The Phenom-Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg, the phenomenal, the most talked about, the most highly anticipated debut, the man that will save the Nationals Franchise, the # 1 pick over all, the San Diego State alum, the pitcher with the  $15.1million dollar contract for 4 years, the guy who ripped up the minors will be on TV tonight making his Major League Debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Starsburg, who by far is the most talked about prospect since perhaps Ken Griffey Jr. will finally take the mound in a MLB uniform and throw his 1st pitch. I really can not remember anyone quite like this.

We have seen prospects that come through the door and succeed and we see many that fail and never live up to their potential. Pete Incaviglia & Gregg Jeffries were highly touted as was the Yankees draft pick Brien Taylor many, many years ago. Yes, Incaviglia & Jeffries had decent careers, but never up to the hype we had heard and seen.

I can remember trying to hoard as many Gregg Jeffries rookie cards as I could as the whole world thought he was going to light the league on fire and become the next Mickey Mantle and Darryl Strawberry all rolled into one.

How about Ben McDonald a celebrated college pitcher who made his debut for the Baltimore Orioles in 1989, he was going to have a stellar career and ended up, well not doing that much. Solid for a bunch of years, but pretty much out of baseball by the end of the decade.

Strasburg will probably pull in major numbers on National TV and why not, as long as the media says he’s a can’t miss prospect, then he can’t miss right?

Just as Brien Taylor. He was a surefire Hall of Famer before he threw one major league pitch. He struggled with his mechanics for a couple of years and didn’t put up the minor league numbers that were thought of him. He then got into a fight that ultimately ended his career and now lives with his parents and has worked for a beer distributor and UPS over the past few years. So much for that pitcher.

Baseball is truly a sport built on the draft and the minor leagues with so many rounds and so many leagues and so many players, to finally get the right combination and be able to build a championship contender takes time, effort and money in many different places.

The effort has to be put into the scouting department, it all starts with them. The Major League teams must invest in highly skilled scouts who know how to find and locate a diamond in the rough. Then the minor league system, its coaches, its managers and its scouts have to be able to take the raw talent and mold it into a Major League level player. Then at “The Show” the Major League level, these players have to perform.

It’s quite amazing that a batter that gets a hit 30% of the time is considered highly successful. Think about that. The player can fail 70% of the time be considered an All Star.

The Nationals made another “sure hit” prospect Bryce Harper their #1 pick yesterday in the 2010 draft and he will hopefully also contribute to the continued rebuilding, remolding and restructuring of the franchise.

Will Stephen Strasburg live up to his potential, his hype? The jury is still out and we shall see, but for the Washington Nationals, Strasburg is only a piece of the pie. Great players like Ernie Banks and Ted Williams never won a World Series. To truly be a Champion you must have a solid ball club around the star players and together, the scouting department, all the layers of the minor leagues and the major league executives and players all contribute to Championship team. It’s many parts of the car that makes it go.

Without one working part you may not be able to move out of the gate, the same is true in Baseball more so in any other sport. And that is why it is one of the greatest sports of all time.

Thoughts from the Pulpit

1)      The Los Angeles Lakers need to win the pivotal game 3 in order to survive this crazy 2-3-2 series. How is it that they will now play 3 away games in Boston and possibly not make it home again, just by splitting the 1st two games in LA. Kind of crazy. You have home court advantage for a reason and now it seems lost. We’ll see tonight what Kobe Bryant and company are made of.

2)      The Chicago Blackhawks look to close out the Philadelphia Flyers Wednesday night in Philly.  The main story to me is who will start in nets for the Flyers. Will it be Michael Leighton or Brian Boucher? Peter Laviollete has left everyone guessing which unfortunately has made a media circus instead of trying to calm the nerves of the players this is only fueling the fire and I am afraid this is the wrong way to handle the goaltending situation. The Hawks will win and send Chicago into pandemonium.

3)      Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Pini Geshon is now the former coach. Gershon has stepped aside and will remain with the team in a yet to be named position. I look for Maccabi to sign former coach David Blatt and have him take over the team with full control and rebuild them into the dynasty they were. I see Blatt being at the helm for hopefully the next decade and putting Maccabi back “on the map”. If anyone can, Blatt can.