Are Washington Sports Pitiful?
Because I was off counting daisies last week, I never managed to reply to this CBS SportsLine column claiming D.C. to be "the most pitiful sports town in the country." Now, there are three ways to measure something like this: results, fandom and enfo'tainment.
1) Our results have been undoubtedly shoddy, but not as shoddy as this Eric Kay would have you believe. My groundbreaking ranked-winning-percentage formula, published last fall, revealed us to be 11th of the 12 four-major-league cities, ahead of Atlanta. So take that, Eric Kay.
2) Fandom. On the one hand, we live in a sports blogging mecca. On the other hand, every time I turn on a Nats game, all I see is the caps of the visiting team in the stands. Plus Eric Kay's column, which would have prompted civic meltdown and a mayoral proclamation in, say, Cleveland, yielded a total of 17 comments, one of which was basically an homage to the WaPo sports section. Plus, our WNBA players are getting hosed in the all-star game voting, which I'll discuss later. So I'll grant you that our fans are miserable, which I'm definitely going to use as the excuse for my traffic numbers if I'm ever given my unconditional release.
3) Enfo'tainment. We have Gilbert, Portis, Ovechkin, a Best Calves Contest on BobbyBoswell.com, Giant Racing President Heads, a pelvic-thrusting chicken, Eastern Motors and a sports columnist who rips his shirt off while doing karaoke. Beat that, Dallas. I mean, we're strictly top-shelf in this regard.
After the jump, I have a few more things I want to say about this Eric Kay.
Quote: Take the thermometer of the four major sports teams, add it to the current state of collegiate athletics and what you have is a scenario murkier than the Anacostia River.
Take the thermometer? Is that an expression? What do you do with the thermometer once you take it? Anyhow, the D.C. area has sent college basketball teams to the Final Four four times in the past seven years, the Maryland women's basketball team recently won a national title, as did the men's soccer team, and the Sports Bog Spectacular Poll sent seven teams to the NCAA tournament in March. I don't think "the current state of collegiate athletics" is doing much to advance this argument.
Quote: In a sport valuing ballpark aesthetics and character nearly as much as the actual game on the field, the Nats play in a concrete hole in the ground that has as much charm as Mel Gibson three drinks deep at an Anti-Defamation League champagne brunch.
But RFK is above ground. Anyhow, my neighbor insists that RFK is and will always be more charming than, say, Camden Yards, because it's so gosh darn real. It has something that is hard to find elsewhere, that's for sure. It's dirty and smelly and run down, but it's bloody well ours. If Eric Kay can't appreciate that, I feel sorry for the man.
Quote: Now the Nats throw glorified Double-A pitchers like Levale Speigner and Jerome Williams to the wolves night in and out.
Eh. Thirteenth out of 16 NL teams in ERA really isn't so bad, considering. Plus, in what way are they glorified? Plus, Speigner and Williams don't throw much nowadays.
Quote: Throw in owner Abe Pollin's advancing age, last season's epic meltdown and the franchise's recent 15-year courtship with failure and Gallery Place isn't looking so good these days.
Courtship? 'Twas no courtship. That was a full-on till-death-do-us-part codified relationship. Still, this is a ridiculous sentence. Abe Pollin, two freak injuries and Rod Strickland have nothing to do with how the franchise looks these days, especially after the Wiz get Acie Law this week. Seriously, would you rather root for the Hawks?
Quote: We can always expect George Washington to come up for air every once and a while and make a little bit of noise, but to expect any consistency from Karl Hobbs' under-resourced program would be unrealistic.
Does the phrase "overachieving" not mean anything to you? Anyhow, unrealistic or not, the Buff and Blue have made three straight tournaments, averaging 24 wins over that span. Which is, you know, consistent.
Quote: Soccer and women's basketball are novelties to Washingtonians, sort of like the few remaining healthy animals at the National Zoo.
Novelties? Does this guy really claim to be from Bethesda? Last year, D.C. United averaged 18,215 in home attendance. The Caps averaged 13,929. The Wiz averaged 18,372.
Quote: Yeah, the XXVI win still brings that warm, fuzzy feeling, but that was so long ago in sports years that even Tony Kornheiser had hair back then.
Actually, I don't think he did.
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