D.C. Sports Bog Live

Baseball fans celebrate the opening of Washington's 2009 season at Nationals Park. Video by Anna Uhls/washingtonpost.com
Dan Steinberg
D.C. Sports Bogger
Tuesday, April 14, 2009; 11:00 AM

D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg was online Tuesday, April 14, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the latest sports news and your questions about his latest bog posts. bog posts.


Dan Steinberg: Hey all, I'm here at Caps practice, willing to talk about the glory and misery of Opening Day, the upcoming series with the Rangers, the end of the Wiz home season, playoff beards, the Frozen Four, the hot hot hot Mason baseball team, and anything else.

I'm here with Tarik, who will be chatting tomorrow. And I might have to bail early to go talk to Caps players. If you have any ideas for some Caps blogging today, have at it.


Potomac, Md. : Over/Under October 1st for Arenas's next surgery?

Dan Steinberg: I don't think you can really do it again. Either he's ready to play basketball, or he just transitions straight into the blogging equivalent of Charles Barkley's job.

There's still some remnant of hope that everything turns out right for Gil and the Wiz. One more bout with the knives, and all that hope disappears. So I say never, Potomac. I say the over-under is never.


washingtonpost.com: The First Home Run Ball and Harry Kalas (D.C. Sports Bog)


Fairfax, Va.: 0-7 kinda makes you say "wait till next year" right outta the box, doesn't it? This just looks like more of the same -- better offense, but still no pitching.

How long until Manny Acta starts to look over his shoulder watching for The Turk?

Dan Steinberg: As a sort of casual observer of the Nats, my fondest hope was that they could keep D.C. interested in the ballgames through the all-star break. It would be good for business (theirs AND ours), and it would be nice to try to recapture some of the excitement from the first year.

The problem with this is, even if they steady themselves soon, the chance for buzz is almost gone already. This doesn't seem like the kind of pitching staff that will run off seven in a row, so they might never see .500 again this year. It's just sad. For all the jokes, I don't see how you can't root for things to work out eventually, and this year was supposed to start building the buzz back.


Arlington, Va.: Any good stories from the Frozen Four? Aside from, you know, the two goals in the last minute and the overtime.

Dan Steinberg: It was awesome. Really, there's not too much to say about it, other than it was a sporting event that you'll never forget if you were there.

I was mildly disappointed by the lack of fan weirdness. The Vermont fans struck me as the most likely to be weird, but they mostly bailed after the semifinal loss. The Vermont fans did start up a fan-initiated Rock and Roll Part II chant, complete with the always classy "Hey...You Suck!" chorus. If that chant has the twin evils of being crass AND non-original, I really don't see the argument in favor.

The Miami kids told me a long story about this prank they pulled on their assistant captains, involving the sale of possibly damaged truck rims and a tattooed guy named Mo, but I already mostly used that in the blog.


Opening Day Picture: If you're over 12, you shouldn't bring your glove to the ballpark.

Same as wearing an official jersey over a t-shirt...no matter how injured the Wiz are, they're not going to need you.

Dan Steinberg: I don't disagree with this.

And yeah, I saw plenty of all-growned-up men with gloves yesterday, one of whom caught a toss from a Phillies player during warm-ups. I'm sure he was proud.


Leesburg, Va.: Steinz, did you check IDs on those two women who claimed to be 26?

Dan Steinberg: Wow, I thought their tricked-out Nats snuggies were the story there, not their age. No, I did not check their ages. And it was pretty loud there, with Clint doing his pre-game spiel and lots of canned music playing, so maybe I mis-heard them.

Very few signs or banners at your typical Nats game.


Washington, D.C.: Hey Dan:

I think it is funny that last year and economy is being blamed for the Nationals anemic ticket sales. I am in the Nationals wheelhouse of potential fans (3 kids, like baseball, disposable income), but I am so turned off by the way the Lerners have handled the Nats that I never in a million years did I think I would rather give my money to Peter Angelos.

I wonder if Bud regrets the Lerners now? Many of my friends in my situation feel the same -- if you want to run the organization in a second-class manner, you are going to get second-class attendance numbers. With team worthy of what D.C. spent to build the stadium, put a first class product on the field and we will come in droves. Just ask the Caps.

