Stephen Strasburg and the Best Laid Plans of Mice and Realtors

To say Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg has been treated with kid gloves once coaches realized there was a lightning bolt attached to his right arm would be a severe understatement.

At San Diego State, coach Tony Gwynn (yes, that Tony Gwynn) went out of his way to make sure his phenom didn’t throw more than 100 pitches. Last June he was drafted by the hapless Nationals and this spring he made his debut in the minor leagues. Again, the 100-pitch barrier was put into place … all this based on the latest view that there only are so many lightning bolts to be thrown.

Sorry, Zeus, you’ll have to let Achilles figure this one out on his own. You’re on a pitch count.

The Nationals also were carefully gauging Strasburg’s total innings pitched, again based on a relatively new theory that a pitching arm only can handle incremental increases in that total from year to year and, as a college pitcher, Strasburg never had thrown all that many innings. (There’s a decent argument that such pitch counts and innings limit create a psychological barrier, but that’s another story for another day and has less to do with real estate than today’s first half-dozen paragraphs.)

About the only thing not done by the National was to encase the right-hander in bubble wrap.

And then a funny thing happened. Stephen Strasburg’s shoulder tightened up before a scheduled start last week and he was placed on the 15-day disabled list. The Nationals had done everything they could to try and protect his right shoulder only to learn that Mother Nature still is going to do what she wants to do.

Real estate transactions tend to follow the same path. There’s a running joke at my favorite title company that my files are cursed, which is to say they sometimes become complicated. (I’d like the record to show I’ve had as many escrows fly through with nary a hiccup as those needing beneficiary deeds and other fun, just to protect my own reputation.)

There always are going to be surprises of some sort during a transaction. Some of them are caused by the people on the other side of the transaction, some are caused by my own clients and some, like Stephen Strasburg’s right shoulder, are practical jokes of the gods and thoroughly unavoidable.

There are two keys to overcoming these challenges when they happen – having an agent who knows what to do to resolve the situation (or at the very worst knows where to get the answer) and accepting that there are going to be times when a little give and take is needed.

Screaming into the wind isn’t going to make Stephen Strasburg’s arm feel any better, therapeutic as it might be; all that can be done is choose the best course of rehabilitation and get it him back on the mound. At the same time, demanding that this is the way it has to be in a negotiated situation isn’t always going to have a positive outcome, especially once the transaction is underway and there’s little leeway. At that point, all that can be done is to find the best possible resolution within the bounds of what is possible.

Obstacles only remain such for as long as we allow them to be.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Doug Francis 7 years ago

    Although I live about fifteen minutes from Nationals Park, I have yet to see him pitch. A friend called me the day of his opener to see him pitch but I had a conflict (6th grade PTA).

    I have you lined up to be the Zillow starter (I voted), and sure hope you make the All Star Game!

  • Jonathan Benya 7 years ago

    I live close to the park as well (hello, Doug Francis!), but haven’t had the pleasure of seeing him pitch yet. I think the Nationals have made a mistake with Strasburg, and it’s much like a common mistake that Realtors make.

    The Nat’s have put all of their cash into one pitcher, a franchise player. When he’s on the DL and unable to pitch, they’ve got a generally lousy team. The same goes for agents that cater to a very narrow market. If you only work with Indymac REO’s, what happens if they decide to find a new agent, for example?

    Wow, I think I feel a new blog post coming on!

  • Jonathan Dalton 7 years ago

    Glad I gave you a post, Jon!

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