Report: 2011 Winter Classic will be Capitals-Penguins at Heinz Field

If the Post-Gazette is to be believed, an announcement confirming the NHL’s next outdoor New Year’s Day game will be made tomorrow by commissioner Gary Bettmen in Chicago prior to the start of the Stanley Cup Finals. The 2011 Winter Classic is set to feature the Washington Capitals playing the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field. This means several things:

  • In the NHL, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. In just its fourth year, the Winter Classic is set to include the Penguins and Sidney Crosby again. Why the NHL has put so much focus on a twice-bankrupt franchise, from a region that has been losing population for 50 years, above all others is beyond me. As for Crosby, he’s not exactly Mr. Charisma. Alex Ovechkin, the Caps two time Hart Trophy winner is a rock star, but the NHL has been gun-shy including him in broad marketing campaigns.
  • Apparently, Pittsburgh’s stadium authority doesn’t have high expectations of the Steelers hosting a playoff game in early January.
  • The Caps are almost certain to break out the original white sweaters with the stars on the sleeve. I approve.
  • I may have a viewing conflict on New Year’s Day if Penn State is playing in a bowl game that day.
  • I have no interest in being there with 60,000 drunken Pittsburghers.
  • The New York Rangers have got to be wondering what they have to do to be involved.
  • A Winter Classic in Penn State’s Beaver Stadium between the Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers is probably not going to happen any time soon. The NHL may love the Penguins, but not that much. Despite my antipathy for those two teams, I kind of like the idea of a battle for Pennsylvania with one side wearing orange and the other side wearing black.
  • The visiting team has always gone on to win its conference title.

Hey, I’m liking this more already! Actually, the first two visiting teams that won then went on to lose the Stanley Cup finals in game 7. The only visiting team to lose, the Flyers, lost this 2010 Winter Classic to the Boston Bruins at Fenway Park, but are going to win the Stanley Cup this year. Write-it down and remember patterns are perfect predictors of sporting events.

UPDATED
Washington Capitals will play Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011 Winter ClassicThe Post

Capitals vs. Penguins Winter Classic set for Heinz Field 2011 – Puck Daddy, Yahoo!

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Penn State announces noon kickoffs for first 2 home games

Nittany Lions’ First Two Home Games Set For Noon KicksIntercollegiate Athletics
The first two home games of the Penn State Nittany Lions 2010 football season will be noon kickoffs. Opening day will be on Big Ten Network, but the second home game will be on ESPN or ESPN2. Hello Pam Ward!

I’ll get an updated schedule here later, WordPress doesn’t like PRE tags, so I have to format it into a table.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Lincecum is no Atilano; Nats beat SF Giants

Washington Nationals batter Tim Lincecum in 7-3 win over San Francisco GiantsThe Post
Taking down the bestNats Insider
After learning of the Washington Nationals victory over the San Francisco Giants and ace Tim Lincecum, I have one question. Is MissChatter going to do another “Rookie vs. All-Star” commercial for MASN now?

While it is not as shocking as Levale Speigner beating Johan Santana, the Nats roughing up Lincecum for 6 runs over 4 2/3 innings is up there, isn’t it? Of course, Nats Insider totally called it yesterday. In his sixth MLB start, Luis Atilano out-dueled Lincecum by throwing 5 1/3 innings of 4 hit, 2 run ball.

Ian Desmond
had 3 RBI. Adam Dunn tripled! The Nats stole 4 bases and Nyjer Morgan did not even get caught stealing. They were the first stolen bases since May 10. The win was also the first by a starter since the 10th.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Bad PR for the Nats if Strasburg doesn’t start on June 4

The current line of thinking has Stephen Strasburg making his Washington Nationals debut during the June 8 – 10 series (nationals.com) against the Pittsburgh Pirates. For the last week or so, speculation by fans and media based on his schedule with the AAA Syracuse Chiefs made the June 4 game against the Cincinnati Reds a good bet for being Strasburg’s major league debut. Tickets for that game are nearly sold out based on that speculation. If Strasburg appears after that date, the Nats are going to need some serious damage control, even though they had specifically said that the date of his first start has not been decided.

To those who bought tickets, that’s tough luck, but expecting a sure thing is kind of naive. If Strasburg doesn’t start, you still get to go to baseball game — one more baseball game than I’ll be going to that night. Granted, I stand to benefit if Strasburg’s debut is June 8 because I have tickets to that game. However, I’m not going to be mad if that isn’t the day, if it is, that’s a bonus. If I were the team, I’d rather have Strasburg start twice on the homestand, so the 4th sounds like a good idea from the box office perspective. It would keep people happy for one thing.

