Friday, April 06, 2007

Leaving Nats Game Early

I did it. I did the very thing that drives me craziest about sports fans. Last night, I left a game early.

Early isn't even the word to describe it. Early is when someone leaves a sporting event with time still on the clock and a chance (albeit small) that the losing team could prevail. This is one of the most reprehensible actions a male can do and the one thing you DON'T do if you're a "true fan." Beat traffic, my ass. Yogi Berra knew his shit, It ain't over 'til it's over. There are countless examples, (Duke @ Maryland, 2001; Indian Pacers @ New York Knicks, 1995; Boise State vs. Oklahoma, 2007), that prove you do not leave early and you do not fall asleep while watching the game. But last night... I did it.

I didn't leave early; I left beyond early. I arrived in the bottom of the 1st and left in the top of the 3rd. It was horrible. I knew I was wrong, but it was just... so... cold...

Freezing view from section 408, row 6, seat 11.

Don't get me wrong, I could have toughed it out. I could have proven my manhood and stayed until the very last pitch. It wasn't just the cold. It was the combination of awful weather conditions and awful play on the field.

The Nats are bad. Not in anyway is that a bad thing. I'd rather them be bad and rebuilding with young talent than spending cash on a second string star just to avoid 100 losses (See: Baltimore Orioles). The Nats are easily headed for more than 100 losses, some are even suggesting 120. In the long run, we'll all be seating in cushy seats at a cushy stadium watching the Nats make playoff runs in a two-three years. But right now they're not worth a case of pneumonia.

Agent Z-Man up to bat. How'd he end up? Fuckedifiknow.

I'm going to my fair share of Nats game this season, believe me. I'm not going to give up on a team that finishes last three years running. The fact that DC has a baseball team still brings a huge smile to my face. I'm just going to games starting in May, or June, or whenever it heats up around here.

DC United MLS Season Preview 2007

Although the hoopla for Major League Soccer in 2007 might center around David Beckham, the fact of the matter is that Becks isn't arriving until July. The big story from the start of the season until then should be the dominatation dealt upon MLS by DC United.

A typical RFK sight in July.

Last year, DC United jumped out of the gate and cruised from the very get go. They had a 15-match unbeaten streak at one point and had the entire league by the balls for the majority of the season. That being said, the Black-and-Red struggled mightily down the stretch, going 3-5-6 post-All-Star Game. DC barely hung on to win the Supporters Shield, edging out FC Dallas by a mere 3 points. If the regular season was one week longer they likely would have lost out to the Hoops.

DC continued the so-so performance in the play-offs against the New York Red Bulls. Christian Gomez bailed the Black-and-Red out twice in those encounters. The league MVP scored DC's only goals in both games, including late in the 2nd leg to clinch advancment to the Eastern Conference Finals. Let's just say that if you're celebrating a tie with the New York MLS team, things aren't going as well as they could be. DC United finally looked sharp against the New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the Revs were better overall and held on for a exciting 1 - 0 victory at RFK.

In the offseason, DC United had some major acquisitions and some major departures. All things considered, the team should be better in 2007 than they were in 2006.

This season, there are many changes to look forward to...

The coach. DC has a new coach at the helm, Tommy Soehn. He's replacing Peter Nowak who left to become an assistant for the US Men's National Team. Soehn has been an assitstant for DC for many years and is getting his time to shine.

The newbies. Luciano Emilio instantly won over DC fans with four goals in three games during the CONCACAF Champions Cup. He netted three against his former team, CD Olimpia, and one late goal against Chivas de Guadalajara. Also joining the team are former Australian League MVP, Fred, and English youngster Yinka Casal. These players should take some of the load off of Jaime Moreno and Christian Gomez during the dog days of July.

The competition. Clint Dempsey is gone and the Revolution have added no one to keep their string of MLS Cup appearances alive. Chicago added Mexican superstar Blanco, but that's more of a ticket-seller move than Beckham. The Red Bulls, Columbus Crew, Kansas City Wizards and expansion Toronto FC don't seem a threat, as well. The Eastern Conference is definitely DC's for the taking.

