- The Washington Times - Monday, June 30, 2008

WEEKEND REWIND: IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

AT&T National field announced:Tiger Woods‘ absence didn’t help tournament organizers as Steve Stricker (No. 7) is the highest ranked player coming to Congressional. It’s a step up from the bottom-feeders typically found at the Booz Allen, but this year’s field includes the likes of Bo (Not Scott) Van Pelt, Tiger groupie Notah Begay III and Steve (Not Dan) Marino. When Fred Funk, Stuart Appleby, Fred Couples and K.J. Choi are your big draws, you know your tournament is in trouble.

Big weekend for soccer: David Beckham’s second visit to the District didn’t go smoothly as sweltering heat and humidity contributed to D.C. United’s 4-1 rout of the Los Angeles Galaxy. And in Europe, Spain won its first European Championship in 44 years, defeating Germany 1-0. Soccer likely will never reach the popularity of football, baseball and basketball in America, but with the growing Hispanic population and proliferation of cable and Internet access, it may already have surpassed hockey as the country’s No. 4 team sport.

TWT FIVE: REASONS FOR NATIONALS OPTIMISM

1. Potential No. 1 draft pick — The first pick in baseball’s draft isn’t always a sure thing (see Bullington, Bryan and Benson, Kris) but look at how the No. 1 picks from 1998 to 2001 are performing (Pat Burrell, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Gonzalez and Joe Mauer).

2. Here come the kids — Starter John Lannan is showing he belongs in the majors, and Collin Balester is set to make his debut Tuesday. It’s easier for Nationals fans to stomach losing with the likes of Lannan and Balester rather than retreads like Odalis Perez and Tim Redding.

3. The season’s half over — The bad news that comes with fielding a Class AAA team in the NL East — get ready for a 100-loss season.

4. Elijah Dukes — The only trouble he has gotten himself into has been celebrating wins and homers.

5. At least they beat the Orioles — Losing a series to the worst team in the NL can’t make Peter Angelos happy.

HE SAID WHAT?

We will never draft a No. 1 or a No. 2 again because we’re going to win. — Miami Heat president Pat Riley