St. Stephen to Debut Against Pirates?

Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, May 26, 2010 | , | 8 comments »

From's Bill Ladson (two seperate tweets): 
The #Nats are tentatively planning to have RHP Stephen Strasburg make his Major League debut against the Bucs at Nationals Park in June. 
No date has been set yet for Stephen Strasburg's debut. The #Nats plan to give everyone five or six days notice before the start.
If Strasburg pitches Saturday as planned for Syracuse, he could make one more Triple-A start Thursday, June 3, then join the club over the weekend, create some terrific synergy with the amateur draft on Monday, June 7, then pitch Tuesday, June 8 on normal rest against the Pirates. 

He'd only get one start on the homestand, and the team could say, "It wasn't not about the money," though it is, because they've already sold out June 4, which was the target date most of the media was kicking around.

It's like two starts on the homestand and Strasburg only has the chance to lose one of them!

Stay tuned to the unfolding drama.  It's more interesting than a west coast losing streak.


  1. bdrube // May 26, 2010 at 7:06 PM  

    That makes absolutely no sense. June 3rd is a road game for Syracuse (and a weekday afternoon at that), so they would get no financial benefit. With June 4th, they get his first two dates on that homestand, so that would be pretty much a wash.

    Plus they would seriously anger season ticket holders like me. I swear I may just give up being in my season ticket group if they pull this stunt. I've suffered through too much bad baseball to have the team pull a fast one like this on me.

  2. Jenn Jenson // May 26, 2010 at 7:16 PM  

    I've had a not-great day and my mood is a little sour (my disclaimer because I'd rather feel cheerful, trusting, and appreciated), but ...

    More and more I'm convinced the Nationals hate their fans. Yea, I know they never made any promises and really can't make promises because life is uncertain, but the is definitely rubbing me wrong. If nothing else, the team continues to need much better communications.

  3. Jenn Jenson // May 26, 2010 at 7:17 PM  

    That is ... "the drama is definitely rubbing me wrong."

  4. Dave Nichols // May 26, 2010 at 7:31 PM  

    I certainly understand both of your frustrations, and I've heard a lot of that today in a lot of circles.

    The Nats got exactly what they wanted out of this: two sellouts on the homestand.

    If Strasburg pitched 6/4, they'd have a good crowd, but probably not a great crowd, his next start against Pittsburgh, owing to the novelty wearing out, the Tuesday night, and school not being out yet. Now that they've essentially sold out 6/4, they are guaranteed another sellout.

    They got exactly what they wanted, And once again, those that care about the franchise are hurt.

    Those with full seasons tickets are uneffected, but folks that bought single-game tickets and the vultures on the resell market are the ones that got stuck.

  5. Jenn Jenson // May 26, 2010 at 8:03 PM  

    Dave, I bought full-season tickets, and the way I afford my sort-of-pricey (but great) seats is to resell a bunch of my tickets to friends. It's great for the Nationals, both because I buy more tickets/more expensive tickets than I would have otherwise, and because I get my friends to buy more/more expensive tickets than they would have otherwise. (Unlike you, I cannot go to 81 games and work a full-time job ... I'd die.)

    Even with full-season tickets, the uncertainty affects me because I bought single-game tickets for games in the homestand that I previously sold to people in my ticket group.

    It was totally my choice to buy the extra tickets (including the ticket I bought for June 4), but it is a real additional cost.

    As you point out, I'm sure that this is exactly what the business plan calls for. I just wish that good will were also in the business plan.

  6. Jeff // May 26, 2010 at 9:29 PM  

    To all the people hating on the Nationals for "moving" his first start:

    All of this June 4th talk was PURE MEDIA SPECULATION. The Nationals organization never even hinted as to when Strasburg would reach the majors. All of the bloggers simply agreed on a date and it spread like wildfire.

    If you bought a ticket ahead of time based on pure speculation, you should only be mad at yourself, not at the Nationals.

  7. Anonymous // May 26, 2010 at 9:49 PM  

    I'd agree on the speculation ... if the team had made any real effort to quell speculation. They didn't really speak up until AFTER the tickets were sold. How convenient.

    They should have warned people off earlier, but ooooh the temptation of a little easy money, because who doesn't like selling tickets? It's a wink wink, nudge nudge strategy that maintains complete deniability, and too cute by half. They really take their fans for granted, and then seem surprised that their fan base is evaporating. They aren't the Redskins, with decades of fanaticism and three championships to draw on.

    As I've said elsewhere, this is a venal sin, not a mortal sin (like, for example, the marketing of Opening Day to charter groups ... from Philly!). But it's yet another poke in the eye for the fans. Do enough of that poking, and your fans leave.


  8. Dave Nichols // May 26, 2010 at 10:08 PM  

    thanks all for the comments.

    Jenn, i didn't consider the ramifications of selling part of your package and the buying of extras. yes, it's a tough business sometimes.

    Jeff and JCC, you're both right that they're selling tickets and selling off their goodwill.