‘It’s been awhile’
courtesy of ‘afagen’
Disclosure: In the following rant, I speak for myself. I have no clue what the rest of the WLDC team has to say on this matter and if they agree with me.
In case you missed it yesterday (it was nearly impossible), the Wizards unveiled new jerseys for the 2011-2012 season, and as we’ve known since, like, September, the color scheme reverted to the thematic-DC red, white and blue.
You may recall that there used to be a basketball team in the DMV region that was called the Bullets, and they wore these new colors and that DC/hands logo with the basketball in the new system is very familiar. The inevitable follow up is the muted chatter that the new jerseys should be followed by one more change – bringing back the Bullets all the way.
courtesy of ‘bridgetds’
The Lead Item: I really want to avoid going to in depth on the current woes of the Caps. Another loss last night at the hands of Vinny Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis (cathartic aside: Google auto complete brings up “Martin St. Louis Height” as one of the most common searches, haha, hockey midget), and the Solid-as-a-Rock Lightning PK unit have really cornballed every chance that the Caps have had.
Last night gave us a very interesting glimpse of the hockey fan life in Florida. The convenient excuse could be the 6:30 start time, but as the puck dropped, there were more seats dressed as Tampa fans than actual people dressed as Tampa fans (or at least the screen caps tell us). This is even after the Lightning’s front office dropped a weekend release to its fans to Blue themselves for the game. At least the chairs got the memo, but when you win, I guess you can ignore the criticism.
With Game 4 set tonight and the Caps facing the dreaded 3-0 series hole, this really is the Final Countdown for the 2010-11 Capitals. The glisten of the Stanley Cup seems really far away this Wednesday, and now would be as good as anytime to find the money in the banana stand. Otherwise, everything built this season going to be completely burned to the ground.
COME ON Caps. Get it going in Tampa tonight!
Footnote, I promised my editor six Arrested Development references as payment to use the headline. The last one was cheating.
More of the ticker after the jump.
courtesy of ‘Danilo.Lewis|Fotography’
The Lead Item: One full Sports Ticker dedicated to the ‘skins this lockout offseason seems appropriate. Let’s catch you up on a few things:
- As of this morning, even though the 2011 schedule has been released by the league, all signs are still pointing to lockout and the fact that those games are only going to get played in Madden ’12.
- Let’s be optimistic, though, for once – there are some dates definitely worth circling when it comes to the schedule. First, the Redskins will probably be one of two center stage events on the first Sunday of the season in hosting a New York area team here in the Capital Region on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The tributes will be in full force, for sure. After that opening weekend game, Redskins fans can look to a Monday night date in Dallas, home dates with both the Jets and the Patriots and a trip to Toronto to face the “Ontario” Bills.
- Another question: what’s the story with Donovan McNabb? Benched last year for Rex Grossman, McNabb could very well be on his way out the door, especially if Washington can pick up a QB in next week’s draft. Likely landing point? Minnesota…at least as of now.
- Even though workouts aren’t necessarily allowed to happen right now (at least with coaches/team facilities), that didn’t stop a few players from working out on their own, led by London Fletcher. What’s also interesting is that there are reports of rifts between the middle-tier of players and the upper-tier, which could be an explanation for the practice and who was and wasn’t (McNabb, Haynesworth) there.
There, decently up to speed now, aren’t we? Let’s move on to the rest of the ticker.
Lead Item: Sports Ticker Wheel of Morality turn, turn, turn, tell us the lesson that this Nats fan should learn. I’m giving a pass for a poor April Fools’ joke by the fellas over at Nationals Enquirer for dragging up this clip of a Nationals Park patron making a bit of a fool of himself during opening weekend. As the scene tells us, there were a few Braves fans in town for the series, and this gentlemen clearly had had enough of their Tomahawk Chopping attitudes.
All of this has given me a bit of inspiration because even in his truncated English, this man is right: this ain’t Atlanta. In the last five seasons, the driving perception involves away fans who infiltrate the bleachers. How true is it? Not to give you the six o’clock news teaser runaround, but tune in next week for more. For now, just enjoy a screaming man.
Ah, baseball, welcome back.
Rest of the ticker after the jump.
