D.C. Sports Bog Live

Dan Steinberg
D.C. Sports Bogger
Tuesday, July 7, 2009; 11:00 AM

D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg will be online Tuesday, July 7, 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.


Dan Steinberg: Hey people, we're having some major technical issues over here, but we're going to try to press forward.

Honestly, it's hard to imagine a better week for a D.C. sports blogger to take vacation than this one, but I screwed up and forgot to request that, so here I am, in the media lounge at Verizon Center, while 100 Wizards Basketball Campers eat lunch and talk about their favorite Michael Jackson songs and the merits of YouTube. "Just do the moonwalk" one little kid is screaming.

JaVale McGee is expected this afternoon, so I'll try to ask him about his various YouTube exploits, including his latest Transformers video. I expect him to no-comment, at which point I will come back to the media lounge and do the moonwalk.

Ask away.


Vienna, Va.: In a previous chat you said the lack of hockey coverage shouldn't reflect on the poor state of hockey fans in D.C. In the same chat, commenting on why you don't write more on the Wizards you said you go where the traffic is. Which is it?

Dan Steinberg: Well, that was fun. At least I got to talk with lots of Wizards campers while this was broken. Anyone still out there?

Ok, this question. I'm not sure I know what I was trying to say about lack of coverage reflecting on the state of hockey fans. I guess what I think in general is that the Washington Post has to make its own editorial judgments based on a whole host of factors, including how things play in the paper, how things play online, and its responsibility to be the paper of record on D.C. sports. Whereas my only responsibility is to get as many Web clicks as I can without resorting to porn. So I definitely go where the traffic is, and I think that's my job, but the printed newspaper is slightly different.


Washington, D.C.: Which D.C. athlete would you most like to see start a blog/Twitter feed?

Dan Steinberg: Assuming it were actually honest and updated frequently, Clinton Portis. For all the zillions of words we write about him, it's kind of hard to know what he actually thinks about anything. Most of the time, what he says in public is accompanied by a certain smirk or wink, so you don't know how serious he is. And he would almost definitely make news on a regular basis.

But he'll never do it.


Washington, D.C.: Ok, have to ask: What's your response to Olbermann's response to your retort on his Manny analysis? I know that seems convoluted, but I think everyone knows what I'm talking about, right?

washingtonpost.com: And Now An Editorial Reply (Keith Olbermann on MLBlogs, July 7)

Dan Steinberg: If by "everyone" you mean "the 17 people who regularly read Dan Steinberg in every medium on which he writes," then I'll grant you the point.

I think I agree with Keith to about the same degree I agree with myself. What I wrote was sort of juvenile and not particularly funny, but I was responding to his original column, that said A-Rod and Manny and other juicers should have refused to play on a day that was set aside to honor Lou Gehrig, because they were sullying his memory. It just seems absurd to me. So people still cheer Manny Ramirez, because he has and will continue to entertain them. It's not the end of the world, and it does nothing at all to change anyone's feelings about Lou Gehrig. People get outraged too easily.

And sure, you could level the same complaint at me, accusing me of getting outraged about Olbermann's outrage, but I wasn't really outraged. I was just trying to fill space so I could get my Sporting Blog check to apply toward my house down payment. (That was a joke.) (I think.)


Burke, Va.: On Monday, Yahoo NBA rumors column reported that the Wizards are considering Rasho Nesterovic, Channing Frye, Jason Collins, or Jamaal Magloire for 5~10 minutes a game to backup Brendon.

If so, are they also considering an upgrade to Drew Gooden who is considerably better than any of these throwaways, or, would it be worth taking a lesser player if we can trade Mike James's $6 million contract in the process?

Dan Steinberg: Credit where credit is due: I think the original item was from Mike Jones of the Washington Times, and Yahoo and others were merely cribbing his work. Mike does a terrific job, as does our own Michael Lee.

I think I've frequently said that I'm probably not the best source for inside gossip on player personnel, but these guys are free agents. They wouldn't have anything to do with unloading Mike James and his contract.


Anonymous: What is with this new chat format. Who is responsible for this? Because I have a bag of flaming dog poop for them. Did I write that? I can't tell because I can only read half of what I'm writing.

Dan Steinberg: We had a brief blip of badness today. The tech people are working on it. I'm going to assume that it will get back to normal at some point.


