As Mr Burns's monkeys wrote; 'It was the best of times; it was the blurst of times'
Back when Smoking was banned in all California bars and restaurants. Back when Paula Jones accused U.S. President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment. Back when the Winter Olympics were held in Nagano, Japan. It was a time when Titanic crushed the opposition, winning a record 11 Oscars. And perhaps most importantly of all, back when the Food and Drug Administration approved Viagra for use as a treatment for male impotence, the first pill to be approved for this condition in the United States.
In case you haven't guessed as yet, the year was 1998 and a young rookie called Kerry Wood, well, he went and did something special. In what was only his his fifth career start, on May 6, he threw a one-hit, no walk, 20-strikeout shutout against the Houston Astros, tying Roger Clemens' record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game.
Sensational stuff. As I remember it, his 'stuff' that day was nothing short of out of this world. Watching Strasburg last night, I found myself thinking, 'In my mind, Woods's 'stuff' was actually better, can that be true? Or am I imagining it?'
Naturally, only one way to find out. Let's check the footage out!
(God bless the Internet!)
Quick digression. Remember that 'Friends' episode where a manic Alec Baldwin, giving a hint way back then as to his comedic potential, was running around calling everything the 'best I have ever seen'?
Well, isn't that just the best 'stuff' you have ever seen? I mean come on! Cartoon artists couldn't draw better sweeping curveballs. Look at the break on some of those pitches, insane!
To me, and really there is no need to compare last night and that night way back then but let's do it anyway, to me Wood's fifth start was actually even better than the Washington rookie's. Hey, there's absolutely no shame in fourteen strikeouts, even if it was against the Pirates, however just watch that video again and tell me Wood wasn't just that little bit more special, that night against Houston.
On a related side note, here's hoping that Kerry Wood and his subsequent stuttering, semi-broken career stand as a lighthouse of warning to Washington. Here's hoping they handle Strasburg with kid gloves and we get to enjoy him for many years to come.
Not just a couple of sensational starts.