Monday, May 26, 2008

Quick Lax Post

I know, I know, what's a lacrosse post doing on a baseball/hockey/soccer blog, but I just had to get this off my chest (besides, the original name for this blog woulda been BaseLaxSoc if I hadn't been seduced by the Caps' 2007-2008 playoff run):

The Washington Bayhawks had their first home game this past weekend at GMU's stadium, with an attendance of more than 4,000. Their post-game press release states:

"The Bayhawks had an amazing turn out for their home opener at George Mason stadium and would like to give thanks to all their fans and sponsors for their support in attendance."

Ummm, well, DUHH. The Hawks had a similar attendance figure last year at their home opener at GMU, a number that they NEVER came close to matching in their subsequent games at Georgetown's Multi-Sport Field. 

The BEST decision this fledgling DC franchise could have made was to have ALL its games at GMU this season. Yes, it probably costs the team more to have games there, but one wonders where this team would be attendance-wise this year if it had played ALL its home games at GMU last year. Hopefully that won't have stunted the growth of the team's potential fan base.

Here's hoping the numbers only go up for the rest of the season, culminating in enough gate income to foster a deal with RFK next season. DCU fans might not like their field chewed up by lax games, but RFK is the logical next step for the Hawks, at least until (fingers crossed) the Poplar Point stadium opens.

Friday, April 25, 2008

WSJ Blog Post on Beckham's $250 Million Salary Number

The Wall Street Journal has a new blog post about the $250 million associated with David Beckham's potential income with LA Galaxy:

For me, the jury's still out until he and the Galaxy qualify for international competition, whether it be through the playoffs or the Supporters Shield. The sooner that happens, the more likely, IMHO, he'll reap the upper end of that $250 million.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wait 'Til Next Year

My throat hurts from cheering for three straight hours.

My head hurts from the fans around me cheering for three straight hours.

My heart hurts from knowing this is the last game these Caps will play this season. 

I wasn't even a hockey fan this time last year. Now, after having watched the Washington Capitals play a magical season, you can count me among the converted. 

What an incredible game this is. It's neither better nor worse than baseball or soccer; it has its own rhythms and rituals that make it unique. 

The speed. The physicality. The grace. 

Will I be back at the Phone Booth this coming autumn? 

Bet your ass I will.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gag Me With a Spoon

. . . or some other implement, after that horrific display DCU just showed in their 4-0 loss at Real Salt Lake. 

That fourth goal, Peralta had an "Oh Shit" look right before Findley -- who scored the two goals against DCU last year -- found net. 

What is it about this team, that fields its backup goalkeeper in BOTH 2007 AND 2008 in Salt Lake only to lose?!? 

I Miss Saint Ribbie

Whatever happened to Saint Ribbie? The Nats appear to have pissed him off lately, to the point where they can't seem to bat in a run if their lives depended on it. Is it that St. Ribbie only likes it when Wily Mo Pena is in the lineup? 

Todays game against the Braves is case in point: 

Braves: 10 runs, 13 hits with six left on base. 

Nats: Two runs, seven hits with 10 left on base.

Guzman was incredible, going 3-for-5, singles each time. Out of those three, though, he was left stranded every time.

Wily Mo's on rehab assignment tonight in Columbus. Let us pray that St. Ribbie keeps Wily Mo safe and productive until he's able to get back to the big league.

UPDATE: Looks like our (or at least my) prayers were answered:

A Blog About Baseball, Hockey and Soccer, in No Particular Order

Some of us have been sports fans since the day we started to breathe, or so it would seem.

Others fall into it by accident, or by the grace of a free ticket to a game that otherwise we wouldn't have gone to see, much less even thought about.

I guess I'm the latter.


I went to a Washington Nationals home game against the Chicago Cubs at RFK during the Nats' first season in DC (in June 2005, while they were still atop the NL East). A friend of a friend had gotten four tickets to the game, and I was invited to tag along (the wife of the original friend having even less interest in sports than me at the time). I forget the exact final score, but the Nats won. In those prehistoric days during the MASN cable fight, the only way to follow the team was via radio or the newspaper. But it wasn't until July 4, 2006, listening to the radio when rookie No. 11 Ryan Zimmerman (whose uni number was 25 when he was called up in September the previous season) hit the game-winning home run in the bottom of the 9th, that I was well and truly hooked. He'd done it before against the mighty Yankees, but this was the first time I'd heard, live, Charlie Slowes' signature "Line Drive! Deep left field! Going! Going! and Gooooooonnne!" with the "gone" nearly drowned out by the cheers.