Barno, Md.: What's your take on the WaPo's Flier-Gate?

washingtonpost.com: Weymouth: WaPo launches internal review (Politico, July 6)

Dan Steinberg: Hmmm. How to answer this in an interesting fashion without looking like either a suck-up or a malcontent.

I don't know, my outrage meter must be broken. A lot of journalists, both inside and outside these doors, are severely outraged. (Ok, not these Verizon Center doors, but you know what I mean.) They see this as a near-catastrophic affront to the True Ethics of journalism. If you've read my blog before, it's probably obvious that my True Ethics are fairly shoddy. Or at least non-traditional.

Was it a brilliant idea, at least the way it was presented in that memo? I don't think it was. Did it merit an A1 story in the New York Times, a column spewing fire by David Carr, non-stop coverage on various media blogs and a torrent of inside gossip? I don't know, I was busy writing about Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson, but I just don't see it. It was an idea to help make money in a time when newspapers aren't doing a lot of that, but it turned out to be a bad idea. Once people realized it was a bad idea--with some help from the outside world--they killed it. I'm ok moving on with my life.

But I think the stories we wrote about it were pretty well-read. My new idea is that I should accept a bribe from the Wizards to write about how great Gilbert Arenas's contract was, then break the story of my bribery myself, give back the cash, and watch the hits pour in.

Joking. Nobody fire me.


Washington, D.C.: So now that the Nat's pitching is really stepping up, the offense dissappears completely. Not just last night's game, but it seems to me that they just aren't scoring like they used to. I realize that this is because of many factors, but you gotta' think this team is cursed, right?

Dan Steinberg: Oh, absolutely. The graph of their offense and defense would be a pretty sight this year.

That's why the Pythagorific stats for the Nats are so out of whack; while their record should absolutely be bad, it absolutely shouldn't be this bad. Which is why you have to figure there's at least one six-game win streak in their future, which will make any true run at 120 losses pretty much impossible. They're bad, but they're not historically bad.


Arlington, Va.: So, why not go to the races during your summer downtime? Live racing is on from August 1, and the state fair at Timonium has exciting stuff on the 5/8 mile track. Maryland = local sports, and Maryland racing used to be world-famous ...

washingtonpost.com: Maryland Racing Dates Set For Remainder Of 2009 (Laurel Racetrack Schedule)

Dan Steinberg: I frequently debate this issue with my friend, City Paper's great sports columnist Dave McKenna. He maintains that The Post's retreating from horse racing was a silly idea, the kind of thing that accelerates our irrelevance among our core readers. I argue that next to no one goes to The Post to read about the ponies; if they really really care, they go to the Daily Racing Form, and 12 inches once a week isn't gonna do anything to help us, especially if it comes at the expense of NFL or NBA coverage.

Regardless of where you come down on that debate, I think we could all agree that my typical reader (28-year old white mail from Rockville or possibly Arlington) is not a huge horse-racing fan, and sports blogs seem only to cover the races when drunkenness and/or nakedness are involved.


Wsahington, D.C.: Who constitutes a major star at a Wizards kiddie summer camp? I remember when I was a kid, I always used to go to the camp of the local college coach, and he would make one token appearance. Is Flip Saunders actually going to be at this thing? Or anyone truly important to the team?

Dan Steinberg: Today's special guests include Steve Buckhantz and JaVale McGee. I have a few questions I'd actually like to hear McGee answer (and would welcome yours), but we don't have the best history of conversationalizing. He has to be the quietest guy in the Wiz locker room by several miles.

Glenn Consor, Dave Johnson's partner on the Wiz radio broadcasts (which just flipped to WJFK) is running the camp.


The Nats Aren't This Bad?: Ok, so maybe the sum total quality of all the Nats' parts put together isn't historically bad, but can we agree that their bullpen has to be in the running for worst of all-time? It's not just that they're bad, it's that the things they try as potential fixes are equally bad. It's almost comical.

Dan Steinberg: Well, they aren't good, anyhow. But there was a legitimate four-man debate about which Nat should make the All-Star game.

Has anyone reported on the most members of a bullpen in one season? If you count Daniel Cabrera (who made one relief appearance) and Craig Stammen (who has none but who I believe warmed up as an actual reliever in at least one game), the Nats have run 18 arms through the 'pen. That strikes me as an awful lot for half a season.

