Wow, it’s tough being a Washington, DC sports fan these days. If you are a fan of the local DC fans, look at what you’re looking at right now —
– The Redskins — the team is in complete disarray. It’s hard to watch this once-proud franchise go through these struggles. I attended yesterday’s game with two of my mentees. There must have been 10,000 – 20,000 no-shows in the 90,000 seat stadium … many open seats in the upper deck and the club section. They are currently 2 – 4 after playing what’s probably the easiest schedule thus far in the NFL. Now, their starting QB has been benched and their head coach has been stripped of play-calling responsibilities. And, now, they have to face a good Eagles team next Monday night — and, the Eagles are going to come in mad after their horrible loss to the woeful Raiders yesterday in Oakland. I can already see the scenario — many ‘Skins ticket holders are frustrated and will put their tickets on secondary ticket sites such as StubHub — which will probably result in a lot of Eagles snapping up the tickets and making the short drive to DC next Monday night. So, it could be just like last year’s Steelers @ Skins game which was full of fans waving the Steelers’ Terrible Towels. So, next Monday night, don’t be surprised if FedEx is full of loud, cheering Eagles fans. I shudder even thinking about it.
– The Nationals — yes, they had over 100 losses this year and this worst record in baseball. But, as I’ve written before, at least they have a sound organization plan … which is to rebuild the farm system and focus on developing an outstanding pitching rotation. This a model that the Atlanta Braves used so well when they won 14 straight NL East titles. I’m not saying the Nats will start winning the division anytime soon but I do like the plan that is in place. It will take time, but I believe the Nats are developing a very good core of young pitchers … and, they’ll be a .500 by 2011 and then will be a consistent winner.
– Wizards — ugh, a 19-win season last year. But, as most fans know, they were decimated by injuries to key starters. I have a good feeling about this year. I’m predicting 44 – 46 victories and a return to the play-offs (as long as the injuries don’t recur). I like the trio of Arenas, Butler and Jamison … and I think Arenas will continue to be more a balanced player – as he showed at the end of last season and in exhibition play thus far. I like the trade bringing Foye and Miller to the Wiz. And, I think the youngsters will finally start to mature and contribute meaningful minutes … I look for Blatche, Young and McGee to bring lots of energy of the bench.
– Capitals — whew, finally a winner to talk about in DC. Of the four major sports, the only winning team we have is our NHL franchise. Fortunately, they are winners and the Caps ticket is now the hottest sports ticket in town. The Verizon Center is sold out for the year. The games are fun, exciting, loud and full of passion. The Caps fans are becoming the best in the NHL. The greatest player in the world, Alex Ovechkin, is off to a great start – and he is surrounded by terrific talent, including Green, Semin, Backstrom, etc. The Caps are being build the right way … with a focus on building a foundation of young talent that will grow together as a team over the years … infused with several quality veteran players. This is going to be an exciting year for the Caps — we look forward to a long, play-off run in the Spring 2010.
– DC United, Mystics, Freedom — this is no knock on the other sports … these teams are winners, too – and they’re play-off teams. But, I was writing primarily about the Big Four pro sports. Also, I’m looking forward to good, winning basketball seasons from the Georgetown Hoyas, Maryland Terps and AU Eagles. At least that will give us the DC sports fans some bit relief after a tough 2009.