Senate warriors take timeout to discuss rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg

June 9, 2010

The top two combatants in the U.S. Senate momentarily set aside their differences on Wednesday to praise a 21-year-old rookie baseball player.

BASEBALL/NATIONALS-STRASBURGSounding like a pair of starry-eyed kids, Democrat Harry Reid and Republican Mitch McConnell gushed about the nationally broadcast debut the night before of Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg.

“I was there!” McConnell said. “There was literally electricity in the air.”

“Gee whiz!” said Reid, who watched on TV. “It was a remarkable event.”

Reid and McConnell — who routinely swap jabs on such issues as healthcare, energy and record federal deficits — voiced amazement about Strasburg’s performance, which included striking out 14 and walking none en route to a 5-2 win.

“He throws more than 100 miles per hour … with such great control,” said Reid.

“We can only hope and pray that his arm holds up and that he has the kind of career that everyone is anticipating,” said McConnell.

Reid took the opportunity to talk about another standout player, fellow Nevadan Bryce Harper, who was drafted by the Nats this week. He’s just 17.

USA-CONGRESS/Reid compared Harper to baseball great Mickey Mantle and predicted he’d be in the Big Leagues with Strasburg in a few years.

McConnell offered a vision of summertime unity.

“What one can conclude from this is next year, when the Senate is not in session in the evening, both the Democratic and Republican leaders will be at the Nats game,” he said.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Washington Nationals rookie Stephen Strasburg pitches first major league game, against the Pittsburgh Pirates, on Tuesday; McConnell and Reid in a 2007 file photo)

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