Talk D.C. Sports: No Clown Questions, Bro

Feb 03, 2016

Scott Allen and Clinton Yates of the D.C. Sports Bog answered questions about all things D.C. sports.

Happy Wednesday, gang. I want to personally thank everyone for stopping by today as this is a special edition of Bog Chat. It's my last one, as I'm moving on to ESPN and Friday is my last day at The Washington Post. Yes, I am sad, but yes, I am excited.

The chat has been a fun development since we started a couple months ago, and all the conversation about food, Dan Uggla, butt slaps and everything else in between has been a great midweek respite from the world of sports.

We occasionally talk about stuff actually related to the games, but either way, it's been a great time. So, much appreciated.

Update: we all had Thai takeout for lunch, and Scott was the unfortunate winner of The Sombrero, the daily award given to the person whose food comes last. Then we all got rained on the whole walk back.

Good times! Let's do this.

It's getting a little dusty in here...or maybe that's just some rain on my face from the walk back from lunch. We're working on getting Clinton to continue doing this Bog Chat after he leaves us. (I mean, if he can still play on The Post softball team...)

Last Friday game against Rhode Island, in the first half Kevin Larsen went 0-6 shooting with 2 turnovers. You would think a guy from Denmark wouldn't get so rattled playing during a snowstorm.

I'm so glad there's an Atlantic 11 comment during this Very Special Bog Chat. The pith above comes from reader Steve, who submitted it via e-mail during Snowzilla. I could make an excuse about it getting lost in 18-24" of snow, but honestly, I just forgot to include it. Sorry, Steve. 

Check out this week's A11 Poll, which features several Iowa caucus jokes.

What are the chances of Kevin Durant becoming a Wizard?

Zero. At least if he's smart. Let's face it: the Wizards are not a good team. Say all you want about the hometown love (something I actually think is a downside to the possibility), but why would he go from a team that's pretty solid to a team that is not?

There have been quite a few rumors about the Warriors now becoming the front runner for his services and the Lakers have been out there for a while as a possibility. But back to my point, overall, people keep forgetting about the quality of basketball, as if Durant's goal isn't to win an NBA Championship, which he's never done.

"Coming home" gets him a ton of fans. He already has that. "Coming home" gets him an absurd crush of media attention that likely makes his job much harder from an expectation standpoint. Lastly, I repeat, "coming home" puts him on a bad team. That's rarely a smart move if you're looking to win. Pretty basic math.

I hadn't realized that the articles from The Post had been gathered into a book, but I just ordered and received it. I was very impressed by the depth he went into on his subjects--Ryan Zimmerman, Doug Fister (I miss him), Drew Storen, Tyler Moore (my favorite--shock!), and Chelsey Clinton. I admit I didn't read the chapters about the scout and Rizzo yet. I think it's a must have for Nationals fans. It gives a great deal of insight into these players (and Chelsey) as people. Sometimes it seems as if the people who post on WaPo think of the players as robots or chessmen--replaceable and not human. They are all VERY human, and there should be more compassion shown to them. I don't care how much they are paid. "If you prick us, do we not bleed?"

If you haven't read The Grind, it's a perfect book to check out before pitchers and catchers report in a couple weeks. I may read it again before then.

There's a reason it's up for the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing (along with fellow Post colleague Kent Babb's excellent book about Allen Iverson).

Did you know Cam is black? You must by now after WaPo and ESPN has spent two weeks going on ad nauseum. Enough already. He was a cheater in college and his daddy got him a nice pay day. Celebrates a first down like he just won the super bowl and isn't cerebral enough to win the big one. Hopefully a week from now we can talk about Manning, one of the greatest QBs of all time, and get over this media darling

Let me explain this very clearly, because there seems to be a little piece of history that might be escaping you. 

For years, black football players were not allowed to play quarterback. Literally, guys would come into the league and be forced to switch positions because powers that be couldn't handle the basic concept of a black man leading their football team. They were perceived to be not smart enough or not good enough for the job.

You know who one of those guys were who had to switch positions to play in the league? You guessed it: Tony Dungy (He was a quarterback at Minnesota). The same guy who last time I checked, was pretty instrumental in one Peyton Manning's development as a quarterback in the league.

That aside, you sound like a ton of fun at parties. Cam Newton is the best and most exciting player in the league and that is beyond obvious. If you hate that, I can see why you wouldn't like Newton.

The Nats sent out an email this week advertising group ticket sales- including Opening Day. Have they forgotten about the Phillie invasion in 2010? Granted, Miami is much farther than Philly, but why risk it? Especially on a day when they'll be honoring Harper's MVP- throw the home fans a bone and actually let us purchase single game tickets before trotting out the groups sales.

