Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports

Mar 23, 2015

Washington Post Sports Columnist Tom Boswell answered your questions about the Redskins, the Capitals, the Nationals, the rest of D.C. sports and more.

Past Ask Boswell chats

Why do coaches think that college educated players cannot finish the last two minutes of a basketball game without calling a timeout every 20 seconds to discuss strategy? The games become unwatchable in the last two minutes. Just give the coaches 1 timeout each half. Problem solved.

It's awful. And it's more than the last two minutes. The endless "trades" of a foul for the chance to get the ball back and shoot a trey are endless. Truly damages what have been great games until the last few minutes. SOMETIMES, it provides a miracle comeback. But not often enough for the trade off in enjoyment (for me).

The games this year have been VERY exciting. And I must have watched all or part of more than 30 of the 48. Great upsets. But the end-of-game marathon has been an intractable problem for many years. Cutting down timeouts might help.

Okay, chatters. Hope somebody can help here.  When was the last time the D.C. area -- broadly defined to include UVA, VCU, etc -- had such a bad first week when it had justifiably high expectations? With a No. 2, 4 and 4 seed in UVA, Md and GU, few thought it'd be OVER by today. Also, VCU at a No. 7.

Is this the most disappointing first week ever?

BTW, UVA looked bad against Belmont, so it wasn't much of a surprise that Michigan State didn't just win but soundly beat them. I assumed GU was over-seeded and would have a hard time with Utah -- expected an even game. I really thought Maryland would get a shot of Kentucky. But I didn't anticipate 23 turnovers. 

OK, Mr. B, say the Nats are under .500 after a couple of weeks. Will a full-scale panic start, or are team and fans' nerves stronger than that?

If Span and Rendon are out on Opening Day, and Rendon certainly doesn't seem to be coming back fast, then I expect fans will anticipate a tough April. Will Werth be back? Will he be hitting well or rusty?

For an N.L. East that was supposed to be a yawn, there may be quite a bit of buzz in April.

Other N.L. teams have bigger problems. Giants have been so bad that Bruce Bochy is openly worried that they "can't do any part of the game" properly. Post-Series blues, plus the loss of key parts like Panda. Dodgers have problems. They're in the market for a starting pitcher to fill out rotation for opening day after they just sent Ryu (28-15, 3.17 the last two years) back to LA to have his sore shoulder examined. Brandon McCarthy (the Fister pitch-alike, they look like the same pitcher -- both 6-8, same virtually-identical delivery, similar build, same pitches) -- has been so messed up he's working in a minor league game to get himself back together. Closer Kenley Jansen (foot surgery) has gone from crutches to a walking boot. Those are the kinds of things you don't want to hear in spring training.

OTOH, the Dodger youngsters are hitting like crazy -- Joc Pederson (.436), Alex Guerrero, signed from Cuba, .346, and Jusstin Turner, who hit well over .300 last year, is hitting .469. Can't project from ST, but it looks like the Dodger pipeline, and the Guerrero signing, may be producing. 

My previous question was written before Taylor's excellent weekend. That said, I still don't understand why Williams would bat him leadoff (regardless of Taylor's leadoff "skills") but wouldn't bat Harper higher than sixth. There's no way Taylor's OBP would be high enough to bat him leadoff. Does Williams have a double standard for prospects not named Harper?

Taylor has hit leadoff in the minors and is comfortable there. When he gets on, he can use his speed. You'd like to give him a chance to hit where he's accustomed to hitting rather than drop him near the bottom of the lineup immediately. At the top, he'll see more fastballs. At the bottom, they can junkball him with the pitcher or the 8-9 hitters up behind him.

Nott too many rookies hit to homers off Verlander, even in ST, as Taylor did on Sunday. Justin said he was impressed with the low-away pitch -- "a pitcher's pitch" -- that Taylor hit out to RF. Taylor said, "The wind helped." Smart rookie!

