D.C. Sports Bog Live: Michael Vick, Nats, Wizards and Everything Keeping Dan Busy

Dan Steinberg
D.C. Sports Bogger
Tuesday, July 28, 2009 11:00 AM

D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg will be online Tuesday, July 28, at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the Nats, the 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 I'm here. Sorry for the late start. Was attempting to upload 179 photos of wrestling fans in Romo and Vick jerseys carrying fake belts around the Verizon Center last night. That was quite a wrestling experience.

In other news, this is my final chat as a resident of the District of Columbia. After 11 years in D.C., I'm moving to Montgomery County next week. Sad, really. I'll have to get tattoo removal on all my D.C. flag tattoos.

Anyhoo, have at it. Let's maintain the illusion that Vick could still show up at training camp. Blog traffic extravaganza, that would be.


Over the Top: Dunno if you heard about the Charity Arm wrestling event at Nats beer garden this past weekend - but take a look at this:

washingtonpost.com: Youtube: Middleweight Division Champion King Turbo

Dan Steinberg: I have indeed watched that, about a million times. Actually, does anyone have a way to contact the broken elbow dude? Seems like a good story.

If you don't like seeing body parts snap, don't click on that link.


Washington, D.C.: What have you heard on the Strasburg negotiations? Were his comments on the uncertainty of the Nats front office and manager position just contract posturing or real concerns?

Dan Steinberg: I listen to people like Boz and Chico, who say don't pay attention to anything before August 15 or so. So that's what I'm doing.

Even if you tied SS down in the Nats beer garden and threatened to force him to arm wrestle with King Turbo Nitro Death, I'm not sure he could separate "real concerns" from "posturing." At some point, if you add enough millions, any "real concerns" could become "just something I said back in late July before the dolla bills started rolling in." If the number is right, you figure the dude will sign.


Barno, Md.: Rank these teams in order of who is most likely to win a championship next season:

Terps basketball, Terps football, Redskins, Wizards, Caps. (no need to include O's or Nats) ...

Dan Steinberg: Like, a national championship or a division championship or an ACC championship? If you mean a national championship, I'd say it goes like this

1. Caps

2. Next question

I mean, -- maybe -- include the Skins, just because the NFL is weird. Some guy wrote a column on SLAM saying the Wizards will be legit title contenders this year, but I don't see that. The Terps will definitely be a Top 25 basketball team at some point, likely to start the season, but that doesn't equate to a title contender, or even a Final Four contender.


Washington, D.C.: I'm a Mr. Tony jihadist and I can't believe I'm saying this but, I actually liked Mike Wise's show last week. He had Shaq on, Gary Williams, Wilbon, Joe Gibbs. What do you think of the show so far and when are you going to be on?

Dan Steinberg: The "When are you going to be on?" thing is a great question. For all the free publicity I've given that dude over the years.

I thought Wise was solid in his first week. Twenty hours is an incredible amount of space to fill. His guest list was pretty unrivaled, but that will be hard to keep up. I just like having options to listen to local sports talk at virtually any hour of the day. Quality aside, I will never again listen to Mike and Mike, and that's a good thing.

I also think LaVar is the breakout star. It remains to be seen how he handles February and March, but I will listen to his show in football season for sure. And yes, Chad Dukes, you're amazing also.


Falls Church, Va.: Wow, 'hams went ya-ya twice last night with two big grannies. Nationals appear to be on a little streak. Will this continue into the future or will they disappoint us again and end up losing 120 games?

washingtonpost.com: Nats' Win Is Worth 2 Grand (Washington Post, July 28)

Dan Steinberg: As I've mentioned four thousand times, I predicted they would welcome Jim Riggleman with a 6-6 hot streak. I was off by a game; they're now 5-7 in the new era.

