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June 17, 2010 [LINK / comment]

Strasburg for the All-Star game?

The hype over Stephen Strasburg has reached absurd proportions, with some people suggesting -- perhaps tongue in cheek -- that he should get picked for the 2010 All-Star game. Goodness gracious.

On a related note, a letter to the editor by a fan from Arlington in the Washington Post recently suggested that if Barack Obama qualified for the Nobel Peace Prize in his first year of office, without actually having done much of anything, then Stephen Strasburg should be admitted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. smile

On a more serious note, fans of the Washington Nationals need to get a reality check and look at past examples of promising star pitchers who never panned out. During spring training in March, Dave Sheinin had a feature article in the Washington Post on the doomed career of former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood, who was once heralded as a savior on par with Strasburg today. In his very first season in the majors Wood tore a ligament, and despite multiple surgeries was never the same again. He's now the closer for the Cleveland Indians, having another rough year. The parallel Sheinin drew with Strasburg was clear. Moral: Never pin your hopes on any one individual player.

World Cup soccer, 2010

In the Republic of South Africa, 32 national teams from around the world are competing in the FIFA World Cup tournament. In the first match on Saturday, the Americans managed a 1-1 tie against the English team, thanks to goalie who let a slowly bouncing ball slip by him. Next we play Slovenia. The host team gets to design the official game ball at each World Cup, and the ones being used this year are widely loathed by the players. They have weird, irregular markings and are slick, making the trajectory of kicks very unpredictable.

Pretty much everybody in the U.S. hates the incessant noise produced by the "vuvuzelas," a plastic horn popular in South Africa. I was encouraged to learn that use of vuvuzelas has been banned in Yankee Stadium, as Doug Mataconis reports.

TRIVIA QUESTION: As everyone knows, the World Cup was first held in the United States in 1994, the same year as the baseball strike. Who can identify a major league baseball stadium (or stadiums) in which World Cup matches were held?

Blog glitch fixed

The technical issue that resulted in some of the posts from early June not showing up on the Baseball blog page has now been fixed, I think. If anyone notices any strange behavior or slow loading time on that page, please let me know.

COMMENT by: Chris Turner, of Killeen, # on Jun 20, 2010 02:45 AM
in response to the trivia question rfk was the only one that was a baseball stadium... i dont know if it counts because at the time it was only the redskins at rfk.

COMMENT by: Ryan Brister, of Rochester, NY on Jun 20, 2010 21:07 PM
On the subject of soccer at baseball stadiums, Fenway will be playing host to a pair of Scottish teams in July. I'd imagine the infield would be a pain for soccer, but I don't know how they could place a field that would avoid the dirt.

COMMENT by: Andrew Clem, of Staunton, VA on Jun 22, 2010 10:44 AM
Chris -- Yes, RFK was the one I was thinking of, but obviously there was no baseball there at the time. If they had chosen Memorial Coliseum instead of the Rose Bowl as the World Cup venue in L.A., that would have been another one, but the shrinking of the field when they added seats for the Raiders in 1993 would have left too little room around the sidelines.

Ryan -- That should be an interesting arrangement at Fenway, which is just barely big enough to fit a soccer field. I'd bet they will put in temporary grass in the infield, or else it would be an unfair and dangerous mess.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 22 Jun 2010, 10: 44 AM

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