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D.C. Sports Bog Live

Dan Steinberg
D.C. Sports Bogger
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 11:00 AM

D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg was online Tuesday, June 30, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the Nats, Wizards, D.C. United, the Caps, the Redskins and the latest sports news and your questions and comments about his latest bog posts.

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Dan Steinberg: Hey people, I'm here at the media center at Congressional, waiting for Tiger's 12:30 presser. I plan to ask him why he's playing with Tony Romo at tomorrow's pro-am. Unfortunately, it would appear there will be some competition for the question mic.

Anyhow, bring on all your questions, except the ones that require actual sports knowledge. Also feel free to ask me about the round I watched Bruce Boudreau play here a couple weeks ago; I'll have a story about that up on the Web site tomorrow.

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London, U.K.: When can we expect the Wizards to see the light and change their uni colors back to red, white and blue? CASH.

Dan Steinberg: Well, my friend Jamie Mottram has been ringing this bell loudly at his blog, MisterIrrelevant. His highly scientific poll, with 400 or so responses, revealed that 95 percent of young white men would like the change.

Now, granted, it was a limited sample size and a limited demographic, but 95 percent isn't very close. The change seemed to work pretty well for the Caps, on and off the ice, and a rink full of red jerseys means buckets full of green for somebody. You'd think the Wiz would catch on eventually, that strange fusion 90s color schemes are out and tradition is in.

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Rockville, Md.: Going to US vs. Honduras game at RFK? I am trying to but can't figure out where to get tickets...any help?

washingtonpost.com: 2009 Gold Cup at RFK(D.C. United)

Dan Steinberg: I am indeed scheduled to go. I've never been to a U.S. national game, for work or for pleasure. Timing couldn't be better for the RFK game, after last weekend. This link should help you with the tickets thing; thanks, washingtonpost.com.

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Baltimore, Md.: Any potential Wiz free agent signings that you're keeping an eye on? There seem to be a fair number of big men out there but are the Wiz looking for a sign and trade involving their plethora of guards?

Dan Steinberg: I'm intrigued by the Chris Wilcox thing; he's worked out at Verizon in the past, he could maintain the official Terp spot on the roster, and he still seems obscenely talented, although I guess I'll be saying that 25 years from now. Chris Andersen would be great for blog purposes.

And obviously the Wiz will be making another move. Any time the non-joking Ernie Grunfeld jokes about how much they like guards, you can be pretty sure the last bus hasn't yet left the station.

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Boston: So what's your final take? It seemed like a lot of "let's go Red Sox" chants at the last series- plus 3 record attendances.

60%?....70%?

Dan Steinberg: Somewhere in the 60-80 range. I actually wanted to go through one or two random sections and count, because you have to figure 99.9 percent of the Bostonians wore marked clothing. But every time I tried to find a section, someone yelled at me to sit down. And from behind, the color schemes are just too similar.

I can live with it. It'll end one day. Like John Lannan said on the radio today, he doesn't really like bandwagoners, but it'll be great when they show up for the Nats.

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The Internets: Dan, now that twitter has reached a much wider audience, how do you think it will affect the upcoming NFL season? Chad Eight-Five has already stepped in muck comparing the combined worth of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson to the thousands of lives lost on 9/11, I can't wait to see what kind of mess he and others get into when they're actually playing. How many instances of in-game tweets do you think we'll see?

Dan Steinberg: It would likely require a fourth-quarter blowout, but yeah, someone will absolutely tweet from the sideline at some point. Halftime could be even zanier.

The great unanswered question is what do the athletes get from it. Exposure? Sure, a bit more, but is Ocho really hurting for exposure? Controlling the message? Not when the entire world can seize your 140 and do with them what they want. Selling more merchandise? I guess it's possible that you could direct a few people to your own Web site and your own merchandise, and make a bit of extra change, but I'd think the numbers would be minimal, especially compared to the effort. I know the effort I put into Twitter isn't even remotely close to justifying the traffic I get from my (admittedly tiny group of) 2,400 followers.

That said, follow me! twitter.com/dcsportsbog! It's like a drug somehow.

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Verizon Center: How about a name change for the Wizards as well? Maybe the D.C. Commanders, as in Commander in Chief

Dan Steinberg: This gets suggested nearly as often as the Redskins name change thing. Of the six pro teams in town, I'd say the Nats have the best nickname, by a lot. Well, D.C. United is solid also. Wizards is probably the worst or second-worst, depending on where you come down on the Native American question. And seeing the occasional odd fan dress up as a long-bearded Wizard never fails to depress (not counting you, Wizznutzz). I mean, shouldn't there be at least a mild attempt to have some sort of geographically or regionally resonant name?

