WASHINGTON -- Hall of Famer and Padres broadcaster Tony Gwynn said he is not surprised that Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg has been a dominant pitcher in the Major Leagues. Gwynn should know. He coached Strasburg for three years when both were at San Diego State University.
Strasburg was dominating there, too, going 22-7 with a 1.59 ERA in 52 games. What has surprised Gwynn, however, is how Strasburg has handled all the media attention.
"Every game has been on national TV. Everybody wants five minutes, 10 minutes, including myself," Gwynn said. "We are trying to figure out what makes this kid tick. Having been around him longer than all the other media guys, you just kind of know the 'it' quality that he has.
"You couldn't be prouder of the way he has handled stuff. I don't know how he does it. He does it and is very respectful of everybody. He could be frustrated because the Nationals haven't scored a lot of runs for him. He has been unbelievable."
Gwynn also said reporters are out of line when they compare him to basketball great Michel Jordan, who received a lot of media attention in the 1980s and '90s.
"You have to earn that title. In baseball, we haven't seen anything like it, so we have to look somewhere else where it might be similar," Gwynn said. "I'm sure when Michael came into the NBA, I'm sure he didn't have as much buzz as Stephen has. I think as Stephen goes along, it's hard to say this, but he is going to get better."
After the Nationals finished batting practice, there was Strasburg jogging toward Gwynn. They shared a big bear hug, which made Gwynn feel good. At first, Gwynn thought Strasburg would not come his way, because Gwynn was wearing his media badge. Like many in the media, Gwynn is trying to get one-on-one time with his pupil. Gwynn didn't say if he was getting the interview.