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It’s official: June 8 for Strasburg

May 31, 2010, 11:51 PM EDT

The Nationals announced this evening that Stephen Strasburg — barring any rainouts, injuries or other unforeseen circumstances — will make his major-league debut June 8 against the Pirates.

Fans have been anticipating the 21-year-old right-hander’s arrival in Washington since he was drafted No. 1 overall last June out of San Diego State. It became clear this spring he would spend the season’s first two months in the minor leagues, then most likely make his big-league debut sometime during the Nationals’ June 4-10 homestand against the Reds and Pirates. By delaying his arrival until now, the Nats will ensure he cannot become arbitration-eligible until after the 2013 season.

Strasburg, who is 6-2 with a 1.43 ERA in 10 combined starts between Class AA Harrisburg and Class AAA Syracuse, still is slated to make one more minor-league start Thursday in Buffalo. He’ll be pitching on regular rest when he starts next Tuesday at Nationals Park against Pittsburgh.

  1. Anonymous - Jun 1, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    So much for the rest of your day off, Mark. Thanks for keeping the Insider current…

  2. Doc - Jun 1, 2010 at 12:56 AM

    Yeah Mark, give it a break. You know the old proverb, "All work and no play, makes a sportswriter spell like Dan Quayle". But thanks for your diligence, MarkMeister. Hey, do you think that our friend Morgan is feeling a little less pressure in the #2 hole? Two stolen bases, and on base 4 times!!!

  3. Spike94wl - Jun 1, 2010 at 1:09 AM

    I got tickets!!!

  4. natsone_va - Jun 1, 2010 at 1:27 AM

    Tickets seem to be sold out on-line. Already. Took just over a half hour.

  5. Ernie - Jun 1, 2010 at 1:49 AM

    I have a 20-game plan and neither June 4 nor June 8 was part of the package. I fell for the June 4 rumors and bought seats in a nicer section than normal for face value on Stub Hub. I was initially grumpy when I saw that I lost the gamble, but at least i get to see Livo pitch while sitting down close to the field instead of from up in my seat in the 300s. Even though I was a still little ticked off at the fact they let the rumors fly for so long, once I saw the story about Pudge's injury affecting the call-up date it made sense to me. It's hard to be angry. If I bought a fancy new car I probably wouldn't want the first driver to be someone who isn't quite ready for everyday driving conditions. Let Pudge teach this kid well and guide him through his first start. The first game will be exciting, but even more fun will be watching him develop over the next couple of years.

  6. Slidell - Jun 1, 2010 at 2:03 AM

    For the 2nd time, fans are in a frenzy, as though 6/8 is carved in stone. If, for perfectly possible reasons, this debut must be put back, I predict much weeping and wailing, rending of garments, gnashing of teeth, etc., etc.

  7. Chris - Jun 1, 2010 at 2:38 AM

    Can June 4th be a sellout if only 5,000 people attend the game? I like the players but that would be downright funny to see everyone either skipping or trading the tix in for a later game.

  8. Anonymous - Jun 1, 2010 at 3:46 AM

    Chris: As far as the FO is concerned, a sell out has nothing to do with attendance. They still have their cash in hand. It's all about business… It is a profit-making one after all. Not that I have any appreciation for how they consistently bilk their own fanbase.

  9. Anonymous - Jun 1, 2010 at 5:38 AM

    EX-STRASBURG-GANZA!!!

  10. Ben - Jun 1, 2010 at 9:54 AM

    Do you think that ESPN might pick up the game, since it is Jesus after all? Or maybe FOX? I live in NY and would love to see this game live without having to pay for MLB.TV. Any chance?

  11. N. Cognito - Jun 1, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    June 4th is not a sellout. Lotsd of tickets available.

  12. Anonymous8 - Jun 1, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    I think MLB Network is going to carry the game.

  13. Anonymous8 - Jun 1, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    Here is one of my thoughts between the Reds series and the Pirates series for the Nats brass and Stras.If your goal is to start your prized youngster out the right way, why not match him up with the best outcome to win.The Reds are doing real well and Pitt may be the easier matchup.Just a thought on how things may have gone down to settle in on June 8th.