There was never a reason for them to be on a historically bad pace. They're just a mediocrely bad team. Sure, they had been unlucky, but stat wisdom aside, they seemed to lack a certain verve in the Manny era. I believed that they needed some kind of spark all spring, and I thought it was weird that the manager of by far the worst team in the bigs had so much media support. Yes, I joined everyone else in saying how swell a chap he was, but still, it obviously wasn't working. That was clear in May.

If you saw the dugout last night, there was spark. Sure, they were winning big, but Cristian Guzman was running around tossing uppercuts after Ham Solo hit the second slam. (Name stolen from Nationals Enquirer). That was the verve thing.



Sorry for disappearing there. Tony Kornheiser just called me back, which was very kind of him, considering some of the sniping I've sent in his direction. I asked him about the rumors that his radio show would return to 980 in the late mornings the day after Labor Day.

"This is what I'd like to do, this is what I hope to do, this is what I plan on doing," he said.

I'll post more on this after the chat, but that should pretty much clinch it.


Falls Church, Va.: Dan, did you end up staying for the Triple H birthday party, aka, food fight last night?

Dan Steinberg: I left at about 10:15. That meant I missed any food fight, and also the bit where the Miz, or whatever, started making fun of the Wizards and Redskins. Then I forgot to TiVo it and couldn't find the clip on the radio. Then I threw my laptop in anger.

Reminder: never, ever, ever leave a WWE show early.


FedEx Field: Would a Vick signing clear out the season ticket holder "waiting" list?

Dan Steinberg: No.

Seriously, no, it wouldn't. There would be a loud and sizable portion of people who would be upset, but there would be a larger (and quieter) portion of people who wouldn't care, in my potentially misguided opinion. If people in D.C. wear Falcons Vick jerseys now, just to be that guy, can you imagine how many would wear Skins Vick jerseys? A lot.

Regardless, Vinny Cerrato said no. And we all know that when Vinny Cerrato says no about a potential big-name acquisition, his word is law.


Newark, Del.: Steinz,

Please share any amusing anecdotes involving interaction with the wrestlers last night.

Dan Steinberg: I will tell you this: "Covering" the WWE is a lot different than covering other sports. I had only requested an interview with Shaq, and me and a few other reporters were told to report to the Verizon Center press entrance at 4:45. I was hoping to maybe grab some other wrestlers, randomly. We were taken downstairs at 5:15, waited for another 15 minutes, were taken into a production room that doubled as Shaq's locker room (the room where he later played hoops against that little person on air), and addressed Shaq while he sat on his couch. Then, at around 5:45, we were told to get out.

As for covering the event later, there was no access to the wrestlers, and we were given comped tickets. It was unlike any event I've ever "covered," that's for sure.


McLean, Va.: Did you here LaVar get in an extended argument with a caller and Chad Dukes with LaVar insisting it is possible for a pitcher to lose a perfect game?

Dan Steinberg: I did not. What exactly what his argument? Maybe he was thinking about losing a no-hitter?

If a team gets disqualified, does anyone get the loss? Is it possible for a team to get disqualified?


Wiffle ball: Re: the Post piece on wiffle ball: So what's your best wiffle ball pitch? Knuckleball, curveball, sinker, riser? Do you drink and smoke while you play?

washingtonpost.com: Our Lives Through Sport, Part III: 'Just' Wiffle Ball? Not a Chance (Washington Post, July 19)

Dan Steinberg: I haven't played much since high school, where we had a little two-on-two circuit in a field on Fredonia State's campus dubbed "Steinway Park" because of the short left field porch.

Re: that story, I didn't really get the hero. He's the best wiffle ball pitcher in the world, and he can't get his team a championship in some low-rent D.C. circuit? I mean, man up, dude, or just admit that you're not the best.


Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.: Wow. Moving to MoCo. That is sad. Are you being punished for something?

Dan Steinberg: I hear they have excellent elementary schools and very well-maintained public buildings.

Did you hear the story where on Sunday I was walking with my daughter and some friends to a neighborhood playground, and we heard a loud noise, and then saw a man wearing a "44" jersey throwing a brick into the window of a parked VW, and then a 50-something woman sprinted by us with a baseball bat shouting "that's my car, call 911," and then tried to drive off after the 44 guy? Yeah.

