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Mike Wise's war on (crazy) Caps fans

"I am writing to express my concern with Tony Kornheiser's column on Feb. 15 ("Something In the Way They Move")," began a published WaPo letter-to-the-editor in February, AnyYear. "His first three paragraphs dealt with the Washington Capitals, the only Washington pro team currently playing with a winning record.....

"Obviously, Jason La Canfora has the Capitals beat, and Mr. Kornheiser is a columnist," the letter concluded. "However, fans around the league are not recognizing the Capitals, and now my favorite sports columnist is not recognizing the Capitals' achievements, indeed is belittling them. His old label of 'choking dogs' might well prove prophetic, but it is not true now. To end his short and insignificant remarks by pointing out the most recent of very rare losses lately is a disservice to Caps fans and to Kornheiser's fans."

If you haven't been paying attention for the past two decades, talented WaPo sports columnists who also host radio shows like to get Caps fans riled up. It's part of the job description. The only thing more baffling than the deliberate riling up of the same fan base, over and over, is the fact that the same fan base rises to take the bait, over and over.

But look, we all have our habits. Some of us are in the habit of recording and transcribing radio interviews, when we're not deliberately riling up the Nats' fan base. Others of us are in the habit of prodding the same hockey-loving folks into public expressions of outrage. Yet others of us are in the habit of getting outraged by bald columnists. And still others of us are in the habit of hiring coaches, firing coaches, breaking down film, shoveling dollar bills into free-agent pockets and then expressing sad disappointment at the way things turned out. It's the cycle of the D.C. sports life.

Anyhow, Mike Wise has decided to go to the mat with the most ardent of Caps fans, the ones who accuse the mainstream press of ignorant bandwagon jumping every April, and who then accuse the mainstream press of callous apathy every November. I'd have tried to stop him from choosing this particular path, but by the time I realized, it was too late. He's promised to address his crusade during his 106.7 radio show on Wednesday at 10. And before you hold this against him, bear in mind that unlike his bald predecessor, he writes frequently and wonderfully about hockey, from his work on Bruce Boudreau to his tale of Donald Brashear to his columns about Sergei Fedorov and David Steckel.

As for the cycle, well....

"Thomas Boswell is wrong when he suggests that only sports fans outside Washington have 'little sense of how dominant the Caps have become' in his March 31 column titled, 'The Entree to First: All-You-Can-Beat Buffet,' began another letter in April, AnyYear. "Many Washingtonians do not either, and one reason is The Post's meager coverage of hockey. Boswell's commentary is the first on the Capitals in several weeks, and Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser have rarely said a word. If the Redskins or Wizards had risen up like the Caps, we would have stories galore, an analysis of the remaining schedule for the Caps and their competitors, articles about players and coaches--and maybe even about the hockey version of the 'Bandwagon.' Newspapers should not be 'homers,' but they do have a responsibility to report on achievements like those of the Caps. We want more."

Then and forever.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 13, 2010; 9:46 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Media  
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Next: When Steve Spurrier taunted Jim Haslett

Comments

Sorry, don't buy it. With all due respect, Mike Wise is a schrutebag.

Posted by: Section117 | January 13, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Yet another one of Tony's schticks that Wise is... let's say 'emulating', it sounds nicer than 'copying' or 'stealing'. How long before Wise starts begging strangers for free stuff and asking if people Know Who He Is?

Posted by: yatesc1 | January 13, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Are Post sports columnists even supposed to like sports?

Posted by: Hendo1 | January 13, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I used to really like Wise, his columns were funny and unassuming, but the more I hear him speak the more it becomes clear to me he knows NOTHING about sports. His radio show is miserable, he knows nothing about football, nothing about hockey and very little about b-ball.

How this guy has gotten by calling himself a sportswriter I have no idea. Wise, do us all a favor, and go away.

Thank you.

Posted by: gcastle1 | January 13, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Jeez Caps fans, all you want is more radio talk, more newspaper coverage. They have over 30 credited bloggers, read them. Caps fans always want to start arguments, 'are the Caps the city's most popular team?', 'is Ovechkin the area's best athlete.' Who cares???!?!?!? Just enjoy your team and leave us alone. There's a reason why the Caps are second fiddle, because they play hockey! It's Chocolate City everyone, football and basketball are dominant. DC will never be a hockey town because it is an esoteric interest. Now lay off our teams (Wizards, Redskins) and watch your own sports.

Posted by: eternale5150 | January 13, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Spoken like a truly classy fan.

