2012 Year In Review

2012 aka The Greatest Year in My Adult Sporting Fandom! LOL (I know, I know I’m a couple of days late….sue me! LOL)

With Robert Griffin III and The Redskins making the playoffs this season, people have easily forgotten how great of a season its been for ALL DC Sports fans.  Two Divisional Titles with epic performances from the young, old and obscure made this a classic year.

 

Bryce Harper

The Nationals were the best team in baseball virtually the whole 2nd half of the season (Record-wise).  The early call-up of rookie phenom (and eventual Rookie of the Year) Bryce Harper energized a fan base who early on wondered would the early success last especially with the lack of offense, injuries to Ryan Zimmerman, “Beast Mode” Michael Morse, Jesus Flores, Drew Storen and Jayson Werth (and eventually Breakout Star Ian Desmond would be lost for a month later in the season).  Davey Johnson and staff did a helluva job with the pitching staff, who was outstanding throughout the long campaign.  Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzales both made the All Star team as did the aforementioned Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper.  Ryan Zimmerman took “The Corizone Shot from God” and came back with numbers that would have made him an MVP candidate.  Our REAL MVP candidate was Adam LaRoche, who after an injury filled 2011, came back with a vengeance.  He displayed Gold Glove winning defense and Silver Slugger winning power.  He stabilized what became the biggest improvement of the team during the resurgence to respectability, the team overall defense.   The 2nd half of the season was just a joy to watch for all Nats fans and the day we clinched the Division crown was an absolute joy, one of the greatest sporting moments of my life (NEVER deleting that from the DVR!).  We didn’t go into the playoffs with our best squad with the shutdown of Strasburg and losing a couple of series going into postseason, but for me, just getting there THIS year was more than enough for me….just dont get swept LOL.  We all know what eventually happened, after Jayson Werth provided us with a DC Sports moment of the ages with the walk-off HR in the bottom of the 9th in Game 4, we eventually lost Game 5 in the bottom of the 9th off our young closer Drew Storen.  Honestly, the Cardinals played better than us throughout the series, and we walked waaaaaaaaay too many batters throughout the series that it would eventually bite us in the ass, and it did.  Regardless, The Nationals are now a major threat to win the whole thing next year (especially if we can resign LaRoche) and for years to come.  Denard Span will now man CF so Bryce Harper can become settled in at a corner outfield position along with Werth at the other.  Also coming to the team this off-season is veteran Dan Haren to become the 5th starter. If he can show us anything from his earlier years, this will be the best rotation in the league as if it wasn’t already.  Ill take Strasburg, Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detweiler (who was the best pitcher in the postseason) against any rotation in the majors today. Natitude is alive and well!

Joel Ward and teammates celebrate!

Our Capitals didnt dominate the Regular Season like we normally do, and maybe that was a good thing going into the Stanley Cup playoffs this year, finishing 7th overall in the Eastern Conference matching up with the defending Cup Champs, the Boston Bruins.  Rookie Goalie Brandon Holtby was just outstanding and Joel Ward scored a series clinching overtime goal in the 7th and deciding game.  After winning a game like that, us Caps fans thought that quite possibly the demons of Postseason’s Past could finally be exercised.  Alas they werent as we were defeated by the hated New York Rangers again in 7 games.  Coach Dale Hunter who took over in midseason after the firing of fan favorite Bruce Boudreau, declined to return for the next season and we hired (another) former Caps great in recent Hall of Famer Adam Oates to take over the reigns.  Hopefully there will be a damn season to start soon enough! LETS GET IT TOGETHER OWNERS!!!!

Not much to say about the Wizards sadly smh.  We are the worst franchise in the sport as our only two players worth a damn (John Wall and Nene) both started the season injured.  Fun Times on Fun Street!  Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton haven’t developed much at all and we have the worst record in the sport with no light at the end of the tunnel.  Thanks Ernie Grundfeld for ALL of this!

 

The Rooks!

Lastly, Our Washington Redskins.  I’m not going to write much because that’s going to go into another posting. I do want to acknowledge the fact that this team, region, fan base is re-energized.  Even if we didn’t make the playoffs this season, you could finally see that the fruits of the labor of Bruce Allen, Coach Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan and most importantly, the scouting department is finally coming to fruition.   Long gone are the days where just making the playoffs was the ultimate ceiling for the team, we can now build a true contender which one day could make “just” winning divisional titles commonplace.  HAIL!

Oh, I know this posting is about DC Sports, but I’m a HUGE Kentucky Wildcats fan….and we won that chip last year….don’t get mad at Calipari, DEAL WITH IT…”Coach YOUR team!” GO BIG BLUE!

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March Madness>Your Sporting Life

I know, I know…these are kids….they aren’t pros….they aren’t this…they aren’t that…BUT I do know one thing they are…ENTERTAINING!  Every season, the NCAA Tournament is the most exciting, heart wrenching, fantastically awesome singular tournament in sports….PERIOD!

In the NBA Playoffs, 99 times out of 100, the better team wins. Same in the NHL Playoffs (albeit a hot goalie can change that sometimes, just ask my Capitals last year) and in Baseball, the team with the best starting pitching usually wins.  What makes the NCAA Tourney so awesome, is that ONE game, that one shining moment, can make or break a game, a title run. Single Elimination at its best. You get teams that perennially disappoint in the tourney like Georgetown and Pittsburgh out of the way, you get great theater while that occurs like VCU’s epic run to the Sweet 16 defeating Georgetown and Purdue in 2 games that werent even close and you get last year’s title game runner-up defeating Pittsburgh, who finds another method to blow the money before the Final Four.

