D.C. Sports Bog Live

Dan Steinberg
D.C. Sports Bogger
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 11:00 AM

Dan Steinberg was online Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 11 a.m. ET to discuss his latest posts from the D.C. Sports Bog, D.C.-area sports and anything else you want to talk about.

The transcript follows.


Dan Steinberg: Hey people, readers and Atlantic 11 voters. For reasons somewhat beyond my knowledge, we want to have some more sports chats 'round these parts, and since all I've been doing lately is sitting around waiting for OTA's and the Stanley Cup playoffs, I've been drafted. This is distracting me from reading old Russ Grimm stories, but I'll soldier on. So have at it.


Vienna, Va.: Two quick ones: What's your beef with Duke, and what's your take on the political situation in Iceland?

Dan Steinberg: I love both of these questions.

My beef with Duke is partly to try to make me sympathetic to Maryland fans in this area, partly because I've lived here long enough for the Duke hatred to seep into my skin, and partly because I'm a normal human being who didn't go to Duke.

If you have no New York baseball allegiance, you hate the Yankees. If you have no Dallas football allegiance, you hate the Cowboys. And if you have no Durham hoops allegiance, you hate Duke. You just do.

As for Iceland, I spent a lot of time with the President and his wife at the Olympics. All was happiness and smiles as the handball team marched to the gold medal game. Now I see that Iceland has changed a bit. It's sad to me, without knowing anything except what those handball games were like.


Silver Spring, Md.: Why don't the Wizards apologize to Eddie Jordan and admit that they made a mistake in firing him?

Dan Steinberg: As terrible as the Wizards have been under Ed Tapscott, he has a better winning percentage than Eddie Jordan. And his winning percentage is terrible, too, but it's significantly better. So I'm not sure why they'd apologize.

Eddie Jordan was a prince of a man with the media, and with weirdo bloggers. And in retrospect, his firing didn't accomplish much. But I still say it was worth rolling the dice, taking a chance that a new voice would have salvaged the season. NBA coaches don't stick around for a decade at a time, certainly when they're not going far into the playoffs.

The better question is who will be coaching here next fall.


Arlington, Va.: Classic story on Mock this morning. So, did Garrett comment on what the parents said after he told them that he was teaching their kid a lesson?? What a crack-up of a story!!

washingtonpost.com: Garrett Mock's Coaching Tricks (D.C. Sports Bog)

Dan Steinberg: Actually, I had some more questions I would have liked to ask, but we had already talked for about 20 minutes and Garrett had to go sign autographs for some kids at the NatsFest. So I don't know the answer.

On the one hand, it was a brilliantly funny story with a great ending, and showed a lot of Garrett's personality. On the other hand, it just doesn't seem like a very 2009 move, and you can certainly imagine some parents who might not have been amused. I'm choosing to think of this as funny, but it's a good thing nothing happened to the kid.


Waiting for Mr.Tony in Va.: Dan, cheese meister... With your running around to all the Nats fest activities did you truly feel that the players were into this coming season. Please keep the cheese coming, we need it...

Dan Steinberg: I'm not sure how into things anyone will feel when the temperature is in the 30s and it's still late January. Didn't seem like players were exactly there to sell tickets.

Stan Kasten and Jim Bowden? They were definitely trying to sell tickets, and to justify the temperature of this hot stove, which has been on the cool side lately. Frankly, I was shocked by the polite tone of so many of the questions from fans. I'd have thought some more anger would have come out, but I guess it's hard to be angry around free popcorn.


Arlington, Va.: Can you just spare everyone the suspense and give the Hoyas the A-11 trophy now?

Go Hens!

Dan Steinberg: This has to be a joke, right? With the different paths taken by Georgetown, on the one hand, and VCU/Virginia Tech on the other, the mythical (imaginary) trophy is completely up for grabs right now. My own vote this week went Virginia Tech, VCU and then Georgetown. My boss asked me whether I truly believe VCU is better than Georgetown on a neutral floor, and maybe I don't. Plus, the Rams lost to Delaware if I'm not mistaken, which is a lot worse than losing at Seton Hall.

