D.C. Sports Bog Live: Tiger Woods, Pudge Rodriguez, Redskins heartbreak, the surging Caps and more
Tuesday, December 8, 2009; 11:30 AM
D.C. Sports Bogger Dan Steinberg was online Tues., Dec. 8 to break down all your questions about the Redskins' heartbreaking loss to the undefeated Saints, the surging Caps, new Nats catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, the Wizards and the latest Atlantic 11 and sports news and your questions and comments about his latest bog posts.
A transcript follows.
Read Dan's daily smorgasborg of the bizarre side of D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
Dan Steinberg: Hey. Here I am.
Coming later today, some more decade retrospective-ish D.C. sports stuff. Here's my current question: Who's the third best D.C. athlete of the last decade? One is Alex Ovechkin, without question. Two is, to me, Juan Dixon the collegian, without question. But who is three? Kolzig? Arenas? Zimmerman? Soriano? Samuels? Portis? Bailey?
Judged only for their on-the-field contributions during their actual time as a D.C. athlete.
Have at that one, while I answer questions.
Reston, Va.: I'm thinking that Landry should spend a little more time figuring out how to cover a double move and a little less time preening after a tackle. Sure, enthusiastic players are a plus, but doing so when you're on a 3-8 team and are repeatedly burned on double moves for TDs?
Makes him look like an idiot.
Dan Steinberg: Will be posting reactions to Landry as soon as I'm finished this chat. Here's Larry Michael, Monday on Redskins Nation:
"I don't think you want to change the way he plays the game. He plays it the way it's supposed to be played. He wants to take your head off, all right, and that's what the game's all about."
And here was Matt Terl's brilliant response: "I don't think the actual point of the game of football is to take someone's head off. I might be wrong about that."
I like some showboating, but I like clever Ochocinco style showboating, not self-absorbed LeBron style showboating. Landry is way, way into the latter category, I think, record notwithstanding. The fact that you add in the record, and his culpability, doesn't help much.
Joe Gibbs is Best Redskins Coach Ever?: In the opening of a Monday post about Stan Kasten being interviewed by Jim Bowden you preceded the baseball bits with a football note about how "In the playoffs, the team's all-time greatest coach will team with one of its most famous quarterbacks for the first-ever coach/qb broadcasting team."
Joe Gibbs being on a broadcast team with Joe Theismann -- that could be interesting. But Gibbs is "the team's all-time greatest coach"?
Steinz, what do you call Vince Lombardi?
Seriously. Do you think Gibbs was a greater football coach than the man whose name is on the Super Bowl trophy? The coach who in 1969 led Washington's NFL team to its first winning record in 14 years? Who might have done much more, but whose tenure was cut short after one season by cancer?
Dan Steinberg: Gregg Wiggins? I saw your comment on that post. That's a fair point, but I think if you were running down the list of best Redskins coaches for what they actually did with the Redskins, Gibbs is clearly No. 1. I meant no slight to Lombardi.
Frederick, Md.: Hey Dan I have always been curious about what teams pay for when they are on away trips. For example flights, food, hotel rooms, transportation from hotel to stadiums? Thanks
Dan Steinberg: Yeah. All that. Pro teams are obviously chartering, so there are no flights involved. There are team meals and per diems and buses to games. I believe taxis to the club and adult beverages are generally picked up by players.
"We feel we beat those teams": (except you didn't). "We have the league's most talented roster" (but you lose a lot).
I read these quotes by Redskins players and wonder, Is there another team with as high an opinion of itself that is not reflected by its W-L?
Maybe that's why the team's been playing better without Portis and throwing to WRs other than Moss? That whole Miami attitude doesn't really translate well to the NFL when you play for a terrible team. You need some mid-major/undrafted hunger.
Dan Steinberg: "playing better without Portis....."
Look, if you're going to crack wise about quotes not matching with reality, here's the reality: the Redskins were 2-5 with Portis in the lineup. Since he got hurt, they're 1-4.