You get great endings like Morehead State’s dagger 3 pointer to defeat Louisville in the 1st rd, Derrick Williams and his clutch And-1 Bucket vs a Texas team who like Pittsburgh always finds a way to lose (HELLO RICK BARNES?!?!!?!), San Diego State vs Temple in a 2 OT battle, Duke almost choking vs Michigan etc. I’ll take these kids and all of their lack of professional skill every day of the week.

We are now into the round of 16….everybody thinks its gonna end up Kansas vs Ohio State…….dont bet your house on it!

Thanksgiving Eve….

As I sit here developing a newfound hatred for my boy Steve Blake as he hits dagger 3’s for the Lake Show, I just watched 2 pretty good basketball games featuring My Wizards and My Kentucky Wildcats.

 

First, my Wizards pulled out a tough, comeback victory vs the Philly Sixers.  At one point they were down by 17, and as you all know, this Wizards team just isnt equipped to make these type of comebacks on a regular basis.  BUT for some reason, this team, for all of its obvious flaws, shows resiliency when they bring maximum effort. Javale McGee has played with renewed fervor the past week or so, had 24 pts and a career high 16 rebounds. He now leads the league in blocks…imagine when he learns not to jump for every pump fake…sky’s the limit.  John Wall returned from his 1st NBA injury and had 20 pts off the bench and hit 3 crucial free throws with 3 seconds remaining to send the game into OT.  Big 3 pt shots in OT from Gilbert Arenas and the actual game winner from Nick Young gave the fans at Verizon Center a reason to go home with a smile on their faces.

 

Secondly, this was my 1st opportunity to watch my Kentucky Wildcats play a legit Final Four contender early in the season in the Washington Huskies.  Highly touted freshman Terrance Jones had verbally committed to Washington but Coach Calipari used his “mojo” and got Jones to commit to the more awesome school.  This game was apart of the Maui classic but it was played with the intensity of a NCAA Tournament game.  He already has a pro body, he’s the prototypical Small Forward that NBA scouts will drool over next June.  He played a solid game but the star of the game was 2010’s #1 rated Point Guard prospect (also a Wildcat) Brandon Knight who was scintillating and sensational throughout (word to Dick Vitale even though Bill Raftery called the game on ESPN LOL).  My Cats are stacked again with 1 and Done freshman, hopefully this year we can hit some jumpshots and free throws when it really matters in March!

Wizards strike gold…win Draft Lottery…What next?

John Wall??? Evan Turner??? Trade Down??? Package pick for multiple players/picks?

What a quandary the Wizards are in….a GOOD one for a change. Doesn’t it feel good to truly have options Wizards fans? LOL

Now, if you didn’t know, I am an unabashed Kentucky Wildcats fan (sue me LOL). Now being as such, I am a huge proponent of drafting the player that has been pegged as the #1 overall selection in this draft for 2 years, that my friends, is John Wall. If you could have seen me in my bedroom as I watched the Lottery on TV….this is the only way I can describe how I felt at that moment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIutgtzwhAc (0:18 second mark). Now after calming down and coming down off my Cloud 99, I have now looked at this situation thoughtfully….YOU STILL DRAFT JOHN WALL!!!!!

I mean honestly, to me, its a no-brainer. 1st and foremost, I love Evan Turner, I really really do. I believe he will be a multiple time All Star but right now, this Wizards franchise needs a new “face” for lack of a better term. The last season was THE worst ever for this franchise, our best player locked up for pistol play IN the locker room, Caron “The Snitch” Butler traded along with Brendan Haywood and Antwan “The Consumate Professional although I dont play any defense” Jamison also being traded to Cleveland. As much as this city loves a reclamation project (ie Marion Barry), I just dont believe Gilbert Arenas can be “the face” of this franchise even if he’s still apart of it being virtually untradeable because of his contract.

If you’ve never watched a college basketball game, one thing that you notice when watching John Wall play, he’s a star point blank. You know when you see it…stars kinda exude confidence thru the screen somehow…they have “it”….and John Wall has “it”. He has all the physical tools you want your future point guard to have. He’s ultra quick with the ball, long armed, great athlete…reminds me of a more athletic Rajon Rondo, and he’s not really a pure point guard ala Steve Nash….and is automatically the best defender at the point guard position even if Gil remains and he’s a work in progress there.

Obviously being only 19 years old, he’s a work in progress but isn’t everybody? He’s a below average outside shooter but you can always improve there if you work hard in your craft and he’s a gym rat so I have no qualms that he wouldnt become at least a serviceable jumpshooter. Again, look how great Rondo is right now and he’s still a below average shooter, its more qualities in being a great point guard than shooting. Lastly, I believe he is a leader of men. As much as I love Gil, he just isnt a true leader. He’s stated it before in the media, turned down captaincy…so why force him to be that person. Wall on the other hand, seems to relish the fact of being THE Man…THE Leader…OUR Leader….Ladies and Gentlemen, your future #1 Draft Pick, from the University of Kentucky….John Wall.