How hot are D.C. sports right now? Just days before ESPN the Magazine is scheduled to release its D.C.-themed issue, Sports Illustrated is coming out with its own Baltimore/D.C.-themed issue, which will begin hitting newsstands on Wednesday.
The cover calls this region America’s “Unlikely Sports Capital.” Ha.
The national cover image is of the Orioles, with the cover story by David Simon, the creator of The Wire. The other cover headlines tout stories on Davey Johnson (by Tom Verducci) and RGIII (by S.L. Price). There is also an essay on D.C. sports by local boy Seth Davis, a graphic showing previous D.C. sports saviors who didn’t work out, and a short Manny Machado story. That’s a lot of local content.
A few of the juicier excerpts:
The quote that could make national headlines comes when Verducci asks Johnson if the Nats could have handled Strasburg the way the Braves handled Kris Medlen.
“No! It’s a crock of [bleep] what they’re doing with Medlen. It ain’t anywhere close [to Strasburg]. They’re trying to act like geniuses. Here’s the deal. And their whole life they’re raised to go through a certain process at certain times of the year. And ballplayers go through them in the spring. Now you take Doc Halladay or anybody, and if you start varying that — don’t let him [pitch] for a month? You don’t what’s going to happen.”
Boom-ish. Verducci also quotes what Johnson said in that famous team meeting from a few weeks back, including this line.
“When we lose, it’s hard on the coaches and the manager. We don’t sleep as good. So could you please start winning a few damn games and make it easier on this old guy.”
”Baltimore is a scarred city, and over the last 15 years its baseball team has offered little emotional sanctuary,” reads the subhed to Simon’s story. “Then came the 2012 Orioles, whose run — by any standard, empirical or metaphysical — has been nothing short of a miracle.”
The essay is pretty intense; Simon talks about being from Washington, growing up a Senators fan, and what the Orioles have come to mean to him and his family, sort of.
This is the most D.C. of stories, with Price visiting Nellie’s (!), quoting Marion Barry, and writing that D.C. “remains the fractured core of whatever we mean when we speak of the Redskins’ identity. The city’s love for the team is a deep, troubled and wondrous thing, and with its last Super Bowl payoff, 20 years ago, came a civic unity that it hasn’t experienced since.”
Price also quotes an NFL Network Tweet that was included in a D.C. Sports Bog item that was then excerpted on the WaPo’s sports front, as an example of The Post’s mood. But it was the NFL Network that started it!!!!
Anyhow, enjoy it, everyone. You’re now living in the Unlikely Sports Capital.