D.C. Sports Bog Live: Nats, Terps, Wizards, Redskins and More
Tuesday, June 16, 2009; 11:00 AM
D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg was online Tuesday, June 16, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the Nats, his Nationals Fail campaign, D.C. United, the Caps, the Redskins and the latest sports news and your questions and comments about his latest bog posts.
A transcript follows:
Dan Steinberg: Hey people. Trying to survive the next six weeks; survive, in the sense of, produce enough non-awful content to not get fired.
Today is the final superstar workout of Wiz draft prospects, which is great for copy, even if they trade the pick. In the house: Brandon Jennings, Steph Curry, Jonny Flynn, Vinny Cerrato (friends with Flip), Sam Cassell, Ernie Grunfeld, Ivan Carter, Alana Beard....this is as good as it gets in July.
Also, it looks like Write Nothing But Good News About the Nats Week might commence next Tuesday, and conclude with a three-game set in Camden Yards. Looking forward to it.
Ok, ask away, but I might have to slip away early depending on when this workout ends.
Burke, Va.: Now that the Penguins have won the Cup and the Caps played them close in the playoffs, what moves do the Caps need to make to get over the hump and win the Cup.
Dan Steinberg: Since I'm not an Xs and Os expert, and you all know that, I'm going to present two ways to look at how the Pens win changes perceptions of the Caps.
Does it make them look better?
On the one hand, they took the champs to Game 7, lost two overtime games to them, and really only had one stinker. That makes them look good. On the other hand, they seemed clearly inferior for, what, six of the seven games, with their biggest weaknesses (lack of burly forwards, lack of bruising D men, lack of experienced netminder) exposed. But still, overall, the Pens' Cup clearly makes the Caps look better.
Still, I've heard it suggested that if you're the Caps, you'd rather have the defending champs come from the West, so you can sort of scale the final mountain at the end, instead of having to deal with "defending Cup champion" hype in, say, the second round.
Washington, D.C.: Brett Favre.
Dan Steinberg: True.
Manassas, Va.: How long does Manny Acta have left? He must be going soon right?
Dan Steinberg: I have no inside info. But jeez, after two national media outlets have reported that he's gone, and after management still refuses to give the two-thumbs-up seal of approval, you have to assume it's over. The original Rosenthal report said yesterday was just one of two options.
My opinion, not that you care that much, is the same as Feinstein's: even if it's not Manny's fault, none of it, you still have to do it. What's the point of not doing it? What's the point of just continuing to be terrible. Maybe it does nothing, but then you've lost nothing. If it helps you be marginally mediocre, then fans at least have a reason not to give up in the offseason. Plus, it'd be something new. Being new and bad is better than being stale and bad. This is a 100 percent no brainer to me. Enough is enough.
And like everyone says, Manny is a prince, a great great guy, and I would say this even if Joe Torre was the guy in question. You just can't continue to stink indefinitely without doing something.
Arlington, Va.: Wait - did I read Vinny Cerrato is observing the Wiz workouts? Is this really true? Is he looking for a big wide receiver? Is he researching for content for his radio show?
Dan Steinberg: Vinny and Flip Saunders have a friendship that goes way, way back. You'll be reading and hearing about this a lot over the next few months. I'm going to try to ask Vinny about this today, although I would understand if he refuses to talk to me, since I've been plenty rude to him over the years.
New Carrollton, Md.: Hi,
I was at my first pro soccer game this weekend - the Freedom/United doubleheader. All five of us had to leave before the United game as a guy with a drum would not leave from behind our seats for the entire first game. He ignored everyone and ruined the entire event for many. Why is that allowed? It was a waste of mey. Thanks.
Dan Steinberg: Well, for a lot of fans, that adds to the experience. Makes it something other than a baseball game or a basketball game or whatever.
Usually, the fans are kind of divided into loud side and quiet side, so those who don't want to stand and scream and listen to drums can enjoy themselves. I wouldn't give up on soccer because of that.
Also, you can usually sit wherever you want at those games. I'm sure you could have just moved.
But sorry it went down like that.