Posted by: Section117 | January 13, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Eternale may not understand this, but it is possible to root for the Caps AND the Redskins and Wizards and Nationals all at the same time. And Mike Wise is a flaming a hole.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 13, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

let's face it, there are a lot of newcomers to the caps fan club, both fan and reporter. but there are a lot of us who have been there for a long time, through thick and thin. the bottom of the barrel years. the last cup finals run. we'll still be there.

there is already lots of great coverage - WTOP gamecalls & postgame, japers' rink / dchesnokov / caps blog & twitter feeds ad nauseam, and the occasional post article. when it comes down to it, i don't go to 106.7 for hockey news, because the station just doesn't have it.

to mr wise: if you're tired of people prodding you for caps coverage, don't take it out on them. if you can't cover it through lack of knowledge or resources, then do some research or get someone who can comment. for someone being sick of 'denigration,' what was all the skins bashing that station/host has done this year?

in the end, there are three pretty awful teams in this town, and one that is the best in franchise history. we fans love it, and would like to see more coverage, but if not, we'll keep going with the sources that get it right.

Posted by: tuna_sandwich | January 13, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Jeez Caps fans, all you want is more radio talk, more newspaper coverage. They have over 30 credited bloggers, read them. Caps fans always want to start arguments, 'are the Caps the city's most popular team?', 'is Ovechkin the area's best athlete.' Who cares???!?!?!? Just enjoy your team and leave us alone. There's a reason why the Caps are second fiddle, because they play hockey! It's Chocolate City everyone, football and basketball are dominant. DC will never be a hockey town because it is an esoteric interest. Now lay off our teams (Wizards, Redskins) and watch your own sports.
_______________

WRONG WRONG WRONG. Im a die hard Wiz fan (I wouldnt touch those lousy Skins with a ten foot pole. Go RAVENS!) AND a die hard Caps fan. Admittedly, the Wiz suck again this year, and we all know that the Skins are one of the lowliest, sorriest teams in the league. Those are just facts. The Nationals (although I love them as well), suck too. The Caps are pretty much the ONLY chance this city has at a championship, and dammit we need one.

Caps games sell out all of the time. There are enough hockey fans here in the District to warrant news coverage. When they have the best player in the league and arguably the best team in the league, there is no reason as to why they should go unmentioned. If we bring the Cup home, THEN will we get some attention?

OBVIOUSLY if there is outcry there is a market. Common business sense would move any company to tap into that market instead of letting it go untouched.

Posted by: KyminDC | January 13, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Wise's piece on Brashear was good. Obviously shopping for an award, but good nonetheless.

Posted by: LouLewis | January 13, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I'll remember all this the next time Mike Wise calls for caps fans on his show to call in, then he proceeds to hang up on them, and then announce on air that there weren't many calls. I sat on hold for ten minutes waiting to talk to him before getting "disconnected" and I know I'm not the only one.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | January 13, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

If this is such a basketball town, why has every Capitals game sold out this year, while the Wizards are at 84.5% attendance on the season?

Posted by: FlyersSuck | January 13, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Some people just don't understand that the DC sports market is changing. People like Wise, Wilbon (to the extent he still considers himself local), Pollin, Sheehan are having to be dragged kicking and screaming inot the 21st Century.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 13, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Mike Wise: I quite frankly could care less if you don't EVER talk about the Caps again. You can forget how to spell their name for all I care. Keep talking about how the Redskins are going to win the Superbowl next year. I prefer to keep the losers talking about the losers.

Posted by: UnleashTheCaps | January 13, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

If this is such a basketball town, why has every Capitals game sold out this year, while the Wizards are at 84.5% attendance on the season?

Posted by: FlyersSuck | January 13, 2010 10:51 AM

I don't know if you've noticed, but the Wizards are a screeching train wreck. Yet, correct me if I'm wrong, I believe their local TV numbers are still higher than the Caps.

For me, this is an amateur basketball town, it's what we know and do best (HS, G'town, MD, etc...). But we obsess about following the Redskins and we're now charmed by the Caps. Let's just enjoy what the Caps have to offer. Leonsis (with heavy help from Ovie) is winning BIG TIME when it comes to marketing and PR. I think those things supersede their record on the ice, which is still pretty modest (one playoff round win in ten years, but big expectations this Spring).

Posted by: Kev29 | January 13, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Mike Wise is a talented writer who does not belong in front of a microphone or a camera at any time for any reason.

Posted by: JohnnyBlades | January 13, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to take Wise's side on this one. The Caps fan who spends 90% of their time whining about lack of coverage is just annoying at this point.

Wise had a guy from Ob Frozen Blog on this morning just ranting on and on about the lack of coverage. He had to have been on for 20 minutes, and spent the entire time complaining about editors this and columnists that. Never actually heard him discuss the team in any meaningful way.

Every chat on this website there are caps fans complaining about a lack of coverage, some of that probably falls on whoever is selecting which questions to answer. The comments are filled with complaints, Nats fans too.

If you want to discuss your team, Caps, Nats, whatever -- DO IT. But being given an opportunity to talk about the Caps, whether it is calling a radio show or on a blog somewhere, and then spending it complaining about a lack of coverage is not really very productive.

