D.C. Sports Bogger
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 11:00 AM
Dan Steinberg was online Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 11 a.m. ET to discuss his latest posts from the D.C. Sports Bog.
The transcript follows.
Dan Steinberg: Hey people. Having just spent 90 minutes reading old stories about bad ice at the Cap Centre, I'm ready for 60 minutes of telling new stories about bad ice in the WaPo soda machines. If I were Mike Wilbon, I'd drop a line at the end about going to prepare for PTI, but since I'm not, maybe I'll say something about Washington Post Live.
Bring on your questions. Especially behind-the-scenes-at-CSN questions. I love those.
Fairfax, Va.: Following CP, Sellers, and Cooley around for a few days in Hawaii would have made for glorious Bog posts. Why weren't you there?
Dan Steinberg: This is a great question. And you forgot that Colt Brennan was also there.
I actually priced the trip, and it would have been cheaper than going to the Super Bowl, because of a big difference in hotel costs. I used that fact to argue my way out of the Super Bowl trip, and I was basically approved to go, but then I failed to pull the trigger on a free February Hawaii vacation. Reasons:
1) I would have lost two full weekdays to travel, and weekdays are more important than weekends in Bog world.
2) The time difference would have had me posting either at night, or 12 hours late. Which seemed dumb.
3) I figured Cooley could outblog me with better access, if he so chose. Or chosed? Or chosen.
4) I didn't feel like bailing on the family for an exhibition.
5) I wanted to go to Spring Training.
Yes, I chose Nats over Redskins. Write this down.
Alexandria, Va.: Steinbog,
While I appreciate a regular scheduled, planned chat like this. In light of the way sports news happens - can the Post be more responsive in scheduling chats when a major story hits.
It would be nice to have a true baseball guy (Boswell, Svrluga, Sheinin, Harlan) to take comments and question on A-rod and the steroid revelations.
washingtonpost.com: We thought about it, and if the news had come out during the week, we would have, but we figured it was two days old, and we had Wilbon on Monday already. We do try to react to the news as it happens though -- hence having Sally Jenkins on last week to talk about Phelps.
Dan Steinberg: I'll let the strangely named "washingtonpost.com" answer this one.
Also, Boz and Sally are both writing columns on the issue for tomorrow.
Also, Chico will be happy to be called "a true baseball guy," as will Redskins No. 3 beat writer Barry Svrluga.
Potomac: Does anybody really care about baseball anymore? Rampant drug use, $100 tickets, multi-million dollar contracts for mediocre catchers who wouldn't think of signing a kid's ball...
Dan Steinberg: Attendance would seem to indicate "yes" to be the appropriate, if brief, answer to this question.
Baseball has done a miserable PR job on steroids, but does anyone think the other pro sports are free of rampant drug use, $100 tickets or multi-million contracts? I mean, if you hate all that stuff, you can watch Little League. I love watching games at that field on Wisconsin Avenue next to the Whole Foods in Glover Park. Put in a sunflower seed vendor, and it'd be way better than any pro game.
Also, I support your cynicism, but my impression is more athletes than not, in every sport, are willing to sign a kid's ball, bat, stick, jersey, or face. I've seen virtually all of them sign, all the time.
Centreville, Va.: Hi Dan,
At the Caps game on Saturday they showed a questionable (for a hockey game) segment between periods on decorating Mike Green's loft apartment. As a fan of old time, tough guy hockey it sort of left me speechless. What was up with that? Do you think he caught some grief for that in the locker room?
Dan Steinberg: And another chance for a Comcast SportsyNet plug: that segment was from The Red Line, the network's weekly attempt to find great bloggable stories from the Caps dressing room and hog them all for itself.
I couldn't hear all the audio and fell asleep before the show aired last night (Mondays at 9:30!!!!!), but I heard him basically absolve himself of all responsibility for the decorating choices. Plus he got a huge hot tub. And he bought a Lambo. I think he gets a pass in the room.
Arcola, Va.: Tom Poti of the Caps was quoted as saying that lots of guys are getting "hurt with groins" at the Verizon Center. I'm taking my kids there in a couple weeks for a Caps game and am concerned -- should I warn them to watch out for groins?
washingtonpost.com: Condition of Home Ice Drawing Fire From Caps (Post, Feb. 10)
Dan Steinberg: So I just published a massive entry on the history of Caps coaches and players dissing their home ice. This has literally been happening across four decades. I mean, we're talking about freezing water. It's that difficult? Turn the knob a few spins to the left and call it a day, right?
As for your kids, I guess all I can recommend is some sort of beverage to keep them hydrated. Make sure there are no steroids in the beverage.
