Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Do You Remember April 18, 2006?

You probably don't, and I don't blame you.

So I was sitting in the bar with my buddy from Boston last night watching the Celtics wrap up Game 1 with the Cavs, and this comes out of his mouth in my direction:

"Celts waan, B's waan, Sax waan. Great frickin' day fa Baaaaston spaarts."


"The Celtics and Bruins are doin' work in the postseason, the best is yet to come for the Red Sox, and you can go screw yourself."

I was so jealous. The Caps and Wizards are currently working on their short games and, while the Nats have been a pleasant surprise thus far and appear to be on the right track, they aren't exactly championship material.

So I got to thinking: when was the last time the Nats, Wizards, and Caps all won on the same day? Scheduling presents obvious obstacles - barring playoff runs by both hockey and basketball teams, the three would only have a few weeks at the beginning of the baseball season to simultaneously emerge victorious. I did a little research and found the answer.

I guess the title of this post is what you'd call a spoiler, but you got it: April 18, 2006. The winningest day in DC professional sports in the last five years.

Wizards: Gilbert Arenas scored 43 points and added 5 assists and 4 steals as the Wizards beat the Bucks, 116-103, inching closer to clinching that "coveted" 5th seed in the Eastern Conference. Why is coveted in quotes? Because the 4 seed Cleveland Cavaliers were waiting, and we all know how that went. Still, it's funny to read the AP recap's theory at the time: "Fifth is important because no one wants to face one of the top three seeds when Cleveland, returning to the playoffs after an eight-year absence, is an available opponent at No. 4."

Nationals: Ryan Church (OMG, flashback) went 2 for 5 with a HR and 4 RBI, Ryan Zimmerman went 2 for 5 with 3 RBI, and Tony Armas, Jr. (OMG, flashback) pitched 6 solid innings as the Nats beat the Phillies, 10-3. The Nats pulled to 5-9 on the season with the victory and would end the year 71-91.

Capitals: The final game of the season for the Caps was a doozy, beating the playoff bound Tampa Bay Lightning - the defending Stanley Cup Champs, no less - by a score of 4-1. Alex Ovechkin wrapped up his Rookie of the Year campaign with his 54th assist of the season, putting him at 106 points. Also picking up points on the night? A few of these should elicit a chuckle or two: Jeff Halpern, Brian Willsie, Ben Clymer, Nolan Yonkman, Brooks Laich, Steve Eminger, Dainus Zubrus, and Matt Bradley.


So there you have it. Not quite the greatest day in DC sports history. Nope, not even close. But perhaps the most complete in quite some time.

And finally, to answer the question on all your minds, April 18, 1025, was also the day that Bolesław I Chrobry was crowned in Gniezno, becoming the first King of Poland.

Now What?

The slow slog of summer has begun approximately 1.5 months too soon. If you're an insane person like me, you had carved out much of your free time for the next six weeks to allow for fretting by day and watching Caps games by night. I actually planned a bachelor party around the potential dates of the Stanley Cup Parade. So I'm feeling pretty empty right now.

Bill Simmons tweeted before Game 7: "If the Caps blow Game 7, DC vaults past Seattle for Most Depressed Sports City honors." I'd say the crown fits. Wouldn't you?

So, what do we have to look forward to until Redskins training camp begins the miserable cycle of DC sports seasons anew? Here's the quick rundown:

Washington Capitals
June 25-26 draft. Perhaps an exciting trade in the works? I'm thinking sign-and-trade Fleischmann for a bale of hay.

July 1: Free agency begins. Probably gone: Shaone Morrissonn, Brendan Morrison, Joe Corvo, Scott Walker. Possibly gone: Eric Belanger. Hopefully re-signed: Boyd Gordon, Eric Fehr, Jeff Schultz. Hopefully newly signed: Free agent stay-at-home and make-yourself-at-home-in-DC Russian defenseman Anton Volchenkov no later than 12:01 AM July 1.

Other potential intrigue: The kids (including American Hero John Carlson, future blueline fixture Karl Alzner, future next-Dale-Hunter Stefan Della Rovere, future 2nd line center Mattieu Perrault and potential future goalie Braden Holtby) go for a second straight Calder Cup championship with Hershey.

Washington Redskins
Endless RI posts falsely boosting our hopes and dreams for the Shanahan era. They've already started: "Redskins Receivers Should Have Great Success In Shanahan's Scheme." Anyone who buys into posts like this, I have a sex-switching unicorn I'd like to sell you.

Other potential intrigue: The Haynesworth saga: Will he stay or will he go?

Washington Nationals
They're currently above .500. They have good chemistry or something. They also have a pretty big NEGATIVE RED run differential, a sure sign they're in for a fall. Most exciting thing to look forward to: Strasburg's late July call-up. It's only a matter of time before Bodog posts a prop-bet on the over/under date for that inevitable happening. When it does, I'm putting all of my current liquid assets (approximately $312.43 plus a coupon for a free coffee) on the under.

Other potential intrigue: Bumbling ownership group and team President Stan Kasten - what new travesty of mismanagement can they think of next?

Baltimore Orioles
Most recently, they swept the sorry Boston Red Sox. 7-19 and climbing! Wieters is pretty good but not quite savior-esque...yet. Roberts is injured (he's getting old, totally predictable), Jones and Markakis are barely hitting and our best player (Ty Wigginton) is a free-agent cast-off whose hot streak will inevitably end. The AL East crown is theirs to lose.

I'm watching closely the progress of the O's future ace, lefty Brian Matusz. Dude is awesome (3-1 K/BB ratio, 1.34 whip, I think that's good). Rookie of the Year type stuff. I have a man-crush. You should too.

Other potential intrigue: When will the rest of the Cavalry arrive? Chris Tillman just pitched a no-hitter down in AAA. Rad.

Washington Wizards
Ironically, the team I'm least interested in owing to their perpetual sorry state and the waste of time that is rooting for a non-Lebron/Kobe/Howard/Wade/Durant/Duncan NBA team, will provide us with the most interesting moment this summer: the NBA DRAFT LOTTERY!! Where hopes and dreams of NBA teams are either made or shattered for the next decade. Consensus #1 pick John Wall is a franchise-changer in the mold of Dwyane Wade, but with a sweeter high school highlight video and more easily rappable name for Wale to throw into a verse. The Wiz have a 10.3% chance of getting the #1 overall pick.

Barring this miracle, apparently the Wizards have more free agent money than originally thought. That's a nice Plan B in case hinging our entire hopes and dreams on a 1 in 10 chance falls through. I bet they sign LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant and Joba Chamberlain.

Other potential intrigue: New owner Ted Leonsis changing the uniforms and/or team name back to the red, white and blue? Man do I hope so...probably too soon. Leonsis is too savvy to trample all over a DC icon like Abe Pollin before it's time. But 93% of fans want it and Leonsis is a man of the people so it's happening sooner or later.


It's going to be a long summer. In the meantime, enjoy The Human Centipede.