Discount for a moment the Raljon Redskins and the Who-Are-We-and-Why-Are-We-Here Expos. Washington's four quadrants still play host to Capitals and Wizards, not to mention Mystics and, um, Uniteds. That's four more major league franchises than 25 "real" states have, combined.
Sports Illustrated, though, is not overly impressed. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the venerable magazine has cycled through the 50 states over the past year. Each state earned a six-page spread, including a feature story, a state-wide poll and descriptions of the state's greatest athletes and moments.
D.C., the subject of this week's "The 51st State" segment, got a single page.
But that's one more than originally planned. Spurred in part by an impassioned phone call from Washington political analyst (and SI subscriber) Mark Plotkin, the magazine decided this spring to include D.C. in the final issue of the series, which hit newsstands Wednesday.
"The bottom line is it's all about the number 50, but we found a way to look at the District," said magazine spokeswoman Sheryl Spain.
The statewide polls included an "Enemy of the State" designation, slapped on the state's most disliked sports figure. Without a poll, Washingtonians were denied a chance to reveal whom they dislike more, Bud Selig or Peter Angelos.
But the magazine did list six of Washington's homegrown sports greats: Elgin Baylor, John Thompson, Dave Bing, Maury Wills, Adrian Dantley and Willie Wood. According to SI, Bing and Baylor went to "Springarn High," perhaps a sister school of longtime basketball powerhouse Spingarn.
Despite the single page on Washington and the spelling miscue, Plotkin pronounced himself "euphoric" and "overjoyed" with the coverage, especially the "51st State" designation.
"It is a little disappointing that we didn't get the full coverage, but we'll take what we can get," he said. "They're ahead of the U.S. Senate, they're ahead of the president of the United States, they're ahead of any other American institution, and for that I salute them."
-- Dan Steinberg