D.C. Sports Bogger
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 2:00 PM
Dan Steinberg was online Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. ET from Nats spring training in Viera, Fla., to discuss the Atlantic 11, Gilbert Arenas, Nats-induced psychiatric disorders, his latest posts from the D.C. Sports Bog.
Submit your questions and comments before or during the discussion.
Dan Steinberg: Hey, sorry about the delay, was just chatting with a player. Anyhow, fire away. Man, the weather is nice here. How's by you?
Western Alexandria: Do you have a feeling that maybe you are down at Spring Training a week too early?
Dan Steinberg: Yes.
Washington, D.C.: What's Arenas up to these days aside from Halo? If I were Abe Pollin, I'd have him make weekly appearances where he'd just meet fans and sign stuff. Partly as a mea culpa for the team's horrible season, but also so I'd feel as though I was getting something for the ton of cash I was paying Arenas.
Dan Steinberg: I couldn't tell you exactly what he's up to, aside from occasional horse and one-on-one games with teammates. Whenever he's there messing around, there are frequent glances up to where the media hangs out, and entreaties to the PR staff to make the media people leave before he'll start going for real.
As for your suggestion, I absolutely, 100 percent agree. On kids day, he should be the halftime entertainment, even if it's just a Q and A. He should be in the concourse once a week, and he should be giving media interviews and trying to update his condition, even if it's impossible. He's the face of the franchise, and he can't just disappear and pretend that's not the case.
But you know who we're talking about, and he makes his own rules.
Arlington, Va.: Why no love and sympathy for the GW men? While people moan about Georgetown having lost 6 of the last 7, so has GW and in fact has lost 13 of the last 14. There's a great train wreck going on in Foggy Bottom but nobody seems to give it the coverage that it deserves.
Dan Steinberg: Well, I go to GWHoops.com and there are like five people discussing this implosion, so even the GW fans don't seem to care.
But yeah, this has certainly been a weird fall from No. 6 in the nation to where we are today. Obviously the press has had something to do with the fall, but I'd be curious to read more stories about how it happened and what happens next. The AP had a nice piece about the issue a week or two ago.
You wonder if there isn't some happy medium for GW between top 10 in the nation and bottom two in the Atlantic 10, something closer to what Mason has achieved.
Arlington, Va.: How much Chutzpah does it take to be under .500, have an ERA more than 4 and claim that you deserve a raise. I wish I could suck at my job and then go back and tell my boss I should get seven figures.
Dan Steinberg: Well, look, I sympathize, but you really can't bring yourself into it. Pro sports are just this weird world where salaries have no relationship to the rest of civilization. Kind of like bank exec bonuses, I guess.
By the way, if you want to know the blogging equivalent to being under .500 with an ERA over 4, take a look at my output today on the D.C. Sports Bog.
Which would be better?: The Meathook reports to spring training camp at 450 pounds, yet goes on to start at first base and set a single season record for inside the park home runs
Obama throws the first pitch on opening day, and the Nats debut a new racing president in the likeness of George W Bush, who goes on a Teddy-esque losing streak for decades to come.
Are the Nats going to have any blogging potential this year?
Dan Steinberg: What about a racing Meathook mascot. That would be awesome.
I got some nice reports from out of the racing president tryouts on Sunday, including one email that said Giant Tom fell over twice. I guess his is the hardest physique to control. The perils of height. Meathook likely wouldn't have that problem.
As for your final and most important question, jeez, I just don't have the skill to find blogging potential in baseball clubhouses. It's a weakness of mine, I'm sure. So no, I don't think it will become a mega-gold mine for me.
I was just in the Gold Coast Stadium clubhouse when A-Rod was on the TV, and during his 90-second pause to seek composure, the place was like a church. Just silence. I don't think the reaction would have been the same in other locker rooms I've visited.
Herndon, Va.: Mr. Bog: Let's assume Maryland bombs out the last part of the season, and in the ACC tournament. Is Gary is any real danger of losing his job? In a better economy, I think maybe, but right now I can't see UMD coming up with the millions of $$ it would take for a buyout.
Dan Steinberg: Plus lots of boosters would be really angry, as evidenced over the weekend.
The Post has consistently suggested that there will be serious calls for his job if this thing ends badly, and I'll believe the reporters that there was some sort of there there, but it would also be extremely unsightly for Debbie Yow after giving Gary her seal of approval.
I know all the various clever sayings about use of the word "if," but golly, if the Terps had just held onto one of those big leads, the schedule would look so different right now.
Radford, Va.: Will we be getting any video's from Spring Training since Jon Forsythe didn't accompany you on the trip to Viera this year or has the WaPo cut backs left us with just still shots? For some reason I don't imagine the intimidating presence of Elijah Dukes at a driving range late Friday night would have the same effect. Who else accompanied you down to Viera?
Dan Steinberg: Right now it's Chico Harlan and I. Speaking of Chico, I went out to the dugout with Matt Chico today, and who should be in there on the phone than Chico Harlan. Double Chico. Frightening.
But yeah, I was in the dugout with Matt Chico to get a bit of video. I won't come anywhere close to Mr. Forsythe's magical output, but there will be three or four short videos from my three days down here.