That said, the D.C. Commanders would make me barf.

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Dan Steinberg: The Golf Channel just showed a list of recommended spots for visitors to the Tiger Tourney. Attractions included the National Mall, July 4th Fireworks, Great Falls Park, and the Georgetown Area. Restaurant was Bethesda Crab House. Sports was the Washington Nationals. Have fun, tourists.

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Palisades, Washington, D.C.: What was larger, last night's MASN 2 audience watching the Nationals at the Marlins, or the number of people inside Land Shark Stadium watching the game?

washingtonpost.com: Nats' Olsen Shines, Bullpen Lets It Slip(Washington Post, June 30)

Dan Steinberg: Dibble said 500 folks were at the game for the ninth inning. So I'm going to say the Nats' TV audience.

I will say, I run into so many people, every day, online and in person, who seem to watch the Nats on TV religiously. Of course, I don't have 12,000 friends and/or acquaintances, but it still seems hard to credit that number. On the other hand, 99 percent of the people who tell me this are white men (and a few women) of my approximate age, so maybe that's part of the problem.

Speaking of "is that it? really?" I would say the same thing about my traffic numbers, and those of all our sports bloggers at The Post. We're all being duped! D.C. sports fans are all hiding at the Bethesda Crab House watching the Golf Channel!

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Palisades, D.C.: Name change question, how about the Washington Stimulus?

Dan Steinberg: And then what do you do if a free-market supply-sider gets elected? Stimulate yourself?

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Boston, D.C.: So I heard that last week when the Sox were in town, at Nats stadium they were selling a majority of Red Sox gear!? Whats up with that?? You would never see that in New York... Are the Lerners that desperate for money?

Dan Steinberg: I don't know about majority. The one gift shop I went in had a single twirling shirt rack with four models of Red Sox tees. I was told it was the first visiting team the Nats had been pimpin' in their stores, but that the practice will now continue, on a limited basis, for every team.

I want to flit in the middle of this one, though lilting towards the "spitting on the visitors" side. Washington is the city it is, and there will always be some of these people, and if you can cash some of their checks, that's cool. But I really don't like the celebration of it, via gushing invitations on out of talk sports talkers.

I don't know, I'm not from DC, I've only been here 11 years, and I don't have any Redskins or Capitals tattoos, and I'm not allowed to root for the local teams on a formal basis, but it's nice to feel some local solidarity about a few issues with a broad swath of other D.C.-area folks. That's why I tend to lean toward the (metaphorical) spitting.

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Takoma Park, Md.: They should go back to the Bullets if only to resurrect the greatest sports anthem ever - Nils Lofgren's "Bullets Fever." Come on now - "Got the Doctor and the Ice Man, Seattle was stung!"

Dan Steinberg: What if they went to Bulletz? That looks less like a term of violence, and maintains the Z from Wizards, and the theme could still work.

It is a great tune, for sure.

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Arlington, Va.: To all the naysayers about this not being baseball town, the lack of fans at the Nats game or watchinng on TV, I would hold up the Capitals as an example. This is still not really a hockey town but the Caps are doing much better now. Put a quality, competitive product on the field and the nats will average 30-35k a game. What say you, dear leader?

Dan Steinberg: I don't know about 30-35. Though Svrluga, sitting next to me, says they would get back to the 2005 average, which was around 33. Despite this spring, there are a lot of good nights for baseball in this town, and September could be awesome. You need to rebuild the season ticket base, but the Caps showed how quickly that can happen, too. Lannan made the comparison explicitly today.

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Annandale, Va.: Steins, ex-WNYer here. Labatts, Molson, or Genny?

Dan Steinberg: As a youth, I had more Labatts that any of the others. Of course, as a youth, I also occasionally drank Zima. Youths do some foolish things.

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4-12: Hey Steinz....How about the round you watched Bruce Boudreau play at Congressional a couple weeks ago. I bet that would make for a good story on the website say, tomorrow-ish...

Dan Steinberg: No no, it turns out it would make for a good story on the web today today-ish, like, later this afternoon.

Boudreau can play. I guess anyone with a 9-handicap can play, according to these feeble eyes. (My handicap is around 43.) But he really smacks the ball; he had more than his fair share of 3 putts, and a few from fairly close range. He's always struggled with the flat stick, he told us, and his his 25 years old. Anyhow, I was impressed.

