This wasn’t exactly the farewell season Davey Johnson hoped for. He’d proclaimed that the motto of his last year as Nationals manager was “World Series or bust,” and even the baseball-oblivious know how that ended. Still, Johnson, who has a 224-183 record with the Nationals, was critical in turning the franchise around. When he took the job in 2011, the Nats had never had a winning season. Now they’ve had two back to back. And Washington has something to brag (and cheer) about.
2nd: Mike Shanahan
3rd: Ben Olsen
The 2013 Nationals weren’t able to repeat as NL East champs, but at least they were our readers’ favorite team again. And with the Redskins and Capitals coming off division titles, that’s an accomplishment. Perhaps it’s because the team’s mix of young guns (Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg and Ian Desmond) and grizzled vets (Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Denard Span) will likely be a force to be reckoned with for a while.
2nd: Washington Capitals, capitals.nhl.com
3rd: Washington Redskins, redskins.com
The Nationals’ home attendance was up by more than 2,500 people per game this year. And it’s no wonder. Going to Nats Park isn’t just about the baseball: There are new restaurants outside the park and an eclectic food selection inside — the stadium-version of Ben’s Chili Bowl remains a favorite. Now, if they could just work on lowering those beer prices.
1500 South Capitol St. SE; 202-640-7000,washington.nationals.mlb.com. (Navy Yard)
2nd: Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW; 202-628-3200, verizoncenter.com. (Gallery Place)
3rd: RFK Stadium, 2400 E. Capitol St. SE; 202-587-5000, dcunited.com/stadium. (Stadium-Armory)
Robert Griffin III
The Redskins’ quarterback didn’t let his January knee injury keep him out of the spotlight — or off of our Best of 2013 list. As he worked his way back to health during the offseason, Griffin kept a high profile, doing commercials and even starring in a documentary. Although he’s still struggling to regain his 2012 form on the field, he eked out a win with our readers, beating last year’s Best Of winner, Bryce Harper.
2nd: Bryce Harper
3rd: Alex Ovechkin
College Athletic Program
George Washington Colonials
Some Best Of winners defy interpretation, such as the Colonials. The men’s and women’s basketball teams combined to go 27-33 last season, and the baseball team (26-32) didn’t do much better. But, hey, perhaps fans are stoked about the men’s water polo team, which leaped to a top 20 ranking after a 9-2 start to the season (before falling to 10-7). Or, maybe, in the city that loves its Racing Presidents, we just really like their mascot, George.
2nd: Maryland Terrapins, umterps.com
3rd: Georgetown Hoyas, guhoyas.com
Amateur Sports League
Happy Hour Sports
Picked last in gym class? Overcome childhood traumas by joining this Bethesda-based sports league, which offers kickball, dodgeball, bowling and softball. A five-time Best Of champion, Happy Hour Sports prides itself on being low-key and friendly, especially to the coordination-impaired.
2nd: DC Rollergirls, dcrollergirls.com
3rd: Social Sports of Bethesda, socialsportsofbethesda.com