Now sure, there are caveats: they're scoring more, they're playing better opponents, etc etc. But that's no different than saying "we feel we beat those teams" (except you didn't).
Which is not to say I don't support mid-major/undrafted hunger. I just think if you're crediting them with improved play recently, you're going in for the same "moral victory" stuff that you're rejecting here.
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.: Is Lindsay Czarniak single?
Dan Steinberg: I'll ignore your question to tell a true story: on the sidelines at the end of every Redskins game, when media members are allowed on the field (final two minutes), there is a constant refrain of "Lindsay! Hey Lindsay! What's up girl! Love you! Lindsay Lindsaay Lindsay Lindsay!" Etc. Usually delivered by drunk 20-something white men. Who sometimes try to chant her name. She always seems to ignore them.
So finally on Sunday, I turned to a few of the chanters and said "that's pretty clever, she's never heard that before."
And then they started heckling me, and calling me Mike Wise, and asking if I was wearing the same shoes I wore in high school. (I guess my blue Pumas were looking a little worse for the wear.)
Anyhow, I don't know if she's single or not, but jeez, there's a bit too much Lindsay Czarniak love, no?
Columbia Heights, Washington, D.C.: What part of town would suggest hanging out in at night in order to run into Lindsay Czarniak?
Dan Steinberg: And then there's this.
Frederick, Md.: I've figured out who you remind me of when you're on broadcast television!
Your quivering voice and spastic mannerisms are a dead ringer for Michael J. Fox!
I guess I should work that into a question ... Do you have Parkinson's?
Dan Steinberg: And then there's this.
Herndon, Va.: Mr. Bog: I can't understand the many (vociferous few?) who want to dump Campbell. Is he a great quarterback - no. Is keeping him better than using a high draft choice on an untried college quarterback - yes. Since you're the expert, tell me, is it even the Redskins option - may he jump ship if he gets a good offer?
Dan Steinberg: Well, I'm no expert, but I sure love picking on him.
I think many informed voices have speculated that Campbell would gladly jump ship at this point: because he's been jerked around by management, because he's unloved by his bosses, because he's been treated with a coaching carousel here, because a fresh start couldn't hurt, and on and on and on.
The "is Campbell good?" question remains impossible to answer, but it's great for Web traffic, and I'll continue to vote for the "meh" category. Even last week, when he played his brains out, he couldn't bring it home in the clutch. I know, I know, I know, he played great, but in crunchtime, Brees got a touchdown in like 30 seconds, and Campbell threw an interception. At some point, if you're great, you get the ball in the final two minutes and you boogie down the field and you win the dang game for your team.
Ditto with Suisham. Going 673-674 in meaningless second-quarter tries is great, but if you can't make the 23-yarder to clinch the game with two minutes left, then I'm really not that interested.
HaikuMan: Bye, Shaun. Hello Nick! Single footedly lost two Vinnie drafts kicker?
Dan Steinberg: It's hard to read Haikus in straight line without punctuation, but yeah, this one works minus the Vinny mis-spelling.
I think the Durant Brooks experience will pretty well prevent the Skins from drafting another kicker, though you never can tell. I also loved how Brian Mitchell gave the special teams an F-- on his Comcast SportsNet post-game report card. F-- sounds really bad.
In terms of quality of sports towns: Would you rank D.C. at the bottom or near the bottom? I struggle to find another subject that fans from Boston, Buffalo, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Dallas and Minnesota all agree on. Face it, the Redskins and Caps supporters are generally ignorant - with the Redskins fans practically giving away tickets to opposing fans and caps TV ratings remaining inert - and the Wizards and Nats being non-factors whose games serve as social events. At the very least, it's the worst four-sport town in the country.
Dan Steinberg: Depends what counts as a sports town, and what counts as quality. Depending on how you deal with the San Fran/Oakland/San Jose thing, there are only, what, 12 four-sports towns in the country? Boston, New York, Dallas, Chicago, Philly, Minneapolis and Detroit all seem clearly better.
