Update: I had a brief conversation with some Nats officials on Monday; they made it clear that they were not attempting to say anything ill about the Redskins, that they support all local teams, and that Andy Feffer was merely talking about his own team’s rise, not any other local franchise.
Whether it reflects reality or not, Ted Leonsis has discovered the best possible approach to other sports teams in this market: unconditional praise.
“We can achieve and do well while others do well — we don’t need others to fail so we can succeed,” Leonsis recently wrote. “We are positive, NOT negative....We are in it together and I hope and believe that the DMV can become a top five sports community in the world. A community that embraces and supports all teams in all sports.”
Does he believe that privately? I have no idea. You’d think the local sports community has a limited number of ticket purchases and TV eyeballs, and in some ways the local teams actually are in competition. But again, for a public approach, his is the only sensible way.
Which is why I was somewhat surprised to read this passage from Robert McCartney’s Metro column on the rise of the Nats:
Even though most sports experts scoff at such heresy, I think the Nationals could even supplant the Redskins as the region’s most revered team. They’d have to win a World Series, and the Redskins would have to stay mired in mediocrity (which no right-thinking person desires).
A top Nats executive didn’t shy away from challenging Redskin predominance. While Chief Operating Officer Andy Feffer said diplomatically that, of course, he wants all local teams to succeed, he stressed that the Nats are on top in our market — even as the Redskins prepare to introduce promising new quarterback Robert Griffin III.
“The Nationals and baseball are the hottest thing in Washington right now. All you have to do is turn on local radio,” Feffer said. “We are the team in Washington that people are talking about.”
That’s an interesting opinion. And local radio is talking more about the Nats than ever before. But the most devoted sports-radio listeners in town would probably dispute his claim.
And regardless, it’s a no-win argument. The casual fans you want to attract are largely Redskins fans who don’t need a reminder of the past 20 years. Don’t worry about being the hottest thing in Washington. Just keep winning, and see what happens.
BECAUSE YOU DON’T READ THE PAPER...
Bryce Harper looked like a 19-year old prodigy again as the Nats beat the Mets.
Boz, on experiencing a pennant race, with the Braves on deck.
Chipper Jones talks about trying to chase down Washington.
The Redskins appear to have dodged two potentially serious injuries to defensive starters.
D.C. United had a wacky, wacky Sunday afternoon.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Trevor Booker is being weird.
Did u know it is illegal to have sex with Satan without a condom in Bakersfield, California? Crazy fact— Trevor Booker (@35_Fitz) August 19, 2012
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
Davey Johnson on Harper’s big game.
“I think he was trying to send a message to me: ‘Don’t bench me. That’s what you’re missing.’ ”
PHOTO OF THE DAY
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
The Braves are at the Nats at 7 on MASN. The Orioles are in Texas at 8 on MASN2. All TV/Radio listings are here.
A couple of Ovechkin-Kirilenko sightings in Georgetown.
Nats “Three Aces” artwork.
A D.C. bar offered a “Dibble’s a Douche” drink special.
Andray Blatche was “kind of upset” that the team listed him as out with conditioning issues.
WALTER JOHNSON’S SON
“Edwin R. Johnson, 94, a Montgomery County farmer who was the son of Walter Johnson, the Hall of Fame pitcher for the old Washington Senators, died Aug. 12 at his home.”
Why season beers come out so dang early.