‘The Nats drafted Bryce Harper’
courtesy of ‘afagen’
Lead Item: I’ve mocked it at least once during the last few weeks of the Sports Ticker, but it’s now gotten to the point where I don’t want to ignore the Bryce Harper-Spring Training stories. Come on, a Google News search from the last month gave me nearly 1,400 results on the Nationals prospect. And now they’re just getting fun:
Harper’s most impressive hit came during his second at-bat in the eighth inning. The team had already scored six runs in the inning. With Harper at the plate, one fan in the stands yelled, “Overrated, overrated.” On the next pitch from reliever Jorge De Leon, Harper doubled near the right-field line, scoring Matt Stairs and Alex Cora.
Harper acknowledged that he heard the heckling from the fan.
Yes, I made fun of news services for writing about the 8th-inning at bats for young rookies and draft picks. That was when he was going 0-for-1 and just the subject of early March baseball fluff pieces. This is now turning into a fun news story to watch, at least for the spring. I know that there isn’t exactly high hopes for the Nationals this season, especially with Strasmas not coming this year, so the Will-they-promote-Bryce-Harper storyline is bound to get annoying. That’s a reason to really enjoy these stories right now, because as long as it’s coming out of the Grapefruit League, it’s welcome and optimistic.
The rest of the ticker after the jump.
Lead Item: Ah, March, you and your craziness. “Madness” if you will. Just because the concept is currently being redefined by Charlie Sheen, it doesn’t mean we can’t take a moment in the lead item today to talk about the local and semi-local hoops teams to the DMV. While the list of regional teams through Virginia, DC and Maryland is lengthy, the somewhat sad news is it is realistic that your rooting interest for a local squad to cut down the nets in the big dance is limited to one of five choices from the Mid-Atlantic:
Lead Item: The Caps are at just about the 3/4 post of the season, and with 21 games left to play, they are still in play for the division title and one of the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference. As of last week’s ticker, the Caps were looking up at Tampa to the tune of six points; a week later, they are only chasing one. Sure a big reason is that the local squad squeezed in many games last week while the ‘Ning had more days off and thus still have 23 games left of their own. Technicalities. The bigger factor for the Caps is going to be where they can get the points they need in the last 21, and if they want to catch Tampa, they’ll need to do two things: not leave points on the ice after regulation and win on the road.
The Caps passed a pretty good test during a winding road set around the country last week, a five-game trip over eight days through Phoenix, Anaheim, San Jose, Buffalo and Pittsburgh. Any of those games along would be challenging – the Coyotes lead their division, the Caps haven’t won in San Jose since 1993, there is this small rivalry with Pittsburgh these days (see the awesome hit above from Monday’s game) and the two other squads are definitely in the postseason hunt – and now add them back-to-back and all in just one week’s time. If you would have said that the Capitals would be coming back to the Phone Booth and Friday’s Rangers game with 6 out of 10 points, most of us would have said that you’re crazy.
The Caps will need to be road warriors one more time this season, with another long trip in March. While this one stays on the east coast, it has its share of ups and downs. Bookended by two games with Montreal, the Caps will visit Eastern Conference leaders Philly, the current second seed in the West in Hockeytown, and rounding it out with tilts against two of the worst in the East, New Jersey and Ottawa. Half the points in those six games seems like a pretty manageable goal (a split with Montreal, perhaps, and then two each against the Devils and Senators), but if the Caps want to push hard into the postseason, they need to be looking at knocking off those bigger games in Detroit and Philadelphia.
Rest of the ticker after the jump.
Screengrab nabbed by Carriage Clock Rock
The above is presented with minimal comment.
Lead Item: Pitchers and Catchers have reported and it’s supposed to be about 68 degrees on Friday. It feels like spring, my friends. With that, it’s only appropriate that both necessary and unnecessary prognostication gets going. In terms of the latter, we get to say things like, “The Werth signing was really for 2012, expect a similar or slightly improved team in 2011 over the 69-win team from last year.” When it comes to the former, the most important resource for teams may be uber-smart Baseball Prospectus simulators. Well, yesterday there were some leaked preliminary statistics that may or may not be accurate, so we at least have something about which to talk.
