- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 14, 2002

With apologies to ABC, are you ready for some football?
Heck, yes. What else is there on local sporting fronts, assuming you don't give a rodent's rump whether the Mystics win the WNBA title.
It's nine days until the Almighty Redskins start workouts in Carlisle, 20 until their first preseason game against the 49ers in Osaka, Japan, of all places, and 56 until the hitting starts for real against the Cardinals. Know what? I don't know if I can wait.
Imagine the drama of these burning issues.
How long before Dan Snyder blows up at Steve Spurrier.
How long before Steve Spurrier blows up at Dan Snyder.
How long before Marvin Lewis blows up at both and reminds them that defense wins games.
How long before we learn who'll be the starting quarterback, Danny Matthews or Shane Wuerffel? (I get all those ex-Gators mixed up). Or maybe Patrick Ramsey, the kid from Tulane. And let's not discount the possibility that Steve Superior might suit up himself. After all, he's a young 52.
Spurrier's presence as an uninhibited rookie NFL coach adds excitement to this Redskins season especially when contrasted to the dour persona of the departed Marty Schottenheimer, whose most controversial statement last season was that "I'm a pretty [darn] good coach." And just think, if Steve goes 1-4 in his first five games, it would be an improvement.
Considering the fine mess Major League Baseball has gotten itself into, no wonder football beckons invitingly. Back in the '50s when I was a kid, the Senators' mid-July records usually not within screaming distance of .500 or the old First Division also made us extremely eager to see the football season begin. (By the end of September after several 30-point shellackings, we were extremely eager to see it end.)
Of course, baseball seasons have been only a mirage hereabouts since 1971, when the American League allowed Bob Short to stuff the expansion Senators into his carpetbag and skedaddle off to Texas. But for that atrocity, Rafael Palmeiro could be peddling Viagra and A-Rod could be earning obscene boatloads of money nowadays for our team.
For the past 30 years, some of us have slaked our horsehide thirst by rooting for the Orioles a reasonably pleasant alternative before Peter Angelos began destroying the franchise and Cal Ripken got old. But for diehards who have an eternal flame in the window for the brand new Washington Nationals (as a franchise here should be called, no matter where it is located), this has been a most discouraging spring and summer.
Despite a hollow offseason pronouncement by commissioner Bud Selig that Washington is a "prime candidate" for relocation, nothing much has happened. Bids by Fred Malek's D.C.-based investors and Bill Collins' Northern Virginians to buy the orphaned Montreal Expos were immediately rejected while Selig and his minions maintain that signing a new collective bargaining agreement between owners and players is a priority.
Right. That's why there have been no significant negotiations since the old CBA expired last November and why the game's ninth work stoppage appears about as predictable for mid-August as back-to-school sales.
Washington still has no team, baseball has no common sense and we fans are likely to have no playoffs or World Series for the second time in nine years.
Even when the Lords of the Game themselves aren't responsible, the baseball news seems to be unrelievedly grim. No sooner had we finished mourning Ted Williams than we learned that his son, unbelievably, was attempting to have his remains frozen presumably so his DNA might be used someday to clone another superbly swinging .406 hitter.
I don't know about you, but this sickening idea leaves me as totally cold as baseball, my lifelong sport of choice, is starting to do. Tuesday night's Mess in Milwaukee didn't help either.
Hail to the Redskins and even the dratted Cowboys. I'm ready for some football a lot of football provided nobody resurrects the XFL.

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