August 21, 2009
Newly signed future superstar Stephen Strasburg was the object of attention at a special welcoming ceremony this afternoon at Nationals Park. Ryan Zimmerman put the #37 jersey on his team-mate-to-be, and said a few nice words about how Strasburg should not worry about the sky-high expectations people have of him, but rather just be himself and have fun. Strasburg is a bit shy, and one can hardly imagine how a kid his age can handle the sudden onslaught of a media feeding frenzy. He seems level-headed, and at this point in his career, a calm, unflappable disposition is worth a lot more than a strong arm. Some rookies burn out under the intense heat of competitive pressure, but I'm sure that he is getting plenty of advice on how to pace himself for a long, successful career.
The Lerners tried to promote the momentous occasion by selling tickets for only a dollar, but attendance at the evening game was still only 26,000. The welcoming ceremony was broadcast on MASN and Webcast on MLB.com.
Contrary to rumors that he was about to be replaced, Mike Rizzo was retained as General Manager of the Washington Nationals, or rather promoted from "Acting" General Manager to full General Manager, and was also given the slightly upgraded title of "senior vice president of baseball operations." Perhaps that will give him more negotiating clout. Given the huge success of just getting the Strasburg contract signed and sealed, it would have been awful not to get more credit for his work in assembling a decent roster. Obviously, there is a lot of work left to be done, but Rizzo seems to have the proper qualifications and resourcefulness. See MLB.com.
Unfortunately, the auspicious occasion of Strasburg's welcome and Rizzo's retention was marred somewhat by another defeat, as the visiting Milwaukee Brewers beat the Nats, 7-3. In the bottom of the first inning, Adam Dunn crushed a monster solo shot to right field that nearly reached the third deck. After that, however, the Nats' bats fell silent, mostly. Once again, the Nationals scored in the bottom of the ninth (Ryan Zimmerman's 25th home run), but the rally was cut short.