D.C. Sports Bog Live: Nats, Redskins and Everything That's Keeping Dan Busy

 Dan Steinberg
Dan Steinberg (The Washington Post)
Dan Steinberg
D.C. Sports Bogger
Tuesday, August 4, 2009; 11:30 AM

D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg was online Tuesday, Aug. 4 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.

A transcript follows.

Read Dan's daily smorgasbord of the bizarre side of D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.


Dan Steinberg: Hey sorry for the delay. Just came back to my first post-move day of Redskins practice, and my mind was an empty cardboard box. No fewer than two players were like, what are you trying to ask? And I was like, I have no questions. I'm just standing here holding a tape recorder and a camera.

So yeah, I did some great journalism today. Luckily, there are six other WaPo writers here, plus Jason La Canfora.

So if you have questions about moving boxes, cribs, roof leaks, painters, shower curtains, shower faucets that don't work or sports, bring em on. Also sheepherding.


Rockville, Md.: Ok,so the Redskin insider has a summer intern?

Next year Dan, you and me! What do you say?

washingtonpost.com: Cast Your Vote on the Offensive Line Struggles

Dan Steinberg: I've actually had tons of people volunteer to be my free, voluntary, do-whatever-you-want-with-me intern, but I mostly have to decline, because the WaPo protects its internship brand. But I've found ways to have some helpers help, I guess.

The competition for stories out here is most intense, though, with six co-workers out and about. It's hard to find a player who's talking to the media while not surrounded by at least two Post staffers.


Arlington, Va.: Was there any discussion with your family about moving to Virginia?

Dan Steinberg: No.


Though the commute to Ballston and Ashburn would be a lot better, I suppose.


Alexandria, Va.: Was Snyder just preparing to make D.C. United fill at home (RFK) for the match against Real Madrid with all of the problems in and around FedEx for the McCartney concert the past weekend?

Dan Steinberg: Well, look at it this way: as far as I've heard, zero people's cars caught on fire. Plus, there weren't any rule changes about tailgating.

You want fun? Try Fan Appreciation Day this weekend. Last year the line of traffic backed up to New Jersey.


S. Rockville, Md.: Steinz,

Massive softball tournament/charity event at Goddard softball complex this upcoming weekend. Guys in those inflatable sumo suits, girls in kilts. Lots for you to cover that doesn't include herding, if you can get away from the Redskins orbit.

Dan Steinberg: Someone wrote to me about this on Twitter. Maybe even you. It's affiliated with university alumni groups, right?

I don't know, people still pitch me on stuff like this pretty frequently, but I feel like the time investment for news payoff is pretty out of kilter. The only way the broader world will care is if someone's leg explodes or if the catcher in the championship game gets drunk and streaks into the left field corner while singing a medley from Annie. And even if that happens, I'd hate myself for writing about it.

So I feel like I'm best suited covering actual professional athletes, all in all. Though for all I know Jim Zorn will pull the Annie gimmick, except he'd be drinking Shirley Temples.


Gilbert's Corner, Va.: Which is worse: Moving or childbirth (assuming you could feel your wife's pain during that "happy" event)?

Dan Steinberg: I don't remember childbirth that well, but I'd choose getting body slammed by Mike Williams and headbutted by Mike Sellers over moving again.


Rockville, Md.: I hope all Nats fans understand that we need to root for San Diego and against Kansas City. If San Diego ends up with the second worst record this year (assuming the Nats remain in last), then Strasburg could refuse to sign with the Nats and be guaranteed to be picked by the Padres next year, which is probably his preferred team. But if the Royals (currently sitting in next-to-last place) finish just ahead of the Nats, then Strasburg would end up having to go to K.C.! Go Royals!

Dan Steinberg: I support rooting for other teams to win or lose to help draft position. But I don't support rooting for other teams to win or lose to help draft position in the event that the team bobbles its current drafted prospect and he's thrown back into the player pool. That's too complicated. Just root for the Lerners' accountants and forget about the Royals.


Aldie, Va.: OK, so you'd have to travel, but wouldn't you have pretty good readership if you were the one Post reporter at the Steelers training camp? I smell opportunity ...