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Washington, D.C.: With Etan Thomas gone, which athlete do you see stepping up and taking on the role of D.C.'s resident athlete-poet?

Dan Steinberg: Ethan Albright.

If you want a serious answer, Ben Olsen has the whole art thing down. Redskins punter Hunter Smith writes some nice lyrics. But you need to have that activist spirit behind the poetry, not just the words themselves. I don't think there's any replacing Etan.

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Washington, D.C.: I am not a big believer in a baseball manager's ability to change a team that is fundamentally weak - but the Nats lack focus and are sloppy, and with several players on pace to hit either .300, 30 - 40 HRs, or 100 RBIs, and promising starters they should be winning more. The best players need to be in the line-up consistently rather then giving at-bats to players like Kearns or appearances to failed relievers. If the bullpen is weak, add a 7th reliever since we have an abundance of young pitchers. I think the Nats should go with the bench coach after the all-star break to change the course of this team this season and into next season.

Dan Steinberg: It would be nitpicky to point out how the bench coach--a very nice and funny man with strong local ties--did in his previous job, and how his previous team did after he left.

Like, apparently, every columnist, writer and editorial aide at the Washington Post, I would like Manny Acta to succeed. He's intelligent, witty, kind, accessible, and he loves D.C. I also would hate it--HATE it--if random 13 year old kids were calling for my job on the Internet, merely out of boredom. But at some point, people in professional sports lose their jobs when they don't win. I'm shocked that hasn't happened yet. I think "boredom" is an acceptable reason. That doesn't change at all my feelings about Manny Acta as a man.

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London, U.K.: Dan, what is your favorite Michael Jackson song?

washingtonpost.com: 'King of Pop' Michael Jackson Dies at Age 50(Washington Post, June 26)

Dan Steinberg: Billie Jean, I guess.

I watched the Idol repeat of the Michael Jackson show last night. Wow, that was a terrible, terrible show. It was like watching the U-10 Maryland Flames try to put on a Globetrotters show. It just didn't work, in any way.

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Fairfax, Va.: So Ovechkin isn't playing at the pro-am? Didn't he get a hole in one the first time he played?

Dan Steinberg: The names I saw were Romo, Randle El, Campbell and Boudreau. Oh, and Czaban.

I know I'm not supposed to root, but dang, I'm rooting for Romo to get heckled for 18 tomorrow.

I still think there was trick photography, or 437 tee shots, involved in that Ovechkin hole in one.

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Greenbelt, Md.: So, with Fedorov and Kozlov gone, the Caps are down 2 Russians, but the last 2 first round draft picks have been a pair of Swedes. How do you think this shift of nationality will impact Bog content...perhaps Marcus Johansson is a handball fan?

washingtonpost.com: Capitals Draft Johansson (Washington Post, June 27)

Dan Steinberg: Need For Swede posters! I'm serious!

Kozlov is a nice man, but was less than a zero for Bog content. Fedorov could have been an A-, but he didn't really care about the media too much. Backstrom also seems not to care at all, though I persist in thinking he has media star potential. He's trying, but he's also surprisingly halting with English, considering that every Swedish athlete or fan I've ever seen in an Olympic setting speaks better English than I do.

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10K race: Who would win a 10K race between Boudreau, Saunders, Mota, and Zorn? And what if you gave Boudreau and Saunders scooters (razors, not electric powered)?

Dan Steinberg: Jim Zorn is in legitimately great shape. Though Manny Acta seems fit.

You know what would be great? Instead of Superstars, if Comcast SportsyNet (or MASN2, I guess), ran a Front Office Stars competition, with pairs of local front-office execs competing in a battle of wits and body. I think the teams are actually pretty fair; Boudreau and McPhee, Zorn and Cerrato, Grunfeld and Saunders, Kasten/Rizzo and Acta, Kasper and Soehn. I think the D.C. United guys might be the dark horse favorites.

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Washington, D.C.: As a female native of Green Bay, I'm wondering if guys would appreciate my using a reusable Packers' grocery bag at Whole Foods?

Dan Steinberg: Well, it's a five-cent discount, anyhow.

Yeah, I don't see why not. Especially if you fill that puppy with lots of cheese. I hear that Whole Foods sells great cheese.

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New York, N.Y.: Dan,

The Wiz should change their name to the "Law". There are so many things we could do with that: "I fought the Law and the Law won", "You don't want to be on the wrong side of the Law", etc. Plus it sound cool!

Dan Steinberg: Works with Agent Zero, too. Plus they could sign Acie Law, Lawyer Milloy, Dick Advocaat, Craig Counsell....help me out, who else?