But is Phoenix? Is Denver? Is Atlanta? Is Miami?
I'll take a place like Pittsburgh over D.C., and maybe Cleveland, in the sense that the pro sports teams are a much more important part of the social fabric. But that's got to do with a lot of things that aren't the fault of D.C. sports fans.
I don't know that Redskins and Caps supporters are generally ignorant. I don't even know what that means. And no matter how many visiting fans show up at FedEx, it's a massive massive facility. There are still more Skins fans at Skins home games than most stadiums can even seat.
So I generally think it's not a great sports town, but I don't have the seething hatred that you seem to have.
Dunn Loring, Va.: Why the different treatment for Carlos Rogers and Laron Laundry? Both get burned by a double move but Jerry Gray immediately pulls Rogers while Laundry is allowed to stay on the field and help lose the game. Is it because they want to minimize the price Rogers gets when he leaves?
Dan Steinberg: I think you could plausibly argue that there's more talent behind Rogers at CB than there is behind Landry at safety, especially with Horton done for the year.
Whether contracts and all that stuff figures in, who knows.
Here's Theismann on Landry: "He's not a free safety. It's not a place where he's comfortable. It's not a place where he's most efficient. And I'm gonna guess that somewhere through the course of these next four football games you will not see him in a position to have people do that to him."
"That" meaning "run an embarrassing double move on him to score a game-winning 53-yard TD of death."
Washington, D.C.: Steinberg:
What do you think of the signing of Pudge? he's definitely not the guy he used to be, but will he still be fun to watch? help work on the young pitching with the Nats?
Dan Steinberg: I take my cues from the snarky stat-loving 20- and 30-something white dudes on twitter, and they hate it. HATE it. Why so much money? Why two years? Why overpay for a symbolic free agent instead of overpaying for one who could actually get on base three out of every 10 trips to the plate?
How much he could "help work on the young pitching" I guess is the remaining question, along with mentoring Flores. Seems to me you could hire coaches to do that for less than $6 mil, but maybe it means more coming from Pudge. Then there are the reports of him not being the world's best clubhouse guy, but I'd like to read more about that.
Regardless, he immediately becomes, what, their second-most well known position player?
Takoma Park, Md.: Of course, Gibbs is the greatest Redskins coach ever. (Unless, of course, you're emphasizing unintentional comedy in which case the Norv face clearly pushes him over the top.) That Lombardi comment is along the lines of saying that Otto Graham was the best Redskins coach ever because he led all of his Browns teams to championship games. Oh wait, except he didn't do that here or as coach.
Dan Steinberg: I agree with this, except for unintentional comedy Norv can't even touch Spurrier. Not even in the same universe.
The Palisades, Washington, D.C.: For Top D.C. athletes, what about Tom Dolan. He won gold at silver in the 2000 Olympics and held the 400 Individual Medley world record until Michael Phelps claimed it. Not too shabby, plus he has fought asthma.
Dan Steinberg: Well, that name didn't really pop up at the top of my list, but sure, I guess.
Actually, I think I'd have to know who it is. If you asked me "which D.C. athlete won gold at the 2000 Olympics and also fought asthma," I'd have to be able to answer this.
Washington, D.C.: Caps have inert TV ratings? I thought aside from the Redskins, they were second (or a close third to the Wiz) in terms of ratings?
Dan Steinberg: Well, they've been pretty well surpassed by the Wiz ratings, although there are lots of factors on that (number of games on CSN plus, number of games on national broadcasts, initial hype over Wizards being a contender, etc). But compared to hockey rankings in other cities, the Caps sure aren't blowing anybody away.
Springfield, Va.: So who does Richmond hire to replace London?
And is Richmond men's basketball the best team in the region?
Dan Steinberg: If I were voting in the Atlantic 11 (I haven't had time lately), I'd probably go Georgetown, then Virginia Tech, then Richmond. I think.
And I have a longstanding policy of not commenting on pending football hires in the Football Championship Subdivision.
