D.C. Sports Bog Live: Red Sox Fans, Nationals Fail, Redskins, Caps and More

 Dan Steinberg
Dan Steinberg (The Washington Post)
Dan Steinberg
D.C. Sports Bogger
Tuesday, June 23, 2009; 11:00 AM

D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg was online Tuesday, June 23, 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.


Dan Steinberg: Hey all, I'm gonna post a few answers here, or "answers" I guess, and then do this radio spot with Big O and Dukes at 11, and then I'll be back here pronto. You can listen to my melodious voice on WJFK while asking me online questions. It'll be great.

In other news, I'm at Nats Park. For my fifth consecutive visit, I got a 100 percent free, non-zoned, easy-walking-distance parking space. Obviously I'm cursing myself by repeatedly mentioning this, but it's just incredible. It's wondrous. Every time, it's the highlight of my day.


Fairfax, Va.: Amazing how hockey coverage completely dried up here after the Caps were eliminated. D.C. a hockeytown? I don't think so.

Dan Steinberg: Well, but that's an issue of the newspaper, not the fans, necessarily. I thought our lack of postseason coverage was notable, especially compared to what we were still doing with the NBA playoffs.

But how do you measure local fan interest in NHL Eastern Conference finals vs NBA Eastern Conference Finals, for example? We don't have a good way of doing it.

Anyhow, I will agree with you that the massive local hockey buzz for the Eastern Conference semis in this town in no way carried over, in an audible way, to the Eastern Conference finals. So let's just say it's, for now, a CapsTown, and whether it one day becomes a Hockey Town (or a Nats Town) is TBA>


Washington, D.C.: How can D.C. fans break the habit of screaming "O's!" at sporting events? It drives me insane. I think its because most people don't understand that its an Orioles thing, and that DC fans did it because for a long time all we had was the birds. We need a publicity campaign to educate DC fans that it not just some quirky fun thing to do during the anthem, but an Orioles tradition that should be avoided unless you're at an Orioles game.

Dan Steinberg: I get this at least once a week, whether here, on email, in person, whatever. I think it's awful at Nats games, because of what the Os franchise did to try to keep DC free of baseball. But for other local teams, it doesn't bother me as much. It's a genuine DMV (or at least DM) tradition, and we need more of them. But I'd definitely ban it at Nats Park.

HOw would you conduct this campaign?


District of Caron: Hi Steinz, it seems like you favor the Skins and the Caps over the Wiz. Does their clowning not provide you with enough material? We got one story in three months about the Wiz! Please bruh! Help us out bruh!

Dan Steinberg: Traffic for our Wizards coverage is way down. I follow the traffic.

Honestly, I don't favor anyone, but the Skins and Caps both have some significant advantages: fervent fan bases, incredibly entertaining coaches, and large rosters. It's harder to find a steady stream of stuff to write about with only 13 or 14 guys. A 53-man locker room solves all those problems.

But pound for pound, the Wizards' roster is still far more entertaining than any in D.C.


Every time, it's the highlight of my day. : If you're day includes a trip to Nats Park, I can see how a parking spot would be the highlight of your day

Dan Steinberg: What about the organic tea at Mayorga?

Seriously, the one thing I'm left with from listening to the ads between innings on the radio broadcasts is that organic tea is available at Mayorga.


How would you conduct this campaign? : Yell V after the O at Caps games?

Dan Steinberg: To me, the "REDDDDDD" at Caps games is more jarring than the "O," especially because the Caps aren't, as far as I can tell, the only pro sports team in America that wears red. Plus it's too early in the anthem. The great thing about the "O" is that it comes right near the end, when everyone is getting restless and ready for the thing to be over. The "REDDDD" comes during the prime of the song. I don't like it.


Acta: Is his job saved for the season if he pulls out a series win against the Sox?

Dan Steinberg: No.

I mean, I don't know what it takes for him to get fired, but if they win two out of three against the Red Sox, then lose 47 straight, I'm guessing he gets canned.

