Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sunday Smorgasbord 1-14

  • So David Beckham is coming to the U.S. to play soccer in the MLS. Well whoop-dee-doo... The MLS has a reputation of being a lower tier league where the big European stars come to finish off their careers. The Beckham signing does nothing to dispute that reputation. In its short history, the MLS has sold off their better American players to the European leagues because the quality of play is better in Europe than it is in the United States. This isn't to say that the Beckham signing is a total bust before it even starts. The MLS will sell more tickets this year because of him and that will get the league more attention as a result. But the odds that the quality of play in the league will improve are nill. Anchultz is rich enough to absorb any loss from the signing so the league shouldn't suffer too much if this does turn out to be a bust. One can only hope that Beckham will mentor his L.A. Galaxy teammate, Landon Donovan, and teach him how to be a more disappointing player for the U.S. National Team than he already is.
  • And since I'm on the subject of soccer, what in the world is going on with D.C. United? I can't say that I blame them for getting rid of Freddy Adu and Head Coach Peter Nowak, but what's with the total rebuild? I know the season ended in disappointment, but the team still won the MLS Supporter's Shield for the best record in the league and had a hard fought loss in the Eastern Conference Finals. Yeah, the team didn't react well down the stretch to the grind of the season, but I'm starting to get a bad feeling about all of these South American players they are supposedly bringing in. D.C. United has international competition coming up next month so time's a wasting here. I don't think they want to waste what they earned by winning the Supporter's Shield by embarassing themselves in International Competition.
  • In American Football this weekend, Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer lived up to his reputation as a playoff choker and Phillip Rivers once again folded in the big game as the Chargers went down to the Patriots 24-21. In an interesting twist, the other AFC team to earn a first week bye and second week home game, the Ratbirds also flopped big time. When was the last time the two top seeds in a conference lost on the same weekend? The guys over at Bad Idea Blue Jeans do a great job summing up the Colts win for me.
  • The bad thing of course about the Ratbirds loss is that we'll have to continue to hear all the whining and crying out of the Bhawlmuher fans over "being robbed" of the Colts. Bottom line is Balitmorons, when an airplane can crash into your stadium during a game and only the passengers on the plane are hurt, you aren't supporting the team. Cry all you want about the incompetent management of the Irsays but it isn't hard to find Redskin fans willing to complain up and down the street about Dan Snyder. Yet in spite of the complaints about Dan Snyder, he not only gets 90,000+ people to come to his stadium on gameday, he has a waiting list long enough to fill the stadium more than two times. You abandoned that team just like you're in the process of abandoning the B.O.'s. It is your fault and your fault only that the Colts moved and should we be lucky enough to have the same fate befall the B.O.'s; it won't be the fault of Peter Angelos, the Washington Nationals, and/or Ted Lerner but your's and your's alone.
  • The last undefeated team in NCAA Division 1 came into College Park yesterday and the Terps handed Klempsun their first loss. While it wasn't as thrilling Maryland's 89-83 overtime defeat of #1 and undefeated North Carolina on January 14, 1998 at Cole (a game I was at BTW and I have a picture of me storming the court after the game), it was just as gusty of a performance by the Terps, especially after Wednesday night's game against Miami which was as ugly of a basketball game as I have ever seen. This is a team that does not give up easily and won't lay down and die when faced with some adversity. Maryland should end up back in the NCAA Tournament this year and how far they go depends upon the draw that they get, but it is going to be another season or two before Maryland returns to the college basketball elite.
  • Well, the NHL certainly threw everybody a curveball with their All-Star reserves. The list of snubs is long and reads like a whos-who of NHLers. Jaromir Jagr left off? Mats Sundin? Jerome Iginla? Not counting the starters who were voted in by internet hackers the fans, you have 14 players making their first appearance in the All-Star game. Throw in the starters and of the 42 players on the rosters, 20 are in the All-Star game for the first time. Did the NHL make a concerted effort to get the newer players into the game? How much did that influence the politics and the desire to have every team represented in the game? Of course, the debate is going to rage on for weeks about all of this. The ratings of the All-Star game will certainly be scrutinized as well because of the selections, but in the end what is important is that the game itself means nothing. I couldn't tell you off the top of my head who won or lost an All-Star and I suspect most fans are the exact same way.
  • What makes all the first timers in the All-Star game even more odd is the NHL's Young Stars game. Looking at the rosters you don't see much in the way of snubs. In fact you could make arguments against some of the players in that game. Of course, we need to mention that Mike Green made the Eastern Squad. He follows Brian Sutherby who played in the game for the Caps a few years ago and was named MVP. But four-on-four pond hockey is anything but a true demonstration of the player's skills. I feel sorry for the goaltenders in that game because they'll be giving up a lot of goals and don't have anybody to relieve them.
  • Put me squarely in the camp of people who think that Jim Bowden, Stan Kasten, and the Lereners have treated Frank Robinson poorly and with the ultimate disrespect. I can understand and respect that the brain trust of the Nationals do not want Frank to guide the team on the field during the rebuilding process. I even understand that these guys feel that Frank's personality clashes too much with theirs in order for him to be an effective member of the front office. But what upsets me is the lying to a man who always made it clear where he stood and where you stood with him. If they wanted to simply get rid of the guy and be done with him, they should have done it a whole lot sooner and with much more class. I seriously doubt that it took them this long to realize that they didn't want him around. They strung Frank along at the end of the season by leaving his future in doubt. They then further strung him along during the off season before finally giving him an insult of an offer to be at Spring Training. This does not bode well as far as I am concerned for Kasten or Bowden. It is simply wrong to treat a guy like Frank Robinson in that fashion and if they are willing to do this to a guy who is a legend in Major League Baseball and single-handedly kept the Montreal/Washington teams competitive; imagine what they are willing to do to those who don't have a resume as impressive as Frank's? That isn't how you go about building a first class organization from top-to-bottom.
  • Ok, this week, the Caps continuing their road trip on Tuesday night by facing the Ottawa Senators in Kanata at 7:30 pm. They then head down to Raleigh to face the Carolina Hurricanes again on Thursday night at 7 pm. The Caps then head into the All-Star break hosting the Florida Panthers on Saturday afternoon at 1 pm at the Phone Booth. The Maryland Men's Basketball team heads to Virginia to play the Cavaliers and Hokies. The Terps play their first game in the new UVA arena on Tuesday night at 8 pm and are in Blacksburg on Sunday night at 7:30 pm on Fox SportsNet ACC Sunday Night Hoops.
  • As always, please send all questions, comments, corrections, suggestions, criticisms, and Super Bowl party ideas (hey, it's never too late to start) to "capsnut" over at gmail dot com.



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