Falls Church, Va.: Great to see U-Va. coverage in the paper. The stories are awesome. Think this run will keep going?
washingtonpost.com: Cavaliers Stay Alive (Washington Post, June 16)
Dan Steinberg: I don't think they're going to win it all, if that's what you're asking, but I did think they'd win yesterday. These guys have consistently been terrific in elimination games.
I love the suggestion that the Nats should hire Brian O'Connor to replace Acta.
And I think it was 100 percent the right call to send Zack/Zach Berman to Omaha to cover the Cavs. I'd have gone if it was the Terps. Daily interviews with Erin Andrews would have goosed my traffic enough to justify it.
True story: This morning I'm flipping channels.
And I'm one button away from ESPN.
And I said
I hope they're not talking about Brett (Freaking) Favre.
I hit the final number And look what's on the screen.
Brett (Freaking) Favre.
Dan Steinberg: Better than Vick.
Vienna, Va.: Last year I was a Nationals season ticket holder, but this year I have yet to will myself to go to a single game (though I still watch on television somewhat frequently). Is there any good reason to go all the way down into D.C. to see some form of a loss?
Dan Steinberg: Well, you know they're not good. Going to the Park this year isn't about the Nats being good. It's about seeing Major League Baseball in D.C.
I have this game I play with people when I can't think of anything else to say: if you could get season tickets to any of the following, and you didn't have to pay, and you weren't allowed to re-sell the tix for profit, what would you take: Caps, Wizards, Nats, Redskins, Terps Football, Terps Basketball, or D.C. United season tix.
I always say Nats, and you all know my various biases against the franchise. But if I really really care about the results, I'd rather be watching on TV. If I want to have fun, and have decent transportation, and not regret my use of time, I'll choose sitting outside at a baseball game every time.
And this holds equally true for the P Nats and the Keys and all the rest, but I live far closer to Nats Park than any of the other local options.
Plus, there's no great benefit in having the national media make fun of the Nats' attendance. As I've said before, it's one thing for us to make fun of the team, but it burns me when the national folks do. So show up, to put one more body in one more seat.
(If you think this was bad, wait until next week, when I go into full Nats PR mode.)
Mt. Pleasant, Washington, D.C.: U.S.-Honduras at RFK on July 8 -- gotta be some blogging opportunities there! Interesting cross-cultural tail-gating, at a minimum. Any good Central American cheeses?
Dan Steinberg: Queso Fresco. Everywhere, Queso Fresco, and its close cousins. That stuff gives me a stomachache, to be honest, but it can be tasty.
What's better for blogging, that or Real Madrid-D.C. United at FedEx?
St. Petersburg, Fla.: How about an update on Gil's pool, that is always a winner.
Dan Steinberg: Got nothing for you there, but DeShawn Stevenson is at Wiz workouts today. I can ask him about swimming pools, if you like.
The ducktail seems to be gone, sadly.
Fairfax, Va.: In a popularity contest of current D.C. athletes, I would say that Ovechkin, Arenas, and Portis are the top three most popular/recognizable. Would Ryan Zimmerman even crack the top 10? Elijah Dukes would be No. 174, just ahead of Alana Beard and Ethan Albright.
Dan Steinberg: I've played this game for years, although usually during the slow summer months. Maybe it's time to revisit. I'm fine with your top three, probably in that order at this point. Popular and recognizable are different, but to be totally frank, Zim isn't top 20 for recognizable. This is a problem with the game; Etan Thomas and Brendan Haywood and Oleksiy Pecherov are more "recognizable," because they're taller than most D.C. buildings. Caron Butler too.
For popularity, I think Zim is safely in the Top 10, though.
Alexandria, Va.: What internet browsers do you typically use?
Dan Steinberg: Wait, were you looking for Rob Pegararo?
For reasons I can't explain, I always have IE and Firefox open at the same time.
Brooklyn, N.Y.: Why do some sports writers/pundits get so irate over Brett Favre being wishy-washy about retiring. The man has a rare talent and loves playing the game. Once he's done, that's it forever - for the rest of his life.
I can understand why the Packers and other teams might feel jerked around, but boo hoo. This is a business and teams jerk around players' careers on a daily basis.
