In the trenches of D.C.'s sports debates

Archive for August 2010

Should Mike Wise have been suspended?

August 31, 2010 - 10:38 AM
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Mike Wise, a sports columnist for The Washington Post, said he wanted to show how irresponsible and inaccurate reporting in social media can be. He made his point by being irresponsible and inaccurate in social media, using his Post-affiliated Twitter account to willfully report false news while admitting it on his radio show. He said he wanted to show that people would pass on his false news without "checking facts or sourcing."

His bosses at the Post, who tend to be big fans of things like accuracy and credibility and not lying to their readers, were displeased. Wise was suspended for a month, he reportedly announced on his radio show this morning.

DC Sports Bog has a round-up of the events and response. Twitter erupted this morning after news of the suspension broke.

There's little disagreement that it was a dumb, dumb stunt, but now put yourself in the shoes of Wise's bosses. How would you have responded? Is a one-month suspension too short, too long or just right?

And as horribly executed as his experiment was, did he have a point about how news is spread online?

UPDATE 12:33 p.m.: Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog defended his colleague to TBD's Erik Wemple.

UPDATE 2:37 p.m.: Steinberg posts the full text of Wise's on-air apology.

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Does the Stephen Strasburg injury impact Adam Dunn's future?

August 30, 2010 - 09:31 AM
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Will the Nationals throw Dunn aside when he becomes a free agent? (Photo: Associated Press)

Stephen Strasburg missing a majority of the 2011 season, if not all of it, has universally dampened Nationals fans' hopes of seriously competing next year.

Does that make Adam Dunn less important to the Nationals' future?

Federal Baseball has a complete round-up of his contract talks. He becomes a free agent at the end of this year, though negotiations for an extension have  been ongoing. If he signs with another team, the Nationals would get two high draft choices as compensation.

Dunn, 30, is good enough to be a middle-of-the-order first baseman on most playoff teams. That means he'll command middle-of-the-order dollars, too – and if the Strasburg injury means the Nationals won't be competing for a few more years, some are arguing he's no longer worth the expensive investment.

Should the Nats pay him top dollar in hopes that they'll start competing toward the end of his contract? Or should they develop/sign a cheaper 1B and use the money elsewhere?

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Most exciting: A batting practice session, a fake NFL game or the WNBA?

August 27, 2010 - 05:00 AM
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As we all know, late August is the most consistently and overwhelmingly exciting time of the year in the sports world. We want to know which of the day's three big stories revs your engine the most:

-- Bryce Harper repeatedly made a swinging motion inside Nationals Park Thursday. It wasn't during a game, and journalists were the only ones who got to watch, but it was his first time imitating the act of baseball in Nationals Park. According to TBD's Samuel Chamberlain, Harper occasionally hit the ball very far.

-- Tonight, the Redskins will be pretending to play a meaningful football game. A few players on the bubble could play their way on or off the back end of the roster, and all players will risk career-crippling injuries for the purpose of -- well, we're not really sure why they're doing it.

– In news from sports teams that aren't playing make-believe, the Washington Mystics are on the brink of elimination from the WNBA playoffs tonight.

Any of this getting you excited? Or are you just as eager for September as we are?

UPDATE 9:31 a.m.: As soon as we decry the lack of on-field excitement, the Nats give us one of the most thrilling games of the year.

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Should the Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg?

August 25, 2010 - 05:00 AM
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Careful with that arm, Stephen. The Nationals might need it down the road. (Photo: Associated Press)

Stephen Strasburg is making his second trip to the disabled list in his shortened rookie season for the Washington Nationals.  He could potentially return later in the year.

But should he?

Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post thinks Strasburg should be shut down for the year, even if he can come back and pitch. At this young age, Boswell said, he is more "Waterford crystal than forged steel," and invoking the names of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood are enough to scare any fan of a young pitching prodigy. Both were given heavy loads early in their careers; both flamed out quickly.

We hesitate to have him represent the other side, but Rob Dibble did argue for a commonly heard sentiment around baseball, that young pitchers can't be babied and need to build up their arm strength. In the age of pitch counts, quick hooks and few complete games, a lot of former ballplayers think pampering pitchers isn't helping them.

And aside from giving fans something fun to watch, don't forget the economic aspect of having Strasburg pitch. CNBC's Darren Rovell estimated that each Strasburg start has netted the Nationals an extra $327,282 in ticket sales, plus concessions and parking. Another five or so Strasburg starts could produce money that could, potentially, be put back into player development. 

So should the Nats protect their franchise cornerstone and shut him down for the rest of the year, or let him throw if he's healthy? Let us know in the comments.

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Did Shanahan handle Haynesworth and his 'condition' correctly?

