Intellectualism, Sabermetrics and Stephen Strasburg’s Innings-Limit

The debate over whether the Washington Nationals should “shut down” young phenom Stephen Strasburg has been raging since early this season, when it became apparent that the Nationals might be good enough to challenge for a playoff spot.

Strasburg, as even casual fans are aware, is only two years removed from undergoing a procedure known as “Tommy John” surgery.  The plan, as it was stated in the preseason, was for the Nationals organization to “take it easy” with Strasburg, and limit him to approximately 160 innings this season.  However, with the Nationals contending and on their way to the playoffs, to shut down Strasburg at a set innings-limit will deprive the Nationals of a young man who is, ostensibly, one of the three or four best pitchers in the National League and who stands to be the very real difference between the Nationals winning or losing a short playoff series.

Bernie Williams: A Mets Fan’s Take on his Hall of Fame Candidacy

Growing up in New York City in the 90’s, it was not easy being a Mets fan.  To be clear, it’s *never* easy being a Mets fan, but the 90’s — particularly the late 90’s — was an a particularly trying time for a baseball-obsessed teenager to like the Mets.  As a high school student at the time, I knew that each September would deliver me the distinct pleasure of returning to school with the Yankees setting their playoff rotation and the Mets limping flaccidly to the finish line.

To make matters worse, my high school was located in downtown Manhattan, a stone’s throw from the Canyon of Heroes.  As a result, my classmates and I were fortunate enough to have a front row seat to not one, not two, but THREE Yankee World Series Championship Parades (they failed to win the World Series — losers! — in 1997).

The Kids Are Alright

 

One of the best — and also most frustrating — things about baseball, is that over time, things always end up like they should. In that way, baseball is like life.

Over the course of 162 grueling games, the best teams will win, the Albert Pujolses will break out of their slumps, the and the Justin Turners will no longer hit .500 with runners in scoring position. It is not like football, where you only need to get through 16 games and can find a Maurice Jones-Drew out of nowhere. It’s not like basketball or hockey where half the teams make the postseason. In baseball, six months will usually allow the best teams to prevail and for just enough time for magical fairy dust to wear off.