Nationals, Redskins Give Washington Sports Fans Hope

There are championships ahead for long-suffering DC fans, who, God knows, need the distraction.

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By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

The Washington Nationals won again last night. There is an adverb--again--you don't see much with that particular noun and verb. Losertown may be ready for a new nickname.

I was idly clicking through the channels the other night and caught the last outs of Stephen Strasburg's no-hitter, but what really has me thinking that we are in for good times here in Ol' DC is Tom Boswell, the ace sports guru at the Post who, in his online chat yesterday, was positively giddy about the Nats' chances at making the playoffs--maybe even this year!

Boswell is not a Kool-Aid drinking type, but he has done the math on the schedule ahead and analyzed the odds that a certain aging battery will continue to stymie National league hitters and reached the conclusion that after SS arrives the team is just one great starting pitcher and a power-hitting right fielder away from real goodness, if not greatness, and...who knows?

Meanwhile, out at Redskins Park the Evil Empire continues to act as if the Emperor has finally thrown up his hands and given the team to someone who knows what they are doing. It will be nice to be on the other end of some Donovan McNabb heroics. Boswell has analyzed the Skins schedule as well and is projecting something like four or five wins next year but, hey, he had the Nats down for twenty games below .500 when the season began and now he's singing "take me out to the ball game!"

And now that build-the-franchise-wisely Ted has taken over the Wizards, and LeBron has shown he's human, and the Wiz have salary space and draft picks, can it be too long before that franchise is turned around? Gilbert did his time at a halfway house in my neighborhood, and nobody got shot...

Which leaves the Caps. Here is where I differ from Boswell, who put the team's collapse in the elite category of the worst choke in DC sports history--ever! He thinks the team has to retool and change its style of play and rebuild itself for playoff hockey.

I dissent. It says here that two things killed the Caps this year. A superb team effort by Montreal, a gutsy bunch who immediately proved they are no fluke by dispatching Sid the Kid and the reigning Pens. And age. Here is the stat you need to focus on, Bos. These Caps are young-young-young. Nick Bakstrom, the starting line center, is 22. So is Varlamov. Green and Ovechkin are 24. John Carlson just turned 20. Even Gretzky's Oilers needed to grow some whiskers, figuratively speaking, before putting their names on all those Cups.

Stuff happens. Just ask Tiger, or Phil. But the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, as the great man said. There are championships ahead for long-suffering DC fans, who, God knows, need the distraction.

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