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Caps Sweep SneakerBall Awards

Tuesday night was SneakerBall, the black tie and sneakers gala that involves handing out D.C. sports awards, raising money for the Greater Washington Sports Alliance Foundation, posing for photos with mascots, drinking free beverages, and frantically searching under the dessert tables for your laptop bag while people in tuxedos stare at you. Done, done, done, done and done.

So that my time at the gala will not have been in vain, let me present a few highlights.

Ovechkin Was the Star

In case anyone still isn't convinced, a few minutes Tuesday night would have done the trick. Trust me, the women with the crowns were extremely anxious to get photos with the unshaven fella with a missing tooth. He got, by far, the largest ovation from the crowd of formally clad power-broker types. And for the second year in a row, he was named the D.C. Sportsman of the Year.

He also called D.C. "my second home" during his acceptance speech, leading to an ovation. Then he said he "just can't wait to start playing some games and win some games and go to the playoffs and try to win the Stanley Cup," at which point the formally clad power-broker types started whooping.

Ovechkin also won D.C. Sports Play of the Year for his playoff goal against the Rangers, beating, among others, his regular-season goal against Montreal. And George McPhee won the D.C. Sports Executive of the Year. On the other hand, the Redskins got on the scoreboard for Mascot of the Year, with Chief Zee, who isn't even their official mascot.

(Other sports play of the year finalists? Caron Butler's game-winning jumper against the Pacers, a crazy header from Jaime Moreno, Varlamov's save against Crosby, Ronnie Belliard's walk-off homer, and Santana Moss's punt return touchdown against the Lions. To me, the Caps go 1, 2, 3 in that category.)

Josh Wicks Made Friends

The United goalie stayed home from the team's trip to Trinidad, which allowed him to befriend, among others, Caron Butler and Fred Smoot. Both promised Wicks they'd go to games, with Smoot and Wicks exchanging phone numbers, though Wicks had to ask Smoot to repeat his name. Oh well.

Anyhow, Smoot seemed willing to sit with the Barra Brava and Screaming Eagles, even after Wicks warned him that beer would be thrown. And Wicks made sure to tell both Butler and Smoot that United has the best fans in MLS. He's a terrific spokesman.

The Wizards Saved Me

I forgot to bring sneakers, which turn out to be a pretty big part of SneakerBall. Luckily, Wizards equipment manager Rob Suller turned up an extra pair of Adidas for me for the night. Thanks, Rob. I owe you one.

In other news, on the right were the sneakers Ovechkin wore. Well done, Alex.

Lindsay Czarniak and Steve Buckhantz Went Sumo

I think the photo sort of tells the story here. Lindsay was finding it difficult to walk as a sumo person, and so she attempted to enlist some Caps to carry her up the stairs to the stage. Brooks Laich stepped up and did some of the heavy lifting. Well done, Brooks.

The Mystics Were There

Since my table for the night included me, Andy Pollin, and about 10 players and front-office types from the Mystics, I'm contractually obligated to tell you that the Mystics start their playoff run Thursday night at Comcast Center due to a dinosaur show at Verizon Center. No really, a dinosaur show. It's Walking With Dinosaurs, The Arena Spectacular.

If I had bet money on the Mystics to get out of the first round, and I found out they were losing their home court in favor of dinosaurs, there would be some T-Rex carcasses out on F Street.

Every Mascot in D.C. Was There

Chief Zee. Screech. The Presidents. The Maryland NightHawk. Lucky, the Mystics' Rabbit, or whatever he/she is. Talon. Some big red bird, that I think was from Catholic. The frightening George Mason thing. The male and female tennis balls that rep the Kastles. It was a plush extravaganza.

I guess other famous people were also there, including Chris Cooley, Christy Cooley, Darrell Green, Brian Mitchell, Ken Harvey, Troy Smith, Phil Chenier, Eric Fehr, Mike Green, Dan Hellie, Dave Feldman, Chick Hernandez, Kelli Johnson, Mike Wise....yeah, that's pretty much far enough down the list of D.C. sports fame. Too far, probably.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 16, 2009; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , D.C. United , Media , Redskins , Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gilbert Arenas Says He's Now a Leader
Next: Jim Zorn Discusses His Popularity


I wish I could have been there. It looked like an interesting affair on NBC4. I must admit the furry action surrounding Lindsay Czarniak instead of an Ovi interview was strange although the prolonged upskirt was probably a bit more awkward on the newscast yesterday evening.

Posted by: sitruc | September 16, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Troy Smith? What was he doing there? And with free drinks why was Riggo not in attendance?

Unless of course it was a soda party but the slightly disheveled look in that last picture makes me think bourbon was possibly involved.

Posted by: fushezzi | September 16, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"Anyhow, Smoot seemed willing to sit with the Barra Brava and Screaming Eagles, even after Wicks warned him that beer would be thrown."

It's like you're saying Smoot doesn't like a party like the rest of us. Oh wait...

Posted by: Section117 | September 16, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

. . . the slightly disheveled look in that last picture makes me think bourbon was possibly involved.

I was thinking the exact same thing.

Posted by: gken69 | September 16, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

That's the Catholic Cardinal, Steinz.

Posted by: SRockville | September 16, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Barra Brava boat party, book it.

Posted by: HowdyDCU | September 16, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Barra Brava on a boat... what could go wrong?

Posted by: sitruc | September 16, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

And Wise doesn't think Ovie is the most popular pro athlete in town? What a tool.

Posted by: poguesmahone | September 16, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

After a formal dinner, awards, and presentations, we were treated to a drop your drawers, get down and boogie, show your skills, let it all hang out, fantastic meet and greet fun time. The DJ for the event, Chris Styles, appeared to take control of the party sending the evening into extra innings! At one point, Chris yelled out, “Remember this is only Tuesday, pace yourself people!” You could hear oooh’s and ahhhh’s from the crowd after each musical hit keeping the folks dancing and temperatures rising. The mood was old school, tunes familiar to all generations with a speckling of current songs thrown into the lineup. Even the staff hung around to watch and take pics of the event. As I stood in line, waiting for the valet to retrieve my car, I observed folks sweating as if they’d just played in some sporting event themselves. What a great time was had by all…looking forward to next year.

Posted by: MissKnowitall | September 16, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Do you know who won the award for character that Devon McTavish of DC United was up for?

Posted by: hac8706 | September 16, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

That last picture, out of context, would lead me to believe that you went to a bar where mascots were bouncers and they decided it was time for you to go. It's glorious.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | September 16, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Still trying to figure out why people consider Chief Zee a mascot instead of a buffoon in a degrading outfit.

- Poe

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | September 16, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree on the Chief Zee thing. It's amazing that he keeps doing that.

Posted by: bethesdaguy | September 17, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

who's the drunk guy in the last picture?

Posted by: _stevo | September 17, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

And Wise doesn't think Ovie is the most popular pro athlete in town? What a tool.

Posted by: poguesmahone | September 16, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Not only is Ovie not the most popular athlete in town, he's not in the top 5.

1) Cooley
2) Portis
3) Arenas
4) Butler
5) Campbell

Note: Campbell will be number one by January and Arenas will be back to number one by next May.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 17, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

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