Words that defined the deeds in 2016
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.
“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.
“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.
“It will get better,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said after being eliminated in the playoffs.