There is some skepticism and cynicism out there about the Nats motivations for not committing to June 4. Some have said that June 4 being a near sellout has created the incentive to have Strasburg start on a different day and get another sellout. Now, maybe I’m being too forgiving, but I have trouble buying that theory. After all, if Strasburg pitches on June 4, that puts him in line to pitch on June 9, also at home. I’d like to to believe that the Nats are not that bad that they’d move the start a single day to get another sellout. However, given the problems the Nats have had over the years — most recently reaching out to groups of Phillies fans for Opening Day tickets instead of giving the general public a chance to buy them, the team stands to take a lot of heat even though they don’t necessarily deserve it. Their obligation is to the long-term goals of the team and the player and not the 15,000 to 20,000 ticket buyers hoping to see history. The backlash though, deserved or not is what happens when a franchise deals in bad faith with its fanbase as it did by recruiting ticket groups from Philadelphia for Opening Day. Hopefully, they will heed this lesson moving forward so that they don’t expose themselves to accusations.

The morals of the story — buyer beware and act in good faith all the time, so that people don’t assume its bad faith when it isn’t.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Don Geronimo to return on air in…Sacramento?

The long awaited return to radio by Don Geronimo on June 21 will be in Sacramento, often a target of the Don and Mike Show‘s ire. He is excited about the deal and will probably be syndicated eventually. If he shows up here, I’ll probably listen.

Meanwhile, his ex-partner Mike O’Meara continues to produce a one-hour podcast. He was recently on Baltimore’s 98 Rock Mickey, Amelia & Spiegelmorning show.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Glenn Brenner was the best, no matter what Len Shapiro says

That the late Glenn Brenner comes in 3rd in Len Shapiro’s list of top Washington D.C. sports anchors (The Post) is madness! George Michael may have been innovative with highlights and Warner Wolf inspired some of bits that (his replacement) Brenner did better, but neither was as nearly as good. Brenner gave sports the seriousness that they deserve. I fondly remember the Wade Boggs candy bar bit, Weenie of the Week, (since today is Thursday, it’s time for…) Encore Wednesday and his great chemistry with Gordon Barnes, Maureen Bunyan and of course, Gordon Peterson.

This gives me the opportunity to do something I’ve been meaning to do for a while, post the Glenn Brenner tribute videos:

Previously: Remembering Glenn Brenner

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Super Bowl XLVIII to NJ! Parties to NYC

Politi: Super Bowl in N.J. can be best ever, no matter what critics sayStar-Ledger
NFL owners approve outdoor Super Bowl near New York; Could D.C. be next?The Post
I am really happy that the NFL is finally putting the Super Bowl in a place where it might get cold and could even snow — New Jersey! The parties will be in New York City. Football is an all-weather sport, its about time that the league was willing to admit it and schedule the championship accordingly. This has GONZO BOWL potential written all over it. By then 3-D TV will be more readily available, so there is another reason to hope for snow.

It would be really funny if the Giants and Jets wound up playing each other in it because most of America would have a meltdown in that happened. The is a major drawback of playing at the new Meadowlands stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. — the artificial turf field. Tear it up and plant some grass on some mud!

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder wants a D.C. (actually Landover, Md.) Super Bowl and I’m all for that too. FedEx Field even has a natural surface, so go for it Danny-boy! We know how to do big events in this town. Of course, if he gets to build a new stadium on the RFK Stadium site, we’ll that would be even better.

Of course, there are detractors like Mike Lopresti (USA Today). He hates the idea of a cold weather Super Bowl because there might not be”optimal conditions” and a warm-weather team might be disadvantaged. Tough! Any team that can’t win in snow and cold doesn’t deserve to be Super Bowl champions. The idea of a Super Bowl indoors in his home state, Indiana offends me too and that is happening for some indefensible reason. A Super Bowl by the side of the New Jersey Turnpike is much greater than one in a sterile, flyover country dome. New Jersey is even the birthplace of college football, plus baseball, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen and me.

Of course, it will probably be 55° and sunny for Super Bowl XLVIII and take away all the fun.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Nats: A Dmitri Young Day? I sure hope not

A Freep profile about Dmitri Young and subsequent DC Sports Bog post had Dan Steinberg mention a Dmitri Young Day at some point. That sets the bar really low for a special day. To recap, Young was a non-roster invitee to 2007 Washington Nationals spring training. He made the team and hit well, making him the token Nats All-Star that year. GM Jim Bowden then gave Young a $10 million contract, an obvious bad choice to give to a overweight diabetic on the wrong side of 30. Young proceeded to use his $10 million for something other than getting in shape and managed to play a whole 50 games over the life of the contract.

Seriously, giving a special day to Dmitri Young is like giving a day to Vinnie Castilla.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Epic week of Svrluga, Steinberg, Weingarten, Boswell chats

With Tracee Hamilton away, Dan Steinberg and Barry Svrluga have been taking turns with her First Things First chat on washingtonpost.com. Yesterday, it was Steinberg, but today and Thursday it is Svrluga, beloved original Post beat writer for the Washington Nationals. Steinberg still chats today during is regularly scheduled DC Sports Bog chat but also Wednesday and Friday mornings too. Thomas Boswell will be typing with his foam finger on Thursday.

No Adam Kilgore though :(. Why can’t we have weekly Nats beat writer chats again?
Outside of the sports realm, Gene Weingarten makes his monthly appearance too.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)