Dan Steinberg: It's true. All you'd really need is one-seventh or one-eighth the local interest as the Skins generate, and a certain recent game showed that.....forgot, fans think I mention that too frequently. Sure, there would be travel expenses, but it's not like the Toll Road is free, and you can probably eat lunch in Pittsburgh for the $1.25 I pay to drive to Ashburn.


Washington, D.C.: Mike Wise has been teasing you on his radio show. Are you going on today? He said you were upset Reliable Sources made an appearance before you. True? (By the way, I'm with you on hating that 1067 The Fan jingle. Ugggh.)

Dan Steinberg: Not only am I appearing at 1:10 or so, to talk about who knows what, since I took a four-day break from sports, but I'm supposed to maybe help out with a new jingle.

All together now, in falsetto: one oh six, seeeeeven the Faaaaaaaaaannnnnnnn


Alexandria, Va.: Having two sports radio stations in town has been real nice, I like the new shows with Wise, Loverro, and Arrington, plenty of Nats talk last week and of course the Redskins training camp is great. My only complaint is that there is no local sports talk during my morning commute. The other day I turned on the Junkies and they were talking about Eminem's new song and I've heard them talk about Roethlisberger more than the Redskins.

I'm sure they have their fan base, but it would be nice if they would move them to another station and open up the slot for a local sports guy.

Dan Steinberg: I think I've made it clear that I like the Junkies, but there are moments that are painful. Having some guy on this AM who self-identifies as autistic and OCD and depressed would be one of those moments. Although it sounded like he was happy to be on the show, so who knows.

Anyhow, you keep the Junkies because they don't have to scrap their way into a routine or an audience or a comfort zone or a rapport. They're already there, and it feels comfortable when you hear them. They're The Fan's version of The Sports Reporters.

Plus they do Washington Post Live more frequently than I do, which is weird.


Natstown: Break up the Nats! They're 6-4 in their last 10 and are now sporting a win percentage north of .300. Should Nats fans be more excited that they finally have some baseball to watch that isn't abjectly terrible, or worried that we're losing out on our lead in the race to fail to sign Bryce Harper?

Is there any chance that the slight improvement in recent weeks improves the Nats bargaining position with regard to Strasburg, as they look slightly less desperate for a scrap of positive news?

washingtonpost.com: Against All Odds, Nats Rally for a Win

Dan Steinberg: Sign Bryce Harper or draft Bryce Harper? Different things, huh?

Without sitting in on meetings with any of the particulars, I still say the Nats' won-loss record on August 17 isn't going to be the determining number. The determining number will have a lot of commas and zeros.

As for fans, yes, it's been nice to see better baseball, and I'm sure all the diehards would agree, but it would have been a lot better to play this style of baseball in April than in August. The race for 28th just doesn't have much of a ring to it.

On the other hand, Rob Dibble's enthusiasm meter has just about broken several times during this run, and that's for a sub-.400 team. Imagine what he'd be like if they were in a pennant race?


Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.: Dan, you should have had the Post send you to Russia, rather than boring old Ashburn with the boring old Redskins. Instead, Russia Today is the one getting all the credit for the Bog-worthy Ovie-and-sex topic.

washingtonpost.com: Video: Ovechkin on sex before games, Russian vs. U.S. women (Yahoo! Puck Daddy, August 3)

Dan Steinberg: The thing I never understand: Russian athletes say things in Russian in translation wildly more hilarious and/or outrageous than almost any American athlete says in English. Are Russians just that much more remarkably quotable? Are the reporters better at coaxing out the good stuff? Or are the translators just on meth?

Anyhow, yeah, that video....wow.


Birmingham, Ala.: I am from Maryland and attending a wedding in West Virginia in September. Should I wear my Maryland tie, a Ravens jersey or a Caps sweater?

Dan Steinberg: I guess it depends where in West Virginia. You're assuming that everyone there will be fans of Pittsburgh pro teams, but there are those weird pockets that stick with Maryland pro sports allegiances, but I can't imagine too many Terps fans, so I guess I'd go with the Terps stuff.

