The Kastles, the Lakers and winning streaks

The Washington Kastles of World Team Tennis have been explicitly comparing their endless winning streak to those of “major” pro sports teams for months. Tuesday night, they again drove that message home, bringing a defeated Lakers jersey onto the court after they won their 34th straight, which they called “the longest winning streak ever by a major U.S. pro sports team.”

And they even earned congrats from Lakers exec Jeannie Buss. Via the AP’s Joseph White:

“We made history. Tonight is magic,” said coach Murphy Jensen, sporting a white hat with the number 34. “This experience has been beyond belief. These guys have made a masterpiece, and this team will never be forgotten.”

Such hyperbole is a matter for debate, considering that the WTT typically isn’t considered a “major” sports league and that its top players appear only in selected matches, creating an atmosphere more comparable to that of a fan-friendly minor league baseball team.

The Lakers, on the other hand, had an undisputed landmark achievement that continues to stand as the high-water mark for the NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball.

Still, winning 34 in a row on any level isn’t easy. Among those tipping a hat to the Kastles was Lakers executive Jeanie Buss, who was involved with World TeamTennis in the 1970s as an executive for the Los Angeles Strings.

Some cynics online, naturally, quickly found other massive winning streaks, like that of the San Diego Sockers of the Professional Arena Soccer League. The Sockers won 48 straight recently, which the Union-Tribune called the longest winning streak in “U.S. professional sports.”

Tennis, of course, is bigger than indoor soccer, and the Kastles’ roster is a major step up from that of the PASL. But is WTT major? Does it matter? Probably not, when you’ve gotten USA Today to cover your regular season.

Some might suggest that this streak doesn’t belong in the same company as the Lakers’. Hall of Famer Billie Jean King begs to differ.

“(The wins) have really helped put us on the map in a much bigger way,” King said. “For Mylan World TeamTennis it couldn’t be a greater night.”

Now they just need to find a way to top DiMaggio’s streak. Also, had they lost on Tuesday, those “34″ t-shirts and hats would have been amazing souvenirs.

MARLINS ARE MARKETING GIO GONZALEZ
The Nats upcoming series in Miami has prompted a special ticket offer for Gio Gonzalez’s family and friends. “Gio Gonzalez makes his return home to Miami when the Miami Marlins take on the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park,” reads the promo. “Gio’s family & friends receive an exclusive discount on tickets.” If the Nats did something similar for a guy from the Mets or Braves, you would be picking up brain matter of Nats’ fans from outside the center-field gates. (Via Big League Stew and others.)

WISE ON DREW STOREN
It’s July 10. Rafael Soriano was signed with the Nats in January. But anyhow, here’s Mike Wise on the objectionable vileness of that signing:

They made it Drew Storen’s fault. They took his job away….I do blame everyone in the organization if they decided to use the worst night of a kid’s career as a referendum on his future as the team’s closer. Whether Soriano shuts the door in the ninth inning of a deciding playoff game or not, Drew Storen deserved better than that.

METRO TRAINS STEALING LUNCH BAGS
Another advantage for lunch boxes: Metro doors will not be able to snatch them.

NATS HAT IN BALTIMORE
I’d hardly be living up to the standards of everyone who hates me and believes my blog is trivial and useless and far beneath the lofty standards of The Washington Post if I didn’t point out this guy wearing a Nats hat during a recent pro-wrestling event in Baltimore, right?

WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
The Nats are in Philly at 7 on MASN. All TV and radio listings are here.

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Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg | July 9, 2013