Wendell Williams

Washington Nationals superstar pitcher Stephen Strasburg recently stopped by the Del Rey Farmers Market on Saturday, July 16, to talk baseball with longtime Street Sense Vendor Wendell Williams. Mr. Strasburg was very warm, low-keyed, humble and almost kind-of shy.  This Major League Baseball player looked and came across as just like any other 28-year old.

When asked about being shut down early during his playoff run a few years ago, Mr. Strasburg simply answered that he was so young in the game that he just followed and did what he was told. I got the feeling that he had regrets, but not any resentments on the matter. I asked about his new contract and he very skillfully and respectfully made no comment.  We then talked about the all-star game in which he didn’t get a chance to play. Without addressing it directly, he indicated that the decision may not have entirely been his own.

For me, the big moment of honesty came when I admitted that at the end of last year I was trying to convince Richard and Jim, my longtime Street Sense supporters, friends and big Nats fans, that we needed to trade Strasburg while he still had value. He looked at me and we both laughed and agreed it’s a good thing I wasn’t the Nat’s GM. Because there was nothing outwardly labeling him a million dollar athlete, he just walked down the street, got into an everyday looking Ford pick-up and quietly drove away with just a few of us even noticing who he was.