Posted by: tha_prophet | January 13, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Kev29, there are a couple reasons why the Wizards ratings on Comcast seem high vs. the Caps so far. First, more Capitals games have been broadcast on CSN+, which is not available to everyone. Another issue with CSN+ while flipping through the channel guide is that it frequently says "BookWorld" and not "Capitals Hockey" as the future programming. Second, the Capitals have had multiple games carried on the national TV partner, and those games included opening night in Boston (which drew the highest regular season rating for Vs. up to that date), and a much-anticipated game against Philly (which drew even higher ratings than the game against Boston). Vs. ratings have not be included in the local breakdown of sport vs. sport ratings.

Posted by: RedBirdie | January 13, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

If you want to discuss your team, Caps, Nats, whatever -- DO IT. But being given an opportunity to talk about the Caps, whether it is calling a radio show or on a blog somewhere, and then spending it complaining about a lack of coverage is not really very productive.

Posted by: tha_prophet | January 13, 2010 11:28 AM

+1

Posted by: Kev29 | January 13, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Wise is still 10 or 20 jokes about Freddy Adu's age away from being a columnist of the "quality" of Kornheiser.

Posted by: M__N | January 13, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

why would anyone listen to this clown anyways? trying to get caps fans all pissed off so someone will listen to his terrible show....whata tool

Posted by: _stevo | January 13, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"Yet others of us are in the habit of getting outraged by bald columnists."

...which one?

Posted by: kinokonoko | January 13, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Please don't base the feelings of all Caps Fans based upon the actions and opinions of the On Frozen Bozos.

Most Caps fans can't stand those guys now anyway.

Posted by: CapsNut | January 13, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Tell Mike Wise to shut his pie hole. As a caps fan since 1977, he knows nothing about the sport. His fluff piece on Donald was nice, but that's all it was.

If I see him at the Verizon Center I'll be sure to tap his bald head ala Benny Hill.

He will need the Caps in the spring, for ratings, they don't need him.

Also when did he come to town....thought so.

Posted by: bwilsonalso | January 13, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

http://www.facebook.com/pages/With-all-due-respect-its-Mike-Wise/253373536939?v=wall&ref=mf

feel free to join the "With all due respect, it's Mike Wise" facebook page.

Posted by: bwilsonalso | January 13, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

As a Caps fan for more than 30 years who appreciates any coverage the Caps get but still thinks the Post and others could do a better job, here's my complaint:

The Caps are now the second most popular team in town, and I just think that they should be covered like a normal team by the Post columnists (Wise, Boswell, Hamilton, Jenkins and Wilbon). Leaving aside the Redskins, who are a much different animal, there are much more frequent, regular columns about the day-to-day happenings of the Wizards and Nats (what does this free agent signing or trade mean, what did Flip Saunders' rant last night mean, etc.) than the Caps. So far, since the first week of the season there have been a grand total of two columns about the Caps -- one by Boz on Ovie's suspension, and one by Hamilton on Ovechkin and the 2014 Olympics (which is interesting, but we haven't even gotten to the 2010 Olympics yet.) Sure, there's been a lot of news about other teams, but there are many storylines one of the "superstar" columnists could have written about--from the goalie controversy brewing, to the trade of Clark, to Ovie's captaincy to what the new one-year deal for Semin means.

Look, I know there has been a lot of news involving the other local teams the last few weeks, but it just seems like the columnists I mentioned above don't even both to follow the Caps until the playoffs or some major thing like the Ovie suspension happens (although to be fair, Boz does seem like he does when I read his chats).

Columnists, just cover the Caps like a normal team, instead of some exotic sport that you look into every few months. I think that would help.

Oh, and I will give a little credit to 106.7--I have actually heard shows on that station which include the words, "So let's talk about the Caps game last night" in November, something you never heard on 980 until April.

Posted by: TheFingerman | January 13, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"First, more Capitals games have been broadcast on CSN+, which is not available to everyone. Another issue with CSN+ while flipping through the channel guide is that it frequently says "BookWorld" and not "Capitals Hockey" as the future programming."

----

I just discovered where CSNPlus was on my cable provider *last night*. I couldn't believe I had it, and wondered why I had missed it so many times before desperately searching for the game on the dreaded "CSN Plus" when I realized...

It's because my programming guide for that channel says "OFF AIR."

I'd love to see an apples-to-apples comparison of Wiz vs. Caps ratings at the same time slot on the same channel vs. the same "level" of opponents.

I bet that games against "big" opponents draw better for the Wiz, and games against "medium to small" opponents draw better for the Caps.

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 13, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he should go to war with the teleprompter guy too because the most painful thing about that rant was watching him stumble through it.