So far, Taylor's hitting .324 but with 0 walks, 11 K's but a 1.088 OPS including two doubles, two triples, three homers. That shows his (power) potential. It also shows why you don't want to rush him and damage him -- that's 0-11 ratio is a red flag. It'll be fascinating, but a little scary, to see him -- very likely -- as the starting CF for a month or more.

The Nats batted Harper sixth last year a lot of the time to take some pressure off him, help him have a relaxed big year. And maybe take him a little of the 3-4-5 spotlight/glamour off him. His injury prevented that from succeeding. Now he'll be asked to do heavy lifting at 3-4 for a long time, I assume. 

How do you think the health problems the NFL is dealing with will impact expansion into Europe? Can you imagine a time when US city and state legislators no longer want to do business with the NFL because of safety and stop building stadiums?

I think it's impossible to look 20 years in future on NFL because the range of outcomes is very wide. For many years you will have plenty of players who want to play pro football. But it's grass roots problems could be very large or not as bad as now seems likely.

Other sports have problems, but they usually turn out not to be as bad as predicted. MLB is always called too slow and "won't appeal to kids in the future." Yet its metrics and profits are booming. And tons of kids still learn it, play it and follow it. Twenty years ago, few if any foresaw how  much the NBA would be improved by a huge influx or gifted international players. The NHL is always "supposed to" lose its semi-major sport status because of a strike or weak franchises   or...or...but it never seems to fall back. However, NONE of these sports have ever had as serious a POTENTIAL problem as serious as football faces with worried parents and youth leagues or municipalities getting cold feet about safety. 

My dad played HS football and loved the Skins. I played football seven years through HS varsity. But I just know that if my parents were looking at a "permission slip" in 2015, there is no way they'd let me play.

My parents weren't "protective." Just the opposite. (I feel sorry for kids today. No wonder they watch screens all day -- where is the adventurous alternative? I was an "alley kid" who rode his bike all over D.C. when I was 9-10-11 -- gone all day. How is Mortal Kombat or some crap game going to compare with being chased by the real police for making too much noise (having too much fun). I doubt they really wanted to catch us. But it was fun thinking that they did. Scatter on bikes, re-arranged at "next alley," park or playground to re-group. Came home with glass in my knees or whatever. "Boys will be boys" still applied. We ran on the rooftops of an entire block of rows houses, sometimes jumping from one house to another with a 3-4-foot three-story drop between houses. Get in a scrap at school or a fight in a street game, no big deal, not worth mentioning. At 10-11 I got run over by a car on my bike. My parents didn't say, "Don't ride that bike again."

BUT there is NO WAY they would have let me play a sport where repetitive hits to the head  -- that were a basic part of the sport -- might lead to CTE.

It's going to be fascination to watch The Football Problem.

NO REINSTATEMENT INTO BASEBALL = NO HALL OF FAME PLAQUE! His accomplishments are already displayed in the Hall of Fame. Plenty of player's accomplishments are displayed in an exhibit on that person or on that person's team in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Pete's hit record is already in there. I know, I saw it. He knew Baseball's rules when he bet on his team. He signed an agreement for the ban. He lied about it and screamed at reporters at every opportunity that he did not bet on baseball. Not only that, but he's profiting from it! Baseballs signed by Pete Rose are inscribed with "I Bet on Baseball". You think this liar who broke the golden rule of baseball should have an individual plaque HONORING him and his accomplishments?! OH H-E-(double hockey sticks) NO! I do NOT want to see him honored in the same hall as my idols Walter Johnson, Harmon Killebrew, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Earl Weaver and Cal Ripken Jr.!!!! He doesn't deserve to be among those players! Rant done!

Thanks, Bud. Always glad to know what you're thinking in retirement. (Or was that you, Fay? I just can't tell.)

Here's my column on the Rose Question of reinstatement that's now up.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/consider-pete-rose-for-hall-of-fame-but-dont-let-him-back-into-baseball/2015/03/23/34ec9670-ce73-11e4-8c54-ffb5ba6f2f69_story.html

Boz, The officiating in this year's tournament seems inconsistent at best. Too many missed calls and wrong calls. How are officials selected? And how do they move forward?