Someone needs to do a story on how Baltimore and D.C. fans share the Caps. It's really the only team that works that way. D.C. United a little bit, I guess. I'm sure someone has done that story, actually, and the Web doesn't love stories like that. The Web loves stories about Twitter. So someone should do a story on how Twitter users from Baltimore and D.C. all love the Caps.


It's So On ...: Gabby v. Nyls - does Nylander get healthy-scratched for training camp? Or does GMGM take care of this by trading him and a bag of money for a ham sandwich (although I guess he'd still take a bite out of the salary cap regardless)?

Dan Steinberg: No no, for a bag of Swedish meatballs.

I mean, this situation seemed untenable last year, and somehow it just tenabled all the way through to the end. And now we have to go through another year of this? No chance. Just trade him to the Pirates, they'll take anything.


Section 215, Row A: Do you shave your head every day? I do but I let it grow out on the weekends.

Dan Steinberg: Twice a week, mostly, unless I get particularly lazy, which happens about every two weeks.

Yes, I work for The Washington Post sports section. Thank you for asking.


Reston, Va.: Hold on....you'll report about some lame marriage proposal at a lame WTT event, but you won't report on a confluence of softball enthusiasts? I'd rather hear about the softball tournament...

Dan Steinberg: Wow, people hated the marriage proposal thing. Look, it was late on a Monday afternoon, I had spent the day wiping off decades-old grease from kitchen cabinets, I needed 500 words for page 2 of the newspaper....you're gonna hold that over me for the rest of my life? You have to bear in mind the opportunity cost as well. All I had to do for that item was turn on my phone and computer, whereas during the drive to Goddard for all we know a video will surface of Alex Ovechkin saying that chewing on copper coins helps him convert penalty shots.


DuPont Circle, Washington, D.C.: Dan,

Jason Campbell has been given yet another old, battered, patchwork offensive line to "protect" him again this season. Along with Dan Snyder's obvious discontent of JC's performance in the last two seasons, does this make it his final season here in Washington?

Dan Steinberg: I think Jason Campbell and the offense would have to really take off for him to be in a strong position. I don't think Jason Campbell and the offense will really take off. So if I had to guess, I'd say yeah, this is probably it.

Seeing Heyer go down today isn't helping much, though Zorn seemed relatively unconcerned. Someone asked him what he sees on film that makes him think the O line will be ok, and he basically said, "I don't think I ever said I think the O line will be ok." That's a wild paraphrase, not even close to the real quote, but that was the gist of it. Scary.


Blackberries: How come I can't find your blog on the Post's new mobile website? It used to be bookmarked, but now that just goes to the homepage.

/Sorry, didn't know who else to ask. Cheese. Mustache.

washingtonpost.com: The Washington Post's New Mobile Site

Dan Steinberg: I don't know the answer to this. I have my blog, and those of all my colleagues, saved as bookmarks on my blackberry, and they still work. Anyone out there?

(And yes, I spend much of my commute reading Nationals Journal.)


Hague, Va.: Dan the man, Please tell me what you think of Colt Brennan as a quarterback and if you think he has any chance of playing this year?

Dan Steinberg: You can't tell if these questions are sort of poking fun at the Cult thing, or actually optimistic that a sports blogger who spends his afternoons asking Redskins how much they can bench press will jump on the Internet and drop this news: Colt Brennan will be the starting quarterback by Week 7.

I mean, sure, there's a chance. If multiple QBs get hurt, obviously, or if Campbell is terrible and Collins struggles or gets hurt or whatever. But no one, inside the Skins brass, has ever, ever, ever given the Cultists any signs of hope, which is why they turn to me, I guess.

Do I think, on merit, Colt Brennan will be starting in the first four games of the year? No, I do not. Do I think the Internet will break if Zorn turns to Brennan at some point? Quite possibly.

Here's some grist: the Redskins have renamed one of their pass patterns "Colt." It used to be called "Corner Omaha," or something like that. C-O


RE: Gawker and Deadspin: Dan, You often link to deadspin and vice versa. How do you feel about your colleague's recent opinion piece about the gawker site stealing his traffic?