On the other hand, winning at Wake seems on par with winning at U-Conn, and the Hokies now have fewer losses and a rapidly rising RPI.


Herndon, Va.: When people are losing their jobs and houses not to mention the country fighting two wars, should a marginal sport like figure skating hog half the front page? Sports section, Style section, okay, but this shouldn't happen with a serious newspaper.

Dan Steinberg: Haha. I, of course, have nothing to do with where stories appear on the sports page, much less A1, but some friends said the exact same thing to me yesterday.

I should note that we also get a lot of these complaints during football season: when people are losing their jobs and houses not to mention the country fighting two wars, should Redskins coverage really be on the front page. I'm never sure how to respond. Most readers probably understand that there are wars and unemployment and foreclosures happening regardless of whether there are five instead of four depressing stories on A1 of the Post. And none of us have stopped paying attention to sports out of some sort of feelings of impropriety during the recession. So if readers still care, I think there's a place for sports on A1.

Now, am I a figure skating fan? I am not. Have I watched one twirl from Cleveland? I have not. And I'll leave it at that.


Van Neezy, DC: Dan -

I'm getting worried about the Bullets' collective sanity. It has been a horrible season and it must be miserable for the team to go through, especially Antawn and Caron. Do you see this having any long term impact on the team's psyche or will they be able to recover from this once (if) everyone is healthy again?

Dan Steinberg: Well, it sure seems to have done something odd. The body language you see from Caron, in particular, just seems at odds with the Tuff Juice we've gotten to know recently. And some of Antawn's quotes about the younger kids have been scathing. You wonder how long the kids' memories will be. And Antawn wants to win, and isn't getting any younger. Tho I guess most of us aren't getting any younger.

Anyhow, it's tempting to think the era of good feelings has ended for that franchise, but you look at Boston and the Lakers and remember how quickly spirits can change. If you add back a 2006-era Arenas and a 2008-era Haywood and a 2009-era Blake Griffin, you might see some smiles.

But you really can't write a hopeful sentence about the Bullets without multiple uses of "if," and that's not a good thing. I don't even go to the arena any more. Too depressing.


Chest Rockwell, Md.: I am a Maryland fan. At what point should I grab my trusty bottle of grain alcohol, angrily remove my shirt, break a window at Ratsie's, and climb a light post? Burning mattresses and couches has become passe.

Dan Steinberg: Chest! Long time, man.

I am 100 percent convinced Maryland will win tonight. 180 percent convinced. Bet the house on it. Any moderately decent team that loses by 41 on the road will win its next game at home, and even more so for one coached by Gary Williams.

Which doesn't solve any of the long-term issues. And Gary's quotes yesterday were....interesting. Still, tonight is a lock lock lock Terps win.

As for your flame needs, what if you just lit some candles in your windows?


Washington, D.C.: What happened to Blog Show on WASHINGTON POST LIVE?

Dan Steinberg: Blog Show co-host Jamie Mottram, a high-powered executive with Yahoo! Sports, moved to Wilmington North Carolina and had a little baby girl. I think that's why M.A.S.H. ended, too. Something like that, anyhow.

If a suitable co-host was found, or if Jamie moved back to D.C., some version of Blog Show might one day reappear.

By the way, thoughts on Ivan Carter as WPL host? It makes my day every time. Unreal.


Avon Park, Fla.: If the Steelers do win the Super Bowl, how much credit do you think that Mike Tomlin will get? Will he be regarded as one of the elite coaches or will it be said that he did it with Bill Cowher's players?

Dan Steinberg: I love this, because it's someone from Florida asking someone from D.C. something about a team from Pittsburgh.

I've heard of the college football critique--Friedgen has only won with Vanderlindenendeninden's players--but I'm not familiar with that one in the NFL. Tomlin will get great bundles of credit, as he should, and will be regarded as one of the elite coaches, until he has one bad season, at which point everyone will want him to be fired. See: Eric Mangini.