Dan Steinberg: I agree with you wholeheartedly. The Caps RAISED ticket prices, and still are starting a season ticket waiting list. I'm not sure if this speaks well or badly of D.C. fans, but they're willing to speak with their wallets.

You can blame me for a lot of bad behavior with regards to the Nats, but I have season credentials for all the local teams, and I use my Nats credential the least. The price of entry, for me, is free. But winners attract interest, buzz, attention, funny jerseys, etc. That's the overwhelming issue here. You can even put aside the stadium to some degree; people go to the Verizon Center, RFK and FedEx, none of which are draws by themselves. It's all about wins. It'll come.


Newark, Del.: Steinz,

Do you think, given what happened at the stadium yesterday, "the blogs" should have maybe held off some of the "making fun of the Phillies" posts (like Ryan Howard smoking) for a day or two?

Dan Steinberg: You know, I was thinking about this. I don't know the answer. And as it turned out, Ryan Howard smoking was actually supposed to be a tribute to Kalas, which changes it from "funny TV photography item" to "oddly touching tribute that the blogs noticed first."

Kalas is a real part of that organization, so it's not like some fan passed away. And it happened at the ballpark, right before the game. But still, people die, especially people in their 70s who have been in poor health. Lots of teams from lots of cities had players' relatives, longtime fans, season ticket holders etc die yesterday. I don't think the world needs to stop. And so many blogs did such great tributes to Kalas, that overall I think it was a net plus.


Alexandria, Va.: So if the Nats won't release their season ticket numbers, is there a way of estimating counting the seats in a certain section?

Season Ticket Sales 'Down' In Second Year of Ballpark (Post, April 13)

Dan Steinberg: If you really really want to do it, like a Nats Journal poster suggested, you wait until a Monday home game in April or May with bad weather and a boring opponent and then look at the announced number. Counting bodies is pointless, if you want a STH number, because they don't have to come.

To some extent, though, this is piling on. (And that's coming from me, the ultimate piler-oner.) We know attendance is going to be middling, possibly poor at times depending on opponent and record. The exact number doesn't matter all that much.

(Yes, I'll make a huge deal of the TV ratings when they come out. Yes, I'm a hypocrite.)


Washington, D.C.: I saw the Post article on Theodore and his inconsistent season. I think he's been doing pretty well overall. However, doesn't this kind of coverage just put more pressure on him, and by extension, make everything his fault if we don't advance to the next round of the playoffs? I've seen some embarrassing defense out there at times, and while the offensive is great, it still has bad days. This just seems to be the easy choice of picking on Theodore, since he is one goalie and not an offensive or defensive line. Also, what are your predictions re the post-season?

Dan Steinberg: I understand exactly what you're saying, but if you're a newspaper writer you can't ignore the story. It is one of the three most compelling things to watch in this series, the battle of goaltenders with such wildly divergent reputations and auras.

Sometimes, if you're the media, the easy choice is the right one. You know people are talking about it regardless.


Brooklyn, N.Y.: From Sheinen's article today: "It's still major league baseball, and it's better than I can play," said one Nationals fan, who declined to give his name because he was supposed to be at work. "I'm sure maybe there's a limit (to a fan's patience), but I don't know what that limit would be."

Really? In an article that claims 40k plus attendance, he can only find one fan willing to give his name and then has to result to anonymity?

"There seems to be a preponderance of this in the Post recently," said one Sports Bog reader commenting anonymously from Brooklyn due to impending accusations of workplace tomfoolery. "Why is that?"

(And I know this isn't your field, per se, but you've become a sort of ombudsman for the Post sports section during your chats.)

washingtonpost.com: For Nationals and Their Fans, a Relationship in Need of a Lift (Post, April 14)

Dan Steinberg: Sports ombudsman Dan says you give Sheinin a break here, since he was doing double duty with the Kalas story. I've also given fans anonymity for the same skipping-work reasons.

Listen everybody, really sorry but the Caps finished up earlier than expected and I simply need to go in the dressing room now. Email me all your unanswered questions and I'll send you wry but ultimately unsatisfying results. We'll do better next week


washingtonpost.com: A Hot Theodore Is Key for Capitals (Post, April 14)


washingtonpost.com: This concludes today's chat. Follow Dan on his http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/. Thank you.


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