Two days after claiming his 15th victory of the season, Nationals' pitcher Stephen Strasburg received a visit from a very special fan.
The legend. Noted baseball fan. Jack White.
What's even more special about this visit is how Jack White pulled it off. One of White's bands, Raconteurs, was set to play at The Anthem, a concert venue on southwest D.C.'s District Wharf roughly a mile away from Nats Park on Saturday night. The band took in the first three innings of Brewers-Nationals and left to perform their show at 8 p.m. When the gig was over and the game was still in extras, the band returned to their seats behind home plate in the 14th inning. It is unclear how they were allowed to reenter the ballpark.
Strasburg's walk-up song since 2010 has been "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes, Jack White's band with his former spouse, Meg.
Note, the hashtag #warsticbaseball is a nod to Warstic Wood Bat Company, owned by Jack White and Ian Kinsler. Their wood bats were approved for league use in 2016.
Quniton Mayo contributed to this story.
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After Nationals closer Sean Doolittle expressed disappointment on Twitter with proposed minor league restructuring, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) joined the online discussion, supporting Doolittle's argument.
In response to continuing testimonies that MiLB players are unfairly paid to play in poor conditions, Major League Baseball proposed a solution that would eliminate 42 teams (over one quarter of the total 160 minor league clubs) in order to reallocate that money. The list is comprised of teams mostly from four Rookie Leagues with short seasons and a handful in Class AA and A.
Of closest concern for Senators Sanders lies at home. In Vermont, this plan would eliminate the Oakland A's short-season A affiliate in Burlington -- the Vermont Lake Monsters of the New York-Penn League.
In Maryland, both the Orioles' Advanced-A Frederick Keys and the Nationals' Class A Hagerstown Suns would be scrapped. In the Nationals' scope of impact also lies the Short-Season A Auburn Doubledays.
In Virginia, Pittsburgh's rookie-level Bristol Pirates would cease to exist, as well as Atlanta's Danville Braves rookie team.
Removing these teams from baseball's farm system destroys backbones within smaller communities for local businesses that bring commerce and tourism not otherwise blowing down their roads. Thousands of players would no longer live there at least seasonally, as well as hundreds of jobs and infrastructure connected to these teams would be eliminated.
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As a free agent, Stephen Strasburg is welcome to sign with whomever he wishes. Although the Nationals are currently the favorites to re-sign one of their aces, where Stras will end up is certainly up in the air.
If Stephen Strasburg were to sign with another NL East team this offseason, would he be booed in his return to Nationals Park?
Bryce Harper was booed relentlessly in his return to Nationals Park in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform. Would the same principle apply to other former Nationals?
The Nationals Talk Podcast discussed the sentiment on their latest episode.
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"I think he would be initially cheered and then sort of booed," Todd Dybas said. "Just his general demeanor doesn't prompt the divisiveness that certainly Bryce Harper did and does," Dybas continued.
Dybas also mentioned that information following Strasburg's hypothetical signing with another team would be a big factor in the fans' decision to boo or not to boo, such as when Harper chose the Phillies over the Nationals when the deals were somewhat comparable, to which Chase Hughes agreed.
"The context is just so much different in the sense that Stephen Strasburg just delivered a World Series and was one of the central reasons why," Hughes said. "He should never have to buy a drink in this town again even though he's probably going to end up with like $400 million in his career, in career earnings."
Tim Shovers agreed that Strasburg's hypothetical return would deliver a "mix" of cheers and boos.
Hopefully, this scenario stays hypothetical, and the Nats can re-sign the World Series MVP.
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