News & Politics

21 Things to Consider Right Now About DC Sports Teams

We get the rundown from ESPN’s Kevin Sheehan.

The Washington Nationals lineup on opening day at Nats Park. Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt.

Over the past several years, being a sports fan in Washington has become richer and
more rewarding. Now, in the heart of spring, there’s so much to feast upon. The Redskins
and quarterback
Robert Griffin III tell us his recovery from knee surgery is going well. The Nationals, while in a hiccup
phase, still have every reason to be optimistic about the season. The Capitals are
headed to the playoffs. The Wizards—well, there’s no sugar-coating that Washington’s professional basketball team needs to reflect, regroup, and move forward into a stronger future.
But that can happen. We’re talking sports, after all, where anything is possible.

Kevin Sheehan is one of Washington’s most entertaining and straight-talking sports commentators.
He hosts
The Sports Fix daily from noon to 2 on ESPN-980 AM and is a regular on
The Tony Kornheiser Show on weekday mornings. During the NFL season he hosts the Redskins pregame show and
Redskins Monday Morning. We checked in with Sheehan on Friday morning to get his thoughts on what fans should
be considering with DC sports teams at this moment in the middle of spring.


“This is the best position the organization has been in over the past 20 years, but
RG3’s injury rehab is crucial to next season.”

“Nobody knows how RG3’s rehab is going. Everybody speaks in terms of definitiveness,
but I don’t think anybody’s going to know until the season starts. I would put the
odds in favor of him being ready to go week one.”

“The draft matters to the Redskins. It’s another opportunity for them to add talent
in places where they still don’t have enough of it.
Mike Shanahan and
Bruce Allen know what they are doing. A lot of people think they will go for defense [in their
pick Friday]. They should take the best player available.”

“The Redskins are keeping the grass field, but they made a commitment to re-sod earlier
in the season, before it gets too cold, to make sure the field is much more playable
at the end of the season.”

“The fall schedule came out last week. The Redskins open on Monday night against the
Eagles. We got the maximum number of primetime games, at five. That’s 100 percent
because of RG3. We would be on twice without him, maybe only once. Let’s hope he’s


“It’s too early in the season for panic, because ultimately on paper we still have
one of the most talented teams in baseball. The great thing about the baseball season
is it is so long. The talent rises to the top.”

Stephen Strasburg is pitching fine. He just hasn’t gotten much help in his starts. The entire pitching
staff has been inconsistent to date. He’ll be fine.”

Bryce Harper, superstar. Maybe the biggest upside of any athlete in town, and that includes RG3.
Harper looks like the real deal and could become one of the best players in the game,
maybe one of the best to ever play the game.”

“A lot of people are concerned [Harper] will want to become a Yankee. Let’s enjoy
him while he’s here. If the Nationals win enough and he becomes enough of an icon
in this town, he’ll want to stay.”

“The best new addition to the team is
Denard Span. He’s been as good as anybody through the first 22 games, everything they thought
he would be.”

“Every time
Ross Detwiler pitches he continues to get better. He has the chance to be much more than an afterthought,
much more than your conventional fourth or fifth starter.”

“I love
Davey Johnson. He’s the smartest coach/manager in town. What’s he’s going through right now is
frustrating for him, but he’ll figure it out. He’s top-shelf, and highly entertaining
to watch and listen to.”


“There’s a feeling a lot of people have that the way they are playing, and the style
of play, that maybe this year won’t be a playoff disappointment. There is something

Alex Ovechkin has been on a tear. He looks like the best offensive player in hockey.”

“The delay in the start of the season cost the team ample time to implement [coach]

Adam Oates’s new system, which is why they started off poorly but were able to adapt in time
to put together a stretch of hockey that got them the division title.”

“This is a different team offensively than we’ve seen in the last few years. The thing
to watch is whether they continue to be offensively relentless. The biggest danger
is Pittsburgh. Fortunately for the Caps, if they can play well they wouldn’t have to
play Pittsburgh until the Eastern Conference Finals.”


“If you believe that
John Wall is truly a franchise cornerstone, then the glass is half full. If you don’t, then
it is half empty. I would be surprised if they don’t re-sign him.”

“General manager
Ernie Grunfeld has become a lightning rod for disgruntled Wizards fans. They believe there should
be a change. He’s much more competent than most people would lead you to believe.”

“The Wizards have young talent.
Bradley Beal is a legit shooting guard, potentially a star. If you believe in Wall, then you believe
in Beal and Wall as a back court in the future—they could be one of the better back
courts in basketball.”

Ted Leonsis has some big decisions to make.”


“In this town it’s those four teams and then Maryland and Georgetown basketball. After
that it’s mixed stuff. By the way, Maryland and Georgetown both should return decent
teams next year.”