I guess maybe that happens in MoCo too. We'll see.


Washington, D.C.: First, the discloture: I'm female, familiar with pop culture, and a watcher of sports for over three decades. Now, the question: Why on earth does SportsCenter consider it important news that Reggie Bush broke up with Kim Kardashian? Because if Romo dumping Jessica Simpson was newsworthy they might as well give some coverage to this one? Her pseudo-celebrity status? Her measurements? For the love of all things pure and holy, just show me game highlights.

Dan Steinberg: Sorry, that day is past.

Here's the thing about all these non-sports stories: someone has to be the bigger person and say "we're going to accept lower ratings in favor of a more pure version of sports news delivery." And that person doesn't exist.

I didn't write a bloggy word about Erin Andrews, because it's icky and writing about it even to say it's icky is basically profiting off it, but I clicked on about 400 links about it. Never went searching for news, but when "ESPN blasts back on Andrews coverage" or "ESPN bans NY Post reporters" or "Christine Brennan says EA was asking for it" pops up on my Twitter account, I click. Sure, I hate myself a little, but I click. And millions of us do. And that's why SportsCenter shows that.

Also, because of her booty.


80's Music: I don't go to many Nats games, but I have been to a few, and the music that Adam Dunn has chosen to be played when he goes up to bat is Phil Collins's "The Air Tonight (Hold On)"? Is there a story behind this, besides Dunn stopped listening to the radio 25 years ago?

Dan Steinberg: That's a hugely popular sports song. Ray Lewis comes out to that at Ravens games, right? There are a bunch of teams that have used it. As non-inspiring as I find it, I don't think it necessarily reflects poorly on Dunn's musical taste, because it's kind of like "Jump Around" in its sports ubiquity.

I will try to ask him, though, if I ever go to a Nats game again. I'm supposed to go and ask Nyjer Morgan where his first name came from for a longtime reader.


Upperville, Va.: So you can go to WWE event but not a herding trial. Very disappointing.

Just remember Mr Steinberg there will be herding dogs in your neighborhood. Be very scared.

Dan Steinberg: If you put your dogs in singlets, I'll be there.


Washington, D.C.: Should the Nats have saved some of those runs for future games?

Dan Steinberg: I didn't look through the whole schedule, but you could probably find a 12-game stretch where they didn't score 30 runs, which is what they had in their last three games. In the nine games before that, they didn't reach 30.

And sure, there were games like that pre-all-star explosion at Houston that were followed up with more desert time, but I think this is different. I think they're heading toward the pinnacle of their season, which might immediately crash and burn after the trade deadline, depending.


Germantown, Md.: Dan,

thanks for the post on Ovechkin the DJ. Did you happen to catch the video on the blog post? Who's the best club dancer?

A. Ovechkin

B. Semin

C. Steinberg

D. El Bashir

washingtonpost.com: D.C. Sports Bog: Ovechkin the DJ (Washington Post, July 28)

Dan Steinberg: Wow, that's like asking who the Nats best reliever is. I don't know. I've never seen Tarik dance, and while it's hard to imagine someone being worse than Ovie/Semin, I think Tarik might be able to manage that.

I'll bet you John Erskine might be worse than all of us. Just guessing.


Washington, D.C. in the 35332: I saw that one of the "Free" papers had a little retrospective of Dan Snyder's first 10 years as owner. Do you plan on doing something like this in the next few weeks? Any thoughts right now? With a .475 record as an owner, does Danny Boy get too much blame or to little credit?

Dan Steinberg: A lot of blogs have done something similar. It's a solid premise, but I'm not sure this is a great time for grand conclusions.

All in all, for football matters, I think he gets too much blame, to be honest. They've been solidly mediocre, which is bad when you consider the Redskins' previous history, but not devastating. The devastating things have come from the PR blunders. But on wins and losses, the real weakness is the lack of home playoff games and the lack of NFC championship game appearances, which have removed the Skins from the ranks of "premiere NFL franchises." Though they were already past that point when Snyder bought, right?


