Monday, August 14, 2006

Quick Hits: Covering all the in-season sports (and football)

Here's a nice thought about our local baseball teams:

The Orioles would have to go 22-22 over the remainder of the season to avoid a 90-loss season. The Nationals would have to go 22-23. Neither are likely to happen.

The Nationals certainly have the easier road if they're going to make that push, but if they should be beating teams like the Braves (10 meetings before the end of the season) and Phillies (nine meetings), they wouldn't be behind them in the standings. The Nats have 29 of their last 45 games against teams that are currently under .500.

The Orioles, on the other hand, get a murderers' row from here out. The only currently sub-.500 team the O's see before next season are the Devil Rays, who they'll play 6 times. Other than that it's the Yankees 10 times, the Twins and Red Sox six times each, the Tigers four times, and three-game sets against the Blue Jays, Rangers, Athletics and Angels.


Miguel Tejada was fined but not suspended for giving some Toronto fans the finger on Wednesday. Major League Baseball traditionally does not suspend people for that offense.

Tejada apologized for the gesture in a statement saying, "I was frustrated and should not have let things get to me. I am sorry and hope people will accept that and know that is not the kind of person I am."

I don't think anyone's too offended. I'm more offended by his recent run of strikeouts and pop-ups with the tying runs on base.

Preseason football for the Redskins and Ravens started over the weekend, and as much as I hate to talk about it because it's meaningless and stupid and there's nothing more annoying than being at Champp's and seeing people hoot and holler over no-names that won't be on the team in three weeks, it did provide me with an opportunity to rail against it yet again.

As always, the preseason is a source of significant injuries.

The Ravens managed to finish the first of four preseason games in good health. Derrick Mason sustained a mild concussion when catching Steve McNair pass up the middle, but he says he'll be fine.

The Redskins weren't so lucky. If they have three more games like Sunday's before the season starts, they won't have enough guys to take the field for the opener.

Clinton Portis was the big name injury, partially dislocating his shoulder when making a tackle after an interception. Portis is expected to miss the rest of the preseason, but the extent of the damage won't be known for a few days when doctors can assess the inflammation. He didn't hold back his frustration for TV viewers, saying he should have been taken out of the game before the play.

The 'Skins also had injuries to reserves Chris Clemons and Kerry Carter. Clemons, a linebacker, will be out for at least two weeks with a knee sprain, and running back Carter is done for the year with torn knee ligaments.

The Washington Post's Mike Wilbon says everything that I'd like to, and he's better at this than I am, so I'll just link to his column on why preseason games should not exist.

Of course, everyone in Baltimore's excited that Steve McNair expertly ran a scoring drive for the Ravens, but I refuse to get excited before it counts.

By the way, both teams lost, not that anyone should care.

D.C. United played to a 1-1 tie with Real Madrid of Spain's La Liga last Wednesday. Madrid, which features David Beckham, Ruud van Nistelrooy and a host of Brazilian nationals (Robinho, Roberto Carlos, Emerson), went up 1-0 in the 22nd minute on a goal by Roberto Carlos. United's Alecko Eskandarian scored just three minutes later to tie it.

After the game United midfielder Ben Olsen told reporters, "We're not going to win the [European] Champions League now, but I think we showed ourselves well and showed the league well."

Madrid star Ronaldo didn't make the trip to America.

D.C. United resumes MLS play on Wednesday at Giants Stadium in New Jersey where they'll take on the New York Red Bulls, who got smoked by Real Madrid rival FC Barcelona, 4-1, on Saturday night.

The Red Bulls are currently occupying the fourth and final playoff spot in the MLS East and are only four points out of second... but they're 21 points behind first-place United.

Take that.

The Mystics finished their regular season with a 93-81 loss to the New York Liberty on Sunday.

The Mystics now go on to face first-place Connecticut Sun (still a stupid name) in the first round of the playoffs. The best-of-three series kicks off on Friday at Verizon Center, with games two and three to be held Sunday and next Tuesday (if necessary, of course) in the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Conn.

It's awesome they play in a casino.

It's lame that the team is named for it.

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