Hope and Change.
This is what we were promised. Frankly, we deserved it for our loyalty. After years of enduring failure, we could wait no longer. Things were not headed in the right direction, and no amount of positive press conferences or staff upgrades could change that fact. 2005, 2006, 2007 were disastrous, and leadership was making one bad decision after another. The future was slipping away, and we were being told to wait. “Stay the course” sounded like a recipe for years of futility.
Change was needed, so we went looking for hope. Finally, we drafted a young, can’t miss prospect, showered him with money, and expected him to perform beyond his years. He said all the right things. He performed well under pressure, albeit on a smaller stage. He kept the opposition off balance, and impressed crowds wherever he went. Some said that he was unproven; that he would wilt under the bright lights; that he was a flash in the pan, a celebrity without a resume; but we had hope. We would ride this phenom to the top.
When he finally arrived to lead us to the promised land, our level of anticipation was palpable. Change was here, and now the future was filled with infinite possibilities. The media swooned and covered his every move. We thought we were suddenly winners. We developed swagger overnight. Those were heady days in DC.
Then, as quickly as expectations rose, the bottom fell out. Just our luck. Our savior broke down and could no longer deliver as advertised. Some of the youth that supported him the most, the ones that bought hats and t-shirts with his name on it, cried. Most just shrugged, resigned to losing again. It looked as if we would have to wait a little longer for hope and change to materialize in Washington. Maybe it would never come.
Fortunately, there is good news on the horizon. Slowly and methodically, he is heeding the advice of his handlers, taking his time (some might say ‘dithering’), and he is getting better. He is retooling his game. He is working on his mechanics, fine tuning his stuff. By next April, he should be ready to again dazzle the crowds and confound the competition. 2012 is looking again like it will be an all-star season. No one will be able to touch him, and I for one will cheer for him and mock the competition all year long. By next November, we will look back without remembering these sad days of 2011.
Hurry back, Steven Strasburg. One year ago today, June 8, 2010, I was at Nationals Park to witness you strike out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates in 7 innings during your major league debut. You represent the hope and change that we Nationals fans desperately need. Hurry back, before the crowds give up hope.
It’s the first anniversary of Stras-mas. Happy Stras-mas to all, and to all a good night.