Rob Neyer at SB Nation caught it (and then did correct that the projections had been erroneously posted), and while the headline for these faux-projections was about the Yankees simulated to miss the playoffs, I did get a chance to peek before they were removed. Your Washington Nationals…only a five game improvement to an average projection of about 75 wins. The math makes some since; after all, the National League has few elite teams, but, unfortunately, the Phillies and Braves combine to fill out about a solid quarter of the Nats’ schedule. It’s tough competition, but with the fading Marlins and Mets, shouldn’t the Nats pick up a few more games to get closer to .500?
The WLDC Sports Team will have its own projections as we get closer to Opening Day on March 31, but for now, it’s just fun to talk baseball. More sports news from around the District after the jump.
‘See you in Spring Training…’
courtesy of ‘BaseballBacks’
Lead Item: On a Sunday when the Heat play the Celtics and the Magic play the Lakers, it’ll be pretty funny that the third game most people will be watching will involve the Wizards on the road in Cleveland. You see, something is very likely going to give by that game, either the 0-for-the-road Wiz will get their first win away from Verizon this season or the Cavs will get off the schneid to end their league record losing streak. Assuming the Cavs don’t ruin it by beating either Detroit tonight or the Clippers on Friday, Cleveland will have lost 27 straight leading into the contest with the Wizards. The Wiz have two “tune up” games at home, so we already know that they’ll leave the Sunday either 1-25 on the road of 0-26.
The Ticker: Have you seen the “Olsen’s Army” and “The General” ads around the metro? I have to say, between Coach Ben and the good news about Charlie Davies week long “try out,” hoping this can be a good season for United…the Washington Nationals, signing your discarded infielders to minor league deals since 2011…as Dan reminded us, yesterday’s loss to the Sharks was more about mid-season hockey than it was about any prognostication toward the playoffs…DC area college hoops update: George Mason (20-5), last out – win, 78-63, over UNC-Wilmington, next up – Saturday vs. James Madison; Georgetown (18-5), last out – win, 83-81 over Providence , next up – tonight at Syracuse; Maryland (15-8), last out – win, 91-70 over Wake Forest , next up – tonight vs. Longwood.
Final Number: 869 – the number of miles 30,000 pounds of baseball equipment traveled this week on the road between Nationals Park and the Nats’ spring training home at Space Coast Stadium in Melbourne, Florida.
courtesy of ‘marc_tacoma’
The DC United get the lead item in the Ticker today – who saw that coming? Here’s a wrap-up of local sports news that is worth knowing, but maybe not worthy of a full post. It’s the WLDC Sports Ticker!
SB Nation reported yesterday that United are in serious talks to acquire one of the leading American strikers, Charlie Davies, for a one-year loan from his French club. Beyond adding a fresh, young striker to the 2011 squad, there is a back story: Davies was unable to play in last summer’s World Cup after sustaining injuries in a brutal car crash on the GW Parkway while the US Men’s National Team was in town to play a qualifying match against Costa Rica in October of 2009…United also unveiled a stellar third jersey last week, and you better believe I’ll rock that red with Davies on the back if the first point comes through.
Want to be a Racing President at Nationals Park? You can apply for an invitation to the private auditions with the club by getting your mascot CV and other particulars in by Friday, February 11…I don’t think anyone had more fun at All-Star Weekend than the Caps’ Alexander Ovechkin; first, taking a picture of last pick Phil Kessel during the draft with a goofy smile on his face, then winning the Breakway Challenge and wrapping it up with a little stick throw interference during the game itself. Awesome…Whether or not the fan dunk was a “fan” dunk, it was still a sweet moment at a recent Wizards game.
Final Number(s): 299, 66 – the respective number of days since the Wizards last won on the road (April 9 of last season, in Boston) and the Caps won past regulation (a shootout victory over Carolina on November 28).
MSG Screenshot from NBCwashington.com
Here’s your Wednesday afternoon trip to the WLDC sports ticker, which will not move on its platform to exclude any information about science fairs or Super Bowls. If you’re in an RSS reader, you can keep scrolling down, but for those on the site, click through for the whole bottom line.
‘Brought to you by ESPN’
courtesy of ‘Tony DeFilippo’
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