August 24, 2010 - 06:44 AM
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Should Mike Shanahan have handled Albert Haynesworth's health differently? (Photo: Associated Press)

First it was called just "some kind of illness," then it was described as "heat-related," and "dehydration." Finally, Mike Shanahan said "headaches" were the reason Albert Haynesworth missed basically three days of practice.

And with that, Haynesworth blew up. A week after saying "I like this defense" and of Shanahan, "I'm the player, he's the coach," he totally changed his tune and said, the organization was trying to "make themselves feel better and make me look bad for not going to their offseason conditioning program."

There still has been no official word from the Redskins, but it was reported that Haynesworth actually was suffering from rhabdomyolysis. (Show of hands, please, of people who had ever heard of such a condition. One thing's for sure, from conditioning tests to medical conditions, the Haynesworth saga is educating us all). Apparently passing off Haynesworth's condition as "headaches" offended the player.

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Was there any reason for Ryan Zimmerman's ejection?

August 19, 2010 - 07:59 AM
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Ryan Zimmerman was ejected in the 8th inning of Wednesday's loss to the Atlanta Braves. (Photo: Associated Press)

Ryan Zimmerman has a reputation as being one of the most mild-mannered boys in all of baseball, which is why the first ejection of his career came as a surprise to a lot of people.

Watch the video yourself, courtesy of MLB.com. After taking a tough strike on a 3-1 count then striking out on a swinging strike 3, Zimmeman threw his bat and helmet in disgust. Zimmerman and manager Jim Riggleman believe the umpire thought Zimmerman was throwing it at him, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com.

Nats320 called it "downright ridiculous." SB Nation said it was "a questionable call to say the least."

But over on Twitter, Clinton Yates said Zim deserved it for his reaction to the 3-1 pitch.

So what do we think: Was Zimmerman out of line here? Or do we add this to the pile of complaints about MLB umpires?

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Do you like the Wizards' new jerseys?

August 17, 2010 - 10:53 PM
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Washington Wizards point guard John Wall was in New York City on Tuesday as part of the NBA rookie orientation and photo shoot, and thanks to the pictures, which have been uploaded on NBA.com, and a few video interviews given by the rookie, we were able to see that the Wizards have tweaked their jerseys for the upcoming season.

Here's a picture of Wall from the photo shoot. As you can see, the Wizards still will be rocking the slate blue, black and white as their main colors, but it looks like a slightly lighter gold/yellow has replaced the bronze trim from years past.

The most noticeable difference in the jerseys are the V-necks and more modern shoulders instead of the traditional scoop necks/tank-top style the team has sported for years, see the team's Facebook page for pictures of last year's jerseys.

Wall did an interview with ESPN today, and it's evident that another tweak added to the Wizards' jerseys are subtle stripes that show up in various lights.

Wizards fans have been asking for a change since before Ted Leonsis' total take-over of the team was finalized. Many wanted -- and still want -- Leonsis to bring back the Bullets, as well as the red, white and blue of yesteryear. Name and color changes take time, however. But obviously tweaks such as these do not. It looks like the changes only apply to the road jerseys, however. On the team's page at NBAstore.com, the white home jerseys look the same, aside from a slightly smaller collar.

Is this enough to satisfy you, Wizards fans? What do you think? Hot, or not?

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Are you feeling any Nationals optimism?

August 17, 2010 - 05:00 AM
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When the Nationals closed the deal with Bryce Harper late last night, he became the second cornerstone prospect the Nationals have added in the past two years.

Any team would be thrilled to have one of Harper and Stephen Strasburg, let alone both. The big-league club has already shown off young talent like Drew Storen and Ian Desmond, in addition to proven All-Stars Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn. The minors also boast some top-end prospects such as Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa.

There are a lot of good pieces there. So we're wondering: Is it safe to be optimistic yet? Is there legitimate reason for hope, or do you need to see it before you believe it?

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Do you accept Rob Dibble's apology?

August 16, 2010 - 05:00 AM
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There won't be much disagreement about this much: MASN commentator Rob Dibble's on-air comments about women and baseball were really, really dumb. If you didn't hear his commentary on what women discuss at baseball games, put down your shopping bags and catch up at DC Sports Bog.

Then read any of the dozens of blogs that hammered him for the comments, including Nationals Fangirls, DCist and We Love DC.

Eventually, word got back to Dibble that a lot of upset women were yap-yap-yapping about him, so he explained himself in a blog post. He also made an on-air apology Sunday (transcribed by @kevin_reiss).

So we want to know: Do you accept Dibble's apology? Do you consider the comments an awful but forgivable thud of a joke or a window into his misogyny?

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Who's most likely to earn a spot on the Redskins tonight?

