Dave Sheinin tracks Stephen Strasburg throughout first pro season

I discovered Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post in 2010, the first full year of Stephen Strasburg’s professional career. It was an historic time in baseball, given that Strasburg had signed the largest amateur contract since Mark Prior in 2001 and had done it just 77 seconds before the deadline. So talk about pressure on this 21-year-old kid, right? There were so many story lines to follow for whoever was brave enough to do it.

And there was Dave Sheinin. He spent all of 2010 chronicling Strasburg’s foray throughout the Minor Leagues and into the Majors. One of the articles that sticks with me, and still reminds me why I wanted to be a sports journalist in the first place, is his April 25 piece, “Stephen Strasburg: In minor leagues, phenom tries to blend in while his talent stands out.” You can read the entire article here. As someone who’s always dabbled in fiction, this piece stood out to me because of Sheinin’s prose. It was a nice surprise to discover that even “flowery” language is acceptable in sports writing, and that it could lend a hand to mundane descriptions of ground outs to first.

(Plus, Sheinin wrote a profile over a month ago about an amateur car race that might be one of the best things I’ve read this year.)

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4 thoughts on “Dave Sheinin tracks Stephen Strasburg throughout first pro season

  1. Ben Bolton

    I love articles where reporters sort of embed themselves in the story. It allows them to see details no one else can, and provide the public a sense of who someone really is. I remember following Strasburg’s climb through the minors, but the description in this article allows me to visualize what it was like to see him for the first time. The gasps, his work ethic, how he interacted with teammates, and even how he dealt with fame and expectation were all things that made this fun to read.

    Reply
  2. jleber10

    I think this piece serves as a great compliment to the piece I posted on Mike Cervenak. Both profile the life of a minor league baseball player, albeit the treatment of both players is immensely different. I am not surprised that Strasburg remained so composed when first dealing with the pressures of being a pro baseball player, considering his icy cool demeanor on the mound.

    Excellent writing by Sheinin, especially in the sections about Strasburg living away from home for the first time. I am an out-of-state college student, so I know the feeling of living far away from home for the first time in your life. Amazingly, Strasburg went through exactly what college graduates go through despite the hype. This helps me connect with Strasburg, as he seems more like an average 20-something than a superhuman throwing machine.

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  3. crstroh

    Sheinin takes a legend in the making and breaks his story down to a more relatable level. We all know the Strasburg that has been on ESPN ever since his MLB debut, but a retrospect look at him being the shining star in the minors shows a new side to the story.

    Reply
  4. welchsuggs

    Sheinin also just published a book on RGIII’s first season and the decision to play him in the Seattle game. Excerpted in SI last week or the week before.

    Reply

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