Should Brett Favre really give up football forever just because it's upsetting whiny loudmouths like little Jay Mariotti? I wouldn't take my career cues based on what he says, so why should Favre?
Dan Steinberg: Honestly, complaining about Brett Favre coverage is becoming as cliche as Brett Favre coverage. I like your tack here; you can be a trailblazer by praising Brett Favre coverage, and Brett Favre wishiwashiness.
But you're right. It's tiresome to watch, but I go on job listings at least once a week, at least. And I have an ideal job that I could be satisfied doing for the next 30 years, if I don't get fired. Some people just have trouble making decisions about their careers. Luckily, Rachel Alexander doesn't fly to D.C. to do a stand-up every time I try asking myself whether I could do public relations for the American Academy of Plumber Researchers.
Alexandria, Va.: I can already imagine you awkwardly asking Ronaldo about Paris Hilton ...
washingtonpost.com: Paris Hilton: Ronaldo's Easiest Score Ever (TMZ.com)
Dan Steinberg: If the past is any indication, the post-game mixed zone doesn't allow for tremendous one-on-one interviewing potential.
I'm assuming I'd be blogging fans. Who has more clorful fans, Honduras or Real?
Oakton, Va.: Dan -
I've tried to unsubscribe from the Redskins email distribution list three times, the first time was over six months ago. Each time I get a message stating that I've successfully unsubscribed. But the solicitations keep coming (the last one coming last week for a D.C. United game vs Real Madrid at FedEx Field).
Is this a sign of Dan Snyder's arrogance or incompetence?
Dan Steinberg: Interesting.
A lot of interesting e-mails coming out of Redskins Park these days. Wish I could say more about that right now.
Speaking of, people do get on the strangest lists, don't they? I was on a list from the Breastfeeding Center for like two years before I got around to unsubscribing. Believe it or not, I've never breastfed anyone in my life.
Anyhow, of the two, I guess I'd choose arrogance.
Washington, D.C.: Without ignoring the clear, to most people, race/class issues when there is criticism for high schoolers making the jump to the NBA, do you think there is also an historical issue as well? Baseball, tennis, soccer, etc have had teenagers competing at the highest levels for 50 years so everyone was used to them going off to try and play professionally. Was some of the backlash against high school players going to the NBA because it went against what people had grown up with?
Dan Steinberg: What is this in connection with?
I actually agree that it's more about tradition than it is about anything else. That's why I think people will profess unhappy shock about Bryce Harper getting his GED and bailing on the end of his high school career to facilitate his pro baseball career. It's fine for a high school senior, but not a high school sophomore? Is it really that big a difference? But it somehow seems shocking, because that's not what we're used to.
As a societal issue, it's clearly (to me) more damaging to serious institutions to have colleges open themselves up as one-year basketball minor leagues than it is for the NBA to open itself up to teenagers, no?
Anonymous: "said Morry Morgan, a Shanghai-based corporate trainer, in his blog."
We still have two weeks of June, dude.
Dan Steinberg: I love this question, because I really have on idea to what it refers.
So I'll answer as follows: Swedish muffins always have more sugar than the mud that drips from French coffee makers in October.
Downtown, Washington, D.C.: What are your thoughts on Greivis returning to the Terps? He has a certain odd prickliness that has to be right up the Bog's alley, no?
washingtonpost.com: Maryland's Vasquez Withdraws From NBA Draft (Washington Post, June 16)
Dan Steinberg: I like Greivis. He's good for sports. And the Terps are, if not a Top 25 team, an Also Receiving Votes team now. So much for "Program in Crisis" talk.
Speaking of draft prospects, either the local media loves Brandon Jennings, or we're all just realizing that there's nothing else going on today. 4, 5, 7, 9, CSN, Examiner, Post (times 2), Times are all here for a workout, despite the fact that the Wiz won't be picking anyone next week.
Rockville, Md.: Dan why are you not in Las Vegas?! Do you have any predictions on what Ovie and Co. will do?
Dan Steinberg: Tarik got that gig.
Ovie will give great quote, that's for sure.
I'm trying to angle my way into a trip to Vegas for Wiz Summer League, though. Prior commitments might mean Michael Lee can't make it. That is good blogging times, out there.
