Let's Play a Game

For those of you who haven't noticed, it is still, in fact, August. It feels like it has been August for several months now. Even though training camp is less than three weeks away, the wait still feels interminably long. So, to help pass the time, I've decided to play a little game, and I encourage you to join in in the comments section. Here are the rules:

Pick one, and only one, retired former Capital whom you would most like to have on the current Caps' roster if he were still in the prime of his career. The catch? You cannot pick any player who has had his number retired, nor can you pick any player who has been, or is likely to be, inducted into the Hall of Fame. Also, once people actually start giving their picks in the comments, you can't pick a player someone else has already picked.

The first pick, of course, goes to me.

Alex Presents...

Did you know that Alex Ovechkin has his own corner of the CCM website? I didn't.

I don't know how, exactly, it is that I had never seen this before. I blame my fellow bloggers (except Garrett at Puckhead's Thoughts, who showed us this months ago), whom I expect to keep an eye out for these types of things so I don't have to.

Anyway, I suggest you check it out if you haven't seen it already. There's some funny stuff.



If you were to mosey on over to the Express' 'Free Ride', you might notice that they are reporting that work has begun on dismantling the Phone Booth's existing scoreboard. The new scoreboard will be a huge improvement, apparently:

Over a 1,000 feet of linear [light-emitting diode] fascia will bring to life the entire upper level of the arena bowl, while 400 feet of full motion signage will continue to animate the lower level of the arena bowl. Four additional LED displays will also light the top corners of the arena bowl with statistics, 3D graphics and advertisements, thus completing the entire digital display system.
Woo-hoo! Finally, the upper bowl will finally be brought to life! As opposed to... I don't know, I guess the only seats that most fans can afford must be the ones that attract the lifeless corporate drones. As opposed to the lower bowl, which was apparently already "animated". Thank goodness Abe was able to push through an entirely pointless tax increase on Verizon Center tickets to pay for all this. It's nice to know that the increased price I'll be paying for Caps tickets means that we'll be getting "a new state-of-the-art high-definition one hanging high above center court, just in time for the start of the Wizards' season this fall".

Wait... the Wizards?! You mean the team whose season doesn't start until October 31st? Three and a half weeks after the Capitals' home opener? Fascinating.


Blogs v. MSM: Round LXXVIII

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This entry was posted during my lunch break at work, which runs from 1:00-1:30 PM. As such, it was posted before this. Dan Steinberg stole my entry title. Sort of. He shall experience my wrath.)

Nothing like a good old media war to get us through the hockey doldrums of August, huh?

As anyone who regularly checks this site has probably figured out, I don't feel particularly motivated to spend too much time writing about the Caps during the offseason. But the current war of words between Ted Leonsis and WTEM's Steve Czaban has really piqued my interest. At issue is Leonsis's annoyance with the negative light in which Czaban and his cohorts consistently paint the NHL (or, in this case, football soccer), versus Czaban's insistence that devoting coverage to hockey and other such "niche" sports is inherently unprofitable. The reason I find the whole thing so fascinating is that, for all the hemming and hawing, both Ted and Czaban are right.

Granted, Ted is more right. He is absolutely right to call out 980 (and any other media outlet) for continuing to dump on hockey the way it has. The original incident that drew his ire, Czaban's disdain for soccer fans in spite of what can only be called a hugely succesful night for the MLS, is especially galling. However, his argument that WTEM should be nicer to the Caps simply because the Caps pay WTEM for the opportunity to broadcast their games is puzzling. Ted is not stupid, and surely he must realize that, while sports radio is first and foremost a business, it is also, to a certain extent, a news outlet, and giving any subject favorable treatment based on their monetary contributions would compromise the station's integrity far more than the consistent ignorance of their on-air talent. Just look at ESPN for an example of what happens when a media outlet is more concerned with hyping its own product than objectively reporting the news.

On the other hand, we have Czaban arguing the point that hockey's scant airtime is purely based on economics, and he's absolutely right. If there were enough hockey fans to support it, the station would cover more hockey. Likewise, if enough people were to stop listening because of a lack of hockey, the powers that be would fix the situation right quick. But neither of these scenarios is ever likely to come to pass in Washington DC. Czaban correctly asserts that DC is not New York, Boston or a slew of other cities that, by sheer size, are guaranteed to have a large enough base of fans to sustain coverage of just about any sport, no matter how niche. The problem with Czaban's retort is that it fails to address Leonsis's main point, that the media is unjustifiably unfair towards hockey or soccer. In fact, Czaban takes several opportunities to perpetuate the injustice right there in his rebuttal, taking numerous swipes at Ted and the Capitals.

Ted is not asking that Sports Talk 980 devote more airtime to the Capitals or hockey. He plainly states that he thinks there are more people reading blogs than listening to the radio anyway. He is arguing not for increased exposure, but a decrease in negative exposure. His point that the derision towards sports like hockey and soccer alienates fans and equals less listeners. It is telling that, in response to a genuinely well-thought out criticque, Czaban felt compelled to respond with little more than name calling while side stepping the heart of the issue altogether.

For more, and probably better, coverage, head here or here or here. Or, more importantly, here.