I’ve straddled the fence on the whole Strasburg-as-an-All-Star-now issue, but even Saturday’s 96-pitch, 5 inning, 5 strikeout, 2 walk no-decision against the Mets — home plate umpire Scott Barry called a very tight zone against him, and he threw way too many first inning changeups — I’m falling firmly on one side of the debate.

Go ahead, put the young man on the NL roster..

Oh, I get it that his big league resume is on the scant side. He’ll have, what, eight starts by the break? To that I say, so what?

Ask yourself a few questions:

1. Is he one of the dozen or so best starting pitchers in the National League?

2. Does there appear to be anything even mildly fluky about his success so far?

3. Would NL skipper Charlie Manuel like the peace of mind that would come from having Strasburg in the bullpen to face even a single hitter in a clutch situation? (The game “counts,” as you may have heard, inasmuch as the winning league gets home field advantage in the World Series.)

4. Is the game for the fans?

5. Would his participation enhance the TV ratings?

If you’re like me, your answers are yes, no, yes, yes, and unquestionably.

It’s not like there’s any set criteria for making the All-Star team. The accepted criteria is that it’s for the players who’ve had superlative first halves, and for the aging stars of the game that the fans want to see on the big stage. To put Strasburg on the NL team with so few starts is not totally unlike putting an aging Carl Yastrzemski on the AL All-Star team his last couple of seasons. The fans still wanted to see Yaz, and the game is, after all, for the fans.

The fans of 2010 clearly want to see Strasburg. Every one of his road starts has sold more tickets than those games would’ve sold under ordinary circumstances. His home starts have drawn full-or-nearly-full houses. Local fans are finding out the meaning of “standing room.”

Here’s an entirely unscientific point: In their sixth year in Washington, the incidence of fans yelling “OOOOOHHHHHHHH” during the national anthem has diminished to a barely audible handful. At Strasburg’s home start, it’s much louder, telling you a lot of fans are venturing down the B-W Parkway to check him out.

I can respect the argument that Strasburg’s inclusion might squeeze another player off of the All-Star roster who may never get that opportunity again, but that may happen anyway, based more on the required selection of one player from every team. There’s an All-Star feature that can use some tweaking. Over the years a lot of those guys end up never getting in the game anyway, unless it’s in their home park

The fans don’t vote for the pitchers, but if they did, I have not the slightest doubt they’d send Washington’s #37 to Anaheim.

Phil Wood is a contributor to Nats Xtra on MASN. Contact him at philwood@washingtonexaminer.com.