Words that de­fined the deeds in 2016

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY TODD DYBAS

There is a core ques­tion at the con­clu­sion of any sport­ing event: What did they say? As part of our year-end look at Wash­ing­ton sports, the Wash­ing­ton Times went back through a suc­cess­ful — for the most part — year of ath­let­ics in the area. There were play­offs losses — lots of play­off losses — sur­prises, con­tro­versy and com­edy.

There is no short­age of com­men­tary from con­ver­sa­tional coaches in charge of the four ma­jor sports in town. Dusty Baker, Jay Gru­den, Scott Brooks and Barry Trotz may form the most ac­com­mo­dat­ing and talk­a­tive four­some in the coun­try. Throw-in lo­cal stars, and you have a year in which words de­fined the deeds in District sports.

Jan­uary

“It’s frus­trat­ing, ob­vi­ously. You feel sick for ob­vi­ously the play­ers, the fans, the or­ga­ni­za­tion. A lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties we didn’t take ad­van­tage of, quite frankly. It’s un­for­tu­nate, plays that we nor­mally would make and had been mak­ing in our win streak, we just didn’t make for what­ever rea­son.” — Red­skins coach Jay Gru­den a day af­ter los­ing to the Green Bay Pack­ers in the

play­offs, end­ing Wash­ing­ton’s sea­son.

“They tell me af­ter the game I’m go­ing to go. I just ask Nicky how you fly in, and they booked the flight and

fly to Nashville.” — Cap­i­tals for­ward Evgeny Kuznetsov on his first Al­lS­tar Game ap­pear­ance, as an in­jury re­place­ment for Alex Ovechkin and with an as­sist from Nick­las Backstrom.

Fe­bru­ary

“I want this to be a big year for me. I want to make a lot of strides in my game as well as progress in the sys­tem.” — For­mer Na­tion­als top prospect Lu­cas Gi­olito at spring train­ing. He would be traded in De­cem­ber.

“I don’t know no Dipo.” — New Na­tion­als man­ager Dusty Baker, still learn­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion, when asked if mi­nor-league in­fielder Wilmer Difo was yet to re­port to spring train­ing be­cause of visa prob­lems.

“With what hap­pened last year, I was in the wrong. It should have never went down that way, and I un­der­stand that.” — For­mer Na­tion­als closer Jonathan Papel­bon, who choked Bryce Harper at the end of 2015.

“I’ve never met that guy. I’ve never heard of that guy. The guy that sup­pos­edly helps me train in the off­sea­son. So, yeah, none of that stuff is true.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

“It will get bet­ter,” Na­tion­als man­ager Dusty Baker said af­ter be­ing elim­i­nated in the play­offs.

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