When the Washington Nationals held firm on their promise to shut down ace Stephen Strasburg in the wake of his ongoing recovery from Tommy John surgery, it didn't sit well with fans and some teammates.
That shouldn't come as much of a surprise, given that Strasburg leads the team's rotation, and not having him for the playoffs has been viewed as a huge blow to World Series opportunities that may not come around again any time soon. But Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo does, in fact, believe that the Nats will be making frequent return trips to the postseason. Basically, that's the entire reason Washington ended Strasburg's season early — to make sure he's healthy for a long, fruitful career full of postseason starts.
However, that confident attitude apparently doesn't sit well with the rest of Major League Baseball.
In a story entitled "Nationals despised for sitting Strasburg," USA Today MLB writer Bob Nightengale reports that other GMs around baseball are taking offense to Rizzo's strategy. Apparently front offices everywhere view the Nationals' call as insultingly cocky, especially given that they share a division with the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves and certainly aren't guaranteed of anything in future seasons.
"If we don't win the World Series, I don't care who does, as long as it's not those guys," Nightengale quotes one anonymous GM as saying. "They don't deserve to win it. Not after what they did."
"I hope they go down in flames," echoed another National League GM. "I hope it takes another 79 years before
they get back to the playoffs. That's how strongly I feel about it."
The Nationals take on the Cardinals later Friday, at 8:37 p.m. ET, in a decisive, winner-take-all Game 5. Gio Gonzalez, the Nationals' No. 2 starter for most of the season, will be on the hill for Washington.