The Reuters global sports blog
Pitchers have dominated the spotlight over the first third of Major League Baseball’s 2010 season, casting a spell over the hitters with Washington Nationals 21-year-old rookie Stephen Strasburg the latest to work his magic.
The most ballyhooed pitching prospect to hit the majors in recent memory, Strasburg satisfied the great expectations with a spectacular debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates last week.
The right-hander, who signed a record four-year, $15.1 million deal out of San Diego State University as top pick of last year’s draft, mixed his lethal arsenal of 98-mph fastball, 90-mph breaking ball, and 80-mph change-up with pinpoint control to carve up the Pirates in a 5-2 victory.
He struck out 14 and did not walk a batter in seven innings while giving up four hits. After yielding a two-run homer on a hanging breaking ball to Delwyn Young in the fourth inning, he retired 11 in a row, striking out the last seven men he faced.
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay is a perfectionist, meticulous in his preparation and attention to detail and one of baseball’s best pitchers over the last decade.
Halladay, the right-hander nicknamed ‘Doc’, removed a bad taste in his mouth from his previous outing with perfect precision — by throwing the 20th perfect game ever in Major League Baseball in a 1-0 win Saturday against NL East rivals the Florida Marlins.
We’re not talking about pedestrian infractions of Emily Post protocol like admiring a home run off your bat for a couple of extra seconds, or taking too languorous a home run trot around the bases, or stealing a base with a big lead.
The past five days have been a microcosm to why sports are so compelling. It is the dramatic stories that draw fans in, the underdog prevailing against insurmountable odds, that has viewers sitting alone and screaming in ecstasy at the television just as loud as fans in attendance.