With all the good about the team, there are a few points of concern:

The veterans. Jaime Moreno is old. Old people aren't good at soccer. This is worrysome. Aside from the absolutely AWESOME bicycle kick against Chivas, he's done very little for the squad in the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Also, Christian Gomez is looking for more money at the end of the season and DC might opt not to give it to him. These two players are the heart and soul of the team and need to be consistent contributors AND have their heads in the game. If not we're toast.

The departed. Freddy Adu and Alecko Eskandarian are gone, to Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC, respectively. Both of these guys were key members of DC's 2004 MLS Championship team and last years Supporters Shield team. Neither of them, however, was very consistant. Backup Goalkeeper Nick Rimando is also gone, leaving us with a weaker back up (Jay Nolly). It's yet to be seen if their departure will be a blessing or a curse.

The schedule. DC's season started two months earlier than most MLS teams because of the CONCACAF Champions Cup. They'll also be playing in the new MLS/FMF SuperLiga and could lose a few starters for the Gold Cup and Copa America. This team ran out of gas last year because they were overworked with matches. This could be there undoing again in 2007.

With all that being said, DC United is clearly the best team on paper. The only other serious challengers for MLS Cup 2007 are the Houston Dynamo (last year's champs) and Los Angeles Galaxy (assuming Beckham and Donovan mesh well).

Expect many reasons to wave flags this season.

With MLS Cup 2007 taking place in Washington, DC at RFK Stadium, I fully expect the Black-and-Red to be playing for their 5th Cup Championship. Along the way I wouldn't be suprised to see them pick up another Supporters Shield and possibly the new SuperLiga crown. The foundation for success has been set. It's time for the players to take the pitch and continue the winning tradition for DC United.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Agent 2-3 Months

The Wizards dreams of a deep play-off run are over. After losing Caron Butler last week, Gilbert Arenas is out for the rest of the year. He's expected to miss 2-3 months with a torn knee ligament.

Let's recap the Washington sports scene of the last week, shall we?

04.02.07 - Washington Nationals start season opener, lose to the Florida Marlins. 119 more losses to go.
04.02.07 - Caron Butler injured. Out 6 weeks.
04.02.07 - Georgetown Hoyas lose to Ohio State Buckeyes.
04.03.07 - Jeff Green reappears, saying, "What happened? I blacked out."
04.03.07 - Nats lose to Marlins, 118 more losses to go.
04.03.07 - Capitals beat Panthers. Already eliminated from play-offs. Lose ground in NHL Draft position.
04.04.07 - DC United outplays Chivas de Guadalajara, still loses 2-1. Eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions Cup.
04.04.07 - Caps beat Thrashers. Lose ground in NHL Draft position.
04.04.07 - Gilbert Arenas injured. Out for season.


Oh Gilbert... No... No... [Deadspin]

Sunrise from the Lincoln Memorial

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Maybe Next Year

Well that sucked.

After all the hype, after everyone saying this would be the greatest Final Four ever, it turned out to be a snooze fest.

Georgetown's National Championship dream ended unceremoniously at the hands of Mike Conley, Jr. and the Ohio State Buckeyes, 67 - 60. The only bright spots for the Hoyas were Roy Hibbert outplaying Greg Oden and Jeff Green playing so horribly that he ultimately NEEDS to come back next year and redeem himself. That offensive charge he had, when G'Town had the ball down 4 with two minutes to play, was absolutely inexcusable. Just horrible.

On the bright side, things look good for Georgetown next year. If everyone comes back, the Hoyas will be back in the Final Four and better prepared to win the whole shebang. Roy Hibbert should be back, he's still soft. After pulling that disappearing act, Jeff "Five Freakin' Shots" Green needs to come back and boost his reputation. Sapp, Wallace, Summers, Ewing Jr. will all be back. To top of all off, WCAC superstars Austin Freeman and Chris Wright will be suiting up for the Hoyas.

Mark it down...