I'm not sure that for any coach in any league, your job can ever be "saved" in a permanent sense. Disaster is always possible. Obviously the Nats aren't losing 47 straight, but if they go through another extended streak of wretchedness, who knows.

(By the way, Write Nothing But Good Things About the Nats Week is still on, but Twitter and chats are exempt.)


Washington, D.C.: Has "Write Nothing but Good Things About the Nats Week" started yet? Maybe you could try to find out if there are any Nick Young's or Stevenson's in the Nat's clubhouse. I know it's tough to find good blogging material in a 20-47 clubhouse, but I don't think everybody is as boring as Zimmerman. I'd like to hear what Tavarez has to say about the Manny bobblehead.

Dan Steinberg: YEah, started yesterday, though I was horribly distracted by Redskins tailgating news.

Yesterday, i had three Jays fans who decided the Nats were their second-favorite team, Curly W the Rally Monkey and Manny Acta is a Good Guy items. Today, I'm gonna have something on Pat Listach and something on a Suit Drive the team is conducting, and who knows what else.

Also, the clock is, once again, correct.

Adam Dunn is a great quote. But I haven't interviewed an actual Nats baseball player in months. I"ll try today.


Clifton, Va.: Sir,

If you show up for the herding trials on either the 6 or 7 July I buy you lunch. Large Frosty on me!

I will also provide you with one of the top experts on herding to explain what is going on.

Since this is not a stick and ball sport I expect a sports journalist from a major paper to have difficulties.

BTW you can scoop HBO and Real Sports who will be there in Sept.

Dan Steinberg: The way to my heart is definitely paved with iced chocolate beverages. Is Clifton any closer to Petworth than it was last month when you invited me?


Sterling, Va.: I have noticed Snyder and Lerner have quietly discouraged the time-honored joy of tailgating. Do you believe it is an attempt to force fans inside the stadium to purchase food and beverages?

Dan Steinberg: I'd like to believe that if Daniel Snyder dials it up, there's a dollar sign waiting at the end somewhere. But I'm not convinced this time.

Fan: "Well, I've loved tailgating over multiple spaces my whole life. Now the team is asking me to do so either within a single space, or 50 rows further from the entrance. This really steams me! To retaliate, I'm gonna buy two more hamburgers and three more beers today!"

I think either you stick it out with your tailgate and walk the extra distance, you cut down on the multiple spaces, you stay away, or you buy the same amount of food you've always bought. Unless you get drunk and forget that you were supposed to be boycotting the food stands, and then have Monday Morning regret.

The best conspiracy theory I've heard is that this is paving the way to charge people extra for tailgating passes in future seasons. That would be a good one. Wait and see.


Charleston, SC: Kornheiser. Radio. Discuss.

And I've been sitting behind giant concrete pillars at FedEx for years. Can we redirect the parking lot rage into a fund for obstructed view periscopes?

Dan Steinberg: Did he sign a deal? Honestly, my mind's been elsewhere.

Plus, I think he made it clear that he will never call me to discuss his radio career, so I went ahead and gave up that as one of my beats.

Why in the world would you still go to games? Stay at home. The beer is cold (and free), the pizza is hot (and reasonably priced), and, unless you live in your mom's basement, there probably isn't a pillar in front of your TV. That one I never got. The games are trying enough even when you CAN see the field.


Washington, DC: Is it possible that the Nats/Caps fans have to yell something during the anthem because we're such an ADD culture that people can't stand for 60 seconds without yelling or doing something?

Dan Steinberg: I definitely check my BlackBerry during the National Anthem. I guess that's bad.

One of the better solutions, if you really hate the "O," is the solo sax version. There are some different people locally who do it; the Wiz have a guy who plays soprano sax, I think, and does it very movingly. There's no way to sneak an "O" into that version.


Twitter and chat exemption: What?!? You didn't say anything about the exemption when we arrived at our positivity fail agreement last week. Oh, okay (but you know it will make your stomach hurt). I'm sure that all the little guys who benefit from the ImpActa Foundation will understand...

Dan Steinberg: Hey, just send along my total at the end.

(I agreed that each time I give up on my positivity pledge, I'll write a check equaling the Nats' win total to the ImpACTA Foundation.)

