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Washington Times sports section eulogies

Montage stolen. They don't need the Web traffic, right?

Friday, for the first time in my life, I bought two copies of The Washington Times. (Well, actually a friend bought them for me, but same thing.) After everyone else has said goodbye to the section, I wanted to see how the section said goodbye to itself. Some good memories in there. You should go buy a copy, too.

In the meantime, here's one mondo post of all the goodbyes I could find, from both inside and outside the paper.

(More important than the goodbyes, however, are the reappearances. There will be more of these in coming days, but in the meantime, please visit the blogs of Tim Lemke (Tim Lemke Sports), Patrick Stevens (D1scourse) and Mike Jones (Mike Jones Sports). And don't do it out of charity; do it because there will be stuff there you'll want to read, as a D.C. sports fan.)

Anyhow, on to the goodbyes, headlined by Friday's Dan Daly column/eulogy, as the only Times sports staffer who was there from the very beginning.

Toiling for the Times sports section always required a strong constitution. As the second paper in town - think Fay Wray to the Post's King Kong - we never had anything handed to us. Everything we got - news breaks, respect, awards - we earned, usually the hard way. And if you doubt this, as the saying goes, come and put your hands in my wounds....

And with that we say goodbye - for now, anyway. But maybe, if the planets align properly and this economic stimulus really works, you'll be hearing from us all again - sometime, somewhere, somehow.

Thanks for reading us, for the comments pro and con, for the e-mails of support in recent weeks. There are few certainties in life, but of this I'm absolutely sure: The Washington Times sports department left it all on the field.

Lots more where that came from.

Tim Lemke: "I don't believe it was a coincidence that earlier tonight I came across the movie "Rocky Balboa" on cable. There's a good section where Rocky says, 'The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.' We're all moving forward now. Where that takes us is anyone's guess. But it'll probably be OK."

Patrick Stevens: "it was the adrenaline rush of trying to beat the clock. And the serenity of knowing there wasn't a better place in the world to be at that precise moment. Put succintly, it was a blast. And I hope that sense was conveyed to as many loyal readers. For as much complaining and arguing and bickering and squabbling and backbiting that occurs in sports, it's supposed to be fun."

Mark Zuckerman: "I have no idea if the Times' decision to eliminate sports is smart from a business standpoint. Economics has never been my forte, and people a lot smarter than me probably can't answer this question. But I do know the paper will lose readers. A lot. I know this because I've heard from so many of you over the last few weeks, so many of you who were stunned to hear the news, said you read the paper specifically because of our section and offered the kindest words of encouragement imaginable. It's been a humbling experience, and one I'll forever cherish."

Ben Goessling: "I fell in love during the summer of 2004 - with a newspaper, with a town and with an idea that if, maybe, the Montreal Expos packed up and moved south, there'd be a chance not only for me to cover the renamed baseball team, but to do it for a sports section which struck every chord that existed in my brain about how a newspaper should deliver its sports news."

Mike Jones: "In the past I haven't been too hot on blogs, partially because any Joe on the streets could sign up for one and proclaim himself an authority on any topic. Meanwhile, my fellow journalists and I scratched, pecked and clawed our way to the positions we held. But with the media constantly changing -- and with nothing better to do for now -- I might as well jump in and continue to use the talents God gave me rather than sitting around in silence while I throw darts out there in pursuit of every job opportunity I can."


Ryan O'Halloran: "This is what the Times allowed me to cover since I came aboard in August 2005: Every Redskins playoff/regular season game since 2005, four Super Bowls (including Patriots-Giants and Cardinals-Steelers thrillers), Brett Favre's last game as a Packer (OT loss to Giants), two Capitals playoff runs (19 games, including three Game 7s), a Maryland women's basketball championship (beating Duke in Boston), George Mason-Connecticut in the Elite Eight, Boston University's overtime win over Miami in the Frozen Four, three Kentucky Derbys, one Daytona 500, one NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas, one NFL player funeral (Sean Taylor), 29 states visited on the company dime and the crème le crème - 24 days in August 2008 covering the Beijing Olympics."

David Elfin: "Helping get Darrell and Art Monk into the Hall of Fame in 2008 and having them mention me in their speeches was a high point, but today is a low point. I will miss covering the Redskins. I was a footloose 20-something when I first got the finger-wag from Joe Gibbs. I leave four weeks shy of 50 with two terrific teenage daughters. A final thanks to you, the readers. I hope I have educated, entertained and most important, informed you, over these last 23 years. I hope I have reported on your teams and their players honestly and fairly."

Corey Masisak: "Thanks to all of the Caps fans who have been so supportive, not only in the past few days but during my time covering the team. I think most of you have even gotten over the fact that a kid from Pittsburgh was writing about your team every day. I think it is appropriate for me to end my final blog post for the Times where it all began. When I started covering this team I knew there were shoes too big for me to fill when Dave Fay passed away, but I am positive the standards and expectations set by his work made me work as hard and I could. We haven't forgotten you, Dave, and just because the sports section is going away doesn't mean we will anytime soon."

Caps PR guy Paul Rovnak: "I think back on the past three years, and even though he had the right, I cannot remember Corey complaining once. He got along with everyone and was always happy to cover the Caps. If anything, I was often more frustrated for him than he was. The most sense of displeasure he ever showed would be a slight shoulder shrug or a deep breath. Now that he is off the beat, hockey fans and fans of the Times' sports section should be doing a lot more than that these days."