Gosh, I have never heard basketball officials criticized in March!

Some things are eternal. Fortunately. Like refs impacting (or deciding) key games. In MLB, there may be automated umps calling balls and strikes someday. BUT as long as there is basketball, there will always be some human required to Screw Up the Block-Charge call.

(I loved the end of the SMU game if for no other reason that that it was clear that not one of the TV talking heads was absolutely sure what "goal tending" actually was. Oh, some were pretty sure. But you could tell they were all thinking, "Uh oh, I could really look stupid on this one.) The Post ran an instant online poll of readers on a simple "Yes"or "No" on the call AND we included thee entire rule and video of the call from multiple angles. After the first 1,000 responses, it was exactly 50 percent to 50 percent! I've never seen a call that -- with "Total Relevant Information" in hand was still 50-50! Must be fun to be a big-time ref  -- not.

We have Incoming Data on past disappointing March results for top DC teams.

The Post blog pod kicks in that in '10 No. 4 Maryland lost to No. 5 MSU in second round. And No. 3 Georgetown lost in FIRST round.

(Shows where the Hoyas national stature now resides when NOT losing to Eastern Washington in the first round means your season is "not too bad." (Who knew there was an Eastern part of Washington. I thought it was still recovering from the Big Burn of 1910. Now they have a basketball team!)

In '13, GU was a No. 2 and VCU a No. 5 and both lost in round of 32.

Neither of those is nearly as bad as last weekend.

Here's Scott Allen on the Lost Weekend.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2015/03/23/it-was-not-a-good-weekend-for-the-dmv-teams-in-the-ncaa-tournament/

What do you know about Maryland's incoming recruiting class? After last night's debacle, it's obvious they do not have a ball handler beyond Melo.

I know GU's incoming recruting class is ranked 25th by 24-7 Sports and that UVA loses "only" Darion Atkins, plus MAYBE Justin Anderson if he goes pro. (Atkins was the only UVA starter who didn't stink -- 10 pts, 14 rebounds, two blocks. The rest looked like MSU smacked 'em in the face in the first 15-4 minutes, played wild/crazy/loose and Virginia got tight, worried and shot horribly.)

Maryland had four frosh on the floor together vs WVa and got a nice tournament from Nickens. I think Turgeon's program took a very nice step up this year. They're not as good as their "lucky" (in close games) 28-7 record, but then they were unlucky the previous season. They're making good progress, especially after the wave of defections after last season. If finding a SECOND point guard, to play behind Trimble, is your big problem, then you don't have much of a problem at all. Those can be found.

....

Mini-flash: Max Scherzer named opening day starter for Nats.

ERA's of Nats starters this spring: Zimmermann 1.32, Scherzer 1.93 (1-14 W/K ratio), Strasburg 3.18, Fisteer 3.24 and Gio 4.15.

The only one really struggling is Tanner Roark: 9-15-(9-9)-2-0, 9.00 ERA.

With the Nats celebrating ten years in the District, do you have any random memories that stand out since they've been in town? I think one of my favorites might have been the time that Davey Johnson made a pitching change with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, bases empty, with the Nats up 6-0 and about to finish off a four-game sweep in Philadelphia. The smile on his face as he came back to the dugout was priceless.

I remember the smile!

The Phils were the first team the Nats "killed" in the N.L. East in the sense that they broke their will or showed that there was a new sheriff in town. Last year it was the Braves who've fired their GM and gone to rebuild mode after finishing 17 games behind.

Now, the Marlins look like they want to get frisky. Jordan Zimmermann said he thought Henderson Alvarez (Maimi star RHer) threw at him in ST game. Zimmermann then threw at Alverez (didn't hit him.) More to come.

Of course, the teams that the Nats have to "laugh last" at -- or smile last at -- are the ones they meet in the playoffs, like Cards, Giants and, this year, probably Dodgers.  

Scherzer, Stras, or Zimm. All great candidates. Who gets it? Why? Do they deserve it?

They just named Scherzer. Strasburg has a mildly sprained ankle. So that's a reasonable cause for him not to start.

If I were Jordan Zimmermann, I wouldn't feel insulted. But it sure would cross my mind that they gave the start to a guy who'll be in  town for the next seven seasons, not the guy who has done so much for them the LAST several seasons but is now, almost certainly, going, going...

What do you think of WVU's performance against Terps last night? It literally made me sick to see how they played, especially in light of Trimble's three falls. I wonder if they intentionally targeted him with the first two hits. Do you think the refs need to change how they call fouls in such games?

I thought it was a wonderful game until about three minutes before Trimble got hurt and came out. WVa had just taken control of the game, looked like they had worn down Md with their press, tempo and brutal offensive rebounding. It was a rugged game, which WVa no doubt liked since they play ended to end, use 13 players and love to crash the boards and absorb lots of fouls (called on them) to force chaotic turnovers. But it wasn't an unusually tough game, I didn't think.

The first Trimble fall was a normal basketball fall on a hard drive. I don't remember that as dirty. The pick should have been a foul, but not a flagrant. Were they looking to take a shot at Trimble? Sure, this is Huggins team -- even his daughters were tweeting...oh, you probably already know the 10th-rate stuff they were supposedly tweeting. No doubt we'll find out if those were their real Twitter accounts. (Yawn.) 

The fall that knocked Trimble out had no contract with any WVa player. Looked like Damonte Dodd accidentally kneed him in the head jumping over him. 

It wasn't a good weekend for classy gentlemen coaches -- the kind I'd like to see at an institution that represented me -- Tony Bennett, John Thompson III and Mark Turgeon. Too bad. I'd prefer that people/coaches like that succeed, rather than Calipari, Huggins, Pitino.

Enjoyed seeing Tom Izzo run his record to 13-1 in Round of 32 games. He really does out-coach people in March and I thought he out-coached Bennett in the most basic area -- motivation, passion to start the game. "They didn't look ready to play" are not the words you want to hear about a team you coach.

With the likelihood of multiple starters starting the season on the DL, how do you see that effecting the bench players on the roster. With Uggla hitting well in ST would the Nats actually put him on the roster if it is likely only for a few weeks until others are healthy or would they let him go and try to get signed by another team?

Uggla could be a pretty amazing steal. I've assumed he was a courtesy gesture by Rizzo to a favorite player, just hoping he'd bounce back at age 35 for no specific reason.

My bad. There WAS a specific reason -- the most basic one for a hitter. Uggla appears to have had vision problems the last couple of years which may have been fixed now. It's not just that he's hitting .310 with a 1.046 OPS in Florida. It's that he has SEVEN walks and only four strikeouts in 37 PAs.

This guy swings and missed more than a broken ceiling fan. Now he's making contact?!! Will it continue? Where do you use him? If you think Dan Uggla is back to 90 percent of the Uggla of  '06-'14, then he's on the team. Who does he replace? Take your pick. Because, even at 35, he has value.

Is this a fluke? If it isn't, this will only add to Rizzo's reputation for seeing things a level deeper, having better connections and info pipelines. Granted, Uggla is one of his favorites. But when you talk to him it is very impressive the huge number of players and people in the game that he has a LONG connection with. Knowledge is power, example No. 1,000,000,000.

The recent history of pitchers sent down (Lannan) or to the bullpen (Detwiler) for the good of the team hasn't been good for the pitchers themselves. Roark is saying all the right things about going to the bullpen, but only a robot wouldn't be affected, after having a breakout season that would have him starting virtually anywhere else, by the decision. Does the Nats braintrust have any worries about the long-term impact of the move? Thanks, Tom.

I'd been a little worried. Lannan didn't have much of a ceiling. Detwiler had a good sinker and potential but...

Roark, however, had one of the best years, any way you measure it, in baseball last year. And he is under team control through 2019. You  CAN'T screw him up. Even if he "isn't as good as '13-'14," then it's hard to believe he can't be in a good rotation for the next several years. I'll be back in Viera this week and see what's up with him. Sometimes ST performance really does mean nothing. His 2-9 W/K ratio is OK. Maybe hits have just been finding holes. 

If the Nats don't make it out of the first round of the playoffs this year (assuming they will make it), do you think the fans develop the same anxiety that Caps fans have over the years?

Thee Nats are where the Caps were in the late '80's as far as playoff disappointments. Come back in 25 years and we'll see how it's worked out.

Seriously, the Nats have lost two DS to classy traditional powers that had recently won World Series. The Caps, even though I've defended their record since the mid-'90's, probably have THE ugliest post-season "tradition" in the last  30+ years of pro sports -- any sport.

As soon as anybody compares any D.C. area team to the Caps, I want to say, "Don't forget to take your troll meds."

Bos, while it looks like today's big story out of Viera will be the announcement of the opening day starter, I'm wondering about the line-up. Span is out until May (or later). Rendon looks unavailable in early April. Michael Taylor, enticing power but inexperienced & strike out prone, looks like a back of the order guy. Who leads off? Escobar, assuming he's ready to go in two weeks)? Harper, a la Davey's old line-ups? What you be your batting order given the potential opening day roster?

We've got two weeks to figure out who's standing, who can swing, etc. I'll look at the variables and variations in Viera when I get back there. It helps when you can write down 3) Harper, 4) Zimmerman. Then (for now) have Desmond and Ramos behind them.

As long as Rendon is okay -- not some mystery problem or surgery, just a sore knee (which is what it seems to be), then a team with Rendon, Harper, Z'man, Werth, Desmond, Ramos at 2-3--4-5-6-7 should be able to play without problems. When have they EVER had their "real" lineup for most of a season. There actually ARE teams that stay healthy all season. Not many, but some. They often end up in the Series. Like the incredibly lucky Royals who had NINE players last year who played ion 131-to-162 games, including a catcher (Perez) in 150. They had a bench player (Jarrod Dyson) who played in 120.

Everything reverts. In '13, the Cards hit >.330 with RISP. Last year, they were near the absolute bottom in the same stat. With a lot of the same players. Royals better cross their fingers on injuries.

So, when do the Nats "revert" and stay healthy? (Shhh, their pitching HAS been pretty healthy in recent years.) 

I realize that it is Spring Training, but he is still not hitting and is way below the Mendoza line. Isn't it about time to cut the cord in favor of a lefthanded bat off the bench?

.138.

Tough game.

Things don't work out the way they always seemed to in John R. Tunis' "The Kid From Tompkinsville" and "High Pockets."

Nice piece today by James Wagner on how Jerry Blevins is the Nats' resident bullpen intellectual. In all your years of covering sports, who are the smartest athletes you’ve encountered? I’m not talking about athletes with a high baseball or basketball IQ, but athletes with an extensive knowledge of - or interest in - art, culture, history, science, etc. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar comes to mind, but I’d love to hear who you’ve personally interacted with that impressed you. Thanks for these chats.

Bill Veeck. By 100 miles. On Anthony Trollope, "just a small town Dickens." Melville: "I like 'Omoo' and 'Typee' better than Moby Dick." Robert Frost: "A man who convinced others to accept his own evaluation of himself. I'll take Poe."

The day I met him, I asked him what he'd been reading. "In the last week?" he said. Finished books on the Horn of Africa and 13th-century Manchuria, and Aztec culture. Working on novels by Iris Murdoch and Anthony Burgess. A history of Catherine the Great's Russia. A comparative  study of Spanish-speaking countries in the western hemisphere.

"I must be terribly undiscriminating, because I find everything interesting," he said. Also, he could only sleep three or four hours a night because he was in so much pain from his (amputated) leg which he like 23 surgeries and numerous other afflictions he never complained about.

A few others, in no order: Just "real smart." Doesn't have to be academic, but can be.

Jim Palmer. (Teammate: "Shhhh, Jimmy's reading Dr. Zhivago. He thinks it's about an elbow surgeon.") Mike Flanagan. John Riggins and Reggie Jackson -- love to know which has the higher ID. Davey Johnson and Whitey Herzog: same question. Jayson Werth, one of the best teammates and most popular in his own clubhouse of any Washington (or Baltimore) athlete that I've covered closely. John Thompson, Jr. 

More next week, maybe.  

Your take on yesterday's debacle at Red Bull Arena? Surely, you found time to watch that game amid the NCAA hoop-la...right?

Recently I was very surprised, and sorry, to see how seldom D.C. United has drawn 20K to a home game. Assume RFK was big part of problem.

I missed the 2-0 loss to New York on Sunday.

I once made a list of the sports that I have covered as a beat. (I think I covered 15 tennis U.S. Opens at one stage.) It was scary. I covered the Diplomats for two years and it still nudge soccer into the Top 10 sports that I'd covered most. (Yes, I was once the Post's pro bowling editor. You haven't lived until you've bowled in a PBA Tour pro-am.) 

When you get to bowling and Red Bull Arena that means it's time to stop. Sure would have been more fun to talk about Maryland, GU and UVa's chances this week. Oh, well... My Final Four still has Kentucky, Arizona and Gonzaga alive, I think. Everything else, in shred. Does anybody in America still have a documented perfect bracket?

See everybody next week. Spring's near! See you next week.

I thought MD and Gtown essentially met expectations. Both won their first game. And both lost games (4 seed v. 5 seed) that are supposed to be essentially tossups. MD was forced to play against a pressing team for the last quarter of the game without their best ballhandler and best overall player. Georgetown was tied with Utah with something like four minutes left and just didn't make as many plays down the stretch. Sure, throw UVa into the mix, and I get your question, but it's hard to be too disappointed when two of the three major programs essentially par the hole.

That's probably a sensible view. I'm somewhat disappointed. 

Great column, Boz, but I'm still curious -- from what you know of the mentality of the voting membership, if Pete were put on the Hall ballor or before the Veterans Committee, how do you think the voting would go?

Thanks. I honestly have no sense of it. The HOF voting "morals clause" is pretty vague. But Rose broke the No. 1 rule -- by many miles. And he jumped up and down on it with his gambling, then for 15 more years with his lying and false accusations against others. That clause is not a generalized "good guy" clause, which means you could theoretically throw Cobb or Ruth out because they were flawed in some way you don't like. It is a BASEBALL behavior clause. Like Mark McGwire admitting that he used steroids when they were banned  -- specifically against the rules of the game.

Rose may bee the extreme case. All-time hits leader. But the all-time breaker of the Game's Biggest Rule.

I've changed my mind on Rose in HOF more than once. What matters now is: Don't reinstate him. Work on HOF after that. But, honestly, I don't like his chances much there either.

(Someday the Veterans Committee -- or the committee to re-re-replace the veterans committee -- will induct everyone who ever had 500 hits or 50 wins.)

The dropped shoulder to Melo's face, the incessant trash talk. Am I an upset Maryland homer, or do I have a legit gripe (or somewhere in between)? That was hard to watch last night...

In between.

West Virginia is not in consideration for the Sportsmanship Award. And it definitely doesn't appear to bother them.

A buddy and I, both longtime Washingtonians, decided to get season tix to the Wiz the year after they drafted Wall. They were $1k a seat for 100-level and they said they would not raise prices for three years. We did it and loved it, watching some absolutely horrific basketball along the way. Last year, they raised the price from $1k to around $1.5K for this season. We grudgingly renewed because of the experience. Now, they have raise the price again by almost another $500 per seat and the sales guy went from being oh-so-nice to threatening us with not letting us keep THIS SEASON's seats for the playoffs. We're really turned off. There's the emotional part of being a fan and champions of lost causes and then there's the realistic issue of them doubling the price of the tickets. What would you do?

"Sounds like a stormy romance."