Arlington, Va.: Dan - have you ever considered covering high school basketball games for the Bog? With local players heading to Duke, UNC, and Pittsburgh we've got some major talent right here in the backyard.
Dan Steinberg: I'm pretty sure I've never written a word about high school basketball. Or football. I mean, since I stopped covering high school basketball and football. Those were the days: keeping your own stats, trying to convince the ticket-takers that you shouldn't have to pay, trying to convince 15-year-old young men that spoken sentences are allowed to contain more than three words.
As for your actual question, I shamelessly chase traffic, and in general, pro sports > college sports > high school sports as far as clicks are concerned. Unless the high school sport in question is girls' pole vault.
the V of DMV: will the Bog be representing at the Atlantic 11 clash this weekend at Comcast Center? surely between Vasquez's hair gel, Gary's sweat and Dorenzo Hudson's stomach contents, there will be some bog fodder, no?
And it's also a homecoming of sorts for Jeff Allen and Malcolm Delaney.
Dan Steinberg: Yes. The Bog and The Bog's intern are both going to the Virginia Tech-Maryland game on Saturday.
Here's something scary: if Maryland wins and Georgetown loses at Syracuse, I think you can make an extremely strong argument that the Terps deserve to be the top-ranked DMV team next week. VMI's a nice story, but no one actually believes the Keydets are better than Maryland or Georgetown. VCU has a brutal week ahead. The other CAA teams have all beaten each other, and are impossible to differentiate. And while the Hoyas beat the Terps head-to-head, they can't really coast on that for the rest of the season. Rutgers at home isn't enough.
Washington, D.C.: If an athlete takes steroids and HGH in moderate dosages under medical supervision and has strenous workouts, in theory he can significantly improve his athletic performance. Furthermore, his health risks are much lower than those for athletes that take (or took) steroids in mega dosages. When using a suitable masking agent, it is very difficult to detect steroid use based on current technology and a moderate dosage steroid/HGH user rarely shows signs of having a cartoon-like physique. As fans, shouldn't we accept the fact that there will always be a certain amount of cheating in sports --- including the use of performance enhancing drugs?
Dan Steinberg: I guess. Although you could also ask this question, as many have in recent days: wouldn't it be somehow simpler if you wiped all the PED rules off the table and just told athletes to do as they choose. If nothing else, it would allow the sports media to do something other than incessantly interview chemistry professors and prosecutors.
The big argument against, I suppose, is that this would encourage young kids to shoot up, and that would be bad. But young kids probably shouldn't choose athletes as role models for any number of reasons, and anyhow, athletes ARE ALREADY using 'roids. So if kids are gonna be robotic followers, they're already gonna be juicing.
You could say, "well, many of these drugs are bad for your health over the long term," and while I'm not a pharmacist I'm sure that's true. But I'm also pretty sure that playing NFL football isn't the best thing for a human body over the long term, and we let these guys do that.
Brunswick, Md.: As far as bad ice and the Caps are concerned, I'm looking at home wins. If it ain't broke (so to speak), don't fix it. Am I wrong here?
Dan Steinberg: Well, Danny Briere said after last year's playoffs (in which the Caps were, what, 2-2 at home?) that the ice at the Verizon Center helped the less-skilled visitors. So that was worrisome.
But I know what you're saying, and as Tarik (I think) wrote this AM, Ovechkin is scoring at a faster clip at home. The real concern would seem to be injuries, and if guys are getting banged up more frequently in home games, that would be pretty intolerable.
I think you also want to present the most attractive brand of hockey possible, especially with a team this offensive-minded and this skillful. There's no way that players publicly sounding off about the bad conditions can be a good thing for your franchise.
Larusso, Va.: Since you didn't go to the Super Bowl or Pro Bowl, will you at least be heading down to Spring Training this year with Jon Forsythe? The Bowden segway and Dukes golfing segments were highly entertaining and I'm looking forward to seeing more.
Dan Steinberg: I'm arriving late the night of President's Day, hopefully with Giant Teddy and Giant Abe in tow, and staying for three nights.
Jon Forsythe, who winds up in these chats every week, will not be making the trip this year, but I'll have my point and shoot and will be on the ever-vigilant lookout for Jim Bowden on any sort of wheels. There has been talk of a fishing expedition. I hope my cheap camera can accurately convey the feeling of sea sickness.
Minneapolis: Just to show you Nats fans are reading, I wanted to throw you a Spring Training bone.
Who are you looking most forward to seeing in Viera? Something tells me Balester could give you all the material you need.
washingtonpost.com: If only there was a way for you, the reader, to ask questions directly to Balester...
