First Down: Reasons to root for Nats to hire Valentine

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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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THE BEST OF THE WEEKEND IN SPORTS

Capitals at Islanders

Yes, yes, the Islanders stink. But this is a chance to check out No. 1 pick John Tavares. This kid is the real deal, and New York will be building around him for the next decade.

Tennessee at Alabama

This one has a 50-50 shot of being a close game - if Lane Kiffin pretends Nick Saban is Urban Meyer and actually squeezes a win out of his players. Otherwise, just tune in for the carnage.

Vikings at Steelers

With a Sunday bereft of a Redskins game and possibly baseball, seeing Brett Favre vs. the champs is an intriguing matchup.

Cardinals at Giants

Again, settle in for a Sunday night without a whole lot of other choices. Let’s see whether Eli Manning can pick apart the Cardinals’ defense.

TWT FIVE FIVE REASONS TO ROOT FOR NATIONALS TO HIRE BOBBY VALENTINE

1. He has led a team to a World Series. Go ahead, Nationals fans, envision your team in a World Series.

2. Remember that mustache? He can break out the disguises and be any manager you want him to be.

3. The curse of Don Mattingly is something to avoid like the plague. No team with Mattingly has ever made a World Series.

4. He could give Bruce Boudreau a challenge for the city’s most charismatic coach. Big yawns for Jim Zorn and Flip Saunders.

5. He’s not Manny Acta. Which means he may not be as nice a guy, but he’ll help the Nationals win more games.

HE SAID WHAT?

“Having to go through 162 games and understanding there is another season after that, you kind of get impatient at times and you really want it to come to an end faster than it does.”

- Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins

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