My respect for you has grown even more with your choice of The Clash's Clampdown. My choice is Death or Glory. If you care, the Wikipedia page for Clampdown has the mumbled lyrics deciphered, all though with poor sourcing. Nothing objectionable: The kingdom was ransacked, the jewels got taken back And a chopper descends They hid it in the back, and they switched it on and off But the tape of spool just ends, they say now I'm back Hit at his face in a crack But he said there's a click on the lens What are we going to do now?

"Death or Glory...it's just another story."

I prefer the mumbling. Thanks.

Maryland fans should stop feeling down. The baseball team just moved up to No. 11 in the National rankings. Do you watch any college ball, Boz? Thanks and love the chats.

Time for the Terps tonight vs. Princeton (31-0)!

Don't think Princeton can run or rebound with 'em.

With Matt Wieters likely on the DL to start the season, do you think he is done as a catcher (and maybe better suited at 1B or a DH)? And do the Orioles have enough depth to overcome multiple major injuries?

Wieters was 0-for-23 in ST. Ouch. Bud Norris (9.26) and (of course) Ubaldo Jimenez (8.74) are a worry. Otherwise, pitching still looks good and Steve Pearce is still on fire (.355, four homers). But O's look like 85-87 wins to me.

Hey Tom, I say your discussion of your choice of Opening Day starter in last week's chat. I also saw Barry S. had a similar discussion in the paper a couple of days ago, in which he brought up the potentrial value to each of the starters of the honor of opening day starter. Without getting into specifics of the Nat's starting rotation, I'd like to know in general how much importance MLB pitchers place on being (or not being) named opening day starter. Thanks!

Usually, they don't give a damn. Which is why, usually, I don't give a damn. If I find out that one of more of the Nats actually cares about this -- which I doubt -- I'll let you know. This is an imaginary "issue." But a mildly interesting curiosity. It DOES matter a ton in a five-game Division Series!!! Then it's as huge as it is a sidebar for Opening Day.

Seriously, in a perverse way, don't you have to respect what he's done at Kentucky? He seems to have removed any pretense of the student-athlete mythology from the process. He puts together a basketball team to win the national title, knowing full well most of the recruits will leave as soon as possible. Forget education, forget loyalty to good ole' State U. Just win. Nobody at Kentucky seems to be complaining. About 20 years ago, I worked in sports broadcasting, and interviewed Calipari once in a group setting. When we were done, I had the uncontrollable urge to check to see if my watch and wallet were still there. He's that kind of guy. But at least he's up front about it. Which is why I think he makes so many people who work in (and cover) college sports so uneasy. What are your thoughts on him and what he's doing?

So, you love Vladimir (Honest Vlad) Putin, right?

Cheers.

Mike Mussina is on a lot of writers' lists, too. You covered him back in the days. Do you agree?

Yes, definitely.

Brenda Frese, of course (though if you've seen her video locker-room celebrations, she's slightly goofy as well, which is why Terp fans love her). Keeping my fingers crossed the Maryland women will disappoint the President tonight and advance to face Duke, whose fans still sting from "the shot" and "overtime is our time" back in 2006.

Could be a tough night for the hoop-loving POTUS. 

BTW, the NCAA players talking trash about the Barack-etology stuff need a crash course in Respect for the Office of the Presidency. But then so do a lot of others.

On Saturday Berger played the par-5s in par, birdie, eagle, albatross. As incredible as that is I was even more amazed when the commentators said there have only been 121 albatrosses since 1970 but since 1983 it's the third time someone has hit for the par-5 cycle in the same round! 6-under on 4 holes, not bad. That's how you play Boz, right?

Nice info.

Yup, just like me. I once had an 18-inch putt for an eagle at Sea Island. I left it short. (How come I only leave 'em "long" when I chat. Out.) 

In This Chat
Thomas Boswell
A Washington Post columnist since 1984, Thomas Boswell is known for the many books he has written on baseball, including "How Life Imitates the World Series" and "Why Time Begins on Opening Day."
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