Other Post writers--definitely Tom Boswell and Barry Svrluga--will be making appearances to wide acclaim in the next few weeks.
Newark, Del.: Steinz,
Where did you grow up, relative to the plane crash last week?
Dan Steinberg: The crash was in Clarence, which is a bit East and possibly North of Buffalo.
I grew up in Fredonia, which is Southwest of Buffalo. So a lot different.
But we were definitely in the Buffalo media market, and the Buffalo media market was all crash all the time last week.
Washington, D.C.: What the crap are you doing at spring training? You're so lucky they just signed Dunn, that's gonna bring your Web traffic from 14 all the way up to 18-19.
Dan Steinberg: I thought it would be a nice way for me to provide something different, for me to meet some of the Nationals in a more relaxed setting, for me to establish some relationships for whenever the team begins to wildly succeed on the field, and for me to not pull my non-existent hair out trying to figure out what to write off of Caps practice.
But yeah. You were basically right. This feels like a three-shot evening for me to be able to fall asleep.
Northern Virginia: Radford University is on top of the Big South, yet VMI makes the Atlantic 11 and Radford gets the small type for the "others". How can I get your voters to give some love to the mighty Highlanders?
washingtonpost.com: Local Poll Week XIV: Now What?
Dan Steinberg: I was following last night's scores on my blackberry as I drove from Orlando to Cocoa Beach. VMI's loss and Radford's win were the worst possible results for the poll, since as you say VMI is ranked and Radford isn't. But remember that these votes were cast before last night's game.
VMI clearly had a better go of it in the non-conference part of the year, if for no other reason than the Kentucky game, plus the Keydets beat the 'Landers, if I'm not mistaken. But I'd say last night was the final straw for VMI; they're definitely off my list, anyhow. Frankly, the Big South probably should take a little break as a whole.
PB: I just love that the Nats lectured you guys on media ethics, using an off-the-record session to criticize the use of off-the-record sources. Should we no longer expect to hear any info from unnamed sources within the Nats organization? Have Nats employees been informed that they are not allowed to answer off-the-record questions about other organizations? Did any of the reporters ask if it is ethical to accept a free ballpark built with public funds and then put out a cut-rate product?
I'd be happy to contribute a little cash toward a plane ticket to fly La Canfora down to Viera just to have him walk in to the next press conference and introduce himself as the new beat writer for The Post. How much hair would Stan Kasten have left after a month with the Sorcerer on the job?
Dan Steinberg: Hahahaha, I was just joking with my comments about Manny earlier. It was a very very informal gab session, and obviously none of it had to do with me, so I was just listening in as a very unconnected bystander.
I think a whole lot of public figures don't understand exactly how media folks do their jobs, what motivates them and what their goals are. For whatever their image, most media people are very idealistic at heart, which is something that is hard to convey. It was a great conversation today, and I wouldn't think there'd be any sort of hard feelings on either side.
As for Jason, man, he's great on Sports With Coleman. Sorry, heard it for the first time yesterday and was looking for a place to report that news. Weekday afternoons on Baltimore's AM 1370.
Gilbert: So Gil is making millions of dollars (basically being paid to be on sick leave) and is able to make the rules with Abe/Ernie.
What, are we back in high school and the AAU? Abe/Ernie should be dictating to Gil; not vice versa (and I know sports is different but doesn't someone have the _alls to stop this sports pampering?).
On another note, I bet the Yankees would have cut A Rod is A Rod was a bench warmer and then claim to be above the game by cutting a roid user.
Ah, I feel much better now.
Dan Steinberg: You're welcome. What are the going rates for online chat therapy?
I can't tell you what Abe or Ernie would want Gilbert to do, but I don't think this is very good for the franchise. It's hard to think of tons of great reasons to re-up for season tickets right now, and some more news from Camp Zero couldn't make things much worse. Brendan Haywood has been extremely available to the media, and has been his honest, good-natured, pretty hilarious self.
Washington, D.C.: Hey Dan - Just wondering if you've joined the Wizards fans in some advance scouting for the upcoming NBA draft? Rubio has obvious blogging potential, but Griffin seems almost as boring as Nats spring training. Monroe? Thabeet?
Dan Steinberg: The problem with all this, as Ivan Carter keeps saying, is that the Wiz don't have the money to sign a high pick, since they're already right against next year's Cap with the commitments they have. Griffin might be boring, but you'd think he'd help the team win, and wins lead to happy locker rooms leads to good blogging.
Or at least, the sort of blogging I used to regard as good. Now I'm thinking the best sort of blogging for a newspaper Web site is heavily sourced X's and O's explanations and constant breaking news reports. There's only so many times a man can ask another man to take a picture of his hilarrrrrrious haircut before the first man wants to stick his head underneath a large outfield grass cutter.
Washington in the 35332: Dan, Hope you are getting some sun and thawing out down there. We Nats fans are in desperate need of some kind of fan-grown tradition to bring to our team, Orioles have that "OOO" thing they do during the national anthem, Philly fans have a proud tradition of getting belligerently drunk at games. Skins have the marching band and the song.