Palisades, Washington, D.C.: Hey,

Montgomery County, don't despair -- it's the original home of Riggleball.

Dan Steinberg: This is true. Thunderation, as Washington City Paper's Dave McKenna would tell you (Part of the fight cheer for Riggleman's squads at Richard Montgomery)


Re: LaVar perfect game : I think he was unclear on what a perfect game was. Also I think he mentioned something about a tie.

Dan Steinberg: Ok, I've got it, duh. Just remember the continued game in Houston where Hanrahan got the win.

So Craig Stammen, or whoever, throws nine perfect innings. The game is tied at zero in the top of the tenth, and is then suspended due to rain, and can't be resumed. In the month-break, Stammen gets traded to the other team, is converted to a spot reliever, enters the resumed game, and is tagged with a loss. Done, right?


Triangle, Va.: I see United is playing Luis Angel Firpo of El Salvador tonight at RFK. How the heck did a Salvadoran soccer team come to be named after an Argentinian boxer of the '20s (who was involved in arguably the wildest round in boxing history against Jack Dempsey at the Polo Grounds in '23)?

washingtonpost.com: Luis Ángel Firpo, Argnetinian Boxer (Wikipedia)

Dan Steinberg: I cannot answer this question.


Washington, D.C.: "Did you hear the story where on Sunday I was walking with my daughter and some friends to a neighborhood playground, and we heard a loud noise, and then saw a man wearing a "44" jersey throwing a brick into the window of a parked VW, and then a 50-something woman sprinted by us with a baseball bat shouting "that's my car, call 911," and then tried to drive off after the 44 guy? Yeah.

I guess maybe that happens in MoCo too. We'll see."

In MoCo, the story would go like this:

"I was walking with my daughter and some friends to a neighborhood Starbucks, and we heard a loud noise, and then saw a man wearing khaki pants placing a flier for a Smoothie store into the window of a parked Prius, and then a 50-something woman sprinted by us with a Prada bag shouting "those smoothies sound delicious, call me," and then tried to drive off after the khaki pants guy?"

Dan Steinberg: Montgomery County is a very vibrant place. I think you're thinking about Great Falls.


Manassas, Va.: Hi Dan!

I just have one thing to say:


Hey, when you win a few in a row, its time celebrate a little bit!

Dan Steinberg: Yeah, and I'm happy to start eating Crow (not of the Aaron kind) whenever possible. Like I've said repeatedly since April, it's just so much better to have your above-average stretch in the spring, and your below-average stretches in the summer and fall, when there are other sports to care about. We could have used a .500-ish Nats team in May and June. Now, they're about to get smashed by the Redskins training camp freight train of pain.


Western Alexandria, Va.: You have not sounded completely agnostic about the Nats lately. What does the Post think about this development? Are you considered more like a reporter, who must remain neutral, or a columnist, who is supposed to offer his opinion? Or do they think of you as the squeaky-voiced cheese-eater who gets lots of pageviews for interviewing the sideline reporter at the spelling bee?

Dan Steinberg: What have I sounded like? Negative or positive?

I don't ever talk to anyone from The Post about what I do from a content standpoint. I think if I stopped writing to them, they might forget that I still work there. That's good, in the sense that no one bothers me, but bad, in the sense that if they ever realize I still work there, maybe they'd ask me to stop.

It's kind of tricky, since I do some spot "news" stuff, both from games and elsewhere. Have certainly written news-style pieces about the Caps, Skins and Wizards, and even did those news-style things about the Nats TV ratings. So I guess we have to trust readers to tell the difference between an opiniony blog piece, and a non-opiniony news piece. Smaller papers do this all the time, and even someone like Wise goes back and forth between real stories (like the Brashear thing) and columns.


