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» Strasburg: Big-League Pitcher, Big-Time Burger
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Strasburg: Big-League Pitcher, Big-Time Burger

By • Jun 21st, 2010 • Category: Burger Blog

The Washington Nationals are not a very good baseball team.  About 40% of the way through the MLB season, they’re 11 games out of first place.  Last in their division.  But a 22-year-old kid named Stephen Strasburg has given Beltway baseball fans and cheeseburger chowhounds alike something to cheer about recently.

The right-handed pitcher from California signed a record $15.1 million contract in 2009 and was dubbed by ESPN “the most-hyped pick in draft history.”  On his way to The Show (encompassing all of April and May), Strasburg’s appearances on the mound set attendance records in two different minor-league cities.  On June 8, he got the nod to start for the Nationals against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  All he did that night was strike out 14 batters in 7 innings, allowing zero walks and picking up the win in his very first MLB game.  It was, by any measure, a record-setting way to start a career.

But the real indication of his sudden ascent to superstardom came not on the diamond at Nationals Park, but on the menu at several DC diners.  Before the kid had even hit the showers after his first game, at least three different eateries in the area had unveiled a menu item in his honor.  Everybody had a Strasburger with a clever twist, it seemed.  Tortilla Coast’s- available only when he’s pitching- features a pair of honey-glazed patties, jack cheese, and fried onions for $11.37 (since the kid they’re now calling “Strassy” wears #37).  Likewise, Loeb’s Deli was offering a trio of Strasburger sliders (with fries) for $10.37.  A spot called Glory Days trotted this flamethrower out of its bullpen:

Their Strasburger is seasoned with the restaurant’s “signature grill seasoning” and topped with spicy pepper jack cheese (“bringing the heat” like Strassy’s wicked fastball) and California-style guacamole (to honor his San Diego birthplace).  Add red pepper rings, tomato, and onion, and slap it on an artisan roll, and you’ve got a solid line-drive hit on your hands.

But the Strasburger that seems to be getting most of the burger buzz is the one in the lineup at BGR The Burger Joint:

It looks like a beast, with each element paying homage to the Nats’ newest phenom and his storied road to the bigs.  On top of that burg you’ve got Vermont cheddar cheese, with the “Syracuse Orange” color celebrating Strasburg’s stint with the Syracuse Chiefs.  Next, a hot dog split down the middle and laid on top, symbolizing Strassy’s 2009 debut with the Phoenix Desert Dogs.  Then The Burger Joint’s brass announced even before his first pitch that they’d top the Strasburger with one pickle for every strikeout the kid notched in his debut.  So, yeah, they ended up with 14 pickles.

Early taste testers suggest that the burger would be better had #37 not thrown quite so many Ks, but an overly-vinegar-doused cheeseburger is a small price to pay for a glimmer of hope in the NL East.

A buck from each sale of each $10.99 Strasburger goes to the Children’s National Medical Center in DC.  And although The Burger Joint says they’ll only offer the creation through the end of June, Strasburgmania doesn’t seem to be waning anytime soon.  Since his mind-blowing debut, Strasburg has continued to rack up record numbers, striking out more batters- 32- over his first three career starts than any other pitcher in history.  Sounds like someone had better stock up on pickles.

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