Congratulations and welcome to the 3,287th column, article, blog post, essay, profile, feature, kindergarten-free write, and poem you’ll read about Stephen Strasburg this week.

Please feel free to check your coat at the door, and be sure to leave your name and address with my secretary. Your parting gifts will be arriving by mail in seven to 10 business days…

Just kidding, of course.

There’ll be no gifts, at least not from Instead, tonight’s gift comes from Strasburg himself, when he takes the mound against the Pirates.

Because when Strasburg does make his debut, this will be bigger than just a baseball game. It’ll be a potentially historic event, and certainly the greatest unveiling of an American professional athlete since LeBron James hit NBA courts in 2003.

Arguably, it’ll be the most hyped regular season baseball game in recent memory, and certainly the biggest for the Nationals since the franchise moved to Washington a few years ago.

Maybe the most intriguing part of this game though, is the uncertainty surrounding Strasburg himself.

Either way, buckle up. We’re in for a wild ride.

As I mentioned before, Tuesday night will mark the most anticipated debut of any American athlete since LeBron James in 2003. But the cloak of secrecy surrounding Strasburg makes him the anti-LeBron.

Remember, when LeBron was a senior in high school, most of his games were televised on national TV. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 17. When his single mom bought him a Hummer, it became a national news story.

No, seriously—I remember hearing about the Hummer not from ESPN, but ABC’s World News Tonight .

By the time LeBron actually played his first NBA game, we all felt like we knew him personally. He was already a brand, one of the five most marketable guys in the league.

What makes Strasburg’s MLB debut on Tuesday night so fascinating is that in this 24-hour, ESPNews, Twitter-fueled society we live in, the guy is basically a blank canvas.

(This is just PART of Aaron’s article on Stephen Strasburg’s debut. To read this piece in its entirety, please visit him at )

Seriously, what do we know about him?

Okay, he went to San Diego State and played for Tony Gwynn, I’ll give you that. He was the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft and is represented by agent Scott Boras (also known as Satan’s golf partner). He’s been blowing away overmatched hitters at a rate we haven’t seen since Brendan Fraser played Steve Nebraska in the terrible baseball movie The Scout .

Other than that, give me something on Strasburg. Anything. I’ve heard he drinks a lot of tea. That’s all I’ve really got.

Strasburg is the great unknown.

What kind of pitches does he throw? How tall is he? Let me put it to you another way: If Strasburg was standing next to you at the DMV or grocery store and wasn’t wearing a baseball uniform, would you have any idea who the guy was?

I write about sports for a living, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t know.

Comparing Strasburg to LeBron is easy, but to me the more ample comparison is to Bigfoot. Sasquatch. Yeah, that guy.

The only footage we have of Strasburg is grainy film from the back woods of Syracuse, Harrisburg, and Altoona. The only people who’ve seen him play in person are old scouts named Chick and Red, and honestly, can we really trust someone named Chick or Red?

Could the stories they’re telling possibly be true?

That Strasburg once struck out three batters on nine pitches? That his changeup was once clocked at 97? That he pushed the team bus four miles when it ran out of gas?

Where does the legend end and reality kick in?

Pitching every fifth day only helps. Unlike a position player in baseball, or an NBA or NHL prodigy, we’re getting just enough Strasburg without being overwhelmed. There aren’t game-to-game, minute-to-minute updates. But when he does slip our minds—if only for a second—there he is back on the mound every fifth day twirling a gem.

Strasburg finished the most decorated two-month minor league career in baseball history with PlayStation-like numbers. He went 7-2 with a 1.30 ERA in 11 starts between Double-A and Triple-A, striking out 65 batters in 55.1 innings.

Supposedly he also sold hot dogs on his off days and cured cancer on the team bus during a road trip from Harrisburg to Hershey Park. Supposedly.

All this brings us back to Tuesday night, and maybe the most celebrated regular season baseball game, since…umm…well, I really don’t know. I spent 20 minutes arguing the point with buddy Finn on the phone Monday….

(This is just PART of Aaron’s article on the debut of Stephen Strasburg. To read the rest, please click here , or visit him at .

Also, for his thoughts on all things sports, be sure to follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres and )

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