John Keeley: "Washington's hockey community has fought so long and so hard for acceptance in a fiercely competitive sports landscape, and therefore the timing of this media demise couldn't be worse - we in Washington who love hockey and want more to fall in love with hockey can't afford to lose any of the quality voices bringing it alive to readers and viewers. Corey Masisak surely was one of those."

Off Wing Opinion:
"Here's hoping that the folks currently waiting for the axe to fall on New York Avenue are able to move on and enjoy success elsewhere. After showing day after day that you could compete with one of the largest newspapers in the country even when you were outgunned both in terms of budget and staff, they certainly deserve it."

Japers Rink: "This isn't an obituary (I'm careful not to use the past tense), and I'm sure Corey will resurface before we know it - a CSN Washington, for example, would be wise to snatch him up. But given the impact he's made in his time "with us" it certainly feels like a few parting words are needed, so here they are. You'll be missed, Corey... but hopefully not for long. As Bruce Boudreau said at the end of his presser last night following a stomach-turning loss, 'Corey, if this is your last game, I'd like to thank you for all you've done covering our team for the last couple of years.' Thanks indeed."

Russian Machine Never Breaks:
"I'm absolutely devastated for Corey. He loves sports journalism. He is passionate about hockey. I've seen far too many former coworkers and classmates lose their jobs in the last 18 months as the contracting print journalism industry sheds incredibly talented people. Best of luck to Corey and all those affected."

The Nationals Enquirer: "This is bad, bad, bad, news for Nationals fans who crave smart, credible coverage of the team we love. So, the Nationals Enquirer staff would like to take a moment say a big "Thank You" to Mark Zuckerman and Ben Goessling for what you provided to Nationals fans. Good luck and best wishes. You'll be missed."

Just a Nats Fan: "One of the hardest things for me covering the Nationals has been the constant stream of departure of people I've come to know. That's not something I'm accustomed to in my day-to-day job. Maybe I should add a caveat there of "so far" and "thank goodness"! First Todd Jacobson of the Fredricksburg Free Lance-Star and Barry Svrluga of the Post switched beats. Then there were players, coaches, managers Frank Robinson and Manny Acta, friends in the front office... it's never easy and each time brings a sense of loss. To see an entire workforce from a newspaper sports department obliterated is absolutely shocking and heartbreaking. Journalists, photographers, editors... just gone. Not that the writing hasn't been on the wall for a while, but to see the end finally arrive and read the goodbyes has been painful."

NFA: "The Times was the one local media source that provided regular coverage of the minor leagues for the Nationals. Putting aside the politics of the Times as a whole (which really had no influence on the sports coverage), we as Washington sports fans and specifically fans of the Nationals are going to be considerably poorer when the inevitable end of the sports section arrives."

Redskins Blog: "In a fit of what I can only describe as monumental stupidity, the Washington Times has elected to eliminate the Sports section from their newspaper, choosing instead to focus more on politics and who knows what else. Which means that as of today, veteran beat reporters David Elfin and Ryan O'Halloran will be -- for all intents and purposes -- off the Redskins beat, and DC is a one-broadsheet sports town." (Some great anecdotes in that post.)

Pro Football Talk: "The Redskins organization has had a combative relationship with the press during the Dan Snyder era, but it must know how lucky it is. Few teams can match the loyal fanbase and comprehensive coverage the Redskins receive, no matter how bumbling the owner. That coverage took a big hit Wednesday."

The Sporting Blog: "The writers in the sports section of The Washington Times are smart, fast and understand the new media landscape. It's too bad their owners couldn't figure it out."

The Big Lead: "The paper has decided to, according to a source, 'go with their strengths of national and political news, crazy right wing commentary and culture.' "

City Desk: "The Sports Desk--the whole, entire Sports Desk--is no more, a casualty of the massacre going on over at the Times newsroom. But the Sports Desk tweets live on!"

Fang Bites: "It's sad to see as the Times' sports department worked very hard in its rivalry with the Washington Post and did some things better than the Post including sports business reporting. The Times sports department will definitely be missed."

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 1, 2010; 4:49 PM ET
Categories:  Media  
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What a shame. The Times had so much better coverage than the Post. None of the false "fan revolution" crap seen here.

Posted by: popopo | January 1, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I see no need to hate on the Post for their coverage, but I do think this is a real loss for the DC community. It was the only credible part of the entire Times news organization, and reading their valedictions, you get the sense they were able to succeed amidst a fair bit of lunacy--the little engine that could. I'll miss David Elfin most of all, though something he said made me think he won't be looking for work long ...

So, Post, how many of those guys can you pick up? Smart PR move, at any rate: your chance to swallow their readership with 2-3 judicious hires. An act of good will, call it.

Posted by: DCUnited2 | January 1, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I was stunned when I found out that the Times would be ending their Sports Page. I have been a loyal reader of both Sports pages over the years and I hate to see this. I want to thank everyone associated with the Washington Times Sports Department for bringing us great sports coverage all these years! I will save money b/c now I only have to buy the Post. I will NEVER BUY A WASHINGTON TIMES AGAIN!

Posted by: BeltwayBoy | January 2, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

As a former newspaper reporter, it's always sad to see newsroom jobs get hacked. I have only been here a few years now, but Thom Loverro quickly grew on me. Best of luck to everyone.

Posted by: MACCHAMPS04 | January 2, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

DCUnited, I don't see it as "hate" to say that the Times was by far the best sports section in town. It was a fact.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 2, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

First we lose George Michael, now this. DC sports coverage will never be the same without the Times.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 3, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

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