Wieters relates as Strasburg debuts
Orioles catcher faced similar spotlight as Nationals phenom
BALTIMORE -- Orioles catcher Matt Wieters can relate to the hype surrounding Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg, who made his highly anticipated Major League debut in the nation's capital Tuesday night.
"It's a lot the first day," Wieters said of the media circus and myriad of non-baseball-related events that occur when a potential superstar makes his big league debut. "But it's a good feeling once you get out there and the actual game gets under way."
The fifth overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, Wieters was just 23 when he got the call to Baltimore, an event that the usually reserved Orioles organization announced three days in advance. The O's were 23-25 at the time and drew a crowd of 42,704 at Camden Yards for Wieters' debut, which came May 29, 2009, against the Tigers.
"I don't think it's the nerves that get you, because you've been waiting for this moment for a long time in your life," said Wieters, who went 0-for-4 in the Orioles' 7-2 win. "But it's all the stuff that's not baseball-related that you have to go through and you have to deal with. But Strasburg has been dealing with it the last couple months or so, especially just leading up to when [he got called up]. He had a little more time."
Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in last year's Draft, flew through the Minor Leagues in two months to make Tuesday's debut against the Pirates, which was expected to be a sellout event at Nationals Park. He went a combined 7-2 with a 1.30 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings for Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse before Washington announced -- well in advance -- that the phenom would be joining the Major League club.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.