Though every time anyone says "that has to be a record," it isn't close.


Grrrrrowl: What was the most unexpected thing you saw from covering Tiger?

Dan Steinberg: Well, I've covered him a couple other times, and this was pretty much like that, so I can't say anything was particularly unexpected. Ivan Carter talked about this at length on Washington Post Live, but the diversity of his galleries never ceases to surprise first-timers. Real diversity, racial and gender and age and everything.

But once you've seen it once, you've sort of seen it, and it's no more diverse than, say, a Redskins crowd.


Faifax, Va.: Nice that Obama uses Ovechkin in his speech. I can't decide if this is good (Caps love) or bad (pandering to the hosts). Either way, much as it would be great for him to come to a game this year (already has an open invitation, we know), the idea of slogging through three hours to get into Verizon Center isn't terribly appealing. Your thoughts?

washingtonpost.com: Obama Calls Ovechkin "Outstanding" (Washington Post, July 6)

Dan Steinberg: I have mixed feelings. I think it's kind of cool, in an extremely provincial grade-school way, to see the international media covering a speech by one of the most powerful fellas in the world that includes reference to a D.C. sports star. For all my blathering about the great characters D.C. sports has, Ovechkin is the biggest international star since Jordan/Jagr. (Not counting Serena Williams of the Kastles, I guess.) Gilbert was well on his way to that status, but then he disappeared, through no fault of his own.

So on the one hand, I feel like one of those Midwestern villagers whose next-door-neighbor made it onto the Olympic team. But on the other hand, there's the pandering factor, the fact that he snubbed the Caps when he first talked about D.C. sports teams, the fact that he never attended a game when interest peaked this past spring despite finding time to see the putrid Wiz, the fact that he apparently has never been to a single hockey game in his life, and the fact that he's a Chicago loyalist and doesn't actually care about D.C. teams. Which is fine, he's gotta protect the base, but then why ride Ovie's fame as a D.C. star when you go to Russia?

All I know is I had nada to write about this morning, and Obama/Ovie filled a space, so for that, I'm thankful.


Phone Booth Middle School: Best kiddo moment of the day? Aside from the "Do the moonwalk already," any solid lines on the Wiz, how the team may or may not be putrid, etc.? And could you do a "Sports Bog Goes to Summer Camp" series, where you just sat in on all the camps of the different professional teams?

Dan Steinberg: Sorry, I've been camped out in the media room, waiting for this chat to get up and running. So my only interaction was when 100 of them stormed in here to eat their brown bag lunches. Believe it or not, one kid really wanted to talk to me about Real Madrid. I kept telling him he knew more about them than I did.

It continues to amaze me the devotion D.C. kids have to Gilbert. When they found out who I was, all they wanted to know was whether I've met Gilbert. The guy has been just about completely inactive for two full seasons, and he's still on the brain.

I'm gonna go out and check out the scene as soon as I'm done here.


Your Average Reader: "(28-year old white mail from Rockville or possibly Arlington) is not a huge horse-racing fan, and sports blogs seem only to cover the races when drunkenness and/or nakedness are involved."

Speaking as a 28-year old white male from Leesburg, I only care about races when drunkenness or nakedness is involved.

Also, as an average Bog reader, I think that whatever is going on with the chat and all these scrollbars is a much bigger outrage than that flier thingie that I don't fully understand.

Dan Steinberg: (Resisting urge to make "Yup, these are my readers" joke.)


Boggable Baseball: If you could pick one player of a potential Nick Johnson deadline-deal trading partner (Red Sox maybe) who might possibly be included in the deal, who would it be for boggable purposes? The Sox probably won't give up Clay Buchholz, but he'd have to be high on the meter because of the former Penthouse playmate girlfriend, right?

Dan Steinberg: Nah, things like that sound great for a couple minutes, but what's really the payoff? Day after day, approaching his stall and being like "Hey man, do you have any other stories about your ex girlfriend that are clean enough for a family Web site but dirty enough to get lowlife blogs to link back to me?"

Also, can you really be a Penthouse playmate?

Honestly, Nyjer Morgan is about as good as I could hope for in baseball, absent the national reputation. He's funny, he's personable, he seems to love the media, he adores hockey, and he has a gentleman's name. I've seen a few interviews, including Sunday's pre-game interview with Johnny Holliday, and he's just a highly entertaining guy.

