Monday, May 17, 2010

The Number 32

Back in January, 2010, Our Washington Nationals 2009 1st Round,10th Pick Overall, was making his first stop of the Winter Caravan. Drew Storen was standing inside The Unity Health Care Clinic in SW Washington along with Our Manager Jim Riggleman, fellow pitcher Ryan Speier and Infielder Danny Espinosa. The first thing I noticed: On Storen's Nationals Jersey back--the Number 58 was largely displayed.

How did you get that number?--I asked.

Drew Storen: "Not my first choice. In fact, I wish my number was half that. But I had no choice in the matter."

The Number 58 was odd at the time because if you recall last June, when Storen signed one day after the draft, Drew was introduced at Nationals Park wearing Number 26--his college number at Stanford. And the only player to wear that number on the Major League Roster in 2009 was Logan Kensing. But what was not public this past January, until Spring Training began, was that Jesus Flores had changed his number to 26--from Number 3.

Flores had seniority. Storen did not. 26 was no longer available.

Any Drew Storen thoughts of playing Major League Baseball in his well known number--had been put aside--for now.

Yet, with every disappointment, new opportunity arises, And when Brian Bruney was Designated For Assignment yesterday, the Number 32 might now become a new possibility for Storen--if Bruney's services are not retained by Our Washington Nationals over the next 10 games. There couldn't be a better match.

Since Chad Cordero was released by Washington in 2008, no player wearing Jersey Number 32 for D.C.'s Team has raised their game to such a level as "The Most Thrilling Closer In The Game". Not Brian Bruney this year, nor Jamie Burke or Kip Wells in 2009. Number 32 has become just another uniform number.


Time to change that.

Like Chad Cordero, Drew Storen advanced quickly through Washington's Farm System. They each wear The Flat-Brim Hat. They've even met once, back in September 2003, when Drew was Bat Boy for One-Day for The Montreal Expos in Cincinnati.

Jersey Number 32 was once a prideful number for Our Washington Nationals from 2005-2008. A Number worn by an All-Star.

As anyone that follows the game closely understands--Jersey Numbers are big. And Number 32 is an important numeral in the short history of Our Washington Nationals. There is no one more deserving than Drew Storen to wear that number again with The Curly "W". Drew Storen and the Number 32 are a perfect combination.

Perfect in every way. A nod to the past, a look to the future.

Of course, it's not half of the Number 58--as Storen wished for in January. (Drew will start his Major League Career wearing Number 58 tonight in St. Louis) But 32 is pretty darn close--and it's fitting for a potential closer.

PS--Looking back on that Unity Health Care story, I also found it funny to remember asking Danny Espinosa why he was wearing Number 3 that day--then the well known Jesus Flores Number. Espinosa's reply: "It's the number they gave me." Just like Drew Storen.



cass said...

I've been a bit disappointed that "32" was reassigned so lightly over the years. Storen would be a worthy successor to the number, if he wants it. It'd also be nice to have Cordero back, but he seems to be struggling in AAA.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Cass--that's a good point. 32 was reassigned over the past two years with no regard to the history. And that's a shame. The history is important and until Washington starts retiring their own famous numbers--they need to be careful about previous uniform numbers worn by All-Star and well-regarded players.