Though I don't think I said anything negative on here, did I? Or, at least, inaccurately negative?


Leesburg, Va.: Dan,

I have a miniature Australian Shepard with more energy than sense. I've been looking for a more positive outlet for that energy. Does Clifton know if there's any "little league" herding organization I can get her involved with?


Dan Steinberg: The D.C. Sports Bog Tuesday Morning Chat: Bringing Herding fans together for three months and 14 days.


Philadelphia, Pa.: When will you be playing in Philly again?

Dan Steinberg: Don't understand.

But for the record, there were a few security guards at the Turin Games who swore I looked like Moby. Is that maybe what you're saying?


Mt. Pleasant: Wizards summer league in Vegas blogging? I'm sure the posts would be worth the travel budget...

Dan Steinberg: Well, ordinarily I'd have said no, since Michael Lee would have handled it. He's unbelievable, by the way, isn't he? He's had a few gems on the Wiz Insider lately.

Anyhow, he has an anniversary or something to celebrate that week, so I think I"m in. At least for a few days. We might be moving at the end of July, and I don't know that being gone for a week would help that effort much, but I'd like to be there as much as I can. For one thing, that's the bestest city in the world.

Of course, last time I went, I got to interview Ron Artest's brother AND to have a Ukrainian dinner with O-Pec and Harvey Grant, so it might be best just to leave that alone.


Section 138: I can't believe I'm doing this, but here's my own little contribution to your "Nationals Fail Campaign." Nats and their curly M

Dan Steinberg: Um, how in the world had I never seen this? How?

Natsfan1a, I need a ruling. Do I need to wait until next week to post this? This isn't really negative, so much as awesome.


Buy American: Ricky Rubio is a joke. Any team that takes him will regret it. Too slow, too short and too retro '70s. How can he be seriously considered as a top-5 pick?

Dan Steinberg: His assist numbers in Euro were pretty ridiculous, he's young, he's still growing, and he hasn't had to learn to shoot. Maybe he still can. Plus, which of these point guards is a sure thing? Heck, which of these players is a sure thing? Greg Oden was the surest thing around.


Nats Park: Is there a rule at Nats Park against striking someone wearing a pink "B" hat?

Dan Steinberg: No no, it's encouraged. Especially with shaving cream pies. I hear they love that.

Don't they also sell pink "W" hats? For all I know, they sell pink "M" hats too.


Lake Ridge, Va.: Have you signed the www.savetailgating.com Petition?

Dan Steinberg: Uh, I have not, but here's the link. If I'm not allowed to give five cents to a political campaign in Wyoming, even though I cover neither politics nor Wyoming, I'm assuming I shouldn't be lending my name, signature, or electronic imprint on a petition concerning the Redskins.

ANything that decreases my chances of fans near the stadium entrance providing me with free veggie burgers, though, will not help my mood on game day.


Alexandria, Va.: Af first I thought you were right, that the crowd would not reach 70-30 Red Sox. But then I realized that if you want to re-sell tickets, this is the ONE series where you can unload tickets at a premium. Thus, I think the Sox could certainly get as 75-25 or even 80-20 favorable split in the crowd this week.

Dan Steinberg: No way. Cmon. There's no chance. Would that set a world record for "highest percentage of visiting fans in a Big-4 U.S. pro sports venue?"

A pretty good gimmick would be picking one section and counting the total number of Red Sox fans, then multiplying it out. I might even do that myself tonight, except my ombudswoman might judge that to be a negative story and fine me $20, and I need money for a down payment right now.


Baltimore, Maryland: No way to sneak an "O" into a solo sax version? Are you kidding me? Go back and take a look at Branford Marsalis' sax version at the 1993 All Star Game at Camden Yards. (Yes, he was accompanied by Bruce Hornsby, but it was close enough to solo for this purpose.) Not only did the crowd yell "O", but Marsalis and Hornsby held the note for several seconds to give everybody the chance. They got a huge ovation for it.