Dan Steinberg: Well, he did gonzo traffic on that piece, so more power to him.

I don't know, I don't see it the same way he does. Sure, I wish that there was a better business model for newspapers online, but the Gawker sites are undeniably good at what they do. That's why people go there. If people would rather read a snarky eight paragraph version of a well-researched newspaper story, I'm not sure what our recourse is.

And like everyone has pointed out, what traffic we got from Gawker on that one probably wasn't coming our way if they didn't link. When I get linked on Deadspin, the referrals are usually pretty minimal, but it helps in other ways: brand recognition, Google ranking (I assume), showing that I'm part of some larger community of sports bloggers, etc. I think it's a worthwhile tradeoff.


Oakton, Va.: Are you happy to bring up the ratings of the Mike Wise Show when you're on?

Dan Steinberg: Sure, what are they? More or less than my daily blog traffic?


Washington, DC: The NFL has said there will be no tweeting from players during games. What's the over/under on how long it'll take for the NFL to find a way to make money off player tweets, and virtually shove iPhones into players' hands when they come off the field?

Dan Steinberg: Ochocinco is heroic on this one. Seriously. He'll Tweet, and he'll get fined or whatever, but he'll at least stand up against the suits. I mean, everyone on the team, plus the coaches, can be offered up to the TV cameras without ending the republic, but 13 seconds of typing during a commercial break will be our downfall?

The TV partners are the key. once they figure out a way to send scrolling exclusive athlete Tweets along their bottom lines, sponsored by Boost Mobile or whomever, we'll be up and running.


Tony Plush: Dan,

Have you ever heard anything cooler than Tony Plush's statement that he's feeling sexy at the dish? Based on recent performance, I think Josh Willingham has been feeling frisky at the bowl and Ryan Zimmerman has been feeling obscene at the tureen.

Dan Steinberg: One month in, and I've still yet to interview Nyjer Morgan. Shameful. I'm going to skip a Redskins practice in favor of a Nats game sometime this week so I can end that.

The sexy part was great, though it seems Nyjer uses "dish" fairly frequently to refer to the plate. Still, 'twas a great, great quote.

Also, I'm pretty sure Austin Kearns is feeling ill at the pill.


Mt. Pleasant, Washington, D.C.: D.C. United vs. Real Madrid on Sunday. Will you be looking to ask Cristiano Ronaldo some questions? Maybe you can get some Euro cheese recommendations? ...

Dan Steinberg: I can only work one day this weekend. My choices are Saturday fan appreciation day/redskins scrimmage, Sunday DCU-Real, Nats, or, presumably, softball and sheepherding. I'm still undecided.


Manassas, Va.: Regarding Ovechkin's interview:

Is the "sex before and after games" comment more acceptable because he is The Great 8, because it is in Russian, or is it really not that bizarre of a statement?

Dan Steinberg: Well, it might not be bizarre, but it's not the kind of thing many American athletes would talk about. Maybe it really depends who the interviewer is, if you get where I'm going with that. I mean, I guess any time of the year is technically either before or after a game, or both, except for the last and first games of the year.


Silver Spring, Md.: "So I feel like I'm best suited covering actual professional athletes, all in all."

So, you're going to be covering college football and basketball this fall?

Dan Steinberg: Rim shot.


Arlington, Va.: Dan, I enjoy your bog. Reminds of a print version of the show The Lighter side of Sports that aired years ago.

How do you rank in terms of popularity for bog (or blog) hits? I hope stick around for a while. Thanks.

washingtonpost.com: D.C. Sports Bog

Dan Steinberg: We can't give out our traffic numbers. And actually, they stopped sending them to us about a month ago, so I no longer know, which is probably good for my mental health.

Speaking extremely generally, I'd say the Redskins Insider is our most popular sports blog, Caps Insider is second, and Bog/Nats/Wizards/Soccer are all in the next tier, depending on current events. (Soccer is most consistent, Wizards/Nats do great on trades/injuries/coaching changes, Bog does well when Gilbert Arenas builds new swimming pools or when the Nats spell their name wrong.)

