Thursday, April 7, 2011, 11:18 a.m.
UPDATED 4:18 p.m.
By Benjamin StandigCSNwashington.com
The Sports Junkies (106.7 The Fan): The fellas had plenty to discuss with Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, who has one team rocketing to the top of its conference and the other (last nights debacle aside) playing rare winning basketball behind some youthful spunk.
On the Wizards' direction: I think the Wizards are exactly on plan, Leonsis said. I think if you just looked really clinically at the way we rebuilt the Caps and the process and the timing, were actually ahead of that schedule with the Wizards. Some through planning, some through dumb luck. Trading for Kevin Seraphin and Jordan Crawford while picking up two first-round picks in the process and generating a lot of cap space would be the former. Winning the draft lottery and thus the right to select John Wall, the latter.
On whether he envisions the NBAs labor situation being as ugly as the NFL version: I was fined once for talking about the CBA, and I will never do it again.
On the Capitals and the postseason: Fans love playoff hockey. Four years in a row weve made the playoffs, and I think thats fantastic. We cant celebrate winning the division or even finishing first in the East. If we finish first in the East, wed have the second-best record in hockey.
But as we learned last year, none of that really matters. There isnt a single person - especially in the media - that says last year was a success for us. We sold out every game, we won the Presidents Trophy, but we lost in the first round. It was a failure of the season. Weve learned that. Were not going to spike the ball at the 10-yard line. We have to do well in the playoffs. At least we have the opportunity to do that.
The Junkies asked about the status of Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld and coach Flip Saunders, but Leonsis refused to bite (I dont like doing stuff like that. Its almost offensive to them and the process.). However, his own blog sure makes it sound as if Grunfeld will not need to fill out any change-of-address cards.
I give our president of basketball operations high grades in executing upon our rebuild to date, Leonsis blogged.
The Sports Fix (ESPN 980): CSNwashington.coms Mark Zuckerman talked about the Nationals' baserunning blunders and Bryce Harper (just to be clear, separate topics). As for the phenom, Harpers adjustment to life as a professional apparently included a lengthy bus ride (over 10 hours, according to Mapquest) from Hagerstown to Rome, Ga., which is where tonight the Nats' No. 1 overall pick will make his debut. Hope he used some of his hefty signing bonus to buy a snack and something to read.
ESPN anchor and Maryland alum Scott Van Pelt talked Gary and Debbie (somewhat reluctantly) before hitting the links, specifically about whether he likes Tiger Woods chances this week: Not really but youll feel like a fool if on Sunday hes there at 12-under, two clear of everybody to think, I dont know why I didnt see it coming, but its certainly not obvious right now."
So, VCU guard Joey "Boo-boo Rodriquez, you just made the Final Four and appeared Wednesday on Lopez Tonight. What are you going to do next? Thanks to host George Lopez, the Rams point guard will indeed be heading exactly where youd think with that leading question.
Remember back when Lastings Milledge was considered the Nationals' top outfield prospect? Four years and two teams later, the 26-year-old is on the street, designated for assignment by the White Sox today.
Everybody is in such a hurry for Tiger Woods to win already. Not just win, but also win big. Majors big. If not, it seems hard to imagine how he can be loved again by the public to the rock-star levels of before. Well, except for one fairly obvious fact, according to Tom Boswell: Woods has plenty of time to determine his legacy, starting with the Masters.
ESPN 980s Chris Russell took his in-depth look at the NFL draft to Blacksburg, as he spoke with Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams (Manassas) and cornerback Rashad Roc Carmichael (Clinton). Williams, who will be attending the draft in New York, is considered a first-round pick in some circles. Williams, 5 feet 9, 211 pounds, who ran a 4.59 in the 40-yard dash, is scheduled to meet with the Redskins before the draft and is a potential option in Round 2.
So when it was all said and done, Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens stayed put. Good for the mid-majors -- if you are one of those anti-VitaleBilas folks who actually dont mind the little guy crashing the party.
Before he became Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle, the eventual Yankee had to learn the ropes down on the farm as a 17-year-old. Nationals phenom Bryce Harper, scheduled to make his debut tonight on the road in Rome, Ga., has a year on the Mick, but also has much to learn. Not just how to play, but, according to Thom Loverro, also discovering what it takes to be a professional.
Meanwhile, the Orioles' top prospect and shortstop of the future, 18-year-old Manny Machado, also will be making his season debut. Ranked the 14th top prospect in the game by Baseball America, the slick-fielding, line-drive-hitting Machado is on pace to reach Charm City sooner rather than later. When he does, the Orioles may finally end the revolving door of shortstops that has gone on since Cal Ripken moved to third base.
The Wizards and the rest of the NBA lottery teams received some stellar news when Duke freshman point guard Kyrie Irving declared for the NBA draft. Obviously, with John Wall in tow, the Wizards are not need of a point guard, but with several potential high selections reportedly staying in school, adding depth to the incoming class helps all. North Carolina big men Tyler Zeller and John Henson announced on Tuesday they intend to forgo the draft for another season in Chapel Hill.