- The Washington Times - Monday, January 1, 2007

This prospective peek at the fun and games of 2007 guarantees it will be a better year for somebody, somewhere.

January Florida flays Ohio State 35-14 in the BCS championship game, causing as much joy in Michigan as Florida. Joe Gibbs reiterates that he will coach the Redskins next season “no matter what young people think.” Baseball fans in the Washington-Baltimore area get a belated Christmas present as Cal Ripken is elected to the Hall of Fame while ex-Senators Mickey Vernon and Cecil Travis get in through the Veterans Committee.

February The D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission announces that parking garages at the Nationals’ new ballpark will be built on top of the Frederick Douglass Bridge. The Maryland men’s basketball team pushes its record to 19-3 by crushing Duke 88-66, and coach Gary Williams promptly challenges Brenda Frese’s defending national champion women’s team to a game for the championship of Comcast Center. Tiger Woods says his goal for 2008 is to sweep the PGA Tour as well as all four majors.

March After his first look at the Nationals in Viera, Fla., rookie manager Manny Acta calls Santo Domingo to ascertain whether the Dominican Republic can use a full-time manager for its national team. Because of widespread interest, the NCAA says March Madness will begin in February next season. The D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission announces that parking garages at the Nationals’ new ballpark will be built at the Capitol Plaza. After winning the ACC tournament, the Maryland men lose their first game in the NCAA tournament to George Mason and Jim Larranaga, who wisely reassembles his 2005-06 team.

April The Nats beat the Marlins 15-1 in the last Opening Day at RFK Stadium as Vice President Dick Cheney, subbing for President Bush, tosses the traditional first pitch to Washington catcher Brian Schneider on only 15 hops. Texas Tech completes a Cinderella season by winning the NCAA tournament, and afterward coach Bob Knight kisses the officials. In a moving ceremony at Wrigley Field, the Cubs’ renowned Bleacher Bums make newcomer Alfonso Soriano an honorary member.

May John Patterson, fully recovered from last season’s arm trouble, shuts out the Brewers on two hits to improve his record to 5-0 and the Nats’ record to 5-30. With the Yankees lagging badly in the American League East, owner George Steinbrenner swaps managers with the Red Sox, sending Joe Torre to Beantown for Terry Francona and two pots of Boston baked beans. The Wizards advance to the NBA Finals by sweeping their opponents in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

June After batting only .110 with two home runs in his first 40 steroid-less games, Barry Bonds retires with 736 career dingers because “I didn’t mind passing Babe Ruth, but Henry Aaron is another story.” With the Orioles dead last in the AL East, owner Peter Angelos fires manager Sam Perlozzo and brings back 77-year-old Earl Weaver for a third term. Gilbert Arenas averages 57 points as the Wizards sweep the Spurs to win the NBA Finals for the first time since 1979 when, overjoyed owner Abe Pollin notes, “I was just a lad of 54.”

July Attempting to increase interest in baseball’s All-Star Game, commissioner Bud Selig decrees this year’s contest will be played for pride rather than home-field advantage in the World Series. The American League then edges the National League 15-3, with Ryan Zimmerman of the Nats hitting three homers for all the NL runs. After winning 298 consecutive matches on the men’s tennis tour, Roger Federer switches to the women’s circuit “so the Williams sisters can give me some real competition.” As the Redskins open training camp, Joe Gibbs says the team’s goal for this season is to survive.

Augusy The D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission announces that parking garages for the Nationals’ new ballpark will be built on the South Lawn of the White House because the president’s daddy used to play first base for Yale. Redskins owner Daniel Snyder says he retains complete confidence in player personnel director Vinny Cerrato, “whatever it is that he does.” With the Nationals still in last place with a 40-90 record, the Lerner family gives its manager Acta a vote of confidence, calling him “a valuable Acta-vist in the community.”

September When the Redskins lose their first two games, Joe Gibbs replaces quarterback Jason Campbell with veteran Mark Brunell, saying, “We love Jason, but we need more experience at the position.” Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen says his goal this season is to lose 60 pounds and no games.” The Capitals open training camp with coach Glen Hanlon promising to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup “some season before Alex Ovechkin retires.”

October With Alfonso Soriano distributing 67 home among his fellow Bleacher Bums and fans in other venues, the Cubs win the NL Central, the NLCS and defeat Terry Francona’s Yankees for their first World Series championship in 99 years. Repeating its ignominious gaffe in the 1948 presidential election, the parent Chicago Tribune runs a first-edition headline that screams “YANKS BEAT CUBBIES.” When the Redskins lose their first five games, Joe Gibbs summons 73-year-old Sonny Jurgensen from the broadcast booth to play quarterback, saying, “We love Mark, but we just need even more experience at the position.” With miracle-working coach Paul Johnson now at Alabama, Navy’s football team sinks like the Titanic, losing its first six games.

November After batting .322 with 34 homers, 128 RBI and only four errors at third base, Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals becomes only the third MVP selected from a last-place team. Meanwhile, the club announces it will abandon its rebuilding plan and sign high-priced veterans so it will be respectable when Walter Johnson Park at Preparation H Stadium opens in 2008. A contestant wins $100,000 on “Jeopardy” by naming all the heavyweight champions.

December Navy’s 11-game losing streak ends as the winless Midshipmen clobber Bobby Ross’ latest collection of Army misfits 52-6. The D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission announces that no parking garages will be built at the Nationals’ new ballpark because, chairman Mark Tuohey says, “everybody will be taking public transportation anyway.” Desperate sports columnist guarantees 2008 will be a better year for somebody, somewhere.

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