  14. N. Cognito - Jun 1, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    A pitcher's psyche can be fragile, even for a level-headed youngster such as SS. Less likely to suffer shell-shick facing the Pirates (15th in the NL in scoring), than facing the Reds(1st in the League in scoring).

  15. N. Cognito - Jun 1, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    That's "shell-shock," unless SS gets razor burn.

  16. Pete - Jun 1, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Tickets are sold out on the website. I got some on Stubhub for a hefty markup. Oh well, such is life.

  17. Jeff - Jun 1, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    Re: June 4 — I'm pretty sure that the number that is announced nowadays for "attendance" is actually "tickets sold". When I was a kid, they used to announce "tickets sold" *AND* "attendance" (which was the actual turnstile count), and you could figure the no-shows by subtraction. They don't do that any more.

  18. Anonymous - Jun 1, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    What happens if his start on Thursday is rained out? Do they push his MLB start to June 9th? And are there any other scenarios where they might push it to the 9th? Thanks!

  19. Anonymous - Jun 1, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Although single game tickets for 6/8 are apparently sold out on the website, you can still get good seats for that game by buying the New Era Flex Plan online. Of course, this does require you to buy tickets for two additional games along with the 6/8 game (but you also get a voucher for a third game free, plus a free cap), and it appears that the minimum number of tickets per game you can buy is two. No singles. Which means that if all you want is two Strasburg game tickets, you're paying three times face value for each one. But that still may be less than you'd have to pay on StubHub, where you don't get the three other games or the free hat for your money.

  20. Anonymous - Jun 1, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    I think Strausburgeoning should hereafter be the official term for June 8th.

  21. Steve M. - Jun 1, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    Yes, great points above when thinking June 4th was skipped for Stephen's sake and not the team's sake. The Pirates were targeted for matchups and forego the Reds on June 4th which really will cost the Nats in the pocketbook as Strasburg is still pitching—just in the Minor Leagues and June 4th will not be a sell-out although probably over 30,000 in tickets sold not 41,000+. I think for every game Stephen pitches at home and on the road will have a boost in sales.When the calendar gives you a matchup like the Pirates in your 2nd homestand of June, you take the team that is 2nd to last in MLB batting average & OBP which is the Pirates instead of the surprising team that is #1 in NL batting average at .275 and sitting in 1st place now too in the NL Central.You want every early success that you can grab for Stephen Strasburg, which then sets up Strasburg for his 2nd start in Cleveland instead of Detroit. After that, the Nats have a lot of scheduled off days so you wonder how Rizzo and Riggleman will take into consideration those off-days if they really want to maximize Stephen's home appearances and best matchups.At the end of June (Atlanta) or beginning of July (Mets) will be the best offensive teams he could face before the All Star break and will likely face one or the other.

  22. Anonymous - Jun 1, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    tuesday games are usually poorly attended which is why the Nats will be starting Saint Stephen that day, just like the rumor he was going to start on Friday, also poorly attended..my guess is he will not start on the 8th wither due to a rainout at the major or minor league level between then and now, which of course will lead to a 3rd cash in for the Lerners…go ahead buy your tickets for the 8th, he may not pitch!!!

  23. Arlington Big Fish - Jun 1, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    I have a 20-game plan (Teddy) that includes tickets to both June 4 & 8, & just got an e-mail from the Nats that says that, starting @ 10 AM tomorrow, I can purchase on-line a limited number of tickets to the Strasburg-fest. Wonder how long they'll last? My son goes to the Univ of Wisconsin, & they tried the same system last year for all the student tickets for home football games. Everything sold out in 15 minutes. But then again, football at Wisconsin is probably slightly more popular than baseball in DC ;-)

  24. greg - Jun 1, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    wonder if this will be the 3rd most in-demand ticket for the franchise, behind the 05 and 08 opening days.

  25. Anonymous - Jun 1, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    60% chance of rain in Buffalo on Thursday with rain in the morning and afternoon so it is possible that the SS will get his start on Thursday, which will impact when and where he starts next. June 4th looks like it could be a rainout here in DC and June 6th or June 9th could be rainouts too based on the current forecasts, so no idea when and where he starts! Save your money buy your tickets day of.

  26. Anonymous - Jun 1, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    Steve M. said… "June 4th will not be a sell-out although probably over 30,000"Is over.

