Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Redskins Anonymous

The District unveils its new "Wrong Way" sign....

The District unveils its new "Wrong Way" sign....

I kept thinking to myself “I really have to lay of the ‘Skins.  Everything you write about them is just terrible.  I’ll wait until they do something right before I post about them again.”

Well after the Warriors of Washington lost the battle of Little FedEx Horn, I’m not sure that day is going to come. Zorn has been relieved of his calling the play duties, Campbell benched-these things are as close to  “positives” as Washington will see for a while.

At this point, I think this youtube video is about as close as I can get to something to be positive about.  Lionel Richie in the background is very relaxing to be honest.  I grieve for you Washington-I suggest you start getting interested in hockey real quick.

Nationals: Are they LOVEABLE Losers Now?


Hee-Haw. A seething commentary on the state of the Nats, or are these guys just a couple of Asses having some fun?

Even on the tail end of a 100+ loss season, it is nice to end with a sweep of a division rival complete with walk off grand-slam to send the fans home for the year.  It seems like years (not months) ago that the DC Metblogs crew stopped out to the stadium for opening day-and yet that is just what bad baseball is, a long season.

Over this past year though I’ve come to realize something about at least myself with regards to bad baseball-I’m okay with it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m really looking forward to good baseball (or at least the .500 baseball we had our first season) finally coming to town-but baseball has really started to take a foothold in this town.  How can I possibly say that when the ratings are awful and the park is nearly (or more than) half empty every home game?  I think the above photo is part of that evidence.

The fact is that, good or bad, the Nationals are part of the landscape in DC now.  The new stadium isn’t ALL that new, the players aren’t all just faceless fill-ins, guys like Zimmerman and Strassburg are intent on committing to play in DC, NATS FAIL took off this year, and two fans decided to dress up like Dunn-key’s for the game.  It’s not great when your team is the joke, but at least people are laughing and not just walking out.  Apathy still reigns with regard to the Nationals and the larger DC community, but I think its fair to say that the hardcore fans are there now.  The people who want to watch baseball, rain or shine, good or bad and are otherwise committed to team are established.  That base is here now, and everyone else is at least aware that there is a team to go see if they want to.  Attendance next year probably still won’t be what everyone wants it to be, but I expect that at times it will spike (When the Opening Day, Strass pitching, etc.) and with a team that will finally, probably start playing better baseball (at least .400 I would guess) my hope is that this team is finally turning around.

And if they don’t-well they are at least a good laugh every now and then.  Something for the casual fan to kvetch about at the water cooler without really knowing what they are talking about (It’s easy to pick up on the fact that the “Nats Stink”), and a great place for the newly committed fan to go and watch a ball game and commiserate with some others that know what the score is.

I imagine later this year we’ll do a full recap of the season and a look forward to the next, but for now I just have a vaguely optimistic feeling about this club based on the appearance of a couple of jack-asses.  Go Nats.

Redskins: Fire Jim Zorn Dot Com Goes Live

I was wondering when it would go live, but Fire Jim Zorn (at blogspot) went live today.

Redskins faithful, your favorite team lost to the Detroit Lions.

I’m sorry-maybe you didn’t hear me.  The DEEEEE.  TRRRROOIT.  LIIIOONNSSSSSS…..

While I do think that Jim Zorn isn’t helping the situation, and any responsible organization would fire him from being head coach tomorrow-let’s keep in mind that this is not a responsible organization.  I think we all know who is to blame for this “bottom of a public toilet” they call a football team here in DC-but since you can’t fire him…well…Zorn is going to go.  The question is just…when.

It’s kind of like throwing out your coffee mug because the coffee tastes bad when your $4.5 million coffee pot is broken-it doesn’t really make sense, but its all you can do.

In any event-Redskins fans, prepare for endless, endless talk about what is wrong with the Redskins from now until they beat an NFC East team via all forms of local media.  My deepest condolences.

Tracking the Media Meltdown

(Note: At 8:31p I don’t see an official story on the WaPo covering the game in my RSS feed.  Sad.)

Sports Bog: Someone’s got to go.

Sports Bog: Worst loss by a DC Sports team in 2009

So Long, Zilla!

Olie the Goalie

Olie the Goalie

I know y’all are used to seeing sports posts from Frank and Patrick, but I just can’t help putting my two cents in on the news that Olaf Kolzig, beloved former goalie for the Capitals, has announced his retirement.