I have no plans to leave within the next 24 hours.


Arlington, Va.: Dan,

Flip's comments about an eight-man Wizards rotation conflicts with the teams "apparent" depth.

Who are the odd men out, and does that mean any of the guards could be moved - not counting the unmovable James and Stevenson?

Dan Steinberg: Look, you're going to have a bunch more than eight players whoever they are, and most of them are going to wish they were in the rotation. There aren't too many NBA players whose stated goal is "sit on the bench, do not play."

I mean, does Dominic McGuire not want to play? Oberto? Who are you going to get after you move the guards that would be happy being told "we just need you as a placeholder." I think the 8-man rotation can change over time, and with injuries and Gilbert's healthy, depth isn't a bad thing, as long as no one goes psycho.


Richmond, Va.: Can you let someone know that the new washingtonpost.com for mobile devices (in my case, the iPhone) is nice looking but I cannot access all the blogs now. The old mobile site allowed you to view each blog separately and then view all the posts in that blog. That's no longer an option. This is a horrible change.

Dan Steinberg: Dear Cathy.....


Washington, D.C.: In your opinion what are the odds that the Natinals will sign Stephen Strasburg?

Dan Steinberg: 85 percent yes. In honor of Lastings.


Canisteo, N.Y.: May I assume the double listing of the Redskins inadvertently ignored the Caps? What do you think of the Caps' chances next season, given the Pens will return a virtually intact roster from the Stanley Cup-winning team?

Thanks for always-interesting insights.

Dan Steinberg: I'm not sure where I double listed the Caps, but I apologize.

Based on current Web traffic trends vs. human Post content providers, there's a massive opening for more Caps content. So I'm all in.

As for next year, I feel like almost none of it matters until April. The team will be exciting and successful. The building will be full. More outlets will write "Is D.C. a hockeytown?" stories. Ovechkin and Semin will give great quotes in Russian. And the Caps will wind up as probably the second or third seed. But none of that really matters if they don't go further in the playoffs, and there's so much weirdness that goes into that, from the hot goalies to the poorly timed injuries to the overtime shots into the metal and all that.

I wouldn't base the Caps' chances on the Penguins's roster. As much as Pittsburgh got the better of the series this year, it still went to Seven, and the fact that the Pens went on to win the Cup doesn't really change that.


Ashburn, Va.: I have a comment, not really question. Just wanted to say great blog post on LaRon Landry's digital this weekend, Steinz. Keep up the good work.

Dan Steinberg: Hey Rick. How's it going. Yes, I see you across the desk, smirking at me. Yes, I had two years to realize that LaRon Landry wore a watch on the field, and I never did notice. And yes, the fact that you're all into doing this "clever" and "quirky" and "Internet friendly" blog posts and stories has me wishing the Sun had never laid you off, or had at least broken your fingers first.

Oh, and welcome to the team.


Alexandria, Va.: Without knowing what I do, would you like to switch jobs?

Dan Steinberg: Hmmm. Can I know your salary and your hours and your commute? Also, does it matter if I'm incompetent at your job? Email me, and we'll work out a deal. You might need to throw in a bag of Swedish meatballs.


Ashburn, Va.: Dan: Do you want to go to the Spicy Pickle and grab something with Svrluga after you're done chatting?

Dan Steinberg: This is a great innovation. Barry is sitting across the desk from me. Instead of using our Post blackberry, or our Post instant messaging system, or our telephones, or our voice boxes, he's submitting questions to our WashPost.com producer, who is publishing them, and sending them to me, where I can waste like 100 words as an introduction to the following answer:

Sure, I guess.

Later, people. I promise that I will have something about sports to say next week, having moved my life out of a cardboard box. Really, I'll do better.


Quotable Russians: I have one Russian friend -- she says more outrageous things than everybody else I know put together, except maybe my dad after a couple glasses of wine. Russians are insane.

Dan Steinberg: Oh, I forgot to answer this one, too.

Listen, get your dad to meet me at Loudoun County Parkway this afternoon. I'll bring the wine. I could use a few good quotes for tomorrow's paper. Thanks.


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