S. Rockville, Md.: Why would you have gone to Omaha if it had been the Terps? What about if it had been Mason? GW? Any coverage of Jeff Jones (AU) et al.'s trip to Walter Reed before they headed overseas?
Dan Steinberg: I just don't consider U-Va. to be a strong part of my mandate, and I think there are thousands of people who come out of the woodwork for Maryland athletic stories. I'm an unabashed chaser of clicks in my current line of occupation.
Mason has tons of local kids, but a very very very very small committed athletic fanbase. So probably not. Maybe, if Gunston would have shown.
I did not know about the Jeff Jones Walter Reed thing.
Atlanta, Ga.: Are you happy to get Greivis back to College Park for another year? He clearly is the most bogworthy character on the team unless Lance Stephenson decides to join.
Dan Steinberg: Lance is done, right? I saw a headline that indicated Maryland's pursuit of him was over.
Greivis is indeed good for bog, thought perhaps slightly less good than Gary Williams. But yeah, I'm happy.
And my previous "which season tickets would you take" question, I usually say Maryland basketball is second to the Nats. I enjoy me some Comcast Center.
Re: Cerrato: Are we allowed to blame Cerrato for a bad draft pick by Wiz now?
Dan Steinberg: No no no no, it's all Bowden's fault. Especially if they go for a toolsy guy like Brandon Jennings, who is currently wowing the crowd at Verizon Center with his one on one moves. At last, that's what I was told. I'm sitting in the hallway talking to you fools.
Alexandria, Va.: At what time of day do you think Acta will be fired?
Dan Steinberg: Between 10 and 11 a.m.
Arlington, Va.: Predictions on the distribution of fans for the Red Sox/Nats games next week? 60-40 Sox fans? 70-30 Sox? 80-20?
Dan Steinberg: No way is it 80-20. 60-40, or thereabouts, might be realistic. How many hundreds of pink B hats will there be, might be another fun game.
It will be tough to stomach, that's for sure. As a sinking-gut feeling, this will be far worse than the Steelers at FedEx thing. That was, in large part, because of rush hour traffic and the huge gap between Steelers visits to this city. I guess the latter could hold true for the Nats, but not the former, and three days in a row makes it gnarlier.
Re: Cerrato: What if they trade the pick for an overpriced, injury prone veteran?
Dan Steinberg: Favre?
Atlanta, Ga.: Steinz,
first the Bog, then Sporting News, now getting interviewed by other bloggers. Please don't tell me the next step is a jump to ESPN or NFL network!
Dan Steinberg: If they offered, I'd leave my laptop right here on my chair in the Verizon Center hallway, right across from the large photos of Nick Young dunking and DeShawn Stevenson with a mohawk, and sprint out the door.
I'm trying to follow in T "I'm Back for More Cash" K's footsteps, and the newspaper industry isn't a cash cow right now. I'd write a book, but only if you all promise to buy it. And, uh, give me a topic, and a title, and the first page.
The question everyone is afraid to ask: Will the Nats set the single season losing record this year?
Dan Steinberg: Zero chance. 162 games is too long to have that much bad luck. No one thinks this is the least talented team in MLB history, and they've had so many bad breaks, from the dropped pop-ups to the grounders over the bag to the bad Citi Field calls to dozens of others that I'm forgetting.
And no one is afraid to ask that. We've all been asking it for weeks. I think they stabilize into 104 or 106 so loss territory. Just as long as they wrap up Bryce Harper, that'd be fine.
Bethesda, Md.: Dan, please bear with me as I am kind of new to all of this, But:
As a Hokie fan, is this the correct place for me to whine about all of the coverage that U-Va. has been getting lately?
Dan Steinberg: Oh heck yeah.
I've gotten multiple emails over the past week about the unfair VT vs. U-Va. coverage, with the complainers all saying that VT is overcovered. Zach/Zack Berman, who covered both teams last year, said it was fairly even until he became essentially a VT beat writer for all of December, leading up to the bowl game. That skewed things severely. But it's the same deal right now, with him writing U-Va. baseball stories literally every day. I mean, we haven't had much VT baseball coverage lately. This is what it's about; we cover teams that win, because those are the teams readers (or more readers, anyhow) want to read about.
