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Ask Boswell: George Michael dies

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Thomas Boswell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 24, 2009; 11:00 AM

Washington Post sports columnist Thomas Boswell was online Thursday, Dec. 24, at 11:00 a.m. ET to talk about the death of D.C. sportscasting legend George Michael from cancer, the Redskins, the NFL, Tiger Woods, the Nats and the latest sports news and his recent columns.

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Boswell Discussion Archives

Boswell Column Archives

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Bethesda, Md.: Was shocked to read the headline about George Michael's passing. I grew up in the D.C. area, watching "Sports Machine" with my father and brother. George was indeed the "voice" of Washington D.C. sports ... I could recognize it without even looking at the TV. Our prayers are with his family.

Tom Boswell: Really sad news. A very nice man who changed his part of the business. Man, did he love the Redskins. I just checked with our desk to make sure it's correct. Unfortunately, it is. This is a shock to many of us who didn't know he had cancer.

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Washington, D.C.: George Michael was a sports and D.C. institution. I am 39-years-old and grew up with him. He has been missed in recent years. He was ESPN when ESPN was only Aussie Rules football. With national sports TV and the internet, there will never be anything like him again. Sad that we will not hear from him again.

Tom Boswell: I agree. We'll get to happier Christmas Eve topics. But George certainly deserves some sharing of our warm memories.

Remember him when the Nats came to town. Not exactly his wheelhouse. Hope this memory is correct, but I seem to recall him in Vierra saying, "Help me out here, Bozzy," with a grin. Of course he knew more than enough about every sport. On the other hand, I never could get with the bull-riding program!

Sorry if I'm a little rattled. It's very odd to learn this at 10:55 and not really have time to have a genuine personal reaction before you have to have a professional reaction. But, I must admit, that happens a lot more than you'd think. For some reason it reminds me of the '89 earthquake at the Series. I had grabbed a phone and was calling my desk -- and keeping the line open so nobody else could get it -- within seconds of the shake stoppig. I was literally working before I had time to register "I'm in an earthquake." It's a strange life in some ways.

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Washington, D.C.: Do you find that the Redskins remind you of what you wrote when the Yankees fired Dick Howser? The longer the owner talked, the less anyone believed him? And the longer the fired manager (or coach) stayed quiet, the more respect he received from everyone else?

Tom Boswell: Thanks for the memory!

The Howser (dignity) vs. Steinbrenner (at his worst) is a good analogy to Zorn vs. Snyder-Cerrato in terms of their personal carriage. But Howser was an excellent 100-win manager. Since the day Zorn said "maroon and black" I've assumed he was th likeable Coach from Pluto. (My nickname for him and I'm proud of t.) Nothing has changed my mind. Certainly not the trick play before halftime!

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washingtonpost.com: Just wanted to drop in the first obituary on George Michael, fresh from tomorrow's Post (and, of course, online right now): George Michael, famed D.C. sportscaster, dies (Washington Post, Dec. 24)

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Blvd of Broken Dreams: Boz-

I'm enjoying the Nats offseason. Signing of Pudge was good (but sad too, it tells me there are real doubts on Flores getting healthy), stabilizing the relief, Marquis to hold the rotation together (and Lanham will be a year older/wiser). Considering they were -7 on their pythagorean, how much more do you think they have to do to reach .500? What do they do with their (hopefully) last No. 1 overall pick - a bat or more pitching? I think they need to start looking at replenishing the outfield 3-5 years down the road.

Tom Boswell: The last few days have really nailed down for me that the change in the Nats direction is not a mirage. Lets be clear, they have not signed big stars -- though Marquis was an All-Star last year and his 80-68 record over the last six years is first rate and Capps is a real closer. From a year ago at this time, the franchise mood -- internally already and, in time, with fans -- has changed dramatically. They've gone from Badly Broken with a future that was completely in doubt (even the posibility of grievously bad ownership for many years) to In The Process Of Being Fixed with an ownership that now seems to have turned a corner and get it. The Teixeira offer will be seen as a watershed. Their payroll is still very low and, this morning, I talked to a front office person who said, "We still have a lot of work to do this winter." They aren't finished. They also want to stay under the radar. One reason that they have gotten Rodriguez, Marquis, Capps and Bruney is that nobody said, "The Nats are after ..." until the deal was done or as good as done. I was lucky to figure out that I should include Marquis in my lists of the people the Nats were after in previous posts/columns. My first assumption was that he was one step above what could be expected -- 15 wins, 216 IP, a 4.04 ERA for a playoff team and only 31. In fact, all the moves this offseason have been one level better than I assumed/feared. It's Marquis, not a 35-year-old Washburn or Looper. It's Rodriguez, not Brian Schneider. It's Capps -- an actual documented closer, though coming off a slightly worrisome year in ERA -- not some middle inning guy. And Bruney, when healthy, was always effective with the Yanks.

