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Manny Burriss: Super Redskins Fan

(2008 photo by Luis M. Alvarez - AP)

Being a good D.C. kid, a Wilson grad and a former Logan Circle/Shaw resident, I figured Giants shortstop Manny Burriss would be a D.C. sports fan. I figured correctly.

Burriss had several dozen D.C.-based supporters out at Nats Park this week, plans to live in the area during the offseason, and is completely on-board with the Wizards, 'Skins and Caps. Just not the Nats. (For the record, I wrote a profile of Burriss when he was a high school senior, and failed to fight hard enough for him to be an All-Met after a stellar senior year at Wilson. He wound up honorable mention. Whoops. Our fault on that one. You can read Dave Sheinin's profile here.)

I should know the answer to this, but did you grow up rooting for all D.C. teams?

All of them. All of them. The only one I didn't really do was the Bullets when I was growing up, because that's when everybody loved the Bulls. But yeah, I loved all of them. And once they turned into the Wizards and moved back into the city, that was my team. I love D.C. When the Nationals came here, that was my team, for real, until I got drafted.

So do you follow these guys at all? Do you still kind of feel anything?

No, not anymore. Absolutely not. Because the Nationals had a couple opportunities to draft me before the Giants, so that kind of put a bad taste in my mouth. It wouldn't have been that bad if I didn't feel I was good enough to go in those two picks, but I think I was. So yeah, not any more. It's actually kind of the opposite. I kind of want to do as good as I can against the Nationals whenever we play them.

What about your family?

My nephew likes the Nationals, because other than the Giants, that's probably the only baseball team he knows. He still likes them. But my parents don't like them, either.

Did you go to games at RFK?

Yeah, I did, that first year, and when I came up from college, I went to about a dozen games. Because being around baseball for me, especially right when they came to D.C., was huge. I didn't want to miss any games at RFK. I hadn't been to RFK since the Redskins were there. It was fun, man, I went to a lot of games.

What about the Skins?

Oh yeah, I love the Skins man. That was my team too. That still is my team. I'm a die-hard Redskins fan. Whenever people start talking about football, I pretty much leave the room, because I'm gonna lose it if somebody starts talking bad about the Redskins. I mean, everybody always has something bad to say about the Redskins.

Do you know any of those guys now?

No, I don't. I know--go figure--a 49er, Vernon Davis, because he was from DC. But that's it, I don't know any of the Redskins.

You would go to Redskins games growing up?

All the time. All the time. My first game was at RFK, then I went to a bunch out in Landover. I was always there. I went to a bunch of preseason games, too.

Did you own Redskins jerseys?

Absolutely. My first one was a Doug Williams jersey, then I had an Art Monk and a Darrell Green jersey. I've got a Sean Taylor jersey now.

Do you still wear it?

Every Sunday. Every Sunday for Redskins games during the football season. I'm a die-hard Redskins fan. It's kind of sad. But everybody in my family's the same way. It's not a big deal for me. I look at other people and how they are, they're not that big of fans like we are. I'll always be loyal to the Redskins, no matter what. I go to as many games as possible. Whenever they win, I'm one of those guys that honks their horn non-stop, screaming out 'Redskinsssss' down the street, stuff like that.

Why Taylor?

Actually he was my favorite player. I had my jersey before he got shot. He was just my favorite player, I loved how he played. I remember that week, right before he got shot, I was talking about him non-stop, like 'He's the best player the Redskins have," all this.

So what you think about this year?

I don't know. I mean, I'd love to say they're gonna do great. I think last year they had an opportunity to do a lot. This year's gonna be interesting. I think we're going to do great, but that's me, though, I'm biased.

You say 'We?'

Always we.

Is it weird though, to be representing another city and still root for D.C. sports teams?

No, not at all, not at all, because I'm so about D.C. Last year, the Wizards did horrible, and I was there cheering it up, screaming in our clubhouse whenever a Wizards game would be on TV, because that's my city, I don't want to root for anybody else. Except for baseball.

You don't do hockey?

Love hockey. Love hockey. Matter of fact, Randy Winn hates the fact that I love hockey, because he doesn't think I'm for real. But I always loved hockey, though. Growing up, when I was younger and I first got into hockey, I didn't really watch the Capitals. The reason I actually started liking it was because of Jaromir Jagr with the Penguins. So I was loving hockey, and just recently, I'd say about five or six years ago, was when I really started getting into D.C. hockey, because I started to figure I've got to root for the D.C. team. Luckily I did that beforehand, so I'm not like a bandwagon guy.

(I asked Winn about all this. "He doesn't know hockey," Winn said. "Has he fooled you, too? I don't buy it."

"The only thing he knows about hockey is that Ovechkin plays for the Capitals," Rich Aurilia added. "And he probably knows what they serve at the arena.")

What do you think about Ovechkin?

He's amazing. He's amazing. We have debates about him, me and Randy Winn. He's always getting on me, because he thinks Sidney Crosby's better. He just does it to get under my skin.

Baseball in D.C., you think it'll ever be big in the DCIAA?

I think it'll get to a certain point. I don't know how big it'll be. I think it could do better, especially now that the Nationals are here. I think me actually making it to the Majors gave it a little boost for the younger kids. I don't know about the kids already in high school, but maybe the younger kids, I think they could push it a little more. You give them one playoff run, people will be here all the time.

Do you get mad when people say D.C.'s a bandwagon town?

Not really. Because I know there's a lot of Redskins fans. But the Redskins is like the major team here, though. Nobody's gonna watch a team that's not winning.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 4, 2009; 6:35 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , MLB , Nats , Redskins , Wizards  
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Great interview SteinBog!

Posted by: chrislarry | June 4, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Item number 2,436 on the list of inscrutable evidence that the Lerners just don't get it: passing on this kid in the draft. Think Manny Burris starting at 2nd might be a bit of a PR boon right now? (Item 2,437 is passing on LJ Hoes in last year's draft, a St. John's kid who's now a top prospect with the, Woerioles). When you're as bad as the Nats, when you've done as great a job of alienating your natural fan base, when you've abused the public trust at every turn, you need to take a few chances on striking PR gold. Its not every year that kids come out of city schools worthy of being drafted in the first two rounds. I hope they don't pass on the next one.

Posted by: MoMonroe | June 4, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Rich Aurilia knows Ovchkin plays for the Caps? Rick Aurilia, you're now on my "guys I root for" list. :)

Posted by: RedBirdie | June 5, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Bummer to hear that he feels that way about the Nats, because I think it'd be great to see him on the home team some day.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 5, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

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