Fantastic column from Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports on the decision to shut down Stephen Strasburg next month:
And for what it is worth, here is my take-away quote from the piece:
The most fascinating part of the Nationals plan to shut down Strasburg is that in spite of not knowing, they don’t care, either. The Nationals are potentially jeopardizing their fantastic 2012 season to do something that they have absolutely no idea will protect his arm from further damage. Rizzo has cited advice from medical experts, but in reality he’s hearing what’s convenient for him to hear, unless the Nationals know something the rest of the baseball world doesn’t.
I understand Mike Rizzo and the Nationals are in the position they are in because of the wrapped in a nappy environment pitchers have been raised in the last 20 years. But perhaps even more dangerous than the assumption that shutting Strasburg down will protect him from future injury is the foolish belief that today’s wonderful success will necessarily translate to tomorrow and beyond. A typical comment on the Strasburg dilemma I have come across scanning the blogs and message boards:
nats242:06 AM EDT
Nats fans have to get used to this: Stras will not be pitching in playoffs that, it looks increasingly likely the team will be in.
I look at it this way: If the Nats win it all without him, look out in ’14. A Washington dynasty? I like it.
Dynasty? I would be as happy as a fat kid in a candy store if that were to be the case. But we live in a dynamic world, where the game of baseball is played by fallible humans, and not widgets which can produce just the same tomorrow as they do today. Sure, the lineup could continue to surge, and Jordan, Gio, Edwin (if he returns), Ross, and yes, Stephen, could pitch just as well next year and heck, maybe even better. But maybe they won’t. And I don’t want the Nationals to look back in 2017 without a World Series ring saying, “2012. What might have been.”