  27. markfd - Jun 1, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    Mark,What is your opinion about the possibility of the date moving if an when the rains come on his start or one of the other Nats games between now and June 8th??? And as a follow-up question, how could rain between now and the 8th factor into who gets sent back to Syracuse or DFA'd?

  28. natsone_va - Jun 1, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    How many people do we think will camp out in front of Nationals Park for the ever popular $5 day-of tickets on the 8th? Even though they only sell you 1 ticket per person present at the time of the purchase. It's an interesting phenomenon, both Strasburg and the ticket-mania.

  29. Mark Zuckerman - Jun 1, 2010 at 5:56 PM

    Markfd: As has always been the case, rain absolutely can change the date of Strasburg's debut. The Nats made a point to say that yesterday when they made the announcement, and I made sure to point it out myself. He could very easily get bumped a day, unless the Nats choose to finagle everyone else in the rotation around to keep him on schedule.As for who goes when Strasburg arrives, J.D. Martin would be the logical candidate because he's lined up on the same day as Strasburg as it currently stands. Both guys are pitching Thursday. But if J.D. pitches well in Houston, perhaps the Nats will consider someone else for demotion.

  30. Section 222 - Jun 1, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    My Nats rep told me that the number of tickets that will go on sale to STHs tomorrow is in the thousands. That might explain the thousands of tickets for June 4 that magically appeared once it became clear that June 4 was not going to be the debut date. Hard to believe, but the Nats might have been holding back some tickets so that STHs would get first crack at some additional seats once the date was set.

  31. Bowdenball - Jun 1, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    Good for them for setting aside so many tickets for season ticket holders. The Nats have been absolutely terrible with giving STH perks in the past, and this season they've really been making up for it, with the Red Carpet Rewards and now this. I'm sure some fans who wanted to buy single game seats will complain, but they need to realize that the season ticket holders deserve to be the team's first priority. We've spent tens of thousands of dollars on a mediocre product for years on the implicit understanding that we'd be in line for perks like this; the team needs to deliver now.

  32. markfd - Jun 1, 2010 at 6:25 PM

    Thanks Mark! I am hoping for Batista getting sent down and moving a starter (Stammen, Atilano or Martin) to the bullpen whenever Stras might start.

  33. Section 222 - Jun 1, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    Agreed @Bowdenball. A collection of cheap hats isn't quite what we want, right? Here's one perk that they probably can't deliver on though, nor should they: June 8 is actually one of the 14 "unused ticket exchange dates". Good luck exchanging your unused tickets for that game now!

  34. Anonymous - Jun 1, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    a little rhyme, in honor of the impending debut:Gonna sink em like an iceberg, Maybe A BryceBurgA 1-2 punch, I gotta hunch But no free lunch, Ya gotta pay BorasFor the Steve StrasAnd then the Bryce manTo fit the Lerner planBut that’s ok manWhen the Hamma smackemAnd the Z-man yakemAnd the Dunnkey jack emYa get the butts to pack emmaybe some Dibbs wise crackinAbout a W, of the curly kindmeeting of the Stan and Rizz mindsabout the new number one and twothe slayer middle of the Nats groovethrow a sign and watch the bats movecuttin only air, tryin to provebut it’s too bad because they gonna lose.

  35. Hotdiggitydog - Jun 1, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    Section 222,According to my ticket rep, the Nats held back thousands of tickets for June 8 for Major League Baseball. Teams are supposed to do this for important games. After MLB decides how many they want, the team then sells them. In the case of the Nats, they first offer them to STHs.

  36. Chris - Jun 1, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    Section 222, Just got off the phone with the Nats sales team and shockingly, the Nats have changed their rules (I was informed that they can do it at any time) and June 8th is no longer a ticket exchange day. So all of us STH that missed a game get to miss another! Sweet! I hope it rains in 'cuse and on the 8th.

  37. Anonymous - Jun 1, 2010 at 7:38 PM

    No longer a STH, but I completely agree that STH's should get first crack at a time like this.Bless you STH's. I'll finagle my way into a cheap seat.