As is Nick Johnson, from what the sainted Barry Svrluga has told me. Plus, that mustache. I should at least do a comprehensive Nick Johnson facial hair post before he leaves us.


Pick a Player, Any Player: Of the available free agents on the market, who would you love to see the Wiz get, both from a competition standpoint and from a Bog standpoint?

Dan Steinberg: I would have said Kwame Brown before he opted to remain with Detroit. Can you imagine how much fun that would be?

Honestly, Rasheed Wallace would have been ideal for your guidelines, but alas, that option is out. Drew Gooden, who was previously mentioned, would also fit. He and DeShawn Stevenson are longtime close friends, and also zani-bots. They would fill notebooks. Gooden would also provide some swag for the inevitable playoff meeting with the Cavs, and I sort of like his game. Better than Jason Collins, that's for sure.

(And you can now go ahead and order your Jason Collins jersey.)


Somewhere Rural, Va.: What ever happened to the sheep herding dogs? Haven't heard from them in a couple of weeks. Weren't all those events they were trying to get you to go watch in the past week or two?

Dan Steinberg: Hey producer Cam, can we trace these IP addresses to see if all these questions are just coming from one guy who lives at 12th and T and enjoys messing with me?


Berryville, Va.: Woof, ruff, Owwwwh, woof, woof, ruff, Awwwh, woof,ruff, WOOOF. Baaah.

Translated what was your excuse?

Don't go barefooted in your new home and answer a knock on the door.

Herding dogs are real athletes. Golfers never will be.

Dan Steinberg: There ya go, Somewhere Rural. He's back. Even if I grant you that herding dogs are incredible athletes,

A) They give terrible interviews, and

B) So is your average race walker, but I don't cover that.


Is Cycling Boggable?: If Lance Armstrong actually makes another run at this thing over in France, would cycling suddenly become a boggable sport for you? Are there any D.C. connections to competitive cycling? There are certainly enough cycling wonks in the area ...

Dan Steinberg: National sports blogs will undoubtedly have a field day with such a run. Not I, though. Sally Jenkins has a pretty good monopoly on the Armstrong coverage for our paper, and no, it just doesn't interest me that much. I have friends who insist cycling on TV is about the greatest thing to watch, but I find it discombobulating and confusing and sort of dull.

And yes, cycling wonks, feel free to hate me.

For better or worse, my sweet spot seems to be Caps/Redskins/Wiz/Nats/DCU/Terps.

And the only one in that group who's famous for riding bikes is Gilbert Arenas.

No, take that back, all the Caps ride those exercise bikes incessantly.


Barno, Md.: Are you going to any of the Vegas Summer League? Barno will be there for games 3, 4, and 5.

Dan Steinberg: I will be there for games 1, 2 and 3 of 5. Games 4 and 5 are on the weekend, when traffic is low, and I'm trying to minimize time away from home, especially with a move coming up. I'm hoping to track down at least one member of the franchise for some sort of Vegas adventure on the team's off day, a la my Russian meal with Oleksiy Pecherov two years ago.


Palisades, Washington, D.C.: Are Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin, with their daily Tour de France call, the best television commentary team in sports right now?

Dan Steinberg: See? People love the Tour on television. I wouldn't be able to answer this, but it's hard to imagine them beating Carpenter and Dibble.


Baltimore, Md.: I love France, and have had nothing but good experiences during my many visits there. But really, when are they going to admit that Lance Armstrong is the greatest cyclist of all time? All this doping allegation stuff is starting to sound like Tri-Lateral Commission conspiracy theory.

Dan Steinberg: Ah, but do you love French cheese? Which, specifically, and why? They will never admit this. Which is fine. People in America believe that Coors Light is beer. We all have our national blind spots.

And maybe I've been hanging around with a bad crowd, but my tendency is to assume that every person who has ever jumped on a bike in a competitive environment has done something to their body that they probably shouldn't have. On that one, I'm just as blind as the French, I suppose. Millions of clean tests probably wouldn't change my mind. The number of positive tests is just too immense.


Dan Steinberg: Ok this thing is freaking out again, I'm getting out of here while the getting is good. Sorry about the technical issues. Will touch base next week from Vegas, with any luck.


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