By the way, I and many of my fellow Baltimoreans agree that the "O" thing should stay at Camden Yards, unless the Orioles are the visiting team. It's our signature, not DC's. Just like playing "Sweet Caroline" for the seventh inning stretch belongs to Boston. Oh, wait...

Dan Steinberg: Ok, certain versions then. There are versions that make the O difficult.

But I didn't know about this. Perchance I will go back and listen this very day.

I appreciate your civic pride, but at the very least Moco and PG and SoMd fans were accepted in Baltimore for decades, right? It sort of became their tradition, too. I understand the impulse.


National Anthem: On the O's/Anthem thing, the best is still at the Atlanta Braves games, where you can say Home of the BRAVES at the end.

Dan Steinberg: Do Washington Freedom fans scream "Freeeeeeeedom" at "land of the Free?" They should.


Curly M, DC: I smell photoshop.

Dan Steinberg: Really? I just looked real quick. Well, I'll say it's off limits for this week, anyhow.


Washington, DC: How big of a Zorn booster will Vinny be this season? After all, if Snyder fires Zorn and brings in Cower or Shannahan or Holmgren, isn't it a safe bet they'll demand GM powers? Which means, just like with Schottenheimer, Vinny will once again be shown the door?

Dan Steinberg: I don't know about all that. I'm gonna try to be positive toward the world for a second, and say that it doesn't matter because they're going to the second round of the playoffs, behind six touchdowns each from Thomas and Kelly. Take that, evil heart of blogging darkness!

You know what would be the best radio show ever? The Jim and Vinny Hour, starring two of the most interesting and media-experienced general managers this town has ever known. I guess Casserly could be a regular guest.


Arlington, Va.: Any chance you'll be out at the SoccerPlex next Tuesday chronicling the part time high school/college players of Ocean City playing against United's full time pros/former world cup players?

Dan Steinberg: I'd have to leave this afternoon to get there in time, right?

I guess it's possible. Every year, these U.S. Open Cup stories are tremendous, especially if the little guys host, but every year, Steve Goff covers them tremendously. Goff is the D.C. United to my Ocean City, so I'm not sure there's a point in both of us being there.


Chantilly, Va.: Dan -- the percentage of Sox fans at Orioles games is often well above 50 percent, and the Sox play there 8-10 times a year.

With the novelty of the Sox coming to DC, I think 75-25 is a real possibility. Everyone at my office who is a Sox fan is going to at least one of the games. I'm going Thursday.

Otherwise I do root for the Nats but for these three games there's no question. If the Nats win or lose the next three it unfortunately won't change their season one bit.

Dan Steinberg: Well, we should start to figure it out in about seven hours, so then we won't have to guess. If these games actually sell out, that would almost automatically mean we're over 50 percent infidels, since the Park is usually less than half filled (or half-sold, I guess).


"Obviously the Nats aren't losing 47 straight...": It's a long season...sure you want to go out on a limb like this?

Dan Steinberg: I'll donate $47 to the ImpACTA Foundation if they do.

Actually, I publicly said on Washington Post Live that the Nats would win six straight at some point. I thought it was gonna happen, with today being the sixth. Martis didn't really hook me up.


Hat fail: I would say that posting the curly M hat fail on the Bog this week would be a fail. However, stories about pink Sox hats (and reactions to them) would be welcome.

Dan Steinberg: As a trend story, though, the pink Sox hats are pretty much 2006, no? I suppose I could just take photos of them all, and make a montage of yuck, but my memory card only has so much space left.


Washington, DC: If you to Vegas for summer league, what are the chances we get a Washington Post "Hangover" trip recap with you, Mike Wise, Tarik-El Bashir and Sally Jenkins?

Sally can play the crazy guy with the beard.

Dan Steinberg: Three of us would be on Twitter. Follow Sally! (@SallyJenx) Follow Wise! (@MikeWiseGuy, I think)

Svrluga's also on Twitter; follow him! (@BarrySvrluga) And new Skins guy Rick Maese!

That's not answering your question, though. I don't know, if I go to Vegas, I will likely be miserable, will attempt to blog as if I were having fun, will lose $63 betting on WNBA games, and will leave with a futures ticket on the Mystics winning it all.