Though "D.C. Code" might be even better. You don't want to cross the Code.

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Centreville, Va.: The Redskins claim they have a waiting list of over 100,000 names. However, I was asked two weeks ago if I wanted to add additional lower level tickets to my account (I currently have two). Yet, long time fans that have been in the upper deck since FedEx Field opened are being told no upgrades to the lower deck.

What is the true story of the waiting list? Has this become a myth disguised in something that once was reality? Are we in danger of not selling out the general admission seats and having our first local blackout in 36 years?

Perhaps not in 2009 but if the new tailgating procedures are actually implemented, I know many ticket holders that will not renew for 2010.

washingtonpost.com: Redskins Push Large Tailgates to Back of Lots(Washington Post, June 23)

Dan Steinberg: I thought the list was over 200,000 names.

Anyhow, just about once a day, I get an email that goes along the lines of: "The Redskins claim to have this massive waiting list, but every day at 1:15 pm they call me and offer me 1,300 tickets in the lower bowl. What in the world?!?!?!?"

All I can say is, if these stories are true, this is one of the odder waiting lists I've ever heard of. I think we'll all learn more about this in coming months.

("Myth disguised in something that once was reality" also works. As does the notion that just because you once put your name on a list, you're not necessarily actively waiting, in the same way that anxious parents are actively waiting for spots for their little precious in local day cares. Now those are legitimate waiting lists.)

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Incredulous (Washington, D.C.): Returning to your theme of writing (and thinking) only positive things about the Nationals, don't you think that this team is only a few players and a few years away from being competitive? With four solid young pitchers, it seems as if the team is set for a few years there (barring injuries or other catastrophes), so really it's all about dropping Kearns' bloated salary and shoring up the offense, right? Right? Please?

Dan Steinberg: Yeah, generally.

"Few years" can be defined in many ways, though, and The Plan did not call for this to be one of the worst seasons in Major League history. In some ways, whatever the reason, it's already failed. But I do agree that hope is nigh.

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Silver Spring, Md.: If you end up going to Vegas you should find pech (who I think will be there) and tell him you miss him.....

Dan Steinberg: Will do. I'll also ask him whether he went to the comedy shows with the Wiz.

I think I'm going to Vegas for three Wiz summer league games.

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Logan North, Washington, D.C.: I used to think your constant references in these chats to traffic numbers were quirky attempts at humor until the controversy over Dan Froomkin's dismissal erupted a couple of weeks ago. Is the Froomkin situation affecting what you cover? Are there local sports you do not cover -- most specifically, anything involving women -- because of traffic concerns? How much does the concern for web traffic now affect Post sports coverage generally, as opposed to your specific blog?

washingtonpost.com: Froomkin Departs, Leaving Angry Loyalists And Questions(Washington Post, June 26)

Dan Steinberg: Honestly, I see in this link that some folks have apparently been instructed not to talk any more about this, but I didn't need no Froomkin controversy to let traffic numbers affect what I cover. The way I see it, I only contribute minimally to the printed product, which still pays the freight, as far as I know. To justify being an online-only sort of guy, I think I need to attract serious numbers of readers. When I used to write about the World Cup of Polo, and 17 readers plus my dad would tune in, that seemed like a tenuous place to be living.

So, would I cover more Mystics stuff in the slow slow slow summer, hanging out with funny and likable athletes, if the traffic results were better? Sure, perhaps. Would I avoid covering voluntary Redskins practices in June if people weren't clamoring for every bit of burgundy-flavored diversion they can find? Again, yeah, probably. Is that a bad thing? I don't think so. Giving customers what they most want does not strike me as a poor business move.

That's just me. I can't speak for Post sports coverage generally, and I sure as heck can't say anything about Froomkin gate, because I have no idea.

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London, U.K.: Re: the Wizards renaming themselves "The Law"

Michael Lee might lose his job to Richard Justice.

Dan Steinberg: Well played.

Ok, I'm going to line up for my spot in the Tiger conference. Having seen my traffic numbers from covering golf a year ago, I can tell the previous questioner that there's no chance this is helping my numbers, not on July 4 weekend. There's no one in town right now, and there's no one on the Internet either. In fact, you aren't reading this right now.

But any time the most popular athlete in the world comes to Bethesda, allowing for daily visits to the Bethesda Baglery, you have to show up, just to make sure he doesn't fall off his chair or anything. And I'll talk to Gary Williams about Golf and twitter later in the week. Remember, Need for Swede, everyone.

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