I doubt the Nats have forgotten about the Great (OK, Terrible) Phillies Fan Invasion of 2010.

I wouldn't worry much about being able to find tickets for Opening Day -- a 4:05 p.m. start on a Thursday -- for a decent price on the secondary market if it comes to that. I definitely wouldn't worry about Marlins fans snatching up a bunch of tickets. They averaged 21,000 fans per home game last season. Also, why would anyone leave Miami for D.C. in early April?

I guess it's possible that a bunch of Mets fans could buy tickets to crash Bryce Harper's MVP ceremony and say hi to playoff hero Daniel Murphy... 

With Clinton leaving the Post, it shouldn't be considered outside the realm of possibilities that WaPo pick up Desmond as a middle infielder for their softball team.

Well for one, that's not necessarily an upgrade. HEYYYYYYYYYYYYYOOOOOOOOO

Kidding, obviously, but I do think Ian made a huge mistake on two separate fronts when he turned down a longer deal a couple years back for I want to say $100M, and then another when he turned down the qualifying offer. I don't know what he was thinking there. The guy clearly belongs in the big leagues.

As for softball, I'm leaving the job, not the softball team. The same goes for Alex Prewitt (who left for Sports Illustrated last year), so our infield is still pretty intact. Swag levels have not decreased.

...but will Scott continue the chat?

This question came up at lunch. I'm pretty sure Bog Chat will continue in some form, but I think I'm pretty boring by myself, so maybe I can convince Dan to participate every now and then. Dan Steinberg, that is, but Dan Uggla would probably also make a good co-chatter.

That is not obvious, it's your opinion. A totally unnecessary butthurt racial rant directed at that chatter. They said nothing about having a problem with Cam being black, just that the media has overdone it. And I agree with OP, enough with the ridiculous celebrations for everything by Cam. Broncos D is going to shut him down.

*cues Hot Take alarm*

Name a better player who's equally exciting. I'll hang up and listen. And if you watched that presser yesterday, you'd know that yes, his race came up quite a bit, and it wasn't he who brought it up.

Also, if you don't like celebrations, I'm not sure why you'd like sports. That's what they call "the fun part."

Was a running quarterback at Minnesota (I believe they ran the veer). He only threw 200 passes his senior year, completing 44%. There was no chance he was going to be an NFL quarterback. He wasn't forced not to play quarterback, he used his superior athletic (oh no, is that racist) to find a way to play another position in the NFL. He is a bad choice for this argument.

This is genuinely hilarious. Because YOU don't think Dungy was fit to be in the NFL suddenly the systematic exclusion of black players from leadership positions in the league is a falsehood? Get a grip. 

And yes, that is bordering on a racist comment because I'd argue that not unlike how he engineered quite a few good teams in Indy, he used his brain as much as his body to play another position. 

Is it possible to like him, think he's the best player in the league, but also be annoyed at some of the articles written about him, especially ones that act like the only reason people might not like him is because he's black? People don't like Tom Brady or the Yankees either. When you're on top of the world, everybody (other than your fans) hates you, that's never going to change. Sports aren't super rational with regard to likes and dislikes, that's kind of the point.

People don't like Tom Brady or the Yankees? That's news to me.

But yeah, again, the discussion about race being a component to people dislike for Cam doesn't have to exist only in one realm. Intersectionality, kiddos!

Schoolyard rules. Nobody knows what team they are on, select two captains, the players line up and are picked off. No penalties, but the offender has to take laps around the field. Players on the bench must beg to be put in.

I like this. Roger Goodell will give his 'State of the League' address later this week and I doubt he'll focus much, if at all, on the Pro Bowl, but man, it's a terrible show.

The league could take a page out of the NHL's book and go to a 3-on-3 tournament. Alternatively, they could ditch the game entirely and spruce up/resurrect the old QB skills competitions when guys would throw balls at moving targets attached to golf carts. I would watch the heck out of that. 

I get why Durant would prefer to go to the Clippers or the Warriors over the Washington. He wants a title. LeBron did the same thing. But don't athletes ever want to take on a real challenge, or do they just want to take the path of least resistance? Is there no appeal in returning to your hometown to deliver the first title in 40 years?

You know, this is something that fans always say that genuinely boggles my mind. "Don't athletes want to take on a real challenge?" What does that even mean?

Do you think getting to the NBA isn't a "real challenge"? Or competing every night against the best hoops players in the world is somehow easy? Having a team that people assume is good doesn't guarantee some cakewalk to a championship. 

