Pitching phenom could put Strasburg on the map
Not to be outdone in the frenzy surrounding minor-league pitcher Stephen Strasburg's ascension to the bigs, a little town in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley is taking a lesson from the little town in Northeast Pennsylvania formerly known as Mauch Chunk.
Some people in Strasburg, a town of about 6,200 on U.S. Route 11, are considering changing the name of their burg to "Stephen Strasburg." Leading the charge is Town Councilman Justin Ritenour, who plans to introduce the proposal at Tuesday's council meeting. For the proposal to go through, all Strasburg, the pitcher, has to do is "visit the town situated less than 90 miles away sometime this year. Upon which the newly named town would welcome Stephen into town on the back of a firetruck and honor him with a welcoming parade and police escort."
And, according to www.renamestrasburg.com, there's this added draw: "We also invite Mr. Strasburg to throw out the first pitch to our new traveling little league team, which would henceforth be known as the 'Stephen' Strasburg."
Thus the town founded in 1761 would join Mauch Chunk in changing its name for an out-of-town athlete.
Mauch Chunk is now known as "Jim Thorpe," in honor of the Native American Olympian born in Oklahoma. Strasburg would be known as you-know-who, the Nationals phenom some consider the second coming of Cy Young.
Strasburg, who was born in San Diego, is scheduled to have his first major-league start against the Pirates on Tuesday, the same day as the council meeting.
But, some are asking, what happens to the proposal if Strasburg has a bad outing?
Burrell gets a new gig
Former Phillie standout and Rays washout Pat Burrell has found a job. Three weeks after he was released by Tampa Bay, the San Francisco Giants have purchased his contract from triple-A Fresno.
And why not? The 33-year-old hit .313 (5 for 16) with one homer and six RBIs in five Fresno games. Despite the dearth of at-bats, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said: "The consensus was that this guy is ready."
"The way things worked out, I couldn't be happier," Burrell said. "The opportunity came up, and it couldn't have been a better opportunity. Really, I was thinking if I get the right situation, I can still help the ball club and be productive."
Dodgers say there's nothing funny about Lovitz
The Los Angeles Dodgers say they've resolved a nearly $100,000 dispute with comedian and actor Jon Lovitz over nonpayment of 2010 season seats behind home plate.
In a statement, the team says the dispute has been resolved "to the satisfaction of both parties." The Dodgers also say Lovitz is a friend and welcome back any time.