- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2012


Once again, it’s time to check off some items on my “TIDU List” — Things I Don’t Understand:

• Why the Nationals haven’t swept a series.

It’s hard to complain when the team is 26-18 and has spent most of the season in first place. But the Nats haven’t been finishers. In seven series in which they were a combined 16-0 entering the finale, they’re 0-7 in the finale. Philly and Cincinnati twice have staved off sweeps.

The Nats are doing fine, but they’re killing broom sales in D.C.

• How mandatory knee and thigh pads are bad.

NFL players voiced their disapproval when the league increased padding as of 2013. Players said it would slow them down and really wouldn’t prevent injuries. Several said they won’t wear the extra pads, while the union said working conditions must be collectively bargained.

That’s OK. I imagine NFL players in 1943 objected to mandatory helmets, too.

• Why the Magic love dysfunction.

Orlando couldn’t botch matters any worse. First, officials let Dwight Howard wreak havoc with his indecisiveness. Now, two weeks after losing in the playoffs, coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith are out. The delay doesn’t disguise the blatant suck-up move.

This circus would have added a third ring if Shaq landed the GM job.

• How Henry Rodriguez can be trusted much longer.

Manager Davey Johnson’s confidence is admirable. It’s paying off for second baseman Danny Espinosa, with a .300/.378/.550 slash line in his past 12 games. But Rodriguez has imploded, losing his closer’s job and regularly throwing pitches to the backstop.

There’s still hope; the Phillies won a pennant with reliever Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams.

• Why Randy Wittman is the Wizards’ interim coach.

Their season ended nearly a month ago, yet the Wizards haven’t removed Wittman’s tag. Some big-name coaches are available, including Van Gundy, Jerry Sloan, Mike D’Antoni and Nate McMillan. Maybe the team is waiting for Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw.

I guess Wittman is a fallback guy, but the Wizards need to quit thinking like that.

• How NFL owners could be so brazen.

Union lawyer Jeffrey Kessler said he was “stunned” and “shocked” when officials openly talked about Washington and Dallas not following the league’s script in 2010, a year with no salary cap. Those comments led the players to file a collusion lawsuit.

The owners might win anyway, but they’ll keep their mouths shut next time.

• How the Celtics can beat Father Time.

Boston knows how to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers. Mustering the wherewithal is another story. Neither team has won two consecutive games in this series, which would bode well for Boston on Friday in Game 7. But the Sixers definitely look faster, fresher and stronger.

I think the Celtics’ “Big 3” are about to go down for the count.

• Why the Capitals can’t find a happy medium.

They were one of the NHL’s most exciting teams — freewheeling and high-scoring — under Bruce Boudreau. They were one of the NHL’s most tranquilizing teams — zone-clogging and shot-blocking — under Dale Hunter. Neither model advanced past the second round.

We just want progress from the next coach, not one extreme or another.

• Why the Thunder ended their watch parties.

The sight of 6,000 fans watching OKC’s playoff games on a large screen affixed to the arena’s exterior was way cool … until someone pulled a gun Monday and started shooting after the Thunder eliminated the Lakers. Now the pregame festivities will end at tip-off.

I hope city officials reconsider and don’t let one fool spoil everyone’s fun.

• How RG3’s transition could be any smoother.

From Jay Leno and OTAs, to Subway stores and autograph sessions, there’s nary a negative word about the Redskins’ new QB. He impresses veterans with his play on the field and his demeanor in the locker room. Coaches, fans and media love him, too.

This level of happiness won’t remain forever; I’d settle for Week 2.



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