When I moved to the DC area in 1993, I was in dire need of a team to adopt!  I was raised in New York, where kids have to choose their team loyalties early (mine were, of course, Giants/Mets/Knicks).  Back then DC had no baseball, and pretty much all I could say was that I did know the difference between hockey and figure skates.

And so the Caps became my local favorites.  Over the years I’ve watched many a Caps game.  Olie was there through nearly all those years — from the days of carpooling out to the old Cap Centre in PG County (where said carpool driver once nearly ran over Dale Hunter by accident — thank God that didn’t happen), to the games in the new-fangled Phone Booth.  My friends and I learned the nuances of icing. I went to games wearing my #22 Konowalchuk sweater, as he rose from fourth-line to captain.  We griped when the uniforms changed to “Wizards” blue-and-gold, and cheered when they went back to their old logo.

Then!  In 1998!  It finally happened!  The Caps were able to help me check an item off my Lifetime List of Things to Do: seeing the Stanley Cup Finals.  Sure, the RedWings skated away with the Cup, but it was a blast and the team owed a lot of its success that year (and in other years) to their giant Godzilla-like keeper, “Olie the Goalie.”

The Post is polling its readership on whether the organization should retire #37.  I, personally, believe the correct answer to this question is, “Duh,” and it looks like there are those who agree (as of 4:30 PM the polling was 89% in favor)!  Sure, the Caps don’t have title pennants flying from the rafters, but in my opinion old #37 deserves recognition as the best goalie in franchise history.

What do you think, DC?  Share some of your favorite Caps moments and your opinion on whether the Caps should retire #37!

Regardless, let’s all say thanks for some great play and join in a virtual chant:  Olie! Olie! Olie!

Boo-skins: Week 2 and Fans getting Fed-up

(At least Remy kind find a funny side of the ‘Skins.  If you can’t see the video, I got it via the Sports Bog.)

So the Redskins managed to win a game yesterday, a boring 9-7 affair that was supposed to be a confidence building blow out.  I even started Clinton “Fantasy Killer” Portis in my league this year (over Fred Jackson, btw) because the consensus was “the Skins were going to bounce back hard.” (Note:  I will never ever start Clinton Portis in a fantasy league again.)

Well a 2 point win with no TDs against what is clearly one of the worst teams in the league during your home opener isn’t going to build a lot of confidence in your football program.  Which may be why some fans were booing the Skins yesterday at FedEx field-to which I say good, they deserved it.

Yes, despite the effort by the NFL and its franchises to engender a truly familial feeling between its team and its fans, the brotherly love has been seeping out slowly and surely since Dan Snyder took over the team.  Sunday some paying fans decided to express their feelings about that, and I applaud them for doing so.   Not only has this team underperformed on the field, but there has been well documented mistreatment of the fan base off the field as well.  Any fan, or non-fan really, has the right to voice their displeasure in any way they see fit (See: First Amendment).

Skins fans have seen this dance before, and they’ve been watching it for years now.  Close wins in games that should be blow outs, barely losing games they have no business in all to either not make the playoffs or make the playoffs and then do nothing.  Skins fans know that a team that cannot get into the end-zone against the Rams at home, could very well lose to Detroit on the road.  They weren’t booing a victory, but that they’ve been duped into watching a rerun.  Again.


The Tony Kornheiser Show Returns To Radio

KornheiserTony1Fellow Metblogs author Frank should be thrilled this week.

Fresh from his departure from Monday Night Football, he begged and pleaded for Tony Kornheiser to return to radio, well yesterday his dream came true as the The Tony Kornheiser Show returns to ESPN 980 AM, the place where he broadcasted between 1998-2004.

The show is going to air weekdays from 10 AM – Noon and should be available on ESPN 980’s website in on-demand and podcast formats. You should also be able to stream audio live from their website but certain people had trouble listening to Tony’s debut show yesterday. Maybe the return of his show had everyone hitting up ESPN 980’s website.

I first heard about Tony’s return on the B.S. Report with Bill Simmons, and I am a fan of PTI whenever I get a chance to watch it (almost never) so this morning I went to the site and took a listen. I have to agree that Tony really comes alive on radio, and as Jim Williams over at the Washington Examiner puts it, “you tune in to hear about sports and you come away with current events, pop culture and, most of all, an entertaining show — something rare on sports talk radio.”

