A special night in D.C.
The holiday atmosphere surrounding the debut of super-prospect Stephen Strasburg with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night has grown so massive the date is now being called "Strasmas."
The game has become a rare Nationals Park sellout - standing room tickets went on sale Monday and more than 200 requests for media credentials have been submitted.
Strasburg, who normally shuns the spotlight, was typically straightforward.
"It's my major-league debut. What more can you say?" he said. "It's something I've dreamed about my entire life, and now it's starting to become a reality."
The righthander already has stated his readiness.
"I feel like I've been ready," he said after his last minor-league outing, five scoreless innings for triple-A Syracuse at Buffalo last week. He finished his minor-league warm-up with a 7-2 record, a 1.30 ERA, 65 strikeouts in 551/3 innings, and 13 walks.
And a "holiday" named after him.
Chipper Jones is 38 and feeling it.
"It's the physical part you can't deal with," the Atlanta slugger told Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. "There's only so many mornings you can have your wife put both feet on your back and roll you out of bed."
Does the Hall beckon for Strasburg?
Jones was the first player chosen in the 1990 MLB draft and is among those who might break a strange drought that has plagued the top picks since Rick Monday was chosen No. 1 by Kansas City in the inaugural draft in 1965.
While top overall selections have won any number of honors, no player chosen with the very first pick ever has been elected to the Hall of Fame.
Junior Griffey (No. 1 in 1987) certainly will be elected six years from now. Unless future voters penalize him for his admitted steriod use, Alex Rodriguez (1993) is another lock. Joe Mauer (2001) is compiling a Hall of Fame career, while Harold Baines (1977) and Jones rate consideration.
Since Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez (11-1) has thrown a no-hitter already this season and the Phillies' Roy Halladay (8-2) has thrown a perfect game, one statistical oddity seems likely to end in 2010.
According to Cliff Corcoran of SI.com, no pitcher has thrown a no-hitter and won his league's Cy Young Award in the same season since Houston's Mike Scott in 1986. And no pitcher has thrown a perfect game and won the Cy Young in the same season since Sandy Koufax in 1965.
Milwaukee released pitcher Jeff Suppan during the final year of what was the richest contract - $42 million over four years - in team history when he signed before the 2007 season. The righthander was 29-36 with a 5.08 ERA in 97 starts and 13 relief appearances with the Brewers.