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I was in a diner in Delaware this morning killing time before a funeral. An old guy in the booth beside me, who had been rifling through newspapers, started complaining to his wife about not being able to find out “if he signed or not.”

I had to know. I turned around and asked, “Who are you talking about?”

“Stephen Strasburg,” he said.

I told him that, yeah, ’round midnight the kid agreed to be a Nat.

Had the Nats signed him months ago even for the same record amount, nobody except hardcore fans would have given a rip. By dragging things out until the last minute, serendipitously or not, the Lerners got the whole world to care.

Well, me and one old dude in Delaware, anyway. I’m not sure about the wife.