Last year, I wrote a post on the DC Sports Renaissance and got a lot of views, even a mention on Ted Leonsis’s blog. We are almost a year in from that post and well…DC is not there yet. Let’s review:
The Redskins stink and the lockout is still going on. There will be a season, but with John Beck. guess they want Andrew Luck.
The Wizards…you know, but they look good at it.
D.C. United has Charlie Davies and the team is meh, but could move to Baltimore.
College football rarely exists and 3 of the 4 DC area college basketball change coaches.
This leaves two teams I want to discuss:
I have mention this for a long time that this past regular season will be the longest preseason Caps fans have to endure. The only way to prove their worth is in the playoffs. They handled the New York Rangers easily in the first round and look like the Caps will meet expectations…then Lightning came and struck them. The Lightning swept the Caps and swept them like the most powerful vacuum known to man. Ted Leonsis sums it up here:
Their role players outplayed our role players.
Their highest paid players outplayed our highest paid players.
In fact, their role players outplayed our highest paid players.
Right now, the Caps are what I like to call, “in the early Mark Cuban stages.” If you follow the Dallas Mavericks history, you know before Cuban owned the team, the team blew chunks and were the laughing stock of the league. When Cuban took over, he built a fun team that was the greatest show on Earth for a few years, then the transition to a championship team a few years later in 2006 and still are a contending team.
The Caps are at the end of being the fun team and are starting to transition to a championship team, but what direction will they go. It is eerie the Caps and Mavericks are alike:
Ted Leonsis – Mark Cuban
Bruce Boudreau – Don Nelson
Alex Ovechkin – Dirk Nowitzki
Nicklas Backstrom – Steve Nash (supposedly)
If you are a Caps fan, ask these questions:
- Is George McPhee drafting on pure talent or developing talent? Talent vs. Hockey Sense.
- Is Bruce Boudreau mentally capable of handling this job? If not, keep an eye out for Dale Hunter, Kirk Muller, and Bob Hartley as likely replacements.
- Do you trade Alex Semin, Mike Green, or both? In addition, would you let Alex Ovechkin drop the Captain tag and give it to a veteran like…Jarome Iginla via trade?
So many questions for the Caps this offseason and the team you saw in the past 4 years is gone. Luckily for them for next season, they might be the only game in town. This was the Caps best opportunity to grab the Stanley Cup and get DC’s attention. However, 2008-2011 is the same as the ’80s and early ’90s Caps…can’t handle playoff pressure.
Of all the DC teams, the Nationals are the only DC team that is progressing and the future is bright. They have a young nucleus that starts with Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper and follow up with Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, and an improved minor league infrastructure, which was shot during the Jim Bowden/MLB era. Also, let’s not forget the Nats have some addition money from the Lerners that they could get a first baseman next year [Pujols!].
Most will mock Jayson Werth’s contract and the numbers are not showing it this year for him, but his intrinsic value (swagger, leadership) have made the Nats a respectable team. Just imagine if they had Ryan Zimmerman back. The team is struggling, but with a wounded lineup that is 5 games below .500, that’s not bad. Everyone knows this is a transition year for the Nats, but there is optimism. Now, the manager’s standing? That’s a different question.
Will D.C. ever be a sports town like New York Boston, or hate to say this, Philly? Not really. D.C. will always be changing, for better or worse. However, D.C. can capture the same spirit when the Redskins won the Super Bowl in the 80s. The question is who is going to lead D.C.? The Caps had a significant advantage the past few years as the only good D.C. sports team in town. The problem with the Caps today is they join the rest of the D.C. pack by being “choking dogs” like they were in the 90s and seem to have no resolve. The Redskins are always in flux and the Wizards need a miracle. The Caps might be the flavor now, but the Nats are coming. In D.C., it is always about winning…and joining the bandwagon.