You have to love how all these Virginia schools play each other in hoops. Richmond has non-league games this season against VMI, William & Mary, Old Dominion, Longwood, and VCU. That's five in-state non leaguers. Wish the D.C. area schools had such a policy.
RE: Landry: It's not so much the prancing and preening after a big play that bothers me, it's the prancing after he tackles a guy who just ran for 9 yards and a first down.
"Yeah!!! We held you to NINE YARDS on that run!!! TAKE THAT!!!!"
Dan Steinberg: Well, nine is better than 10.
I don't think there are many defenders of the Landry theatrics after last week. There was also the play where he did a jump kick in celebration and then fell to the ground. He's enthusiastic, anyhow.
At least there were no late hits or personal fouls last week.
Charlottesville, Va.: Tiger's tournament has been held in town the last few years and yet none of his alleged mistresses are from around here. Sad commentary on the state or the female population around the beltway or something else?
Dan Steinberg: I can't even tell you where the closest Perkins is, so maybe we shouldn't be too surprised.
Or maybe he just wants to dump on D.C. like he did by playing with Romo in the pro-am. That's a good point.
Of course, wait a few hours; a mistress from D.C. will turn up.
Washington, D.C.: Though he was gone from the Caps after the 2003-04 season, I think you have to look at Peter Bondra when talking about the top DC athletes of the last decade.
Dan Steinberg: He's on my list. I supplied 20 names to my editor for voting purposes, and there were three Caps (Ovie, Kolzig, Bondra, in that order). My sources close to Japers Rink suggested that Halpern would be the fourth Cap, but with D.C. United and college programs and Nats and Wizards and Redskins, I stuck with three Caps.
Brunswick, Md.: Ever since the Redskins' off-field drama ended and the team started playing mediocre football, I've lost interest in the Redskins. Is it wrong to keep checking the Bog hoping for a photo of Dan Snyder wearing an "I'm with stupid" t-shirt while standing next to Jim Zorn?
Dan Steinberg: Well, my traffic has sure dipped again since Sign-gate. Come back, disaffected Redskins fans from the outer suburbs! I still love you! I still have some funny t-shirt photos I haven't used yet!
I still think they're a compelling watch. I think following any NFL team's season, beginning to end, is compelling, because of the weekly schedule, the constant personnel movement, the overinflated drama, etc. Sure, it's not quite as edge-of-the-seat as it was during the height of the Sherm Lewis stuff, but they've still got me hooked.
PS: I think the move to an 18-game, 20-week schedule would weaken this significantly.
SW Washington, D.C.: Did I miss something on the Caps tv ratings? I thought they were buring things up, relative speaking? No, they don't challenge the NFL, but not even the World Series challenges the NFL. Haven't the Caps been a part of most of the highly watched national games this season?
Dan Steinberg: Yeah, but those numbers are still pretty modest, and local ratings are the definition of modest. Again, there are plenty of caveats, and we should wait until further into the season before judging it, but the last numbers I saw were pretty much static when compared to last year at this time. (Again, locally, and again, that's not differentiating between CSN and CSN+)
Chantilly, Va.: Am I the only one that thinks that there are too many similarities between the 2009 Redskins/Dan Snyder and the Cleveland Indians/Rachel Phelps (from Major League)?
Dan Steinberg: So you think they're moving to L.A., huh?
Does this mean we get to gradually strip clothing off a fake Dan Snyder in the locker room?
Wait a second, those Cleveland Indians used their position to rally around each other and start winning? When does that part begin?
Washington, D.C.: Dan, do you have any desire to get your own sports talk radio show? (Note to Dave Hughes at DCRTV: if Dan says yes, please get something online to help this move forward)
Dan Steinberg: Honestly, I can only take so many emails/comments/chat questions that say
1) Why do you always sound so nervous?
2) Why is your voice always shaking?
3) Do yu have a cold?
4) Clear your damn throat.
Etc etc. Look, that's just the way my voice sounds. I'm sorry. I have a face for radio, and a voice for blogging.
