Justin Steele Compares Paul Skenes' Pirates Debut to Strasburg's Memorable Start

Rain delays heighten excitement at PNC Park event.

by Abdullah Magsi
Justin Steele Compares Paul Skenes' Pirates Debut to Strasburg's Memorable Start
© Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Chicago Cubs' starting pitcher Justin Steele found himself in a unique position during Paul Skenes' highly anticipated MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As Skenes, the Pirates' top prospect, took to the mound, the electric atmosphere at PNC Park was palpable, with fans cheering enthusiastically for their new star.

The debut was a focal point for baseball enthusiasts, drawing comparisons to memorable starts like Stephen Strasburg's due to the sheer anticipation and crowd energy. Speaking on a Barstool Sports podcast episode, Steele shared his firsthand experience of the charged environment as he prepared to pitch against Skenes.

"The moment he walked out to start warming up, the crowd just erupted. I hadn't even stepped out of the dugout yet, and I could already hear the roars. It was something special, reminiscent of that iconic Strasburg debut," Steele recounted.

The day was marked by a persistent rain that led to a prolonged delay, adding to the suspense and excitement. Fans had arrived early, undeterred by the weather, their enthusiasm undampened as they awaited the start of the game.

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"There was a ton of energy around the stadium that day. It had been raining all morning, and we went into a long rain delay. We ended up staying at the field almost all day," Steele added. Steele, who has already made several starts this season, expressed his appreciation for being part of such a memorable game.

"It was cool to be there and experience that energy. It’s something I'll always remember," he noted. Despite the rain and the delay, the crowd's excitement never waned, especially when Skenes struck out his first batter, sending the fans into a frenzy.

This debut marks a significant milestone not only for Skenes but also for Steele, who witnessed a budding star's rise firsthand. This season, Steele has pitched 13.1 innings with a 4.73 ERA, recording 11 strikeouts. His performance has been solid, maintaining a WHIP of 1.20.

With Steele's return, the Cubs have bolstered their starting rotation, adding more depth and power to their lineup. As the season progresses, both Skenes and Steele are players to watch, each carving their path in the majors.

Steele's experience at PNC Park during Skenes' debut will undoubtedly remain a highlight of his career, underscoring the unforgettable nature of major league debuts and the lasting impressions they leave on players and fans alike.