Dan Steinberg: And while I love my friends at washingtonpost.com, I'm hereby claiming 50 percent of the credit for lining up young Collin's chat tomorrow.
Actually, though, I'll choose Nick Johnson here. Last year, as you might remember, he shaved a lightning bold into his spring training head, helped by a Nationals Journal poll. And while Barry Svrluga can paint beautiful pictures with his words, I'd have chosen a snapshot for this particular development. I figure anyone willing to shave head designs based on the votes of WaPo blog readers can't be bad.
Washington, D.C.: Will the Bog be going to the NFL Draft this year? And if so, will you ask all the obnoxious Jets fans there how they feel about the Favre debacle? Or about Goodell's plan to take the draft on the road, thus robbing Jets fans of their one moment of glory each year?
Dan Steinberg: Probably not. April 25-26 is playoff time 'round here. At least twice in the last four years, the Wizards have had playoff games on one of the NFL draft days. And while that might not happen this year, it's a pretty decent bet that the Caps will be playing.
If not, I think I'd choose the goofy FedEx Field celebration, complete with occasional helicopter visits, over the actual NFL Draft.
Gilbert's Corner, Va.: How's the intern working out? Is he feeling like taking questions today?
Dan Steinberg: The intern has done some transcribing for me, which was highly appreciated. He also is one of the rare people in the universe to have seen Gilbert Arenas play one-on-one games this winter, since the Wiz PR folks didn't realize he was media and failed to kick him out before one of Gilbert's games last week. Since he was there under false pretenses, I told him we're not allowed to write about it though.
Also, for the record, he's a high school student who is following me around for two weeks, so this isn't a long-term deal. If anyone wants to be my intern who updates the rarely-updated Today's Top 5 thing, and who gets me coffee, I'd listen to offers.
Leesburg, Va.: So Ovie and Semin are kinda not boggable - but what about Mike Green? Sounds like the Cooley lite of the Caps, especially with some of the concert pics that have popped up...
Dan Steinberg: Disagree. Though you're the second person to make the Green-Cooley comparison in two days.
I don't know the reason at all, but pretty few members of this hockey team throw themselves out into the world as bold-faced celebrities oozing with priceless quotes. That's not to say they don't go out, but it's just not very Cooley-like. For pure material, Bruce Boudreau is by miles and miles the organization's most boggable star. I mean, he was regaling us with tales of watching General Hospital in the '70s yesterday. I'll write that one up in a little bit.
He's funny, and outspoken, and loves to talk, and is a quip waiting to happen. My list of Top 5 most boggable D.C. sports figures right now definitely includes Boudreau and Zorn.
Arlington, Va.: Any additional comments on the Hibbert interview (like a deleted scene on a DVD)?
Dan Steinberg: That was pretty dry, huh? Roy really seemed like he didn't want to talk about that.
The one thing I thought was interesting was when I asked him which of Georgetown's players he keeps in touch with, the only guy he mentioned was Greg Monroe, whom he never even played with. No need to make too much of that, but there HAVE been some whispers of chemistry issues over on the Hilltop in recent years. (Note: Those are the types of sports chemistry stories I'm interested in reading.)
Oxon Hill, Md.: Even with the Caps' success, this has got to be the single worst year for DC sports teams in terms of total losses with the Nats over 100 and the Wiz headed to a 60-loss season. Used to be the local hoops teams would bring home some success in the Spring, but neither Maryland, GW nor Georgetown look tourney bound. Somebody please do the math.
Dan Steinberg: My friends at Mister Irrelevant ran some numbers on the 12 (I think) cities that have MLB NFL NHL and NBA franchises, and came up with the conclusion that D.C. is currently worst. I did a similar thing two or three years ago, when the Caps were bad and the Wiz were good, and I came up with 11th. Regardless, we're right near the bottom, and add in a terrible D.C. United season and the college hoops stuff you mention, and it's been real bad. I wrote somewhere else that it's been about 25 years since Georgetown, Maryland and GW all missed the tourney in the same year, and it's certainly possible this spring.
I want my intern to plot the current residences of top overall picks over the last decade or so. Sure, Kwame's not here any more, but between him and Ovechkin and the upcoming Nats/Wiz drafts, at least we can be on top of one ranking.
Maryland: Of all people, you must be hoping that the Nationals somehow grow a brain and sign Manny. How much fun would that be? Can you imagine the blogging potential with Manny Ramirez in the city? On a semi-serious note, wouldn't signing one of the greatest hitters in baseball immediately make this team more relevant? I know I would be interested, maybe even go see a game, and I am barely a baseball fan. So, why aren't they doing this?