But he will definitely even further continue the trend of hiring younger assistants instead of old retreads. Sorry, Jim Fassel.


Fusheezi, Va.: Why aren't you, Wise and Forsythe in Tampa for the Super Bowl?!?! Last years video's and blogs were great. Please don't tell me it's the economy. Us poor, unemployed folk count on this blog to keep our sanity.

washingtonpost.com: Archive: January 27, 2008 - February 2, 2008 (which, for some reason, has a "Beijing Sports Smog" banner.)

Dan Steinberg: Wise and I would have gone had the Ravens won last week. Jon Forsythe has a newborn and is being a responsible father during his paternity leave.

Honestly, I had the option of going or staying, and I chose staying. Absent a local story line, I figured I should preserve my travel budget for highly D.C. events, like Spring Training (yes, I'm going for a few days) and the Stanley Cup playoffs (those flights to San Jose aren't gonna be cheap). You could argue it either way, but I figure there are plenty of other places to get endless Super Bowl coverage.


Kensington, Md.: Just responding to your earlier post, suggesting the A1 Skins coverage is a good change of pace from the depressing war/depression stories, I can barely tell the difference.

Dan Steinberg: Well. That's true.

Ok, only Skins A1 stories the day after they win! New policy next year!


New York City: As a huge figure skating fan (I love football and basketball too..it is possible) I was super excited to see that article on the front page. I've been waiting for someone to analyze the state of U.S. figure skating for three years. And like it or not, it was kind of a phenomenon from 1994-2002 and is still the most popular Winter Olympic sport and Vancouver is right around the corner.

washingtonpost.com: Where Are the Golden Girls? (Post, Jan. 26)

Dan Steinberg: Ok, there ya go. Our Olympics coverage regularly does gangbusters Web traffic, and there's obviously a big readership for figure skating coverage, at least every four years. I'm just not part of that readership.


Dan Steinberg: Though, with regards to my Super Bowl absence, I kind of wish I were there just to ask Russ Grimm about this old WaPo story I just found, when he announced his pending retirement:

He'll also be remembered as a guy who had some fun. Someday, he'll admit he was the one who hung former assistant coach Jerry Rhome's bike from atop the flagpole at training camp. He'll admit he was the one who smeared honey on the late Nate Fine's photographer's perch to attract the bees Fine hated so much. He may even admit that he smeared the hair-removal cream inside George Rogers's jockstrap.


Falls Church, Va.: I don't understand the Nationals. This offseason is shaping up like the Homestead spring of 1995. So why don't the Nationals overpay on a bunch of one-year contracts, with bonus money to lower the actual salary itself? Then in June and July, trade off the guys who do well, or harvest the picks when they leave as free agents. That maintains flexibility and gives you some assets to use this season.

Dan Steinberg: "Overpay on a bunch of one-year contracts" = not part of The Plan.

The one thing that keeps me from being incessantly critical: so much of this resembles the Caps, right down to the No. 1 pick in a year when you really, really want to be picking No. 1. Is Strasburg the Southern Cali Ovechkin? It's not an impossible thought.

Bowden did say over the weekend that signing free agents who would bring those compensatory picks if they leave is something they have and will continuie to consider.


Fairfax County, Va.: "and the Stanley Cup playoffs (those flights to San Jose aren't gonna be cheap)."

And every Caps fan is now going to cuss you out. Don't you DARE jinx that team! Although everyone's already planning their playoff budget, no doubt.

Dan Steinberg: Haha, yeah, I deserved that. Was just joking. I think it's safe to say that the Caps will make the playoffs, although almost all of their likely first-round opponents ARE cheap trips. I'm pulling hard for a Caps-Buffalo series. Would love the chance to go home, and rack up some Southwest flights.


Ithaca, N.Y.: Who are you supporting for 2016? Chicago, Rio, Tokyo or Madrid?