Ashburn, Va.: Brother Stein,

Can you remind the folks who are hot and bothered cause Vick may have been in town talking to the Redskins that the first rule for free agents football players is to be seen in or around Ashburn, Va.? We are the ultimate free agent fluffers and the player's agents know it.

Dan Steinberg: Well, I'll let you remind them, I guess.

Maybe he was hanging out with DeAngelo Hall, his close friend and strong supporter. Or maybe it wasn't Vick. Or maybe he was going to a Va. Tech alumni club gathering.


Redskins Waiting List: The season ticket "waiting" list will never be cleared. It will always be over 100,000.

How do I know this? Because somehow I'm on it. They even just sent me a personal invite to come to FedEx Field and pick out my specially reduced price, lower bowl, (partial obstructed view) seat.

Funny thing is, I've never signed up to be on a list. Why would I? I'm a Vikings fan. Nearest thing I can tell is when my wife took her son to see training camp we had to go on-line and print out their invite to get in. I must have had to give them information then.

I see blackouts in the future.

Dan Steinberg: This is certainly part of the speculation. As a news gatherer, I'd prefer if we just had a clearer idea of what this "list" was, how it was created, and how many people are on it. But I guess it doesn't really matter, since we all understand it to be basically as you describe.

McKenna also did a great historical retrospective on the size of the list. It is sort of hard to believe that as capacity increased, and performance decreased, and the secondary market exploded, more and more people decided they simply couldn't live without season tickets.

But still, for all of that, I've signed up for tickets, under the guise of actually wanting them as a fan, and have been told repeatedly that there are no tickets available. So there's some kind of demand there (for non club seats) that hasn't been filled yet


Been To Cooperstown: Yes, it is theoretically possible for a team to lose despite its pitcher throwing a perfect game but I strongly doubt it's ever happened. The game would have to be forfeited for some reason. That goes into the record books as a 9-0 loss. But even so, I don't think the starting pitcher would be statistically charged with a loss.

Dan Steinberg: Ok, but the starting pitcher could be traded to the opponent and converted to a reliever and get the loss on a continuation, right?

So are there no stats from forfeited games I guess?


Washington, D.C.: Speaking of Dave McKenna, he has a blog on the City Paper site about midnight baseball too. He doesn't mention that anyone was with him though.

Dan Steinberg: Jerk.

He drove, that's ok, I still owe him gas money. Though I bought the peanuts.


Of course not...: Re: "Covering" the WWE is a lot different than covering other sports.

Because WWE is not a sport!!! It's a show ... like the Jonas Brothers

Dan Steinberg: Well, the spelling bee isn't a sport either, but the media operation is run like one. I didn't mean to suggest WWE is a sport, but it's certainly a media event. At least, I thought it was. Really, it isn't.


Potomac, Md.: Hey

I dont know if you mentioned this or not in you blog from summer league did you ever ask Brendan Haywood if he was going to miss Pech?

Dan Steinberg: I did not ask him that question straight-up. I think it was time for the Pech era to end. As much as I loved making mild fun of his accent, he doesn't want to be a mascot his whole life. He wants to play basketball. His teammates understand that. Hopefully he'll get a shot.


Philadelphia, Penn.: Steinbog

Love the chats and the Bog. I know that you are obsessed with your pageviews and the number of clicks you receive. If I subscribe to the Bog using google reader and click on the links that way, does that count towards your pageview stats? Hey, I just want to make sure that I am doing my part to keep the best bogger in the business employed.

Dan Steinberg: Thanks. I'm not actually positive about this. I think I've heard no, but again, I'm not sure.

I was recently told that our numbers do not include clicks from inside the Post newsroom. So yes, that means I've been wasting my time hitting refresh on my Post computer for the last three years.


Arlington, Va.: First the water bottle smackdown incident against the Red Bulls, now fighting over a penalty kick with Gomez like a rec leaguer. What happened to the happy-go-lucky, James Blunt-singing, MVP-winning Luciano Emilio of 2007? He seems more like a depressed goal junkie with withdrawal symptoms now. Is all of this attributable to Bobby Boswell leaving town, or is it merely a side effect of the Bog's lack of D.C. United coverage this summer?