Arlington, Va.: Hoya fans are incredibly respectful of Ms. Czarniak.
Any chance for this year's Hoya team to have Bog potential?
Dan Steinberg: Fans, possibly. Players, who knows, because Georgetown players are given temporary lobotomy pills before their weekly 15-second interaction with the media.
I've pretty much given up on talking to collegiate athletes. There are just too many restrictions, and I feel too guilty about trying to bait them into saying something bog worthy.
Exception: Maryland wrestling team. I love those guys. Some dude keeps emailing me that I have to write a lot about the Maryland wrestlers. I've been meaning to take him up on it.
Matt Bradley's new baby: When does he bloody his Dad in a fight? I'm thinking around the 14 month mark.
Dan Steinberg: Henry? Henry's not a very tough name. I would have named him "Sluggo" or something like that. Nickname?
Congrats to Brads. One of the most likable athletes in D.C.
Washington Post newsroom: Are you at all embarrassed that you have yet to attend a Caps game?
Dan Steinberg: Hi Lindsay!
This is a good point. But I've only been to two Wizards games. And it's a lot harder to get good (bogworthy) material live at Caps games than Wiz games. The media scrums at Caps games make one-on-one type questions virtually impossible.
Corfu, N.Y.: Dan: Yesterday's print edition of the Post contained a picture of the Redskins-Saints game action, and in the background, a fan can be seen holding up a sign ... there was also a picture on your blog yesterday that showed a similar fan in the background. How did this contraband find its way into FedEx?
Dan Steinberg: Signs are now legal.
Zorn just says Skins have released Shaun Suisham in last 30 minutes, have signed some dude named Gano from the UFL.
Washington, D.C.: Isn't it to the D.C. area's credit that some people have lives and educations and don't live vicariously through professional spectator sports?
Dan Steinberg: Yes
Vienna, Va.: The Caps are the best team in the entire league and the media only cares about the Redskins even though they are lame ducks. How can the Caps get some respect around here?
Dan Steinberg: It's not about respect. Sure, we all respect the Caps. But the Redskins have the most fan interest in town, so we provide the most news about them, especially during their season.
The coverage is a lot higher for the Caps than it used to be, correct?
Pudge : Do you like this signing? I think Pudge fills a hole and though some think signing him to 2 years for $6 million was excessive, I think his leadership abilities fills a needed hole also. He will bring instant cred. with the rest of the team.
Dan Steinberg: How did Paul LoDuca's instant cred and leadership abilities work out?
Sterling, Va.: Ivan Rodriguez - just the thing the Nats need. Oh boy. Does someone in the front office think an aging catcher will put fannies in the seats? Or is this a marketing move? - when Pudge goes in the Hall of Fame, it will list Washington Nationals on the plaque, along with the other five-six teams he played for? Look! We have a Hall of Famer! I think Tom Glavine is also available for signing.
Dan Steinberg: Well, John Smoltz sure is. How about a Smoltz-Pudge battery?
This is where you can start joking about all the great players from 1998 that the Nats could sign, except all those jokes were already made 12 hours ago.
Silver Spring, Md.: Steinberg:
You know what I haven't heard about for a while? Herding dogs!
Is it the off-season or something?
Dan Steinberg: I don't know, that's a good question. Vaherder occasionally comments on the Bog. He/she is a very, very bitter person.
Herndon, Va.: Mr. Bog: I think you missed part of the point of my question on Campbell. Of course you want Manning or Brady to be driving down the field in the last minutes, BUT, the Skins aren't going to get anybody like that, and the college prospects aren't that great. Right now, isn't Campbell the best available? (or is it time to draft Colt McCoy with the first-round pick so we have two Colts on the roster)
Dan Steinberg: Well, that's a fair point. But if you're sort of starting over with a new coach, maybe you just want to start over with a new QB too. But I understand the prevailing argument that Campbell is the best available free agent QB, so there's no point in giving up on him with no replacement in sight.
