The Washington Post Sunday - - Sports -

Talk­back­ers have pointed opin­ions about the Na­tion­als, Red­skins and my ob­ser­va­tions about Pitts­burgh hockey fans.

It’s un­for­tu­nate that, with the weak at­ten­dance the Na­tion­als are about to have this sea­son, you al­ready raise the is­sue of whether the D.C. area de­serves a Ma­jor League Base­ball team, not­ing [last Sun­day], “the game is here now.”

The 2007 Na­tion­als are not a Ma­jor League Base­ball team, and no city in the coun­try would sup­port the kind of game this crew is about to play. The Na­tion­als are not only the worst team in base­ball, they could be the worst team since the 1962 New York Mets. It’s un­fair to judge the Wash­ing­ton re­gion if it fails to go crazy for this team, which in ad­di­tion to be­ing hor­rid, also plays in fan-un­friendly RFK. The test of whether D.C. is wor­thy of a Ma­jor League Base­ball team should await the day when it ac­tu­ally has one. Rick Biehl, Ar­ling­ton The Lern­ers’ own­er­ship and D.C. build­ing a new sta­dium for 2008 en­sure the Na­tion­als’ ex­is­tence here for decades. But af­ter 34 years of fans clam­or­ing for big league base­ball in Wash­ing­ton, 2007 should be about the game. The Nats’ own­er­ship has been up­front about re­build­ing from the ground up, al­though it could have done bet­ter by the pitch­ing staff. By the way, I like RFK for base­ball.

As a long­time Red­skins fan, I con­tinue to be dis­mayed over the club’s re­cent an­tics. But I’ve come up with a two-step ma­neu­ver: K Com­plete the trade with the Bears for Lance Briggs, giv­ing the Red­skins more linebackers than needed and mak­ing a mock­ery of last year’s se­lec­tion of Rocky McIn­tosh. K Move up be­fore draft day by trad­ing all of our 2008 draft picks to get JaMar­cus Rus­sell. With this move, we build ex­cite­ment on draft day, we get a young quar­ter­back that we don’t need, we cre­ate a three-way con­tro­versy at that po­si­tion and make a mock­ery of the 2005 draft-pick moves to get Ja­son Camp­bell. Jim John­son, Columbia Jimbo, are we be­ing sar­cas­tic about the lo­cal NFL team?

Re­gard­ing your col­umn of last Sun­day on Pitts­burgh’s hockey fans: Pitts­burgh is a great hockey town, and the ru­mored move of the Pen­guins to Las Ve­gas had lit­tle to do with the lack of fan sup­port for the fran­chise. Mellon Arena was sold out for a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of games since those ru­mors started fly­ing. I’d also like to re­spond to your rhetor­i­cal ques­tion: “Do fans who drove here from Pitts­burgh in Pens sweaters also travel to Philadel­phia and live to tell their sto­ries?” Pitts­burgh fans sup­port their teams, and that does in­clude travel to hos­tile venues. Ja­son Mackey, Vi­enna Ja­son, the next time you drive to Philly for a Fly­ers game wear­ing your Pens sweater, let me know and I’ll alert the EMS gang.

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