So in 2006, I went to around 10-15 games. By 2007, I'd bought myself a 20-game plan in the $5 outfield seats (that I actually sat in only twice -- the rest of the games I sat in the nearly empty left-field, upper-deck bleachers just beyond third base with my handy-dandy Bob Carpenter fan scorebook), as well as more than one jersey, cap and other team gear. The July 4, 2007, game I actually attended, and was utterly delighted to watch the Cubs walk Zimmerman (who was 2-for-2 with a homer already) to get to Dmitri Young, who in turn blasted a grand slam over the left-center-field wall.

Which brings us to the early part of the current 2008 season, with the Nats' record a lovely 3-8 so far. No worries. This year -- a gorgeous new stadium notwithstanding -- wasn't supposed to be a winner anyways.


In the early summer of 2006, the same friend of a friend (both of whom are named Peter), got tickets to a DC United game against Kansas City (I think). It was on the "loud" side, near the supporters section. Teen phenom Freddy Adu played, and DCU won 4-2. I loved how the Screaming Eagles and Barra Brava stood and cheered non-stop during the game, and how a good chunk of the DCU players acknowledged their cheers at the end of the game.

But it wasn't until the Spring of 2007, when I upgraded my TV from a pathetic 15-inch screen to a 22-inch screen (although not HD) as well as going from regular basic cable to digital with the sports package, that I was able to get Fox Soccer Channel and GolTV, which more often than not showed an actual game -- live or taped -- as opposed to ESPN's endless poker coverage. Of course, I missed the Beckham game due to a job-related business trip. At least that year was (by pure coincidence, of course) the first to have ESPN show live MLS games, so I was able to watch it from my hotel in California (as well as ESPN's coverage of the Nats-Giants game where Artificially-Inflated-Head Barry Bonds hit his Artificially-Inflated Record Home Run).

At the start of that season, I railed against the Offside Rule, thinking it the positively stupidest rule in sports. But by the end of that season, I'd begun to see the beauty in staying onside with a well-timed run -- or conversely, watching an opposing player fall into a well-executed offside trap. A low-scoring game? Maybe, but at least you have a good idea of when it's going to end.

In 2008, I'm a card-carrying Screaming Eagle and own a half-season plan, with my seat on the very edge of the SE section. I'm bummed that DCU bowed out of the CONCACAF Champions Cup despite its 2-1 win at RFK, but buoyed that its latest Latin American acquisitions (Peralta, Niell, Martinez, Gallardo, etc) appear to be starting to gel with the rest of the team.


It's 2008, but no, the friend-of-a-friend didn't get tickets. This time, it was an invite to attend a Capitals game in December in a corporate box at Verizon Center right on the blue line. It was three weeks or so into then-interim Coach Bruce Budreau's tenure, but well before anybody in their right minds would have predicted -- without some form of alcoholic reinforcement -- the Caps' storybook run to the playoffs.

My thought on the Metro was, "Well, at least the food will be good. Who knows, maybe a hockey game will actually interrupt this fight?"

First impression: Wow. These guys are FAST.

Second impression: They're not fighting.

Third impression: Damn, these guys are FAST.

Even to this newbie's eyes, No. 8 Alexander Ovechkin seemed to move somewhat differently than either his teammates or his opponents.

The Caps won (3-2, I think, against whom I don't remember). A month later, I bought myself a ticket to another Caps game, with my seat up in the noesbleed section. Watched a game that was just as fast as the first one I'd seen, but the Caps lost. On a total whim, I decided to attend the following home game against the Boston Bruins, whom the Caps utterly demolished in a 10-goal win.

Does it help that the Caps are now in the playoffs? Probably. But who cares? Ted Leonsis I'm sure doesn't.

Why Not:

Why not do a blog concentrating on the beauty, intricacies and nuances of just one sport? (A) I'm a new sports fan, so I don't pretend to know even one-sixteenth of all the minute details of any one sport, and (B) it's just not my style. As a kid, I loved sitting on the floor with four or five comics laid out in front of me, reading bits and pieces from each -- or just reading one cover-to-cover, depending on my mood.

Most sports fans cheer for their hometown teams. I'm a Global Nomad, i.e. I moved around a lot as a kid because of my Dad's job (Guatemala, Costa Rica, Connecticut, Panama, Connecticut, Morocco and Egypt before graduating high school). But I've lived in the DC area a total of 16-plus years now, between college and post-college. Three guesses what my hometown is.

So that's what this blog will be. Dunno how often I'll update it, but it's something I've been meaning to do for a while, now. We'll see how it goes.