August 13, 2010 - 05:00 AM
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If we weren't so starved for football, we'd probably hate preseason games as much as we really should.

It will take a true fan – or a true addict – to sit through all four quarters of tonight's Redskins-Bills game. But to those fans who know why 53 is an important number, the second half of tonight's game can actually be pretty significant.

That's when we'll sort out who fills the back end of the depth chart, as fans get to see which of the no-names might push a veteran out of his spot. So we want to know: Who has the most riding on his performance tonight?

You can find some of the players on the bubble by reading Staying Medium's series of position previews. (And 53 is how many players make the roster, for those who may have been confused earlier.)

 

 

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Who will be the bigger star: Stephen Strasburg or John Wall?

August 12, 2010 - 05:00 AM
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Washington Wizards first draft pick John Wall, center, from the University of Kentucky, smiles as he holds up a jersey with coach Flip Saunders, right, and Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld during a news conference in Washington, on Friday, June 25, 2010. Wall was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA basektball draft. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

We could argue production: Who will go to more All-Star games?

We could argue star power: Who will bring a brighter spotlight to D.C. sports?

But you really can't have one without the other.

Stephen Strasburg has only thrown a few pitches in D.C., but he’s already the fourth-most marketable player in all of baseball, according to a survey by SportsBusiness Daily (via the Washington Business Journal). But he also plays on the Nationals, so he won’t be seen on the first half hour of SportsCenter too often until the Nats build a winner around him.

John Wall hasn’t touched an NBA floor yet, but his year at Kentucky has already proven his talent isn’t just hype...we’ve actually seen it on the court. Reebok, hoping Wall will be the brand’s next Allen Iverson, reportedly signed him to a $25 million shoe deal.

We want to know: Which star will come closer to matching Alex Ovechkin's level of stardom, and can either one go higher?

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Should the Washington Nationals honor the Montreal Expos?

August 11, 2010 - 05:00 AM
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Photo: Ian Koski, Nationals Daily News

Nationals Daily News had the scoop Monday night that Nationals Park will now have the Montreal Expos logo as part of the facade of the 100-level. By including Montreal greats along with Washington greats, Ian Koski noted, it may be "the first in-stadium recognition of the franchise's history in Montreal."

At SB Nation's DC site, Chris Needham argued the Nats shouldn't ignore Montreal, but need to do more to honor the city's baseball first. Most of the fans who voted in a poll there said honoring Expos like Andre Dawson is the right thing to do, but there were also several who said they don't care about the Expos.

There was more discussion Tuesday at Federal Baseball, where Patrick Reddington writes that "the Washington Nationals are doing a good thing here." William Yurasko disagreed in the comments section: "I couldn’t go down to RFK or whatever and watch these guys play here, thus they are not part of D.C. baseball history."

Do the Nats owe it to Montreal to pay tribute to Expos history? Or does that history belong in Montreal?

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Do the Redskins have enough firepower at wide receiver?

August 10, 2010 - 09:00 AM
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Donovan McNabb knows Santana Moss is a solid weapon, but who's behind him? (Photo: Associated Press)

Donovan McNabb is no stranger to a subpar receiving corps. Some of his best seasons in Philadelphia came when his leading receivers were the likes of James Thrash, Todd Pinkston and Kevin Curtis. Even when Terrell Owens or DeSean Jackson made the Pro Bowl for him, he still lacked secondary options.

So can the Redskins get by with what they have? Santana Moss is a strong weapon, assuming he’s healthy. But behind him are a lot of question marks: Joey Galloway (age), Malcolm Kelly (health), Devin Thomas (untapped potential), Roydell Williams (out of football last year), and some combination of Anthony Armstrong, Terrence Austin, Bobby Wade and Mike Furrey.

It’s also worth noting that McNabb has always targeted his tight ends a lot, and he never had one as good as Chris Cooley.

Are there enough receiving options to make McNabb effective? Let’s talk it out in the comments below.

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Should Parker make the Skins' 53-man roster?

August 9, 2010 - 01:00 AM
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Willie Parker, left, is in a difficult battle for a roster spot. (Photo: Associated Press)

A lot of Skins fans were happy in April when the team signed Willie Parker, a former Pro Bowl running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, to a one-year deal worth a reported $3.1 million. Of almost 1,500 votes at Hogs Haven, 59 percent were in favor at the time.

Parker was once one of the NFL’s most productive backs, including a 14-touchdown, 1,494-yard year in 2006-07. But there’s some concern whether the 29-year-old still has the speed that made him effective, and there are two young guys behind him who are also considered speedsters: Ryan Torain, who has been one of the biggest stars of camp so far, and Keiland Williams, an undrafted free agent from LSU whose production has never matched his high level of talent.

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