  38. Bowdenball - Jun 1, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    Chris-I'm not one to defend the Nats front office blindly, but I don't see the problem here. The ticket exchange is a favor they're doing season ticket holders if they can't make a game. You miss a game, they offer you a chance to catch another game with those tickets. It's a good deal. Pulling one of many potential exchange dates off the table makes it slightly less of a good deal, but it certainly doesn't make them the bad guy here.I think a lot of people are looking for reasons to criticize the Nats on this one. In my opinion they've handled the Strasburg debut pretty well. I still wish he was pitching the 4th and 10th and see no reason for him to waste innings on the 3rd in Buffalo, but I guess they have their reasons, and that aside, I don't see any problems with their actions here.

  39. Chris - Jun 1, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    Bowdenball,As a good friend reminded me yesterday, the Nationals are in the business of selling tickets not making us happy. Ticket exchange is a good STH benefit. Bad guy/generous friend is all relative but that they pulled it this late is disappointing. This can be criticized.

  40. I WAS THERE WHEN - Jun 1, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    As my buddy said, this ticket speculation is just all a good downpayment on Bryce Harper's new contract.If the Nats have a windfall of an extra 50,000 tickets sold at an average of $30 each then the team will take in $1.5 million additional. Ok, not a downpayment on Bryce Harper, rather the remaining payments on Bruney's contract (LOL)The team is playing well and for the first time since 2005 deserves some big crowds.I bought tickets off of StubHub for June 8th, June 9th, and June 19th and June 20th just in case there is a rainout.I am contemplating purchasing tickets for the Friday and Saturday games in Baltimore too.Yah, I am buying into the hype so I can say in 30 years that I was there when…

  41. Bowdenball - Jun 1, 2010 at 8:16 PM

    Chris, the way I see it, they didn't pull the benefit, they just eliminated of the "selected" games for which it could be redeemed, a list which was already limited in nature. And it's not like they revoked exchanges that people had already claimed for the 8th, they just stopped giving them out a week ahead. So they took a perk and eliminated one of many options available as part of that park a week out- a diminution of value, but only barely so. If they had eliminated the June 8 game from the exchange back April for other reasons- maybe they scheduled a rare bobblehead promotion that day- or never included it in the first place, you likely never would have noticed the diminution of value. You're only noticing it now because they took away an opportunity to game their system in an unanticipated way.Any criticism from a STH is a valid criticism, but I just don't see it.

  42. N. Cognito - Jun 1, 2010 at 8:33 PM

    In the past, the Nats have added exchange dates for unused tickets.

  43. Section 222 - Jun 1, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    @N. Cognito, you're right. At the end of last year, STHs stormed the gates with their unused tickets and all the remaining rightfield grandstand seats on the last unused ticket exchange game were gone. So the Nats opened up additional games to accommodate the demand. That was a classy thing to do, and why not let STHs fill up seats that otherwise probably won't get sold? I took my entire office to a game with unused ticket exchanges. @Chris, I don't have a problem at all with them withdrawing this particular game from the list now that tickets to it have become a hot item. The perk wasn't designed as a way for STHs to get highly sought after tickets for nothing. (Note the list of games — Rockies, Marlins, Braves, Pirates, Reds (6/5), DBacks, Giants, Padres, and Astros.) Three weeks ago, you probably could have used some unused tickets to score seats for June 8 just in case. (I used Red Carpet Reward points on May 14 to get extra seats for all six games for the upcoming homestand. Anyone need a ticket for June 4, 6, 9, or 10? :-) ) If the Nats are still in the hunt for a playoff spot in late September and drawing big crowds, I wouldn't be surprised if they withdraw the Sept. 20, 22, and 23 games vs. the Astros from the list a week before they happen. But if you want to exchange your unused tickets for those games now just in case, you can certainly do that.

  44. Anonymous - Jun 1, 2010 at 10:05 PM

    I think some people want to b-tch and moan for the sake of complaining.June 8th is now a Premium game. The ticket exchange program wasn't in place to trade up for Premium games.There will probably be more demand then the supply of tickets. It is event driven. This is the biggest sports event here since game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs (18,277 for hockey) and the biggest event in baseball since Opening Day 2008.

  45. Anonymous - Jun 4, 2010 at 10:19 PM

    I'm hearing from an inside source that Strasburg's debut may slide to Wed. June 9th. His media interviews are now set for Thursday morning after his start. Has anyone else heard the same?

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