Washington, D.C.: "I love this question, because I really have on idea to what it refers."
Oh boy. I just hope I didn't accidentally send my question to you to my boss instead.
I had meant to paste what you had wrote in the intro that "this is as good as it gets in July."
The ironic thing was that I was trying to correct you. I can't believe I'm employed.
Dan Steinberg: If I wasn't trying to answer questions in a hallway while twittering (@dcsportsbog) and responding to emails and thinking up questions for Brandon Jennings and directing traffic for late-arriving media members (what's up, David Aldridge!), I might be able to understand this explanation.
But nope, I still don't get it.
Washington, D.C.: Honduran fans! Lots of Euro-snob Real Madrid fans will be at Fed Ex. The Hondurans will be crazy passionate.
Dan Steinberg: Hmmmm. Might be easier to make fun of Euro-snob Real Madrid fans, no? Ok, which team will have more players with mohawks?
Leesburg, Va.: Dan, is there anything in sports worse than watching your most hated rival win the championship? I felt like I was watching the Cowboys win the Superbowl on Friday ...
On the plus side, at least Crosby closed out the season with one last act of Crosbyism with his snubbing of a time-honored hockey tradition.
Also, now that Bettman got his golden boy his cup, do you think he will let other teams from the East take a shot at it?
Dan Steinberg: But think how sweet it would be for the Caps to dethrone the defending Cup champions in the Eastern finals next year, right?
Imagine if LeBron had won a title this year too. That could have pushed this to the ranks of the worst calendar year in the history of D.C. sports, especially if the Zorn thing doesn't work out, the Nats fail to sign Strasburg and finish with 110-plus losses, and Gilbert's knee explodes into a hundred pieces.
Alexandria, Va.: Not that it matters, but the Hokies won two of three against U-Va. in baseball this season.
Dan Steinberg: See, I didn't know that, because of the liberal media bias.
Arlington, Va.: "we cover teams that win, because those are the teams readers (or more readers, anyhow) want to read about." - - - how does this apply to the Redskins, Wizards and Nationals? Is the Sports section dropping to four pages?
Dan Steinberg: Well, we ramp up our coverage for the teams that are winning-ish. Obviously we cover everyone. As slow-witted as I usually am, the sensory overload in this hallway is currently turning me into no-witted. If you'd all stop submitting questions, I'd just walk away from this computer and call it a day.
New Carrollton, Md.: Hi Dan,
Actually we did ask about moving to other seats. We were told no. Your oh-well response helps the decision though. We are anti-soccer fans now.
Dan Steinberg: Wow, don't let me speak for Soccer. I'm amazed they told you no about moving to other seats. And I wasn't trying to Oh Well you.
Look, seriously, you should call D.C. United ticket reps, explain what happened, explain you were told you couldn't move, and tell them you're unlikely ever to go to another game. They will make things right for you, I feel sure.
Drums are unique, but you could certainly find similarly disruptive fans at any sporting event in the world. Well, many sporting events. I would just hope you don't let that chase you away for all time.
Kensington, Md.: So, are the Lerners and Kasten keeping Manny waiting because:
A) The Lerners are still dithering and can't decide whether they want to pay out yet another contract for someone who's no longer working for them, or
B) they think that by drawing out the process, this might prod the team into winning in a last-minute effort to save a manager the players respect? (never mind -- that didn't actually work on Sunday, the day the news hit the WaPo print edition).
Dan Steinberg: The best argument I've seen is that you don't want to have a new guy start with three games at Yankee Stadium.
Who leaked this over the weekend, and why then, would be an interesting thing to learn.
Dan Steinberg: I just asked Alana Beard how it works having so many Terps and Dukies on the same team.
"Duke and Maryland, what's that?" she said. "We're the Mystics. You develop some of your best friendships with players that were once your rivals. Perfect example is Nikki Teasley; we were rivals, and now she's one of my best friends. I don't love Maryland; I love my teammates."
Mystics coverage, live in a chat! Beat that, Wilbon!
Charlottesville, Va.: "is this the correct place for me to whine about all of the coverage that U-Va."