Dan Steinberg: 2016 is so far away, but unless the world suddenly decides newspapers are just the greatest thing ever, I'd say we likely won't be replicating our 2008 Olympics staffing plan (13 people, I think? Or maybe 12)

If, however, I was gonna be on board, I'd rank them like this: Madrid, Rio, Chicago, Tokyo. Madrid has several massive advantages: the time difference is perfect for blogging and deadlines, the travel would be easy for all sorts of wacky Scandinavians, and there are some truly wondrous Spanish cheeses. Oh, and the wine is nothing to sniff at, either.


Downtown: The best part about Ivan hosting WaPo Live is the way he somehow managed to pronounce Tarik's name differently every time.

Oh, and figure skating has no business being on the front of the sports section, much less the whole paper. This is especially true when it's not an Olympic year. Really, who cares?

Dan Steinberg: I would literally watch 30 minutes of Ivan Carter pronouncing "Tarik El-Bashir." Thanks for noting this. What does Ivan call Tarik when they see each other in public? I can only assume he calls him "man."

Will tell you at the end of the week how many Web readers cared about figure skating. I'll bet it's more than you'd think.


Charlotte: Dan only one question, Russ Grimm or Ken Whisenhunt?

Dan Steinberg: Grimm. Not even close.


Arlington, Va.: Ah ha ha, Garrett Mock, what a GREAT story!!! Telling the other team to throw at your player! Brilliant! Rather than, you know, BENCHING your player for such a bush league move.

Note: no mention of the player having a relative who pitches against Mock in the majors. Alas...

Dan Steinberg: So you don't think it was funny.

Does the kid who was hit really have a relative in the bigs?


Arlington, Va.: What's your favorite story/character the last three, four years or however long you've been doing this for The Post. I don't get to read your blog that often but when I do I always enjoy the offbeatness of it.

Dan Steinberg: Can you just go to my blog and hit refresh about 70 or 80 times to make up for your not getting it read it that often? Seriously, what's up with that? there's a new, easier URL: washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog. How about that?

I've been doing this for about two and a half years, and as I've often said, the Wizards from the beginning of December 2006 till the end of January 2007 was the most fun I've had covering anything, ever. That was when Gilbert said his swag was phenomenal, and when he threw that outlandish birthday party, and when he talked about stuffing the all star ballot box, and (I think) when he and DeShawn Stevenson had that shooting contest. It's just amazing to think how much has changed in two years.


9 wins: My poor son is a Wizards fan. Is there anything I can do for him other than tell him that the Sixers once only won 9 games all season?

Dan Steinberg: Tell him to start watching the Caps?

I know hundreds or thousands of Wizards fans are pining for JaVale McGee and friends to play more, but I don't think watching young kids lose is really that much more entertaining than watching old guys lose. You can argue it will make McGee better next year, but I don't even think that's certain. You just have to put your fandom on ice for a few more months and trust that Gilbert will make things better.


Washington, D.C.: Dan: You've been around the various sports teams, players and coaches for a while now, so most are familiar with your work and the types of questions you ask.

Which players, coaches, etc. look at you and treat you as someone who is funny, clever, and fun to have around, and which look at you like you are a nuisance and the King of Weirdsville?

Dan Steinberg: Except the turnover is so significant that even this changes constantly. I used to be able to go into the Wizards locker room and all the players understood what I was doing, to some extent. Now, guys like Mike James and Juan Dixon do your nuisance/Weirdsville thing.

Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler are at the top of the cooperative list. Ben Olsen. Santino Quaranta. Fred Smoot. Mike Sellers. Bruce Boudreau. Jim Zorn. All of them at least vaguely understand what I'm going for, and all are funny enough to pull it off, every time.

Most of the Caps don't seem too into it.


Baltimore: What's going on with the Hoyas?

Dan Steinberg: Too many three pointers. Or, too many missed three pointers, I guess.

