The DC Sports Scene: Fall 2011 Edition

For the longest time, the DC sports scene has been horrendous. You’re lucky if you had one good DC team. However, this has been changing the past few weeks.

Redskins

Obviously, this is not the best Redskins team ever, but from training camp, interviews, and their play, this is a different Redskins team in year’s past. Gone are the flashy names Snyder has signed and coming are football players who want to play. Everyone criticized Mike (and his son, Kyle, for that matter) Shanahan for not keeping the house in order and didn’t develop Donovan McNabb or motivate Albert Haynesworth. With the offseason moves they made, guess the Shanny made the right decision. This is a real team. They might win the NFC East, like Rex Grossman predicted, and they’ll unlikely go to the Super Bowl from the mouth of Tim Hightower, but this is finally a “team” and hopefully this continues on a few more years…and hopefully better QBs  and WRs down the line.

Nationals

I predicted the Nationals would win 77 before the season start just for the Werth signing, not necessarily for the statistics, but what he brings to the clubhouse the Nats really lack: winners. I was close…the Nats won 80 (could have been 81 if it wasn’t for the monsoon that hit the Dodgers series). Some say this team will start contending for 2013…I think they’re starting now. They have solid pitching, bullpen and starting, a strong infield, a revelation in power hitting from Michael Morse, and a team bonded together and actual hope. Of course, the Nats need a speedy center fielder, but no necessarily a leadoff hitter. Just want the guy at the 6 or 7 spot to help out the bottom of the lineup. The Nats also need a veteran for the pitching staff. Most everyone will want C.J. Wilson from the Texas Rangers. It would be nice, but after the Yankees performance last night, they’re moving all in to get him and CC Sabathia. Best bet for the Nats: sign Mark Buehrle for a 2-4 year deal and he will be beloved in Washington since when he is pitching, it usually ends around 2 hours, a must for the transient community here. The bigger picture is this: the Nats are coming and a dynasty might start a year earlier than expected. As for the baseball fans in DC: get your tickets now, especially against the Philadelphia Phillies, so we don’t see their tour buses and piss around DC… literally.

By the way, please no managerial change until 2013. We don’t really need Terry Francona, although Joe Maddon is available after the 2012 season.

Wizards

There’s nothing much to say since the Wizards are not going to be good and there’s a lockout. If you’re a fan of the Wizards, you want to side with the owners for a hard salary cap since that will be the only chance the Wizards can be good and if they’re lucky, a championship.

Capitals

If the Nationals are the most anticipated team in DC in 2012, the Capitals are the most anxious. As you know from my past posts, hockey is my number 1 sport to watch, but as I learned from previous years: the regular season doesn’t matter. The NHL regular season is also known as the longest preseason North American sporting league ever. It’s great that the Caps are the best in the “preseason,” but they’re always be determined when the “real” season starts and that’s the playoffs. I do not want the Caps to be number 1 in the “preseason.” I want them to use the regular season to prepare for the playoffs. I expect some struggle, some triumph, some agony, some pain, and something unorthodox throughout the 82 games, but that’s great because it makes the team hungrier to advance beyond the conference semifinals and hopefully the Stanley Cup. Like many other Caps fans, I’m cautiously optimistic for this season, but the Caps need to know: this is the year to capitalize. If they go to the Conference Finals and beyond, consider it a semi-success (the real success is if they win the Stanley Cup). Anything less than that, not only heads will roll at Kettler Iceplex, but the fan base will move somewhere else. From the looks of it, the Caps are looking like the Detroit Red Wings of the 1990s. The question is can they win Stanley Cups like Detroit in the 90s? I am anxiously waiting.

DC has come a long way, but next year is the moment DC should become an emerging sports town as we have more than one (or two) team to root for and anticipate. I don’t remember that happening in DC in a long time. There’s something in the air and t looks great for DC…politics aside.

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