Are Marquis and Capps healthy? That's one bonus with all the front office hirings last month. Kasey McKeon was with the Rox all year. If there was anything wrong with Marqus' arm the last 7-8 poor starts, the Rox sure don't think so because Kasey would have known. Same with Capps, Rodriguez, Bruney. The Nats just added people that were insde all those organizations last year. So they have info as recent as November. Boy, that sre doesn't sound like the Nats of '08.

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Atlanta: I'm 33 and one of my favorite memories growing up in D.C. was when we had a holiday on a Monday, or a snow day on a Monday, and I could stay up late until 11 p.m. and watch The Sports Machine. I'm sure I'm not alone here, but that was pre-cable and before I knew much about sports at all - George Michael basically taught me about sports as a kid. What a powerful personality he was ... I don't live in D.C. anymore, and never thought I'd see George Michael doing sports again, but it's still sad ...

Tom Boswell: It's interesting that the "highlight world" of sports, which really drives the industry, was started by two figures associated with Washington TV -- Warner "Lets Go To The Highlights" Wolf (who was the original George Michael) and George himself.

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New York, N.Y.: How terribly sad. He brought boundless joy to millions with Sports Final, Sports Machine, "Go For It," and so on.

In this age of the Web and ESPN, we can forget how innovative and ahead of his team he was.

The eternal highlight will always be Super Bowl XVII.

May his family have solace in the pleasure he brought millions.

Tom Boswell: Those who do a good job on sports TV really do bring pleasure to millions. Like TK and Michael. And those who do a bad job -- not thinking of anybody, well, I was thinking of somebody 20 years ago, but no needto insult anybody's memory on the holidays -- rob millions of potential pleasure.

It's also a reason why broadcasters themselves needto understand what they are good at and what they butcher. Boomer just makes me grin and chuckle every time he does the NFL. The best, in his way, especially the byplay with Jackson. But as soon as he touches baseball, I want to scream, "Self-knowledge Reality Check, Please.")

George really wasone of the few who could be said to be ahead of his time.

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Michael Memories: I love the wrestling clips Michael had during his sports reports; that was great TV. I thought he was way too soft on the Redskins. What a bummer on Christmas eve.

Tom Boswell: probably just as good that he didn't hav to take out the bat and club the Redskins around this year. He'd have done it because the need would have been obvious. And he always did his job. But he sure wouldn't have enjoyed it. He was always one of those who thought that Snyder could be turned to the good side of the Force. I doubt Dan knows how worried George was about his "direction" as an owner as the years passed.

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Olney, MD (Formerly of Pittsburgh, PA): I am surprised that there has been so little (or no, for that matter) reaction to Ben Roethlisberger's 503 yard passing game Sunday. I know it's the record for this season. Where does it stand on the all-time passing list? By the way he also threw NO interceptions on his way to 503 yards!

Tom Boswell: The press in Pittsburgh went appropriately nuts, calling it one of the better QB games ever in the NFL and focusing on how amazing the last play was. That was a 503-yard game with no INTs in a nailbiter, not some 45-21 win. But I thought it got semi-missed nationally.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Loved George Michael! He was the best. I have not watched network sporst since he left. That show he had on the weekend with Wilbon, Kornheiser, Riggins, David, and Sonny was the best ever. I also loved the obvious love and admiration Jim Vance and he had for each other.

Tom Boswell: All Skins fans had to catch that. What would George and Riggo have said this year! Instead, Riggo has to do his Report From The Wilderness and you find it on-line. Not progress, maybe.

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Alexandria, Va.: As a Mets fan, I'm just outraged at my team doing nothing this offseason (R.A. Dickey? Sounds like an English butler, not the key to our pitching woes.)

As a baseball fan though, I have to applaud what the Nats are doing. I'm the sort who will go to a ballgame on a sunny day no matter who plays, but last year the nats were so painful, I chose not to. It seems like the Nats paid attention to the fact that they were running out a AAA roster and have made some moves to bolster it. Capps is a great addition- the fact that the Pirates didn't want to pay him $3M shows exactly what is wrong with that franchise- and I think he'll solidify the backend of the bullpen.

So what's left for the Nats? Another outfielder and second base come to mind, but you're the expert ...

Tom Boswell: Mets fans can blame Bernie Madoff for much of their problem. Among all the people he swindled inmclude the Mets ownership. A few hundred million down the drain can change the way you look at your business.

The Nats are doing the right things. This isn't the time for a $100-million signing. Or whatever big number you choose. These are solid aditions to areas of obvious and deep weakness at reasonable (but not cheap) prices. You noticed that Marquis mentioned Pudge when he signed. And I'm sure that adding Marquis helped get Capps.

The Nats still need another starting pitcher on a 1-or-2 year deal. Lot of names, lot of lists. Padilla (12-6, 4.46) has some injury history. Smoltz may be too old, but he didn't look awful in the N.L., only terrible with Bosox. Bradon Looper wuld be fineexcept the 39 homers he gave up scarethe Nats. Brett Myers "personal history" may be a block. Joel Pineiro is probably ovderpriced after his best year -- 15-12, 3.49 at 31. The iunjured high-end pitchers -- Bedard, Sheets -- are interesting, but I'd much rather see one more run taken at the reliable Doug Davis or Garland. Hey, it's Christmas week. I've been malling. So if one of these guys has already signed ...

"We're not finished. e're still in the middle of this," a Nats exec told me this a.m. And he wasn't talking about Eddie Guardado (who might help a little, replacing Ron Villone).

If you want to see what an average N.L. pitching staff looks like, go to baseball-reference.com and check out the Reds and Marlins. You need to get about 140 starts from your top six starters (not top five, there is no such thing). Last year, the Nats had 11 starters who started seven-or-more games. That's ridiculous. The worst of 'em will kill you, especially if you have to keep runnin' 'em out there after you know they are a problem. Combined ERA of 6.16 in 26 starts for DCabrera, Olsen and Balester. Olsen might be a nice surprise in '10 if he's back from arm problems as Nats think he is. But you need 10 starters who can pitch in the majors to get your six. Nats need one more who's Livan-or-better.

Compare to Marlins: Josh Johnson (3.23), Nolasco, Volstad, Sanchez, Andrew Miller. None of their top seven, who started 154 games, had an ERA over 5.21. To be mediocre, you have to eliminate awful.

However, in 2011, a rotation with Marquis, Lannan, Strasburg, Zimmermann and maybe Detwiler could be very intersting. And then, especially if you add one more FA arm now, you really do have the depth of pitching to be a .500 team, make trades and, someday, think about actually being Good.

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Fairfax, Va.: A George Michael memory. I grew up in N.J., and remember listening to him on top 40 radio. I was shocked when I got to D.C. and discovered him doing sport on TV. It couldn't be the same man, but the voice was unmistakeable. He'll be missed.

Tom Boswell: I'll let some of you have your say. We all have our thoughts, so this way we can share some of them.

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U.S. Armed Forces, Worldwide: Mr. Michael donated the Sports Machine program to the American Forces Radio and Television Service for distribution worldwide to U.S. forces away from home. His show was a staple of the first DoD satellite TV network, so we saw the highlights soon after they happened. That program kept me and my rabid sports fan friends up to speed on sports action beyond what we got from delayed print sources. To me, he continues to be a great American for giving his program to us gratis.

Tom Boswell: Check

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Tysons Corner, Va.: Between Brenner and Michael, DC had quite a guilded sportscaster age during the 80s. With Michael's passing, I'm reminded of the dirth that's now passing for local/national sports on the local nightly news. It really does have the feel of being the end of an era. Am I being too pessimistic?

Tom Boswell: You're correct.

And, in 10 years, when there are no more newspapers, you'll say, "I can't believe I get all my news from these crappy blogs and TV. What happened? I lived in a golden age for decades and didn't know it."

I read blogs. I lke some blogs. In a sense, I'm blogging now. But if newspapers die, and it can happen, it's going to be quite a shock to the system. And sports will be the least of it. Sorry, not a holiday thought. Also, I'm rooting for the folks at the Washington Times, especially longtime friends in sports, as they cross their fingers about their future.

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Washington, D.C.: My favorite memory is George reporting from the barn when it was time for his mares to foal.

Tom Boswell: When writer's follow their own passions and hope that their audience goes aliong with them and enjoys it, too, that's called "having a voice." Obviously, George had a very distinctive one. Yes, I remember that, too.

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Arlington, Va: After several years of failure and falling attendance, do you think the Nats will simply break their lease and move to Los Vegas or New Orleans?

Tom Boswell: The nats make a ton of money. They are one of the more profitable teams in MLB, as I have written. They will be in D.C. for decades. So, my Christmas wish to you is ... Nah, I won't say that.

Just sit back and enjoy the building of a normal big-league franchise. It's happening right now before your eyes. And, eventually, normal big league teams have the pieces fall in place andactually get into pennant races! Sometimes those No. 1 overall draft picks don't work out. But sometimes they goto the Hall of Fame! For example, Strasburg and the No. 1 overall next year. One will proibably be a disappointment, but one will probably an out and fanss will talk about his career for decades.

Feel free to think of the Nats this holiday season and go, "Ho, ho, ho." And not sarcastically.

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Warrenton, Va.: George Michael was as much a Redskin as any player.

Tom Boswell: Interesting. I suspect some of the players thought so, too. He was in a role in local TV news where he could be more of a fan if he wanted and still do his job correctly. That's probably not the "correct" view. Just reality.

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Leesburg, Va.: How is Strasburg's knee?

Tom Boswell: Strasburg, Zimmermann and Olsen are all doing as expected, the last I heard. I hope SS is being fanatical in his rehab. As I mentioned once here, both my son and I had worse versions of the same injury -- dislocated patellas. The treatment and rehab are vastly better these days. There is close to 0 percent reason why Strasburg won't be 100 percent. The odds on Zimmermann making it all the way back -- and stats are kept on this -- is now up to about 85 percent. But I still think that is a bit too high. Maybe 85 percent make it back to the big leagues and a few are even better. But a certain percentage are not the prospects they once were. This is another reason the Nats need to sign another starting pitcher in an offseason that has a lot of reasonable "inventory." Has anyone ever said, "You can't have too much pitching."

Oh, in case I forget it, the Orioles are having an excellent offseason, too. You'll find, I think, that if both teams become credible over the next two years it will add to baseball interest in both towns -- even if part of that inerest is simply that the "other" team is finally worth hating. (It's tough to hate an awful team.)

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Thomasville, Ga.: Boz,

With the aquisition of Capps, having specialist Guardado, bringing in Bruney and promoting Storen, have the Nats successfully created six inning games to their benefit?

Tom Boswell: It's certainly getting closer. But these are guys with "ifs." Guardado is old. However, Capps, who is reportedly healthy, is only 26 and a power pitcher. The nats actually have some converted starter arms -- Clippard last year and Balester switching to the bullpen this year -- that add depth. And don't forget Sean Burnett (3.20 in 33 games with Nats). They may still have interest in resigning MacDougal, though it may be too crowded now for him. (Did you ever think you'd hear those words.)

Remember, the Nats need to allow about 150 less runs to get to average. They were that bad -- 5.40 runs per game versus a league average of 4.49. (Not ERA, all runs.)

There's a long, long way to go. But Strasburg and Storen will be big factors in '11. They should NOT be thougt of as significant factors in '10, not even in the second half. If it hapens, that's almost luck. I looked at every first-round pitching draft pick since '88 recently and the number that had a significant impact within one year of their sgning is almost nil. They usually appear (at best) in the second year -- like Mussina at 18-5 in '91. If you want to look up those who came the fastest, check out Andy Benes (6-3, 3.51in 10 starts), Ben McDonald (8-5 in 15 starts), Barry Zito (7-4, 14 starts), Mark Prior (6-6, 3.32in 19 starts), Justin Verlander (two starts, then 17-9 tow years after he was drafted) and Tim Lincecum who wasdrafted in '06, was 7-5, 4.00 in 24 starts in '07 then 18-5 in '08.

Those are the exceptions. If Strasburg has the same record from '11-to-'16 that Marquis had the last six years (80-68 and barely missed a start), he will not be a flop. If he's that good, he will be more than worth the money. Of course, if he wants to be Dwight Gooden, nobody will object.

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Jenkins Hill: So if I'm Drew Storen, am I looking of apartments in Syracuse with these bullpen signings?

Tom Boswell: Yes. And that's where he should be.

Remember, the O's rushed Gregg Olsen and he helped them for a while. But it may have blown out his career too early.

If Mike Mussina could start 28 games in the mirros, and he was a first-rounder who ate up the minors and was completely polished, then Strasburg and Storen won't be hurt by some patience.

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Crazytown: So, Allen is hired as GM and the Redskins find a new way to humiliate Zorn. Interview someone on his staff for the job he currently holds? Does anyone really think "Mister" Snyder has changed?

Tom Boswell: People can change. Some do. But most don't.

Those are the odds on Snyder, too. He'll probably be a disaster -- at least to some degree -- forever.

But maybe not.

That's why there's some hope. But only some.

Our policy on sightings of a New Snyder after this season's performance: Distrust and verify.

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Alexandria, Va.: George Michael was the epitome of a 1980s and 1990s sports broadcaster. I think of him more as a great sports showman than a real Edward R. Murrow-type of journalist (not a knock) since he brought so much entertainment to watching sports.

The sappy music montages and punchy clips with quick wit were must-see TV in my household growing up as a kid. My mom wasn't much of a sports fan but she always loved to watched George Michael and the highlights he picked. In that way, he broadened the audience for sports with his over-the-top style and ever-present smile.

His chemistry with Jim Vance, Doreen Gentzler, and Bob Ryan was pure TV news nirvana. And, of course, his banter and dialogue with Sonny, Riggans, TK, and Wilbon was priceless. He will be missed.

Tom Boswell: You got it.

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Richmond: Mike Wise today suggests that Zorn's trick play could have been a calculated "Up Yours" to Snyder, et al. Have you uncovered anything that would validate Wise's hypothesis?

Tom Boswell: It's a fun theory when you have a column to write on a brutal deadline -- be in as the game ends. And I might have been guilty of writing something similar on some day -- different things hit you differently, believe it or not. I've also been told that people even "change their minds" sometimes.

But, no, I don't buy the "up yours" theory. There is absolutely no rational reason to thinkthat, when he FIRST called it, he was thinking, "Here is a ridiculous play that I can call on national TV to humiliate my owner and show my independence." He thought it would WORK, just like the Hunter Smith TD run and TD pass. So, then, during the Giants time out, he suddenly thougt, "I'll call it AGAIN. But THIS TIME, I'll call it so it can FAIL." And he thought of all that in a minute? Come on, that's ridiculous.

He's a goofball coach who likes goofball plays and sometimes they work. He thinks they work. And he's proud of being unconventional. I thought Smith was going to throw the ball to Garo (in motion) and Smith would RECEIVE the pas up the right sideline. The rush wouldn't have time to get there -- in the middle of nowhere -- before Smith released up field, with (maybe) nobody assgned to cover him.) Then it WOULDN'T just be a clone of the last play in the movie version of M*A*S*H, but a NEW (stupid) play.

And Smith could end up running, passing and receiving a TD in the same year. Smith was all-state Texas in high school and told me, "I played some quarterback, but I was best at wide receiver."

Hey, maybe this week.

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Lessburg, Va.: Will the Redskins show some life against Dallas on Sunday? Or will they mail it in again?

Tom Boswell: I watched the tape. A lot of guys quit. That doesn't mean they didn't try at all. It just means their 100% was a lame 100%. Not alert, not focused, not passionate. A "normal" effort just gets you crushed in the NFL if you are a beaten up team like the Redskins.

Haynesworth didn't play early in the game because he was sick to his stomach. The blow out was well under way before he appeared. (Thanks for the $100M. Anybody got any Alka Seltzer?) What is the deal with this guy? After his sack, one Redskin patted him on the back as he came off the field. He's going to be a Redskin a long time because nobody wants that contract. If he gradually stays on the field even less than he has this year as he ages, how good is that signing going to be?

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Arlington, Va.: How do you think the lengthy layoff for the Winter Olympics will affect the Caps, especially those that aren't chosen to play for their national teams? While I look forward to the great hockey games on tap in Vancouver, I hope it doesn't kill the Capitals momentum.

Tom Boswell: The Caps looked excellent again last night. I have never seen an excellent local team get so lost in the shuffle. If it isn't Tiger, it's the Skins collapse, an unexpected death or the Nats finally waking up. The Caps are just "doing what they should." So they don't feel like news. But they are actually playing a level better than most expected, even though Ovechkin got injured, then suspended. I'll try to focus on them some more next week. Nice to see the Nylander mess resolved.

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Manassas, Va.: Used to listen to George on WABC AM radio in NY. He also did color commentary for the NY Islanders back in their early days. Loved watching him during the newscasts and the Sports Machine -- though I wished he'd changed his hair style a bit sooner than he did :).

I thought he was a class act who realized he was one of a team, and if WRC didn't value the team, then it was time to move on. I hope he got to enjoy the last couple of years with his family and horses.

Tom Boswell: Yes.

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Washington, D.C.: Do you have a sense of what it is that (apparently) makes Mike Rizzo good at what he does, Cerrato at the other end of the spectrum, and Ernie Grunfeld, maybe, somewhere in between?

Tom Boswell: Rizzo is a good person, high character, deep self-confidence rooted in many years of hard work. He isn't flashy but he deserved to succeed and is universally respected in his world which helps him cope with agents (Boras) and hire top people from other organizations. He attracts good people rather than repelling them. It's just coming into focus now that he may be better than people thought. Oh, he always believed in himself. But I think even Kasten, who made Rizzo his first hire, is surprised/pleased, though he'd never say it. Rizzo is the kind who deflects credit, never stabs anybody in the back, likes to work as part of a Think Tank group and has a sense of humor about himself. He never goers back door to the owners. He respects the chain of command. He's good with the media -- not a good quote, but as honest as he can be while consistent with his first responsibility to the team. He knows that he can do so many different things in different areas of the game that he will always have a job. And, heck, he was happy when he was an area scout, living behind the wheel of a car. He's authentic.

Cerrato was the exact opposite -- IN EVERY ONE OF THESE QUALITIES. As I was typing, I couldn't believe it. As soon as I'd type what Rizzo IS, I'd say, "Well, that's the opposite of Vinny."

Now, here's what's telling. Snyder keep him by his side for 10 of the last 11 years, still calls him a friend and never saw any problem with him. Dan may even have enjoyed Vinny's performance in "Kindergarten Ninja."

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Centreville, Va.: Do you think Mussina is Hall of Fame material? And how long will Clemens be kept out, if at all, for his transgressions?

Tom Boswell: Yes, because of his "plus-wins." He's one of the very few pitchers who won 100 more games than he lost. And he could have won 30 games -- well over a 90 percent chance, I'd say -- if he just kept plugging along for three more years.

He didn't have huge seasons. He may not even see himself as a HOFer. He played on Yankee teams that helped his win percentage. It's not an easy vote. But, over the years, I hope he makes it.

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Woodley Park, Washington, D.C.: I have two memories about George Michael (other than his fantastic local sports work): The first is the time the now defunct Don and Mike skewered him (in fun) on air, and he called in to their show between evening sports reports to give it back to them.

The second is when my mother called the NBC 4 sports department to help an aspiring sportswriter, still in high school, investigate the chance of interning there. George Michael called her back personally, out of courtesy rather than necessity, and left a very nice message on our voicemail. I thought it was awesome that the man who narrated Redskins highlights when I grew up took the time to call back about a 2 week long internship for a high schooler (me), even though one wasn't available.

Tom Boswell: Now that's a good story.

It's how you behave when nobody knows, or will ever know, and you know they won't know, that sometimes counts most.

Guess Tiger missed school that day.

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Washington DC: I understand the Redskins, down 24-0, could have gone for a field goal to avoid being shut out (even though it would be meaningless points), and I understand it was a "dumb" play, but what I'd like to know, not that it matters, is who called the last play of the first half. I realize that the head coach has to take all responsibility, but if the direct authority to call plays belongs to Sherman Lewis, not Mr. Zorn, then it's hard to blame Mr. Zorn even if he is head coach. That said, no one is giving "blame" to either the offensive or defense coaches? Last I saw the defense didn't play very well despite all the talk and hoopala about what a tremendous, highly rated defense.

Tom Boswell: It was Zorn's call.

The biggest problem, perhaps, is that the Skins came out to start the second half and drove 80 yards to score. Okay, they missed the PAT. But it makes the point that, if you take the 38-yard field goal with 0:02 left in the half, you may cut the Giants lead to 24-10 very quickly. Then, you probably still don't win, but it's not hopeless. So, in context, it was not a "meaningless" three points.

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Bethesda, Md.: I am a married 54-year-old man with two daughters in high school that have no idea why Dad is so sad today. George Michael was as closely associated with the Redskins Super Bowl years as any man in Washington. He and Joe Gibbs seemed attached at the hip. Their relationship was genuine and heartfelt and every ounce of it came across on the screen.

The Sports Machine is what ESPN is now. Tony K and Mike Wilbon owe their PTI show careers to George Michael. HE INVENTED PTI and that format. The man was a giant. Who else but George Michael would be the man with the microphone at the Redskins Super Bowl parade ceremonies? We are all very lucky to have had some legends in Sports Broadcasting work here in Washington D.C.: George Michael, Glenn Brenner and the still alive Warner Wolf living somewhere in New York. I miss them all, but George was the king.

Tom Boswell: Thanks for that. Yes, he's central to images of Gibbs I.

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Bethesda, Md.: I always thought that Brenner was much better than George Michael, but as time went by, I found that Michael was much deeper and more knowledgeable than he projected. e actually grew on you.

By the way, if he seemed to not seem to know which end was up, in Viera, he may have been sandbagging you. He may have concentrated on "the only game in town" and out of the box sports, but ... he was a member of SABR (he will be missed) and, probably, THE acknowledged expert on old baseball photos.

Tom Boswell: Cool. I didn't know that. Too bad so many good things about people come out after they die. Or maybe that's good.

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Severn, Md: One of the most touching moments I ever remember seeing on TV was when George reported on a visit he made earlier in the day to Glenn Brenner just before he passed away. By the end of the segment George was in tears talking about his friend, and I'd imagine so were many viewers. You always knew George was competative, but this moment really allowed the rest of us to see the "real" George. He was the best.

Tom Boswell: Yup

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Lusby, Maryland: Hi Tom! Spiggy Hogette here! We have lost a giant, a guy you either loved and made you smile or you disliked and made you frown! For me, he was at his best when taking on Jim Vance and Doreen when it came his time to do his sports segment on 4. His shows with Coach Gibbs were great and his coverage of the Superbowls and being pulled into the pool by some of the Reskins are classics. He was generous with his time with the Hogettes and said great things about us. Finally, while in the Navy in the 70s and 80s, I used to listen to him on WFIL in Philly and 77 WABC in NY when he was a disc "jock" before he became a sports "jock". I too will miss this man and all that he meant to DC sports fans! Spiggy

Tom Boswell: Yo, Spiggy. Nobody can please everybody. But George sure pleased a lot of people. His "act" put him in position to get away with asking some very tough questions on air.

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Follow-up to blogs and newspapers: The difficulty in the future, without newspapers, is the blogs aren't generally hitting the street reporting; and as good as blogs may be, you won't have the same sense of the Boswell's, the George Michael's, or the Kornheiser/Wilbon (in print or on television) via Twitter or Facebook or My Space or texting or...

Tom Boswell: Well, you'd think. But the world has a way of surprising us.

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Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: A memory George Michael to share. He had a cameo appearance in the movie Tin Cup and when he came on screen at the Uptown, the entire theater erupted in applause. Just a great moment recognizing a great D.C. institution.

Tom Boswell: Check.

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Sad in Alexandria: So sorry to hear of George's passing. Feels a lot like when Glen Brenner passed away. So shocking. Never heard he had cancer, but he wasn't a "poor me" kind of guy, so not surprised it wasn't revealed. I've missed him being on the air since he left, but always happy when he did special segments. He was a real stand-up guy, who stepped down so those he was bringing along weren't laid off. That showed just how much respect he had for his team, and what a class act he was.

Tom Boswell: Hard to imagine George playing for sympathy or attention. He had the feel of a '50's Western with John Wayne. None of those guys would have let on. A different time, a different style. A nice contrast, in a way, to the era of letting the whole world know that -- tweet -- "Hey, I'm going to the Mall."

Time to get out of here. I'll try to find a cheerful one to end on. But there are literally 100+ wonderful "questions" here about George. Glad to share some. Everybody, have a fabulous holiday and maybe give the ones you love one extra hug.

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Tom Boswell: Believe it or not, I am not completely ready for Christmas! Gotta get going. See you next week.

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