They only have two bad losses this year. Just so happens they were back-to-back, and following a loss (to Duke) that wasn't at all bad but that looks dodgier because of the two games that followed. Based on the pre-season projections, the losses from last year, etc., I think their record is about what you'd have guessed before the year. Maybe one more loss than a Hoya fan would have hoped for, but I don't get the panic.


Fairfax, Va.: As an Atlantic 11 voter, I'm pretty much in agreement with my fellow voters over the rankings lately, but one inclusion--Virginia--is just ponderous. They're 7-9 and soon to be 7-10 (hello Duke). They're getting into Norfolk State territory. Can't we banish them for the year?

Dan Steinberg: Some voters have suggested that we adopt bowl-eligible rules: no team can make the A11 with a sub-.500 record. To me, that's almost too obvious to need codifying, but obviously others don't agree with me.

Just feels pointless if you can basically lose all your important games and still be ranked. Do we really think, on a neutral court, that American and Navy are clearly better than Virginia? Probably not. But if you believe ACC membership guarantees teams a permanent spot in these rankings, you probably also think the Mountain West should stay the heck out of the BCS.


Washington, D.C.: Last night, towards the end of the game, Shaq and Jamison got tangled up and as Shaq was releasing him from his bear hug, he pointed at Pech and laughed and said something to Antawn. Then they both giggled like small children. I'm sure it was something Stewie related but I'm interested to know what Shaq said. You know?

Dan Steinberg: I do not, but I sure wish I did. How about that kiss of Caron Butler? Shaq can still bring it on the entertainment front. And he looks just great with that beard. Any guesses on weight? I was watching with my neighbor, who thinks high, high, high 300s.


Annandale, Va.: Don't the Lerners and Kasten worry that the Nats are going to morph into the Pirates?

Or is that the secret goal, have losing seasons, get revenue sharing money and make a profit?

Dan Steinberg: I don't believe that this is the goal. And I don't believe that the Nats will enter spring training with their current roster. I hear the fans, and I understand their pain, but I just don't believe ownership has thrown in the towel. I'd rather be a Nats fan than a Wizards fan right now, that's for sure.


Charlottesville, Va.: There is an article in the New York Times today about the Rooneys that makes playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers sound like nirvana. It seems like every franchise should strive to emulate their model.

washingtonpost.com: Steelers Owner Dan Rooney Turns His Business Into a Family (New York Times, Jan. 26)

Dan Steinberg: Just to get the link out there. And here's a question: would you rather have one model franchise (the Steelers) and one joke franchise (the Pirates) or a bunch of mediocre franchises?

Here's an even better question: better to live in Pittsburgh or Detroit and enjoy above-average success from your teams, or to live in D.C. and see most of your teams struggle. When you add in the real estate prices, I'd be inclined to choose the former. But certain members of my immediate family are worried about silly things like "jobs" and "quality of life."


Kensington, Md.: Hey Dan - who's your least favorite sports figure that you don't want to talk to but feel obligated to for your blog?

Dan Steinberg: I'm going to change the question slightly. "Hey Dan - who's the local sports figure you don't have much of a productive relationship with but you wish you did for your blog."

Alex Ovechkin, bar none. He has the flair, and he has talent rays shooting off his body, and he can be a great quote when he wants to be, but he's kind of hard for many media members to get close with. And I have failed, miserably. But he could be at the top of my list of D.C.'s most popular athletes within a few more months, and I definitely would like to do more with him.


Reston, Va.: It seems as if you're covering the Nats slightly more recently. Is this a result of the debate over the Nats TV numbers/WaPo coverage, or has the team suddenly become more boggable?

Dan Steinberg: Choice three:

"Or is this because the Wizards franchise that you've covered nearly full-time in recent years has suddenly become completely and totally unboggable."

Um, choice three please.

(It also has occurred to me that one day, the Nats will be good, and suddenly--as with the Caps--people will want to read about them, and so it would help me to form a few relationships now.)


Dan Steinberg: Ok, back to videos of Joe Gibbs wrecking cars and old Russ Grimm quotes. Thanks for all the great questions, and please send many messages requesting more such chats.


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