- Country singer Tim McGraw not sorry for slapping female fan: ‘Things happen’
- Iraq vet cited for owning 14 therapeutic pet ducks
- White House takes credit for drop in unaccompanied children at border
- International crises be damned, Obama’s fundraising trip must go on
- Friend of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev found guilty of impeding probe
- Train with MH17 plane crash bodies leaves rebel town in Ukraine
- Half of Colorado voters are OK with Hobby Lobby decision, poll shows
- HIV-killing condom to soon hit shelves in Australia
- Estonia pulls plug on Steven Seagal over praise for Putin
- Lawyer: Pelvic exam pics cost Hopkins $190 million
HARRIS: Opening Day a grand stage for Nationals’ young superstars
Question of the Day
Earning the No. 1 pick in the draft is not something a team should aspire to, because you have to be pretty bad to get it. Fortunately for most teams, it is a rarity.
It also isn’t a sure thing.
The Redskins haven’t gone first since 1962. The Wizards have gone first twice since 2001. They got Kwame Brown and John Wall. One whiff, one apparent hit. The Caps have gone first three times in their history and they got Greg Joly, Rick Green and Alex Ovechkin. Whiff, good hit, great hit.
The Nationals went back to back at the top in 2009 and 2010. They took Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. We’re going to go out on a real limb here and make a major declaration: outstanding hit and outstanding hit.
Washington opened its 2013 season Monday at Nationals Park with a 2-0 victory over the Miami Marlins. No offense to all the others who took part. The day was about The Top Pick Twins and all about The Top Pick Twins.
They showed the impressive gifts that made them easy choices as the top pick in their drafts. More important, they showed a level of maturity that belies their relative inexperience.
“What we saw today was Harper taking good, disciplined at-bats and a couple of home runs were the result,” Nats shortstop Ian Desmond said. “What we saw was Strasburg being very disciplined on the mound, pitching to contact, throwing strikes. What we saw was seven innings, 85 pitches [actually 80], a great job.
“I think,” Desmond continued, “they’re both just scratching the surface. I think they have a lot more epic things in them, I’d guess you’d say.”
Harper is only 20. He’s the reigning National League Rookie of the Year and he put up numbers in spring training that appear made up. He hit .478. Every time he comes up, every single time, fans will keep their eyes glued. No telling how far it will go, how hard it will be hit. Make your projections for him as absurd as you’d like. He’s likely to deliver.
Yes, he’s that good.
“The kid’s locked in,” said Ricky Nolasco, who pitched pretty well himself Monday for the Marlins. “After the spring he’s had, he’s seeing the ball really well and he’s not missing those mistakes. I didn’t make plus pitches to him and he didn’t miss them. That’s what good hitters do.”
What good pitchers do is learn, even when they have dominating stuff like Strasburg. The 24-year-old set a very high bar when he debuted in June of 2010, striking out 14 Pirates in a 5-2 victory.
As dazzling as that game was, what he did to the Marlins may have been more impressive. Juan Pierre led off with a base hit. Strasburg retired the next 19 hitters. He only struck out three. He didn’t try to overpower the Marlins. He used his expansive repertoire to keep them off balance.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Washington Times sports editor Mike Harris has more than 30 years experience in the business as a reporter, columnist and manager. He’s covered a wide variety of events including two Olympics, horse racing, auto racing, professional and college sports. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow the section on Twitter @WashTimesSports.
- HARRIS: Break but don't bend? Bryce Harper quandary rears its head again for Nats
- HARRIS: Offseason nothing to look forward to for Caps or Wizards
- HARRIS: D.C. not yet spellbound by Wizards, but they're no illusion
- HARRIS: Echoes of 1978 NBA champs in these Wizards
- HARRIS: Wizards have moved to head of D.C.'s class
Latest Blog Entries
- Gio Gonzalez living a dream by throwing bullpen sessions to ex-Yankee Jorge Posada
- Meet Connor Carrick, the youngster who played his way onto the Caps' final roster
- Go Aggies: Nationals notes and lineups for Sept. 14
- RG3: There is no conflict with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan
- Sunday Nats-Dodgers lineups and some thoughts from reliever Craig Stammen
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- Edward Snowden to work with Russia on anti-spy technology
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
- More immigrants deported from New Mexico center
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
- Ron Paul: U.S. partly to blame for Malaysia Airlines disaster
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- Pro-Russia rebel commander suggests passengers died days before Malaysian flight
- Vladimir Putin pressured to aid Ukraine plane crash probe, rein in rebels
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq