- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 27, 2009

Goodbyes of any sort can be painful, but not this one.

Get lost, 2009, and the sooner the better from a local sporting standpoint.

Pretty please.

This sicko year was almost an unmitigated disaster for those of us who pay attention, logically or otherwise, to the games people play.

The Redskins are 4-10 with two meaningless skirmishes left.

The Wizards were 19-63 for the 2008-09 season and stood, if that’s the word, at 10-17 through Christmas Day.

The Nationals, aka Gnats, were 59-103.

And I haven’t even mentioned Tiger Woods. I know he’s not local most of the time, but his “infidelities” could earn him a notorious seat alongside politicians in these parts who sometimes pay undue attention to voters of the opposite sex.

Sports journalists are supposed to be above such shenanigans - or so I thought until a columnist for another D.C. newspaper came clean, if that’s the word, this weekend about his past activities.

Hey, Wise guy, that’s more than we need to know.

The trend in print journalism these diminishing days runs toward analysis and commentary rather than the bare - oops, sorry - facts. But often the numbers themselves tell the story better than any amount of blathering.

So it is with Washington’s allegedly professional sports teams.

Failure, failure and more failure litter the landscape, which unfortunately is nothing new. Not hardly.

In regular-season play during the so-called oughts through Friday, the Redskins were 70-88 (a nonwinning percentage of .443), the Nationals 343-466 (.424) and the Wizards 318-447 (.416).

In other words, Loserville USA.

The Redskins haven’t won a Super Bowl since January 1992, the Senators/Nats a World Series since 1924 and the Bullets/Wizards an NBA championship since 1978.

OK, so the Capitals somehow have a winning regular-season record for the decade, but their total of Stanley Cup titles remains the same as Paris Hilton’s bag of Academy Awards. Besides, they play ice hockey, and if like me you didn’t grow up watching this sport, you’re not going to give a puck about it.

Or soccer, which means D.C. United’s collection of four Major League Soccer titles won’t exactly have you dancing in the streets.

So why bother to be a sports fan hereabouts?

Well, for one thing, it beats watching pols posture and lobbyists lobby - the other two major spectator sports in this capital of the western world.

And it’s more enjoyable than, say, paying taxes, visiting the dentist or watching businesses bite the dust.

In lieu of awaiting or expecting team success, we can always savor the exploits of our few superstars. It’s worth the price of admission, almost anyway, to see Ryan Zimmerman play third base, Alex Ovechkin skate toward a terrified goalkeeper or Gilbert Arenas drill a 3-pointer.

But what about the future? Well, we can always hope that…

c Dan Snyder keeps his nose out of the way while Bruce Allen and possibly Mike Shanahan revive the Redskins.

c The Lerners do the same while Nats president Stan Kasten, GM Mike Rizzo and Prospective Phenom Stephen Strasburg turn the Nats into a major league contender.

c Ted Leonsis, practically the prototype of an intelligent team owner, sees the Caps collect a Stanley Cup full of champagne and the Wizards return to respectability.

Don’t hold your breath, but it’s OK to cross your fingers.

In fact, you’d better.

Political slogans come and go, but hope springs eternal for Washington fandom. That’s why we keep our eyes peeled, pathetic past be damned.

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