Wednesday, June 9, 2010 12:32 PM
By Holden Kushner
Consider today Day One A.S.: After Strasburg. Its not that the Nationals were non-existent since relocating to the nations capital in 2005; its just that they didnt matter.
After Tuesday nights positively electrifying performance by one of the the most-hyped pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball, the Nats will be relevant every fifth game they play. Or, at the very least, every time number 37 starts.
Ive covered my fair share of Opening Days, All Star Games, playoff games and World Series, and last nights game was unlike any Ive ever attended. There wasnt a playoff atmosphere at Nationals Park; it was something different. In the playoffs, I get the sense of finality. Last night I felt like I was a part of a great new beginning.&8232;
For the first time in the history of Nats Park, there was a pregame electricity. Thousands of fans congregated around the main entrance on N Street at 4:05pm. I counted over 40 Strasburg jersey t-shirts on my way from the Navy Yard Metro to the stadium. The 40-thousand-plus fans in attendance seemed to know how to will their young savior on. Two strikes on a batter? Stand up and cheer him on. Umpire calls a ball? Boo the ump.
The pregame atmosphere in the locker room was mildly different. Looking at various players facial and body expressions, I sensed an air of anticipation that doesnt surround just another regular season game, never mind another regular season game against the dreadful Pittsburgh Pirates.
Strasburg looked calm throughout the pregame routine. I caught him watching Cash Cab on television a couple of hours before game time. He ducked out of harms way once a media throng ascended upon the home locker room.
About 75 minutes before game time, I saw Strasburg put two pairs of socks on each foot. He even put pants on like the rest of us humanoids do. But there is something different about this guy. We all found out when he took the mound for the first time when it counted.
He threw 101 mile per hour fastballs, late-breaking curve balls and owned the mound with the presence of an aged veteran.
In all, seven innings, two runs and 14 strikeouts later, we witnessed the savior of the Nationals franchise in action.
Strasburg is here. The Nationals are alive. Real baseball begins in D.C..
Its about time.
VIDEO: Nationals Minute with 106.7 FM The Fan's Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier.