Saturday, June 20, 2009


Found this gem the other day. Nothing like Caps intensity. Nothing.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Furburgers!

What a boring week. Nats demonstrate consistency throughout all levels of organization, fail in attempt to can manager who has done nothing but lead team to...failure. Skinnies cut ties with Thrash, reaction greeted with vehement head shrugs at Philbin's Family Fitness & Athletic Training Center. The Obnoxious Caracasana returns to CP, O's do so-so, Ovie remains the best, and if we draft Ricky 'Menduo' Rubio as speculated we will earn the title as 'City with the Most Sideshows' (see Areanas, G., Portis, C., Dukes, E., Ovechkin, A., Sideshow, B.).

Two Capitals Prospects in The Hockey News Top 10

My Favorite Comic Destroying My Least Favorite Person, On His Own Show

Andy Katz Pre-season College Bball Rankings: MD #17, GTOWN #18

Heart Warming Article About Skins DT Antonio Dixon

Top 10 Washington, D.C. Based Fugitives

D. Baez and N. Johnson Might Be Gone At Trading Deadline

[Image via Real Clear Sports]

Rejoice, Washington! Your MVP Chants Are Safe For Another Season

Two-time Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin. Sure has a nice ring to it, eh? Sure sounds a lot better than Chaka Khan. Who the hell thought that was a good idea?

The Russian Machine took home the NHL regular season's most coveted piece of hardware last night, edging out destroying Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk to become hockey's first back-to-back MVP since Dominik Hasek in 1997-98. No. 8 earned 115 of 133 first place votes. The last time a forward won multiple, consecutive MVP awards? Guy by the name of Gretzky had a nice run of eight straight back in the 80s.

Ovechkin is the first D.C. athlete ever to win consecutive MVP awards in any of the four major sports.

[Reuters, via Capitals Insider]

"I like playing in Canadian cities," Ovechkin said during his acceptance speech. "But right now, my favorite city to play in is Washington." You hear that, Calgary? Your tears only make him stronger.

Ovechkin also took home the Rocket Richard trophy as the league's goal scoring champion, and the Lester B. Pearson Award -- named for Toronto's magnificent airport, of course -- awarded to the league's best player as judged by their on-ice peers. Three trophies in one night? Not a bad haul, though Ovechkin would surely trade all of them for a different, larger trophy.

Things didn't go quite as well for Mike Green, who still looks fucking ridiculous with that droopy mohawk of his. Despite scoring a ridiculous 31 goals as a defenseman and making a pretty compelling case that he could have been an MVP candidate himself, No. 52 came in second to Boston's Zdeno Chara. Though reports on Twitter indicate that the outcome is being disputed, and that the disenfranchised are storming the streets in protest. Or perhaps my Twitter feeds are mixed up. Actually, fuck Twitter.

Here's your complete list of winners from last night.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Monthly Forecast: June '09

The summer is slow, and we at DCLS like to take a break every now and then from recapping Orioles' and Nats' losses games. Sanity is the name of the game, boys and girls.

So, I present to you a new feature, the Monthly Forecast. In a splendid assortment of bullet points, I will incorrectly predict all things DC sports related. Or just sports related. Either way, just make sure to check back for the end of the month recap so you can call me a jerk for being wrong about just about everything. It's only fair, and I expect no less.

Note that some of the predictions are more obvious than others, and that there are only two weeks left in June. Should be pretty easy then, right?

  • The Wizards will not trade the 5th overall pick.
  • Ernie Grunfeld and Flip Saunders will draft a point guard.
  • Ernie Grunfeld, Steve Van Gundy, and Ron Jeremy will all be indistinguishable.
  • The Redskins will NOT pursue Brandon Marshall.
  • The Caps WILL pursue Dany Heatley.
  • Matt Wieters will have raised his average to above .300.
  • Luke Scott will cool off in classic fashion and drop below .300.
  • Manny Acta will be unemployed. Obvious.
  • Stephen Strasburg will remain unsigned.
  • Nats fans will panic.
  • Mike Green will deserve to win the Norris Trophy, but won't.
  • Ovechkin will win the Hart (MVP), Pearson (Player's MVP), and Richard (Goal Scoring), and the world will be restored to order once again.
Feel free to add anything in the comments section.

[Images via Daylife and Sixers4guidos and PornstarUpdates]

So, umm...Fedorov is Done, Right? Right?!?!**

I keep waiting for the balls news to drop about Sergei Fedorov officially signing in Russia, and it keeps not happening. According to Fedorov’s agent Pat Brisson, negotiations are ongoing with the Caps. Is McPhee inching closer to Fedorov’s demands or vice versa? I don’t know and it makes me nervous, like I just dropped my kid off at day care and Gary Glitter introduced himself as the headmaster.

When the Caps wrapped up their season last month, Fedorov had this to say:

“I still have got some legs left and I'm still enjoying the game and I'm certainly enjoying this group of young and very talented players. I didn't think about retiring. By saying that, I would like to continue to play. With the young legs around me, it's really helpful…I haven't met with the coaches or GM yet, but I hope the feeling is mutual because I really enjoy this organization and it's an awesome city to play in, too.”

Oh Sergei how you flatter me so. Unfortunately, it’s 2009 and I’m not sure I can return the favor. Sorry homeslice.

If the rumors are true and KHL club Metallurg Magnitogorsk is offering Fedorov $3.8 million over two seasons, that’s about $2 million per season more than the Caps can and should offer (Feds made $4 million this season). As previously noted, the Caps are a few obvious summer re-signings away from having ~$52 million in salary towards the 2009-2010 salary cap. With the cap decreasing (TBA) from its current $56.7 million line, the Caps will barely be able to afford a taco let alone a washed up 40-year-old centerman. Unless we’re talkin’ Crosby’s mom’s taco, which can be had on the cheap.

And washed up is exactly what Fedorov is at this point. Let’s take a ride down the Fedorov Numbers Slide, soon debuting at a crappy Russian amusement park near you (click to enlarge):

More alarmingly, if it’s possible to have a more alarming red flag than declining games, goals, and points totals, Fedorov has become a penalty-committing machine, and killing penalties is the Caps' kryptonite. At this point in his career only Crosby’s mother hooks more than Fedorov, but with Crosby’s mom at least you get something out of it before feeling shame. He just doesn't have the legs to skate with guys any more, and it hurts to watch him fall to the ice untouched, which happened frequently this season.

I was ecstatic when McPhee acquired Fedorov last spring for a mid-level prospect, and he actually scored a game-winner in a Game 7, which never happens in DC let alone to the Caps. And the dude will always be a legend, and I'll always be a fan. But it's time to get real. Nylander’s corpse and a slowing Fedorov (the nominal second-line centers) produced 7% of the Caps' goals and 9% of their points while eating up 15% of the cap space in '08-'09. McPhee simply has to do better than that. Step one is parting ways with Feds.

**All of this is moot, of course, if Nylander the albatross agrees to waive his no-movement clause, cross his fingers and pass through waivers (a.k.a. the Atlanta Thrashers) and go on loan to the KHL, NHL salary cap hit free. Something tells me he (his wife) is cool stealing Leonsis’ fat checks, though. I hate you for making me want to ditch Fedorov you lutefisk eating bastard.

[Image via Wikipedia Commons]

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You're Welcome, Matt

[image via]

DC Landing Strip's reverse jinx post helps Wieters slam first homer, RBIs of Major League career. O's 6 - Mets 4.

Watch It: NHL Awards Ceremony Tomorrow Night

Ovechkin is in line to claim both MVP trophies for the second year in a row (Hart and Pearson), and Mike Green is up for the Norris Trophy. In the meantime the two of them are probably out getting accidentally rufied, stealing cop cars and Mike Tyson's bengal tiger, and marrying strippers. Just look at goofie Ovie in this interview. I bet he's still drunk from the night before:

Wieters' First 50 ABs: A Little Less Alex Gordon, A Little More Ryan Braun Please

Tuesday night, bottom of the 9th, O's down 6-2 to the Mets. Matt Wieters steps to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs. He can tie the game with one swing, but I'm looking for him to just put the ball on the ground at least and collect his first RBI or two.

WHIFF city, as K-Rod works the kid. Strikeout. O's lose 6-4.

is the name of the game at the DC Landing Strip, but through his first 47 at-bats Matt Wieters is not exactly living up to the hype. Is this a case of a kid feeling out major league pitching? Or are we looking at a...gulp...bust?

Here's how Wieters stacks up through his first 48 at-bats compared to the debuts of other Top 5 Baseball America prospects over the past 5 seasons (click to enlarge):

There are some perennial All-Stars on this list (Braun, Longoria, Mauer, Bruce, Zimmerman), some guys who have been "solid" and seem to be staying that way (Upton, Weeks, D. Young), some guys who are creeping towards "bust" status (Ian Stewart, Alex Gordon) and two rookies this year for whom it's way too early to tell. Wieters is on the edge between the busts and the solid players here, as far as MLB starts go.

Most troubling, perhaps, is his lack of power and poise. Not a single RBI? Even Alex Gordon mustered two surrounded by a dreadful Royals lineup, and only the "busts" on this list had smaller on-base percentages and only Gordon had a smaller slugging % (granted, it's a relatively arbitrary and small sample). His at-bat against K-Rod Tuesday with the game in his hands was just brutal.

His patience at the plate though, is impressive: 4.44 pitches/plate appearance, which would be 2nd in the MLB if he qualified for the list. And the O's could desperately use some of that, as they've been notorious hackers in previous seasons.

So what do you think? Still adjusting? Nervous? No lineup protection? Will he turn it around?

[Image via]

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Un-Magical Reality of the Wizards' Situation

These are heady days for the Wizards. It's hard to envision a team not named the Cavaliers, Magic, Celtics or even Heat winning the Eastern Conference in the next 10 years. And bless their high-scoring little hearts, the Wiz-kids wouldn't know defense if it was gifted to them in a gold-encrusted diamond chain. Worse, the basketball gods robbed them yet again at the draft lottery during a year in which I'd qualify as a first-rounder. And I'm so white I get sunburns through T-shirts. It's true.

But the Wiz have made their bed with Agent Zero and his max contract, so the only strategy available to GM Ernie Grunfeld is to build around Arenas. Abe Pollin wants to win now and ain't gettin' any healthier, and every year of a "youth movement" is a wasted one at this point. None of the guys available at #5 will contribute to a championship team any time soon, so Grunfeld is looking to package the pick and get an All-Star caliber vet in return. But can it be done? Here are the scenarios that could play out as we see it:

1) Keep the pick. Jonny Flynn, James Harden, Jordan Hill, Stephen Curry are some of the names floating around for the Wiz, and we endorsed Flynn before the trade rumors started. This fifth pick business is making me upset so let's just move on.

2) Trade up for Ricky Rubio. The only non-Blake Griffin in the draft who looks like a potential all-star might be available as Memphis is actively shopping their #2 pick. The dude is nice, and most importantly pretty. I think a package of the #5 pick, Etan Thomas' expiring contract and maybe Javaris Crittendon/Nick Young could get this deal done, and a deal has been discussed with OKC in case he falls to #3. Rubio can play right away and provides a core building piece if the Wiz blow up the Arenas roster. The immediate problem is that Rubio's agent doesn't want him playing with Agent-Zero; reason #347 why Arenas' contract is killing us. There is also a sliiiight chance he falls into our laps at #5. I can only dream of Rubio's dreaminess....

3) Trade the pick for a veteran. The "go for it now" option that Grunfeld is strongly pursuing. The 5th pick alone won't get much, so thrown in The Poet's expiring deal and Jamison and you've got something. Gil is immovable (insert ruined knee joke here), and Tough Juice is untouchable. The ideal fit is a rugged SG who can shoot 3's, (Trevor Ariza?), but moving Jamison leaves the PF position open in addition to both guard positions.

Some of the rumors: Ginobli (like the Spurs are really going to get taken by the Wiz), Amare Stoudamire, Josh Howard, Jason Terry and Ray Allen. Other possibilities: Tony Parker, Elton Brand (no thanks), David Lee, Josh Smith, and Chris Bosh. Added bonus: moving down in the draft and taking my sleeper, PG Eric Maynor of VCU. Ty Lawson would be nice here too.

4) Trade the pick and/or Jamison for expiring contracts, add a free agent next year. The only player/contract that could be dealt to save money is Jamison, but he has value and we could keep the #5 pick this way. If Grunfeld went for Cuttino Mobley (heart condition), Tracy McGrady (a China doll), or Ben Wallace (a corpse), they'd have room in 2010 to go after LeBron. Kidding. But what about a guy like Joe Johnson? If we're willing to throw the pick in a deal, we can probably get someone who can contribute in '09 (Ray Allen or Bosh for example).


As fans of the Wizards, (the Hawks are better? really?) we've learned to accept mere playoff appearances as excitement. And short of Tanya Harding-ing LeBron, Garnett, Wade and Howard in a coordinated multi-point strike, that might be the most we can expect.

But we can hope for more. In the opinion of DC Landing Strip, unless we can get a legitimate all-star (sit down Jason Terry) such as Amare Stoudamire or Manu Ginobli or even Rubio, then it's time to shed salary in '09 and wait for a prime free agent in 2010 to help Arenas, Butler and Haywood. The operative word here is wait; it doesn't look like the Wizards want to do that and I can't blame them. If they want immediate help though, I'm available on a ten-day any time, and I once beat my JCC camp counselor in 1 on 1 knockout.

[Image via The Box]

Monday, June 15, 2009

Greivis Vasquez to Return to College Park for Senior Season

"Maryland junior point guard Greivis Vasquez is returning for his senior season.

Vasquez was having solid predraft workouts and was considered a possible first-round draft pick. But his inability to get a guarantee and the dearth [sic] of players at his position forced him to decide to go back to school.


UPDATE: The Baltimore Sun is reporting that highly touted and as of yet unsigned recruit Lance Stephenson is no longer being pursued by Maryland because they could not deliver the H3 and Hilton Head condo he requested. Mixed signals going on here with Stephenson's dad, and Vazquez's decision could be a factor. Nothing confirmed yet so stay tuned.

Boston Bruins will face either Flyers or Caps. If it's Caps, it will make for one epic Ovie leap into the Green Monster.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"The Cavalry Is Coming": The O's Pitching Prospects are Horses

Yeah, the O’s are in last place, Matt Wieters’ slugging percentage is what I thought his batting average would be, and there is a general lack of Oriole Magic these days, but there is still reason for hope in Baltimore. An army of Orioles starting pitching prospects have been performing like thoroughbreds this season, and just added 5th overall pick Matt Hobgood to an already promising stable. As the innings mount up this summer we'll be keeping an eye on their progress but here are the numbers through the first two months :

This is basically the globe of lottery balls from which the Orioles will select their future starting rotation. All of these dudes have been drafted recently, some even by the O's scouting staff! Dave Tremblay noted at the beginning of the season that "the cavalry is coming" and he's lookin' prophetic right now. Most of these guys will get a whiff of Camden grass this year or next so let's get further acquainted with Baseball Jesus' future disciples, shall we?

"The Cavalry"

Leading the pack is future ace Chris Tillman, who is treating triple-A like Carl Lewis in the special Olympics. Beyond the stats, Baseball Prospectus 2009 notes that that, “scouts and opposing hitters say he has it,” which I think is slang for “The Force”. He should be up with the Birds by the end of the season and in the rotation for good early next year; he projects as a #1 frontline starter.[image via]

#2 Prospect Jake Arrieta was called up to AAA Norfolk last week and killed it in his debut, striking out 6 and allowing just one run on 2 hits. He started slowly in AA Bowie this season but had dazzled on the mound more recently, and looks every bit a future top 2-3 starter. If he continues his momentum in AAA the Orioles would be thrilled to give him a shot this summer, but the safe bet is on the O's taking it slow with these kids. Expect Arrieta to start in AAA next season.[image via]

The Orioles 3rd best pitching prospect is currently plying his trade in single-A, Brian Matusz. When the O's took him 4th overall last June he was considered the safer pick due to his consistency if not domination at UC-San Diego. His upside is Cole Hamels, downside is a solid lefty arm which is always helpful. After a brief pro-level adjustment period he's come on of late and will be in AA Bowie soon. He'll hopefully start next year in AAA Norfolk and if all goes smoothly will get a shot with the O's. [image via College Baseball Prospects Blog]

David Hernandez, who has led single-A, double-A and triple-A in strikeouts, has never been considered an elite prospect because he relies on a deceptive delivery to mask average stuff (source: Baseball Prospectus 2009). He shined brightly in his big league debut a few weeks ago, but has flattened out a bit in his last two outings. Major League hitters figured out Hideo Nomo and his tornado wind-up pretty quickly so hopefully that's not happening to Hernandez already (cough, Dontrelle Willis, cough...some puke just came up). I think if we keep our expectations low here, we could be pleasantly surprised. We'll see if he has starter stuff. [image via]

The fifth pitcher of interest is Troy Patton, who was acquired in the Tejada trade and appeared in two games with Houston in '07. The O's have been more patient with him, and he just made the jump to AAA with Arrieta but hasn't pitched in Norfolk yet. He's projected more as a Jamie Moyer type (a "crafty mid-rotation lefty."), especially after having missed all of '08 with a labrum tear. If he can quell injury concerns he could debut with the O's as soon as this summer. [image via]

AA Bowie prospect Brandon Erbe was projected by baseball Prospectus 2009 as a future relief pitcher due to having only 2 pitches, and that projection looks pretty good now that Erbe has been sidelind with “shoulder fatigue” after only 20 innings pitched. Shoulder problems at that age are troubling, so hard to see him not moving to the pen this season where he could begin to compete for the future closer role.

The last pitcher I will mention has not been a big name in talks of prospects, but he's the O's Lebron. Literally. His name is Luis Lebron, and I am feeling good about my ‘find’ here. He's been moved to the 'pen, but looks ready for a promotion to AA Bowie this season.


Pitching prospects are notorious for being ‘hit and miss’, but it is hard to see the Orioles not getting a great rotation out of these nine: Tillman, Arrieta, Matusz, Jeremy Guthrie, Brad Bergesen, Hernandez, Patton, Hobgood and a Random Free Agent Fill-In. Then again, it was hard not seeing Ben McDonald becoming the next Jim Palmer in 1989 - at least the odds are better this time around. I think. I have to lie down now after banging my head on the wooden desk as hard as I could.