Dan Steinberg: Interesting question. At first, I was 183 percent in favor of this, for the semi-serious reasons you mention, and also for the blogging potential. I mean, if you could put Portis, Gilbert, Ovie and Manny in front of a bank of mics for a few minutes, I'd be set for the year.
But I think I've backtracked, at least on the semi-serious side. Undoubtedly, non Nats fanatics like you (and me) would be more willing to go to a game with Manny in left field, maybe even more so than with Tex at first base. But I wouldn't be going out of relevance, I would be going with the hope that he would do something weird and borderline embarrassing. You'd be turning yourself into a circus merely for a few headlines and some ticket sales.
If the suits ACTUALLY believe they're on the right track, and that The Plan is nearing glorious victory, it wouldn't make any sense at all to sign a freak show just to sell tickets. If they're going the Caps route--suffering that's eventually erased by success--you have to just cross your fingers and wait.
Tenleytown: Sure, Georgetown, UMD and GW might miss the tourney (big deal), but you're forgetting AU, which is tearing up the Patriot League at 7-1 right now!
Dan Steinberg: Well, I was just giving you my hard-earned stat.
As far as DMV teams, I think it's highly likely that we get a Patriot League team (AU and Navy are both in the top half), a CAA team (VCU, ODU, JMU, and Mason are four of the five frontrunners), and a Big South team (VMI, Liberty and Radford are dominating). On top of those three, I think at least one of MD/GU/VaTech will get an at-large, and I think a DMV team will likely win the MEAC. So that would be five teams. They just might not be very close to our offices.
Stone Ridge, Va.: Italians, Kiwis, Swedes, Icelanders (or whatever you call people from Iceland), etc. - you've met a bunch of funlovin' sports fans during all your bogging exploits (I suppose I could include the Chinese too, but their funlovin' seems a bit scripted) - if you had to choose, which group would you want to spend a night partying with? Living to tell the story is optional...
Dan Steinberg: Well, I haven't spent extensive time with all of these groups, but man, those Kiwis sure are friendly.
I think my perception of Swedes as rollicking fun-loving laff riots has been hurt by Michael Nylander.
Arlington, Va.: I'm probably just another old curmudgeon (46), but I HATE giving any attention or, even worse, screen time to "face painters" and their ilk. Stupid chanters ("it's all your fault"... uh, no it wasn't) are in that group also. What is wrong with celebrating fans who cheer FOR their team, don't use the word "suck" in ANY chant, and will be there when the team isn't trendy!
And get off my lawn!
Dan Steinberg: I will say one thing: the Rock and Roll Part II "Hey You Suck" chant makes me want to shove Bengay into my ear drums. It has the following demerits:
1) It's not clever
2) It's hackneyed
3) The song's most famous performer is kind of creepy
4) It's often used when the team that "sucks" is actually better than the home team.
But I do like fans who are original, and who try to do something other than wear the hat, stand up and cheer. Maybe it's just because I like having something to write about, though.
Herndon, Va.: Gilbert's eccentricities are only funny when he's regularly playing (or if he starts giving teammates hotfoots during games).
Dan Steinberg: This is not a question.
But you're 100 percent right. No one cares at all about Gilbert's theories on the meaning of life, relationship, politics or sneakers when he's not playing. My intern, a dedicated Gilbert fan, says he's giving him one more year to get right, and then he's giving up.
I mean, I think Gilbert is in the top .05 percent of interesting people I've ever met, but I do know lots of interesting people who aren't worthy blog subjects because they happen to teach Econ at Cornell University and not score 30 points a night in the NBA.
Washington, DC: Who was Antawn Jamison talking about as far as people playing well on one side of the court but not the other?
The obvious guess would be Nick Young but I don't know...
Dan Steinberg: I think that's a fair guess.
Though as others have pointed out, a really mean critic might say something similar about some of the team's most outspoken vets.
Columbia, Md.: If you could compare Georgetown's season to a cheese, what cheese would it be and why?
Dan Steinberg: Well, Stilton wears blue and smells like holy hell. But Stilton will let you talk to it whenever you want, and Stilton has never put tape over its gymnasium doors to keep you from spying.
Man Hat Tan: What would be the sportswriter's equivalent of a.) doing steroids, b.) pulling a Michael Phelps?
Dan Steinberg: 1) Jayson Blair.
2) Getting photographed with a bong on your lips and having that photo be posted all over the Internet.
Aldie, Va.: Steinz - if you had to be a beat writer, which team (local or otherwise) would you want to follow?