Springfield, Va.: Why does Danny Smith get a pass with all of the special teams problems? Missed kicks aside - does our special teams do anything special?
Dan Steinberg: Well, there were the fake punt and the fake field goal for touchdowns. Those were special plays. And one actually came in a win.
What makes a great sports town: Hi, Dan -- I've lived all over the country, and in my experience: the better the overall living experience, the "worse" that city can be in terms of supporting pro sports and/or tolerating mediocrity.
"Great" pro sports towns like Detroit, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Philly? Lousy places to live, with lousier economies than most.
"Lousy" sports towns like DC, LA, Atlanta, Miami? Good places to live, where you can find plenty of things to enjoy without spending your psychic energy worrying about a bunch of overpaid underachievers.
I'm not saying, I'm just saying.
Dan Steinberg: I think this is inarguable.
Boston, though, is kind of an exception, right? And possibly New York.
22202, Arlington, Va.: Long shot, but what about Todd-ball or Mark Brunell? Those were good Redskins years...
Or even Sean Taylor. He was a great athlete.
Dan Steinberg: Sean Taylor on my list. The other two aren't.
New York, N.Y.: In terms of best D.C. athlete of the decade, Arenas has to be up there, the last few years notwithstanding. I mean, when he was dropping 60 on Kobe, blogging, and hitting game winning 3's from near half court, that guy was bigger even than Ovie is now. It was a flash in the pan, but it was a glorious flash.
If you want to go the other route, in terms of boring old consistency, Chris Samuels. The man was at the top of his game, and one of the top 5 players at his position in the league for almost the entire decade. If that was a QB or a WR, there would be no question as to where he ranked.
Dan Steinberg: True, and he won a playoff series. That's more the point, to me. He won something.
He's top 5. I'm not sure if he's no. 3 or not.
D.C. (as in United): So Danny - who will be D.C. United's new coach and how soon will we learn his identity? Also, what is your take on the World Cup draw?
Dan Steinberg: Should I go to the World Cup, is more my question. That's a long time to be away from a three year old daughter. It's also kinda once in a lifetim-ish.
No idea on the new DCU coach. Having issues with the Group of Death stuff. Shouldn't a group have to deserve that name? Shouldn't all four teams be brutal? couldn't there be a year where there was no Group of Death? Or two Groups of Death? Or just a Group of Life, or Group of Yogurt, or whatever the reverse is?
Annandale, Va.: I haven't taken much time to look into this question. I was wondering if you have an answer: Wasn't the official's review of Seller's fumble in overtime "invalid". I didn't think you could review a non-fumble call. Once the whistle blows, the play is over.
Dan Steinberg: That's no longer the rule. What gets confusing, though, is how you know whether you should go fall on the ball after a whistle, just in case. They need like a supra-whistle, whistling the post-=whistle part of the play dead.
Ok, I have to go make my first post of the day. Sorry for being sporadic there, was listening to Jim Zorn talk about, among other things, the decision to cut Shaun Suisham. This will be, what, six punters and two place kickers over the past two season? Remarkable.
Be well. We'll talk again.
Pentagon City, Va.: Any D.C. United players on your list?
Dan Steinberg: Whoops, yeah, of course Moreno and Olsen are on the Top 20, and I think Gomez as well.
Washington Post Newsroom: Are you at all embarrassed that you have yet to attend a GW game?
Dan Steinberg: No.
Clifton, Va.: Best D.C. athlete ever: Wes Unseld. Held his own against much bigger front court players and then some.
Second best: Johann Cruyff
Third best: Joe Regina who played on six consecutive U.S. National rugby teams from 1978 to 1986. Still holds the record for most tries scored in the international matches for the U.S.
Dan Steinberg: This was supposed to be of the past decade, not ever. I'll do the "ever" list right before I die, but I'm just trying to do best decade now, because that's what the world is doing right now.
By the way, I love how all WaPo sports chatters sign off and say goodbye, and then answer more questions. Love that.
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