What do the Nats have? The closest thing I can tell is the racing presidents. Who should be the full time mascot and we should dump the eagle.
Have you seen any fan-started traditions for the Nationals that could take off?
Dan Steinberg: Maybe they could make like Caps fans and yell "Red" during the national anthem, since they already are both asking fans to wear red to games, paint the town red, support Michael Redd and buy Red Auerbach posters.
Or maybe they could play Sweet Caroline. I here people love that.
Far as I'm concerned, the answer is go-go at games, now and forever. Plus half-smokes. Or veggie half-smokes. How about today's news of catering changes at Nats Park?
Maryland: Do you expect any juicy items from Eddie Jordan's interview with CSN tonight?
Dan Steinberg: You can see some of the clips here. Hope this works. He says he wants to coach again, which isn't surprising, and he talks about missing the game. This, he said, was his final pre-game message to the team.
"This is not life and death. We're all doing something we absolutely love, and we're not succeeding, but we're doing it....It's not life and death, man. We have families. We have our lives to move on with."
So probably not juicy, but it certainly makes you keep liking the heck out of that guy.
Fairfax, Va.: Thoughts on D.C. United moving to Maryland?
Dan Steinberg: Sad, sad, sad, sad, sad.
Not knowing the nitty gritty details enough to comment on the affect on D.C., P.G. or DCU, I'll just say that I moved to D.C. in '98 as a non-sportswriter, lived on the Hill, and regularly walked to the games. The Wiz and Caps were only just reestablishing their D.C.-ness, and the Redskins were already Maryland-and-Virginia-based, and there was a D.C. pride about United that couldn't really be found in any other pro sports team at the time. Being part of what seemed like masses walking down those streets toward RFK was just a really cool feeling, and so many of the fans took such pride in everything about the crummy RFK experience. For a long time I kept an RFK seat that someone broke off from excessive jumping during the '98 Eastern finals, I believe. Seemed something worth keeping, unlike anything you might find in Raljon.
And the name, which was such a great name and such a great part of the franchise. Things happen, and often things that happen have good reasons, but I'm still sad.
re: Sweet Caroline: My blood pressure went up by about 10 points just reading that sentence.
Dan Steinberg: Ha. That was a joke.
Things have to happen, obviously. You can't plan a tradition, or it becomes by definition worthy of hate and scorn. And it wouldn't hurt to slightly change the ratio of D.C. fans to out-of-towners and expense-accounters. And as long as we're dreaming, throw in some more wins, some better microbrews, and cash bonuses for all media members.
Anonymous: "We Nats fans are in desperate need of some kind of fan-grown tradition"
How about winning some games?
Dan Steinberg: Is it really possible for all of my offseason Nats optimism to dissipate over the course of two hours in the clubhouse and one hour online with you cynics? It's sunny, the skies are blue, the team hasn't lost yet, the cleats have hardly any specks of dirt, and the sound system at Lost in Space Coast stadium works just fine, as the technician has sporadically demonstrated this afternoon. The players are off golfing or appearing at surfshops or whatever, Thom Loverro is on the scene, Panera is open for business, and I keep asking players about Taco City. Just don't puncture my dreams before 5 p.m. please.
Kensington, Md.: Dan - What are your favorite sports, blogging aside, or pre-blogging?
Dan Steinberg: To play? Bocce ball, darts, archery and judo.
To watch on television? Football is, by a million miles, the best sport to lose money betting on, which is why I can't walk past a football game on TV without stopping.
For pure, actual hair-raising sporting excitement, I vote for college basketball, soccer, hockey and track.
And yeah, you're catching me at a down moment, but when you're around the stuff all the time you have weak moments where you believe that sports have roughly the same value to society as dust mites.
Not George Washington's Cherry Tree: After Hobbs is inevitably (and deservedly) fired from GW, can he get a career going around to nursing homes and telling everyone how young they are? He seems pretty good at perpetuating that, after all.
Dan Steinberg: Well that's rude, isn't it?
I heard Al Skinner on the radio yesterday telling John Thompson how young his team is. Come to think of it, it's hard to remember the last time I heard a college coach NOT talk about how young his team is. On the list of failings, I'm not sure this should be particularly high. Though, having read the fan boards, I remember some anger after Hobbs mentioned his team's youth following a loss to a younger Richmond team.
I-270, Exit 1: Word is that Jaime Moreno has cornrows. Aren't you disappointed not to report on that?
Dan Steinberg: I'm disappointed in that I've established something of a niche in the "funny D.C. athlete haircut" beat.
I'm not disappointed in that, as previously mentioned, asking a pro athlete to take pictures of their hair is roughly as cheerful as cruising Viera looking for fine dining options.
Dan Steinberg: So yeah, I definitely need some sort of pick-me-up, and the smell of AP- and Washington Times-owned Panera take-out has yet to provide it. Nor have repeated questions about the Nats being bad. Thanks for helping turn my mild showers of depression into more of a raging hurricane of misery.
I'm telling you, five years from now reporters are going to be falling over themselves during the D.C.-to-Viera trek. Just close your eyes and imagine.
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