Strasburg for the All-Star game?
The hype over Stephen Strasburg has reached absurd proportions, with some people suggesting -- perhaps tongue in cheek -- that he should get picked for the 2010 All-Star game. Goodness gracious.
On a related note, a letter to the editor by a fan from Arlington in the Washington Post recently suggested that if Barack Obama qualified for the Nobel Peace Prize in his first year of office, without actually having done much of anything, then Stephen Strasburg should be admitted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
On a more serious note, fans of the Washington Nationals need to get a reality check and look at past examples of promising star pitchers who never panned out. During spring training in March, Dave Sheinin had a feature article in the Washington Post on the doomed career of former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood, who was once heralded as a savior on par with Strasburg today. In his very first season in the majors Wood tore a ligament, and despite multiple surgeries was never the same again. He's now the closer for the Cleveland Indians, having another rough year. The parallel Sheinin drew with Strasburg was clear. Moral: Never pin your hopes on any one individual player.
World Cup soccer, 2010
In the Republic of South Africa, 32 national teams from around the world are competing in the FIFA World Cup tournament. In the first match on Saturday, the Americans managed a 1-1 tie against the English team, thanks to goalie who let a slowly bouncing ball slip by him. Next we play Slovenia. The host team gets to design the official game ball at each World Cup, and the ones being used this year are widely loathed by the players. They have weird, irregular markings and are slick, making the trajectory of kicks very unpredictable.
Pretty much everybody in the U.S. hates the incessant noise produced by the "vuvuzelas," a plastic horn popular in South Africa. I was encouraged to learn that use of vuvuzelas has been banned in Yankee Stadium, as Doug Mataconis reports.
TRIVIA QUESTION: As everyone knows, the World Cup was first held in the United States in 1994, the same year as the baseball strike. Who can identify a major league baseball stadium (or stadiums) in which World Cup matches were held?
Blog glitch fixed
The technical issue that resulted in some of the posts from early June not showing up on the Baseball blog page has now been fixed, I think. If anyone notices any strange behavior or slow loading time on that page, please let me know.