No, the place to do that is 6,000 miles away in Blacksburg, Va./Tenn. Is this guy serious?
Virginia Tech would not even be part of the D.C. area nuclear blast zone. I believe Providence, R.I. is about the same distance. Yet U-Va. is always ignored, except for this one time when we actually are doing well.
Dan Steinberg: See, everyone's unhappy with our coverage!
In happier news, DeShawn Stevenson just came off the practice court, and he DOES still have that ducktail. Today just keeps getting better and better.
McLean, Va.: Nothing to do with anything, but I went to Artomatic by Navy Yard last weekend and two different artists' exhibits had pieces centered on Ovechkin. This city is really embracing him.
Dan Steinberg: Dang, I wish I had known that. Is Artomatic still going?
Ovechkin is clearly, clearly No. 1 in town right now. Joseph White from the AP made the claim in April or May of this year, and I was initially skeptical because I think there are too many neighborhoods where Ovechkin still doesn't mean much, but I've changed my thinking. If you polled Metro D.C. on favorite athlete, I think Ovechkin would win by a landslide, even more so if it was a 30-and-under poll.
Arlington, Va.: I don't know if this registers as a FAIL or just bad luck.
During the 2nd game of the Reds-Nats series after Dunn gets picked off second base to end the inning the giant scoreboard announces Dunn as the Nats spotlight player (or something like that) and has a montage of video highlights - almost all of which were of Dunn in a Reds uniform. In fact, I'm not sure I saw any highlights of him in a Nationals uniform.
Oh, and the clocks were synced that night too.
washingtonpost.com: D.C. Sports Bog: Nationals Television Fail (Washington Post, June 11)
Dan Steinberg: Hahaha.
You know, someone from the Nats called me last week, and I immediately caved like Ikea furniture in an earthquake. What I said to her, and what I believe, is that if we all dedicated ourselves to finding FAILs with the Redskins or Wiz or Caps, we could probably do so. The Nats started things off with Smiley, the Player to be Named Later, and with the Natinals and with a few other spectacular fails, but now it's just sport to find mistakes, and to spin them as FAIL, and that's never too hard. You could certainly do the same with any big institution, including The Post.
That being said.....Dunn in a Reds jersey? Really?
Arlington, Va.: "On the plus side, at least Crosby closed out the season with one last act of Crosbyism with his snubbing of a time-honored hockey tradition."
Crosby went to shake hands, but a bunch of Wings' players had hurried off the ice.
For a group of people who talk about Crosby being a whiner, Caps fans do a lot of sulking a moaning themselves.
washingtonpost.com: Crosby dismisses Red Wings handshake flap (Associated Press, June 14)
Dan Steinberg: Penguins fans reading my chat? Well, thanks for the support.
Give us our Crosby hatred. It sustains us. We don't --really -- hate him. If we sat down and broke bread and discussed mustaches and ate some of the interesting Quebec cheeses with him, we're sure we'd all get along fine.
Alexandria, Va.: I call shenanigans. Nobody was checking tickets for the Freedom game and event staff didn't care where anybody sat.
Dan Steinberg: Were there drums?
Does it really count as a chat if I just hit "publish" on different repsonses to each other while trying to interview Alana Beard in a hallway?
Fairfax, Va.: Do you know who's idea it was to put up WNBA attendance championship banners at the Verizon Center? Is there any chance we can get them taken down, they are ridiculous!
Dan Steinberg: No.
But I can tell you that Nick Young and Andray Blatche just showed up in this hallway, wrestling their way down the length of blue.
Nick called my iced coffee a machachino or something like that.
So, to recap, sitting in this one place today I've seen Chris Miller, Ivan Carter, Michael Lee, Sara Walsh, ex Mason hoopster Jen Daniels, Nick Young, David Aldridge, Alana Beard, Marissa Coleman, Nikki Blue, Flip Saunders, Vinny Cerrato, Sam Cassell, DeShawn Stevenson, Stephen Curry, Jonny Flynn, Brandon Jennings, A.J. Price, Andray Blatche, Lindsay Czarniak, and Crystal Langhorne. Not bad.
Ok, workout is over, interviews are starting, gotta go. Sorry for not paying attention with all my brain to this thing today.
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