Dan Steinberg: Counting travel nightmares? If so, it has to be a college team, because there's just not much fun about 60 nights on the road, and back-to-back games in, say, Memphis and Ottawa.
I think there's a lot to be said for covering a team like Syracuse or Memphis hoops: big-time programs that play big-time games and are bigger than any pro sports franchise in their market.
In D.C., I'd probably choose Maryland basketball. Georgetown would also be fun, if you were allowed to talk to their players.
Come to think of it, though, I used to cover Maryland football, and I started drinking vodka at like 9:30 in the morning to get through the days (true story), so I really don't want to be a beat writer.
Rockville, Md.: What's with Athletic Directors Gone Wild around here? Debbie turns Kathy Worthington loose on Gary Williams, then makes nice. Not to be upstaged, Craig Littlepage decides to send out a "our football and basketball teams stink and I don't like it" email on football signing day and the day of a home basketball game. What do Bernard Muir, Keith Gill and Tom O'Connor need to do to get some publicity in the Bog?
Dan Steinberg: Is it really bad that I just had to google "Keith Gill?"
(He's the AD at AU, for the record.)
I haven't been including UVA in my tales of D.C. athletic woe, but if you focus on the hoops and football teams and exclude the rest, they'd be a worthy addition to our miserable club.
Arlington, Va.: Baseball Prospectus just released its predicted records, 77-85 for the Nationals. If they actually do that well, will they join the wizards and celebrate mediocrity with fourth place T-shirts?
Dan Steinberg: Wait, did the Wizards ever do that? Because there's no way in hell they're finishing fourth this year, so I'm assuming you're referring to something else.
77-85 would be great for me. It'd be especially great if they started out 77-0, which would get us through June or so with people still caring about baseball. Then comes Skins training camp and vacation, so they could close 0-85 and I'd still be ok.
Washington, D.C.: There's "ESPN: An Uncensored History"; "The Big Show" by Olbermann; and a half-dozen other books about the inner workings of that network.
When will there be a behind-the-scenes expose of CSN--and are you the man to write it?
Dan Steinberg: Perhaps. Though longtime Comcast SportsyNet superstar producer Adam Littlefield, who has recently departed for a job with the new CSN network in San Francisco, might have more dope than me.
Not an A-Rod or Bonds reference, promise.
Bowie, Md: So, when Abe Pollin goes to the big Cap Center in the sky and Ted takes over the Wizards, any chance that he changes the team back to being the Bullets? As you pointed out in today's morning look, fans aren't exactly flocking to sport Wizards gear. Why not change it back to the Bullets and Ted can rock the red twice as much. Just don't tell the Nationals.
Dan Steinberg: I get this question a lot.
Here's a counter-question: couldn't they go back to the red white and blue without going back to the name? I think there's no question that the old color scheme was better, and that the new scheme is putrid, but I do understand why a franchise in a city that's struggled with gun violence might not want to be called the bullets. At least they're not the SkyKatz, or whatever the other option was.
Oakton, Va.: Roger Mason hits another game winner for San Antonio. If you are keeping track, he's playing 30 minutes a night, scoring 12 points a game, and hitting 45 percent of his threes...
Should the Wizards have kept Mason instead of Stevenson? Or can this all be attributed to what happens when mediocre players have a HOF teammate to attract alot of attention?
Dan Steinberg: Did you ask this same question to Wilbon in his chat yesterday?
There were Cap issues with Mason, right? Obviously Eddie Jordan loved him, and Mason--being local--had non-monetary reasons to stay here. Also, it's a lot easier to get open looks when your big man is named Tim Duncan and not Andray Blatche.
But, like Wilbon, I don't have a bad word to say about Roger Mason. Easily one of the nicest pro athletes I've ever come in contact with, and one of the very very few who took the time to learn personal information about virtually anyone who wrote about him.
I asked Michael Lee the other day how many more wins the Wizards would have with Mason on the roster, and he guessed four. In other words, he doesn't think Mason turns this team into the Jordan Bulls.
Fairfax, Va.: By top-ranked DMV team, you mean top-ranked DMV team other than James Madison, right?
Dan Steinberg: James Madison, if I'm remembering correctly, lost to Longwood.
So no, that's not what I meant.
Newark, Del.: Steinz,
What foreign language should Caps fans learn to chant in next?
Dan Steinberg: Canadian.
Dan Steinberg: Ok, gotta figure out how to write up the Bruce Boudreau pro wrestling thing. Thanks for all the questions. I'm halfway through my six-week Chat trial and I still haven't been fired!!! I guess I'll talk to you next week from Viera.