Now I know what everyone in D.C. has been missing- and I’m glad he’s back.

Psst! Need a Ticket? ‘Skins Scalp Seats in Secondary Market


It’s an amazing testament to the NFL’s drawing power that a team like the Redskins still have the following they do.  Since 1997, the ‘Skins have posted just three winning seasons, signed ineffective, aging former superstars to contracts for ungodly amounts of money, sued fans, tried to stop you from walking to the stadium, or at least made you pay for parking even if you didn’t drive, and have supported the nuttiness that is Daniel F. Snyder.

None of which has dissuaded the Redskins faithful.  It is still one of the most profitable sports franchises in the world, potentially racist logo and all, despite the many missteps of the past twelve years. Still they show up, not just paying the overly expensive face value for a ticket, but often paying 2-3 times that through the “secondary” market.  “Oh well” you’re thinking, “If this is what the market demands…”

But maybe it doesn’t.

Unfortunately, it looks like the ticket sales for the ‘Skins aren’t all they are cracked up to be-and it probably cost you a lot of extra dough to boot.  The Post reported today that the people in the Redskins ticket sales office sold lots and lots of tickets to brokers (which, as Deadspin points out, is a fancy way to say “scalper”) directly.  You know, rather than to fans who wanted to go to the game.

So guess what-if you bought a ticket from Stub Hub, or (like I did) Ebay and you paid more than face value for those tickets last year, there is a chance you got hosed.  Not just by the scalper, but by the Redskins as well.  Honestly, of all the anti-consumer, disloyal, unfriendly and just bad things you can do-this takes the cake.  In most states there are laws that prevent the sale of tickets directly to brokers to protect consumers from being over charged for the value of the ticket.  Creating a scarcity of tickets by not making them available directly to fans is abhorrent, and I’m kind of glad I’m not already a fan-because this wold be something that might put me over the edge.  The idea that I could have maybe bought my tickets for a fair price but couldn’t because the team I spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year on was complicit in this act?  Unconscionable!

The official story is that this was the act of rogue employees who have been “dealt with” (whatever the heck that means!) and that Snyder was shocked and outraged-but I remain skeptical.  Especially since the one broker who spoke with the post said he was offered the lower seats only if he bought more expensive ones as well.  It seems very possible that this was just an easier way to sell tickets, and create a demand around a franchise that, frankly, hasn’t been good for a long time.

Between the ‘Skins’ excuse that it was actually only a small portion of the actual tickets sold, and the “Broker’s” opinion that without him it would be really hard to get tickets I am about to lose the coffee I had for lunch.  This isn’t a case of someone buying a bunch of tickets to lift a TV ban so that folks can see the game-this is a case of the company you support actively ripping you off.

And it won’t matter.  Fans won’t see one dime of that money back, and the organization will continue to think of the next way to squeeze a dollar out them for, at best, a mediocre product.  And DC will just keep showing up.  Maybe the Nationals should triple their ticket prices and sell them exclusively on the secondary market-demand might go up.  Hopefully a team that is performing, like the Caps, will engender this kind of blind loyalty when they fall on bad times and under perform.  There is a lot mediocrity in DC sports, but the ‘Skins seem to be the only ones going out of their way to treat their fans like garbage.

D.C. United Plays In U.S. Open Cup Final Tonight

open cup celebrationA Washington D.C. team might walk away with a championship tonight, and I’m not talking about The Nationals.

I’m talking about perhaps one of the more successful teams in DC (besides The Caps), D.C. United.

In one of the rare times I pay attention to blog advertisement, I noticed that while the MLS franchise might not make the cut for MLS post-season play; tonight they are in the finals of the country-wide Pro-Am soccer competition. D.C. United is the current title holder and is seeking to defend their title, with two already under their belt, against the Seattle Sounders (who aren’t totally happy the game will be in DC.) The champion of the U.S. Open Cup goes on to represent the U.S. in the CONCACAF Champions League.

In celebration of the championship game, RFK Stadium will be selling tickets at the same cost as when they won their first Open Cup in 1996. That means tickets are going to start at $12 ($10 for college students) and with $2 beers and hot dogs, the game sounds like a great deal for a cool September night.

