bath. Listen to Mozart. Then look for hope.