Posted by: nkronisch44 | January 13, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect, Mike Wise thinks people in this area want to read about his extramarital affairs more than they want to read about the Caps. He's an idiot.

Note to Post editors: I do not want to spend my breakfast reading an article about Mike Wise's sexual habits - or anything else about Mike Wise's personal life. If this happens again, I will cancel my subscription. Worst... Column... Ever.

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | January 13, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Setting up On Frozen Blog as the quintessential Capitals fan is like setting up Daniel Snyder as the Quintessential Redskins fan. Most of the rest of the fanbase can't stand him.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | January 13, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

In fairness to Wise, he's probably too busy getting to the bottom of the Duke Lacrosse scandal

Posted by: NinoP | January 13, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I find Kornheiser and Wise to be very similiar in their wineyness, and pride in being hockey ignorant. I don't know too many people that like or listening to them. And I do my best to ignore them.

Posted by: Max231 | January 13, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

There was some initial interest in the Wiz due to the return of Arenas. I guarantee that their television numbers will be well behind the Caps by the end of their respective seasons.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 13, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Steinberg, aren't you worried that Caps fans might mistake you for Mike Wise at Caps games?

Posted by: madflava | January 13, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

well played wise.

Posted by: littles_ | January 14, 2010 5:10 AM | Report abuse

Whatever. I've been rooting for the Caps since game one back in 74. Fortunately, there's the internet. Japersrink, TSN, NHL.com, Peerless, the Caps web site. The list goes on and on. There's plenty of coverage. I never even THINK about the Washington Post sports section or columnists anymore. I saw this Wise video because someone sent me a link. After 35 years, the team FINALLY has a legit shot at the Cup -- and we know it mid season. Whether the Post covers it or doesn't cover it or whether the Post even hears about it, so what? Time's evolved. If people want Caps coverage out there, there's lots of it. Let the Post have the Wizards and Redskins...Whatever.

Posted by: caps1974 | January 14, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin is the DC sportsman of the year and no life are people keep drinking loosers kool aid and trash other sports. When PO time comes he will jump on a bandwagon :) Keep offending all hockey fans Wise and rinking that kool aid.

Posted by: Hazz | January 14, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Kornheiser is a failed Dave Barry wanna-be and Wise is a failed Kornheiser wanna-be. They are both hacks a sports writers. I get less and less of my news from the Post each day. This is especially true of the Sports section, which is really nothing more than a collection of recycled stories about the Redskins.

Posted by: brihobbs | January 14, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Yeah it's fitting a couple of losers would rather spend all their time talking about losers like the Skins + Wizards. Perfect marriage..

Posted by: CapsandRavens | January 14, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I am a huge Caps fan, even back when my husband and I were the only 2 Caps fans in our section at a Caps v. Flyers game at the Verizon Center! I love that now the sea of red consumes the few specks of orange, it is great to see the sport and the team getting so much support!

Personally I never read the Washington Post, my only affliation to it is my daily visits to Tarik's Capitals Insider. I only want to read articles/blogs written by someone who appreciates the game of hockey. So for all I care Wise can write books about the Redskins and Wizards...just leave the Caps out of your journalistic career! But let's be honest Wise, you say were are terrible fans because we focus on lack of coverage and men in a Penguins jersey?!? So you are telling me that Redskins fans wouldn't complain if, during a winning season, you wrote a small article about them and put it in the bottom corner of the sports page? You are telling me Redskins fans embrace anyone walking into their arena in a Romo jersey? You need to find better reasons to hate Caps fans!

Let's Go Caps!

Posted by: NatyBG | January 14, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

wtf

Posted by: ovie8mydanish | January 14, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Wise uses arrogance to cover his ignorance.

The Caps have a far better record than the Wiz over the past many years in the regular season. Nevertheless, the senior columnists didn't know anything about hockey, and they were enamored out of serious journalism by the glamor children of the Wiz and the 'Skins. It became their comfort zone of the writers and columnists, and they lack the flexibility to either grow their skills to cover the Caps or again be serious journalists.

Now, the POST is paying serious journalistic attention to the children and antics of the millionaire players, and managerial incompetence of the Wiz -- subjects ignored in their "homer" attitude for decades. Perhaps the columnists of the POST will also grow up. Perhaps it's the columnists and writers who have glorified the antics of Arenas, Portis, and others over the past many years (remember Kwame Brown?) who now need the public spanking.

Where's the boss editor?

As for the Nationals: how soon we forget that it was the drumbeats of the POST on both the sports and editorial pages that brought the team to Washington and Comcast. Now, no matter how bad the team is, we all get to subsidize it and that other worthless owner -- Peter Angelos (otherwise known as the TV deal and MASN). Here's some fertile ground for the conspiracy theorists. Why do all of us have to subsidize these worthless teams?

Posted by: hildea | January 14, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

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