The game starts at 7:30 P.M. at RFK Stadium, on TV it will be aired on Fox Soccer Channel.

To end this post I need to quote the post I read which pretty much sums it up:

“D.C. United. We win trophies. Join us for the next one.”

The Strasburg Deal: A Washington Historical Perspective.


In 1907, a young farm boy from Kansas took the field in for the Washington Nationals (although everyone called them the Senators) and began the greatest career a pitcher has ever had in baseball history.  Over 5,900 innings pitched and just over 2 runs earned per game.  417 wins, 110 shutouts and 531 complete games.  3,508 strikeouts.  Twice he was the American League MVP, and near his seventeenth year in the league, he won a World Series (the only one Washington has ever known).

Walter Johnson is a member of the inaugural class of the Baseball Hall of Fame and  is considered by many to be the most dominant pitcher ever.  And, according to this article from the NY Times 1914, he was offered the incredibly rich sum of $20,000 a year over three years to play in Chicago.  Now Clark Griffin, owner of the Nationals/Senators fought this with Johnson who didn’t honor his contract with Chicago-returning to Washington for the sum of $12,500.

Adjusting for inflation, the far more generous sum of $20,000 works out to $430,702.  Assuming his twenty year career earned him $20,000 a year (which it certainly did not) he would have made $400,000 dollars all told (That’s $8.6 million converting from 1914 to 2009 money).

Last night, Stephen Strasburg signed a 4 year $15 million dollar deal including a $7.5 million dollar bonus.  In one fell swoop, a 21 year old pitcher who has never taken a major league field has already surpassed the career earnings of one of the game’s (and certainly Washington’s) greatest sports legends.  By the end of next year, whether he does well or not, he will have earned more than the Big Train’s adjusted career earnings as well.

Of course this isn’t a particularly fair comparison-baseball at the turn of the century is a completely different animal than baseball today.  And to put Walter Johnson’s career in front of a young guy like Strasburg and say “Do this”-well you might as well ask a flashlight to out perform the sun.  That said, this deal is done.  Boras and Co. have made this young man very rich, and expectations will be (and should be) high even without comparing him to Johnson.

As unfair as it is, I am making the comparison anyway-and I will be expecting monumental things from Mr. Strasburg.  Or at least $15 million worth of pitching over the next four years.

Deadline Looms for Nats and Strasburg

Will Strasburg sign?

Will Strasburg sign?

Good Friday morning DC Sports fans, this is the opening bell for Stras-watch here in the District.  While the club will struggle in Cincinnati trying to take a few off the Reds this weekend, the front office is likely beating its head against and even harder to do (and certainly more costly) task-signing #1 draft pick over all Stephen Strasburg.  The deadline for signing picks is End of the Day Monday, and while the Nats don’t play that day they will certainly finish either winners or losers.

The problem seems to be on the player/agent side, and not on the club.  Although all signs seem to point to the Nationals willingness to pay Astronomical money for the prospect, Scott Boras and said prospect are holding out for “Ludicrous Speed” type money.  This comes out smart on both sides of the ball-Pitchers are notoriously easy to completely miss on-and even though he’s been hailed as the best pitching prospect since Kerry Wood or Mark Prior…well look what happened to Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.  So Stras is smart to want his money up front, and the Nationals are right not to give everything over to this guy.

I agree with Zimmerman’s comments in that this is the kind of guy the club needs to sign.  The problem seems to be the Nationals have made a habit of biting off a bit more than they can chew lately.  You have to applaud the gusto it takes to try sign a guy like Mark Teixeira or to not take a pass on the #1 pick and shoot for the stars-but there is clearly something rotten in the Nations Capitol, and the Major League ball players can smell it.  The really great players want to go to the really great teams, and not just ones that are willing to pay.  And yet, the Nationals cannot get better quickly without signing at least a few of those really big players-even draft picks.

Most people seem to think he will sign sometime late Monday.  Really, the Strasburg’s signing will hinge on whether he wants to play this year or not-and I would guess (with no real information at all, of course) that he does.  Going back to school, or playing independent ball is not going to pay anything and risk injury.  Even slightly less than you want is better than nothing, and Boras and Strasburg have to know that.

Hopefully Tuesday night’s game against the Rockies will not just be a welcome home for the Nationals, but also welcome to the Nationals for Mr. Strasburg.

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