Dan Steinberg: Ha. You do wonder whether the designated player thing pays off for an organization like D.C. United, that did some of its best work before the days of the massive contracts. Mo money mo problems.

Personally, I retain fond memories of the Boswell/Esky/Freddy/Perkins days, whatever the results on the field. That was a fun group. It's been broken up more than the Post sports department since then.


Va.: Hypothetical question: If Strasburg (Boras) doesn't sign this year the Nats would end up with the top two picks next year - #1 and 1A. I understand that they would need to get Strasburg's permission to draft him again next year. But is that permission necessary just for drafting him with the replacement pick (1A) or would it apply to any of their picks (like, say, No. 1)?

Dan Steinberg: I'm not an expert, but my understanding was that it would apply to any of their picks. If not, it'd be a pretty ineffectual rule.


Western Alexandria, Va.: You almost sounded like a Nats fan

Dan Steinberg: Oh. In general, my at-rest position is hoping for the local teams to do well, because that's more fun to cover. I don't think that's particularly unusual. Of course, I occasionally wander beyond such vanilla-ness, as when the Wizards play the Cavs, and I bring Costco-sized boxes of facial tissue just in case anyone tears up on the court.


Metro Washington, D.C.: So which team will gamble on Vick as a second string quarterback? I think it will be decided within the next two weeks if any team is willing to take that chance.

Also, won't Vick be able to play longer than most quarterbacks because he hasn't been hit and hasn't thrown for two years. That may be in his favor.

washingtonpost.com: The League: Where Will Michael Vick Play in 2009? (Washington Post, July 28)

Dan Steinberg: If I owned a team, I wouldn't do it for the Beckham reason. Beckham is still a good player, and there's no reason he shouldn't have helped the Galaxy win some games, and maybe he did, but the whole thing is just a fiasco. Once you reach a certainl level of media craziness, everyone will just resent it. Maybe Vick is more sympathetic than Becks in a locker room, and players rally around him and against the world, but it's just hard to imagine a Vick-possessed going to the Super Bowl. I support the man's right to make a living, but if it was my team, I'd decline the headache.

The thing about the longevity is, people are talking about him as a wildcat guy. I guess the mileage wouldn't be too great, but once he's a running back more than a QB, you'd figure the natural lifespan of his position would plummet. You know all the rules about what happens to RB's after they reach age 30.


Sports on FM ... FM ... FM ... FM: Dan,

after more than one week of listening, I agree with you. The 106.7 The Fan jingle has to go. It is painfully annoying. Can you please use your pull in the DC sports world to get it changed?

Dan Steinberg: I can't use my pull to get on Wise's 17-hour daily show, so I'm not sure. But I'll try.

And I'll say it again: the jingle is awful. Kill it. Replace it with Wise screaming. Replace it with LaVar growling. Replace it with a clip of Ovechkin singing Russian techno. Just replace it.


Washington, D.C.: Battered Fan Abuse Syndrome is a reference to any person who, because of constant and severe losses usually involving lousy pitching, poor defense and multiple errors by the Nats, becomes depressed and unable to take any independent action that would allow him or her to escape the abuse. The condition explains why abused Nats fans often do not seek assistance from others, fight their abuser, or leave the abusive situation. Sufferers have low self-esteem and often believe that the abuse is their fault. Such persons usually refuse to press for personnel changes for their abuser, and refuse all offers of help, often becoming aggressive or abusive to others who attempt to offer assistance. Often sufferers will even seek out their very abuser for comfort shortly after an incident of abuse.

Dan Steinberg: Dude (or m'am), they're on their hottest streak of the season. This is all a remnant of late June. You have to move on with your life. It's a new day.

Speaking of which, I gotta run. Going to get my cholesterol checked. Thanks for the questions, be back next week, with a Vick jersey in hand.


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