Would that set a world record for "highest percentage of visiting fans in a Big-4 U.S. pro sports venue?" : MNF Skins vs. Steelers '08?

Dan Steinberg: No way. When I was on with Big O and Dukes today, they said 50 percent. I never thought it was that many. It was a lot, for sure, but I think the waving towels created the illusion that it was more than it actually was. I can't remember what I decided on. Twenty or 30 I think.


Pay a premium?: Sox fans aren't stupid enough to pay a premium for a ticket to a Nats-Sox game with that size ballpark, that bad a Nats team and that apathetic a group of Nats fans. And I don't like the pink B's hats either but we don't have a monopoly on them (see pink NY, etc.).

Dan Steinberg: Nats fans aren't apathetic. They're conserving their energy.

I hope all your fellow invaders have such a terrific sense of humor this evening.


Alexandria, Va., but not right now: With respect to the soccer/drums topic last week, didn't the Post have an item a few weeks ago about the D.C. United owner participating in the drumming?

washingtonpost.com: Chang Speaks With Insider (Washington Post, May 21, 2009)

Dan Steinberg: Ooof, washingtonpost.com producer, way to link to Steve Goff's version of this instead of my much longer and more extensive discussion of drumming with Will Chang. Oh well.

But yeah, we did. Chang goes into it with open eyes (and ready ears). I think the loud side/quiet side distinction solves all problems, as does the vast expanse of empty seats.


80-20?: You ever attend an O's/Red Sox game at Fenway South (OPCY) the past couple of years? I have and I bet the split has reached 80 percent Sawx fans over Os. Easily.

Dan Steinberg: Ok, fine, I was wrong. Here's what would be really impressive: 100 percent Red Sox penetration. Maybe every Nats fan could come in Sox gear, but secretly cheer for the Nats, making people confused. Look, if we set the bar at 100, there's virtually no chance you can be disappointed by what actually happens.

Just cover your eyes and wait til Friday, if this really bothers you. Or hope for a win, which would be way sweeter than a win in front of 20,000 Nats fans + 20,000 empties. Actually, the gratification scale might never be higher for the franchise and their hard-cores than it would be with a sweep this week.


Bethesda: Saw you at the Big Train on Sunday. What did you think of the ball park and the game experience?

Dan Steinberg: If my gushing yesterday didn't satisfy you, I don't know what will.

I mean, it's great. It's terrific. It's close to where I live, the pizza from Ledo's cost $6.25, the weather was beautiful, the game was quirkily fun. But I also have a great time at high school games, and minor league games, and those don't bankrupt you either.

Still, if you're looking for a swell way to spend an evening, go to the Bethesda Big Train. Done and done.


Bogville: Is this a MASN or Natinals problem? I was listening to the radio this morning and one of those defining moments spots came on about our beloved Nats. Of course, the defining moment was signing Adam Dunn. Regardless, at the end of the spot the MASN guy pointed out that coverage of this week's games vs SAN FRANCISCO started at 6:30 every day. And here I thought the Red Sox were in town.

Dan Steinberg: I don't see how you blame the Nats for that one.

Is there a Signing Dunn Defining Moment? I haven't seen that. What's the payoff line?


Dan Steinberg: Ok, this veered way too closely to the negative. I have to clear my mind and go back to writing positive things about the Nats. Check back later for the definitive percentage of Sox fans here, assuming it's not a negative story. Also, I believe Adam Dunn is now jogging around the warning track. His jogging pace appears to be similar to mine. In a good way.


Clifton, Va.: Size is not an issue in herding. I know several small Corgis and Shelties that do great at herding and back a few years ago a DC breeder of minature Aussies used to herd with us.

Since your breed is not AKC registered, see this link: AHBA Intro

Come up to Berryville, Va., July 4th weekend and check it out. if you find out you like it there are two great local herding instructors. Tops in the U.S.

Dan Steinberg: OH, and this happened.


washingtonpost.com: D.C. Sports Bog -- Will Chang: "Beating the Drum is Fun"


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