You know that famous stress-relieving method Frank Costanza used on Seinfield — “Serenity Now!” — when he was ready to blow his stack? I’ve been thinking of trying it out the last couple days as NatsTown has exploded with news, rumors and fast-changing developments. (Of course, as George found out at the end of the episode, “Serentiy Now” only leads to “Insanity Later,” so perhaps I need to be careful about giving that method a shot.
Point is, it’s been quite an eventful week here. And it’s still only Thursday. But let’s recap what’s happened, and what’s still to come…
MONDAY: After two months of negotiating and speculating, Stephen Strasburg agrees to a $15.1 million deal with the Nationals just 77 seconds before the midnight deadline. Everyone who spent the previous two months insisting Scott Boras would never let his client sign for anything less than $50 million and would take him instead to Japan was left sorely disappointed. Those who knew all along Strasburg wanted to pitch and wasn’t going to turn down a record-shattering offer from the Nats — but would wait until the final few minutes before agreeing — were rewarded for their common sense and patience.
TUESDAY: As Mike Rizzo is trotted out by the Nats as something of a conquering hero for getting the Strasburg deal done, rumors start flying of his pending demise. A report on Yahoo! Sports insists the Nats are “on the verge” of naming Diamondbacks VP Jerry Dipoto as the full-time GM and will kick Rizzo to the curb. The story sounds fishy to anyone who follows the Nats closely, but it still spreads like wildfire among some reporters, bloggers, talk radio hosts and fans who treat the bizarre news as gospel and don’t question its validity.
WEDNESDAY: As the Dipoto rumor continues to send a bunch of people into a tizzy, it starts becoming obvious it couldn’t possibly be true. Rizzo continues to be trumpeted as the man atop the Nats’ baseball operations department. And sure enough, by night’s end, word gets out that he has been given the permanent job and will be formally named GM on Thursday. Oh yeah, and Jordan Zimmermann had his Tommy John surgery. And plans for Friday’s Strasburg press conference were revealed, with 6,000 $1 tickets made available to fans sold out within hours.
THURSDAY: Rizzo’s first press conference as full-time GM will be at 4 p.m. He will hopefully address other plans for the front office moving forward, like whether he’ll be adding an assistant GM (since he’s essentially held both titles since March). FYI: MASN will televise the press conference live.
FRIDAY: Strasburg Mania arrives in the District. The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread will be led onto the field at Nationals Park at 2 p.m. for his introductory press conference, which will be attended not only by media members but by any fans who have tickets to the evening’s game against the Brewers. MASN will televise that press conference live as well. And it will be followed by a Q&A session for fans with Rizzo and other members of the front office. Shortly before J.D. Martin throws his first pitch at 7:05 p.m., Strasburg will take the mound to a thunderous roar and throw a ceremonial first pitch (as Ted Lerner prays the right-hander doesn’t blow out his elbow in the process).
SATURDAY: Season-ticket holders who attend the annual Picnic in the Park during the afternoon will get to mingle with Nats players. Strasburg himself will be there and will be participating in a Q&A with Johnny Holliday and Ray Knight.
Good luck to everyone trying to make it through the week without their head exploding.