Thursday, May 27, 2010

Delaying the Stras

The Nationals have done it again. Lose? Actually, no. The Nats have put together a very solid team in 2010 to go along with quality pitching and timely hitting. Then what have the Nats done again?

Public relations blunders like it’s 2006-2009.

For months, speculation has centered on all-world prospect Stephen Strasburg making his major league debut during the June 4-6 Cincinnati Reds series at Nats Park. I had a few friends tell me in April that they had already bought tickets for all three games in this series just to make sure they saw him. Dave Sheinin, a fantastic baseball writer for the Washington Post, has been following Strasburg around the minor leagues, and has long speculated that June 4th would be the date of the messiah’s rising.

Then came a report last night that Strasburg would make his debut sometime during the Pittsburgh Pirates series on June 8-10 at Nats Park. Meanwhile, the June 4th game is already sold out except for the single game tickets only sold on game day. Would the Nats really do this to their fans and then start Strasburg on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday?

The Nats have known for a while now that fans were clamoring to see Srasburg on June 4th. They have not denied or for their part admitted that Strasburg was going to start on that Friday night. However, I have a real problem with them just letting people think what they wanted, and this June 4th date has been blowing up. They’ve had many advertisements for June 4th on MASN and at Nats Park games, and they’ve given reason to believe that June 4th is the day. A Friday night in early June would be a perfect night to showcase their superstar prospect.

How could they screw this up?

The Nats have had many PR blunders in the past including a scandal with a Dominican prospect, and numerous times when they’ve screwed with the uniform or fans. Remember Stan Kasten inviting people down from Philly for the Phillies game?

The Nats have come a long way from that and have begun to act like a professional baseball team in all ways. On the field and off; but I can’t believe they would do this to their fans and start him on another day other than the 4th of June when the anticipation has been this high for months. The difference in hype between starting him on a Friday and starting him on a weekday is monumental Friday brings the whole weekend of excitement, while the weekday game doesn’t bring as many fans any way you look at it.

We’ll just have to see what the Nats decide to do, but I can imagine there are a lot of unhappy people who bought expensive tickets for a Friday night when John Lannan is going to be pitching, and not Strasburg.

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