Last year Washington has seen some of the lowest points they’ve ever seen in sports. Let’s recap sport by sport.
The Washington Nationals
March 16, 2007: The Washington Nationals are predicted one
expert bandwagon jumper to be the worst team in the history of baseball.
What happened? They play .500 ball after May 9th, finished 4th in the NL east, and didn’t even lose 90 games. They spoil the New York Mets playoff hopes, manage to pull their record at RFK stadium to 122-121 over three seasons, and then sling some moves for high ceiling prospects in the off-season. They open the 2008 season on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN in a new stadium.
The Washington Capitals
November 22, 2007: The Washington Capitals fire head coach Glen Hanlon after beginning the season 6-14-1, the franchise’s worst start in 26 years.
They are 12-7-4 since the start, and aren’t actually that far out of a playoff spot. They signed fan favorite and handsome devil Alexander Ovechkin to a 13-year contract worth $124 million. According to the Washington Post, Ovechkin doesn’t have an agent, so no one is taking anything off the top. Why don’t more big time athletes do this? Will having an agent negotiate for you really get you more than a 10% raise over what you could have negotiated for yourself? I have my doubts.
The Washington Redskins
November 27th, 2007: Redskins safety Sean Taylor is shot in his Miami home during a break-in. He dies the next day. To say he was the fan favorite doesn’t do it justice. He was the Redskins. How he played, for better or for worse, the team went. He was that team’s soul. He was also their most talented player. A Joe Gibbs timeout botch gives the Buffalo Bills a chip-shot field goal to win the next game.
The Redskins go on to win their next 4 games, including a couple with Todd Collins behind the wheel. They embarrass the Dallas Cowboys in their season finale, and clinch a playoff berth.
The Washington Wizards
April 2, 2007: All-star Caron Butler breaks his hand. Three days later All-star Gilbert Arenas tears his meniscus. They both miss the remainder of the season and are swept out of the playoffs by their hated rivals the Cleveland Cavaliers.
November 9, 2007: The Wizards open the season 0-5. Gilbert is noticeably gimpy.
November 21th, 2007: Gilbert Arenas undergoes another surgical procedure to repair his meniscus. He isn’t sure when he’ll play again.
January 14, 2008: The Wizards (now 20-16) beat the Celtics (now 30-6) and the big green machine. For the second time. In 3 days. This time in Boston. What now, chumps??
Also, I was lucky enough to be in the Verizon Center on Saturday night when we beat them, and I was among some pretty esteemed company…
So what’s it mean?
As bad as it every got, we’re a stronger city for it. I don’t think it will ever get worse than the week following Sean Taylor’s death, so I think I can safely say that 2008 will be better. And for the Nationals, 2012 is looking like a realistic World Series date. Let’s go get ‘em.