Interestingly, this only seems to be a discussion that comes up in the context of the NBA. People just assume because guys are super athletic that some how effort is just totally thrown out of the window. The job itself is a real challenge, no matter who's on your team.

Hence, why it's so hard to win anything at all. Is there no appeal in returning to your hometown to deliver the first title in 40 years? Maybe? But if he doesn't *want* to, I certainly wouldn't be upset about that at all.

Not that there’s any logic to racism, but why do you think some people (e.g. Rush Limbaugh) get upset about the existence of a black QB, but don’t seem to have a problem with a black running back or linebacker or receiver? Even black head coaches don't seem to get criticized as much as black QBs do.

Imagery and portrayal of who we believe to be fit as leaders of humans has a powerful effect over the years in terms of what we view as normal and decent. See: Hollywood.

My question is why all the talk about race with Cam now? It didn't come up much, if at all, with Russel Wilson when he led the Seahawks to back to back superbowls.

Look at his dab.

Why dont they show the Bullets and their appearances in the Finals? Do they have something against Wes and the Big E? Also remember the "Curse of Lez Boulez" is not a fig newton of Mr Tony's demented world but real. The Big E's auntie put the course on the team right after they won the Finals. Teddie needs to have a talk with Elvin and his auntie. yep she is still alive to remove the curse.

"Remove the Curse Night" is a promotion I could get behind.

While they're at it, the Wizards should also bring back their dog mascot. You can continue to blame Big E's auntie for the Curse O' Les Boulez all you want, but the fact is the team hasn't gotten to the Finals since they got rid of their dogs. 

Tiny B-B even appeared with Brent Musburger and Oscar Robertson on the broadcast of the 1975 NBA Finals. If NBA Hardwood Classics ever showed old Bullets games, more people would know this. 

That's not what I said. Perhaps you should get a grip. Dungy is not a particularly good example is all I said. How about Marlin Briscoe? That man got screwed.

Perhaps I should. My mom tells me that once a week. 

But yeah, there are tons of examples. Tony Dungy was just a name that many know, so, for me, his later connection to Manning was the more salient part of that reference.

So maybe that's the issue some people have unrelated to anything else?

Haha, it's the name of a song. I was joking.

I understand that, but it doesn't explain why black coaches don't take so much flack. Or do they and we just don't hear about it as much?

The first black head coach in the league was Art Shell. That wasn't that long ago. There were many battles fought for that to happen and it's why the Rooney Rule exists today.

Also, if you think about the concept of second chances in the league, there's a decent argument that black coaches don't take as much flack because they don't get as many opportunities to.

Seriously? A true sports fans is just there for the corny 1st down celebrations? TIL: I'm not a true sports fan.

Not really sure what "true" even means in this context, but I know that as long as I've been alive, celebrations have been some of my favorite parts of sports and that goes for most people I know and grew up with, too.

Personally, I think it's awesome not just that Cam is self-evidently the most exciting player in the league AND having such a great time being such, BUT that he's forcing the Panthers' owner (Jerry Richardson, who asked if he had any tattoos after he was drafted... just gonna leave that there...) to enjoy the ride of his team getting taken to a title by an unapolegetically Black man. I'm sure Jerry is having a ball!

**hits dab at desk**

The only issue I have with Cam Newton’s football celebrations is the frequency of them, because it diminishes their entertainment value. A two-yard QB sneak shouldn’t elicit the same celebration as a 75-yard bomb, or 40 yard TD run. It's more fun when you don't know if he's going to break out in a dance or not. He does it so often it's kind of ho-hum.

This is the last thing about Cam I'll answer because he's moved to Dan Uggla levels of Chat Takeover, at this point.

But again, I'm not out here trying to recreate "Footloose." Dance when you score, not matter how, I'm fine with it. If I ever scored a touchdown in the NFL, I'd celebrate like crazy. You never know when you might get your lights knocked out and never play again.

I have read what I can and am still confused about his contract situation: If the Redskins keep him must they pay him the $16 billion? If they trade him do they pay it as well since no one else will? If they release him do they not pay anything since he can't say he was injured when released? Also, are they saying they're holding on to him simply to mask the fact no one else wants him? Help! Thanks.

Mike Jones answered a couple of questions about why the Redskins are in no hurry to release RGIII in his mailbag this week.

Griffin's $16 million salary for 2016 will count against Washington's cap if he's still on the roster at the start of the new league year on March 9. If the Redskins release him before them, as they're fully expected to, he's off the books.

No one will trade for him; they'll just wait for him to become a free agent and sign him to a more favorable deal.

First off, really going to miss Clinton's articles, as well as him being in this chat. It feels like it was only a couple of months ago that he joined the bog. About the Wizards, it's been painful to see the team struggling to figure things out, given the injuries, and the slow transition to being an effective pace-and-space offence. That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if they eked out a win against the Warriors even with Wittman not being at the helm tonight because of what they've done this season (giving Cleveland one of their only home losses, etc.). If the Wizards "settle", where do you think they will be when the season is over? I feel like they would get it together enough to grab one of the last playoff spots, but that still seems so far away.

I appreciate the kind words! 

To your point though, if you think the Zardos are some sort of a trap game for the Warriors, I really hope you've got people in Vegas with whom you might be able to place a friendly wager with on those results.

The Wizards right now are in a legit worst case scenario from a 'how to improve in the NBA' standpoint. They are below average to the point that the playoffs are going to take a gargantuan effort to get into, where they will likely get destroyed in the first round. But they also aren't bad enough to seriously be considering any sort of lottery situation.

They aren't attractive enough as an option to pull a bunch of free agents, and arguably their best player can barely stay on the court (Beal) while they have to figure out what they want to do with him long term, contract wise. Add to that the fact that people have been clamoring for the coach to go and you've got a bad situation.

It's really unfortunate and the team is borderline unwatchable right now, though they did steal one from the Houston Arugulas the other night.

I just love these folks who insist racism is just being blown up by the liberal media. I'm 47 so I remember the days when black quarterbacks and coaches just didn't happen. Ever. It really was not that long ago and the fact that we now have black coaches and quarterbacks doesn't mean it no longer exists. Want to know how I can tell? The way Cam Newton is being vilified for not being modest and respectful as befits the position of quarterback. (In other words, "uppity".) Signed - a lily white gal

Bingo.

Please rank the following from most-likely to least-likely: Caps making to Stanley Cup finals, Wizards making the playoffs, RGIII signs with Cowboys, and Peyton winning the SB MVP.

1. Caps Stanley Cup
2. Peyton SB MVP
3. RGIII Cowboys
4. Wizards Playoffs

It is legit KILLING ME that Randy Wittman and Ernie Grunfield are still running the Wizards. Is Ted Leonsis so focused on his hockey team that he just hasn't noticed the two incompetent nincompoops running his NBA franchise into the ground?

Well, running them into the ground would imply that they were somewhere well above that to begin with, which I don't agree with. I don't think that Ernie Grunfeld has done a terrible job. Again, you have to understand that we are still in the relatively recent drop zone of fallout from the Arenas situation, which to Ernie's credit, he cleaned up about as well as possible.

As for Wittman, the pace-and-space transition wasn't the greatest, so I guess he takes the blame for that, but again, with injuries and so forth piling up, it's hard to really be super angry at one guy. 

Heck, I'm pretty focused on the hockey team myself, so I'm not complaining about the Capitals, whatsoever.

Five years from now, where do you expect the Chargers and Raiders to be playing?

Chargers: Orange County
Raiders: Vegas

Thoughts on when we find out what the Nats promotions are this year and dates? Because that is clearly the most important thing.

Within the next two weeks I'd guess. Last year it came out on Feb. 13.

The "Hot Stove" event for season-ticket holders is tomorrow and it's possible they'll tease a few items then, but you'll know when the Bog knows, if not before.

The P-Nats' promotional schedule, including a Danny Espinosa Fu Manchu bobblehead, will be tough to top. 

Give the winner something meaningful. How about whichever league wins, their team "wins" the pre-game coin toss in the next Super Bowl?

I don't think copying the "this one counts" idea from MLB will make the game any more enjoyable to watch, though. It also doesn't seem right that Kirk Cousins getting to decide whether the Redskins will kick or receive will be determined by Teddy Bridgewater's ability to outperform Tyrod Taylor.

That was sarcasm right? Pretty much everyone in New York hates Tom Brady, and pretty much everyone outside of New York hates the Yankees (or should). I live in New York, but I'm from D.C. so I hate the Yankees and have no prob with Tom.

Well, okay, but I'm not really sure what's so hateable about the Yankees at this point.

Then again, I'm old enough to remember when it wasn't really considered some fait accompli that the Yanks were going to be good, and last I checked, we're back to that being the case now. 

As for Tom Brady, sure some pro football fans might dislike him, but the dude is pretty popular. 

Better to dance, dunk the ball over the goalpost, or jump into the crowd?

This depends on your position, I'd say. 

For example, the BJ Raji dance, known in my household as The Best Football Celebration Of All Time, is best saved for a fat guy who's run a short distance. 

But a good goal post dunk is a nice move for a guy who's hit the end zone on say, a seam route, untouched. That's why it was Jimmy Graham's go-to, and ultimately, why it was banned. Someone was going to bring those things down sooner or later.

The dance is solid to me because it shows a level of forethought that I'm very here for.

That people don't like him is news to you? Or the Yankees? What city do you live in?

Tom Brady is an international superstar. That's just a fact.

Thoughts/Predictions regarding Sunday's game? Can the Panthers solve Denver's D? Does Peyton have one more good game in him as a Bronco before riding off into the sunset as an LA Ram? What will emerge from Cold Play's halftime show as this year's Left Shark??

I think Peyton and the Denver D play well enough for the Broncos to cover the spread, but the Panthers win on a last-second kick by Graham Gano, who dabs and shouts something about the Redskins releasing him during the postgame celebration. I honestly hope they bring Left Shark back. Make Left Shark a staple of Super Bowl halftime shows. 

It was actually quite good. But Cuba Gooding was miscast as OJ. It's not so much that he doesn't really look like but it's his voice. OJ has a deep voice and Cuba has a distinctively high, flinty voice.

I did watch it, and it was way more than "actually quite good" it was some of the best television I've seen in a really long time.

There's a saying that no accent is better than a bad accent, and in this case, I'm not sure that the specific sound of Cuba's voice is what makes him miscast. To me, his overall body size is the larger issue, because Cuba just doesn't seem big enough to pull of being OJ. That said, there's an argument that his character is actually the least important person in the story.

Jeffrey Toobin's book, which this is based after, I think is most interesting because of everyone else involved in the story in addition to Simpson. There was a story a while back in Vanity Fair about how that trial effectively invented reality TV as we now know it, and nearly all characters involved got famous in one way or another.

The FX show sucked me in immediately and I definitely plan on making it appointment viewing. I knew I would like it, I didn't think I would love it and I absolutely did. 

The chapter on the scout is excellent. I remember reading it in the paper. Once I started reading it, I had to finish it in one sitting. I couldn't break away from the article. Very nice work by your colleague Barry!

More praise for The Grind. (Barry, is that you?)

It wouldn't be a final Bog chat for Clinton without an uggla question, right? So...thoughts on Uggla making Jayson Stark's all-unemployed team? Does he come back to the Nationals? Is Daniel Murphy really an upgrade? Does ESPN have the same anti-Uggla bias as the Bog?

Daniel Murphy is absolutely an upgrade. But that doesn't mean Uggla won't show up somewhere on a big league roster this season.

Though, I suppose your preference for the superficial over substance means you are a good fit for ESPN. What's your "catchphrase" going to be?

Thanks for reading!

I mean, he's been running the team for a decade, so maybe "kept them in the ground" is more appropriate. He's also used valuable draft picks on Jan Vesely, Oleksey Pecherov, Chris Singleton, Mike Miller/Randy Foye(!!!!!), Nick Young, Javale McGee. I'm just amazed by Ted's clear satisfaction with mediocrity.

Jerry Brewer's most recent column is an excellent look at how the Warriors built their 44-4 juggernaut. As a Wizards fan, it's depressing. 

Some of the best football players in NFL history didn't go through elaborate endzone celebrations or jump for joy after every first down. They acted like they'd been there before and would be again. If you're watching football for the celebrations, I think you and I are interested in different sports.

Hahaha, and some of the best ones did. "Act like you've been there before" is code for: you are lame. It's what's killed the NHL over the past 15 years: an adherence to a tough guy code that nobody on earth cares about except for athletes that grew up playing under coaches who made their players think they had to hate themselves to be good.

I pretty much watch anything for the celebrations, not just sports, because I like seeing what people do when they're happy.

Thanks for all of the questions and sending Clinton out in style. Bog Chat will never, ever be the same, unless we can convince The Undefeated to give us Clinton for an hour each Wednesday...I'll see what I can do. 

Okay, folks. It feels weird, but this appears to be it. It's been a great run and this chat is basically the best part of the week for me. I'm bummed that I'm going, but alas, all good things must come to end. 

Remember: Safety first. Always.

In This Chat
Clinton Yates
Clinton Yates is a D.C. native and an online columnist. He was born at GWU hospital the week before Ronald Reagan ended up there for the wrong reasons. When he's not covering the city, pop culture or listening to music, he watches sports. A lot of them.
Scott Allen
Scott Allen is a D.C. native who perfected his cursive as an 8-year-old in 1991 by writing recaps of every Redskins game. Little did he know that his sports fandom (and writing career) would peak with Super Bowl XXVI. He roots for the Orioles and Nationals and once won Wizards season tickets in a Halloween costume contest.
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