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Dan Steinberg
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More questions and answers about D.C. sports, while wondering whether Wade Phillips's downfall was due more to poor cardiovascular endurance or a spotty grasp of terminology.

Q. How are the Nats wooing back their season-ticket holders in 2011?

A. Many ticket holders received glossy packages from the team in recent days, outlining the benefits of renewing and the reasons to feel optimistic. One phrase echoed loudest, serving as South Capitol Street's rejoinder to Ashburn's "The Future Is Now."

"From here on out, you can . . . expect it," the brochure promises. "With a roster full of the best young talent, a highly-ranked farm system, and a plan in place to ensure success year after year, you can expect the Nationals to leave it all on the field today, tomorrow and beyond. These are your Washington Nationals. Expect it."

Q. What would be a great way for Mike Knuble to break out of his scoring slump?

A. "I'm gonna go out and before we get on the plane today, I'm gonna sacrifice a goat," Knuble promised on DC101 Monday morning.

Swell! This was actually the second time Knuble has mentioned goat sacrifice in seven months. Here's Knuble, talking about Alex Ovechkin after Game 2 of the playoffs last spring.

"He doesn't have to go home and do soul searching or sacrifice a goat," Knuble said then. "He's going to come back. He's one of the best players in the world."

Now while Knuble has flirted with the concept of goat slaughter twice in a year, some research indicates that the phrase "sacrifice a goat" has only appeared in The Post six times. Like, ever. There have been 12 "kill a goat" mentions, but not a one having to do with first-line right wings.

This research also led me to a 1929 story headlined "Religions of India Amaze and Shock With Animal Worship and Devil Dances," in which a visiting minister asked his tour guide to arrange for "the priests to kill a goat right here and now." Yes, this is what I do during Redskins bye weeks.

Anyhow, if Knuble returns from New York still mired in his slump, I'm hearing he'll turn to sheep sacrifice. Expect it.

Q. Speaking of the archives, D.C. United's Andy Najar recently was named MLS's rookie of the year, joining a relatively small list of Washington athletes so honored. Any good stories?

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