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Jim Williams: Strasburg may not pitch, but he'll still be watched

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Sports,Jim Williams

The Nationals will make their playoff debut Sunday, and fans should get ready for the "Strasburg cam." Washington won 98 games and finished with the best record in baseball, but the national media continues to fixate on the shutting down of Stephen Strasburg.

During a conference call, TBS color analysts Ron Darling and John Smoltz made it clear that while they will talk about the entire team, Strasburg will be a part of the telecast as well.

What are your thoughts on the Nationals entering the playoffs without Strasburg?

Broadcast crew
Cal Ripken Jr. is going to be part of the TBS broadcast team as a booth analyst. In the past, he has been part of the TBS studio pre- and postgame team, but now he is working with Ernie Johnson, John Smoltz and Craig Sager. The TBS crew working the Nationals' series will be Dick Stockton, Bob Brenly and Washington's own David Aldridge.

Smoltz » "It is an intimidation factor -- that's really what it is. There is an intimidation and an edge that you have when you have Strasburg, and when you don't it's a little bit more difficult but not impossible. I think because it was so talked about it took away from the success that this team had. But we will no doubt have shots of Strasburg sitting on the bench during the game, and we will comment on the success of the team without him. It simply is part of the story of the Nationals. Not all the story of the Nats by far, but one that should and will be addressed."

Did the Strasburg story become too big of a story?

Darling » "The [Strasburg] story became an entire-year story, and I think that's a shame. Lost in this is how great [Jordan] Zimmermann, [Gio] Gonzalez, Bryce Harper and the rest of the team were. That said, it is our job to make sure that we give fans a full back story on the team and how the Nationals finished with the best record in baseball."

Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter at wordmandc.

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