Are You Ready for the Washington Warriors?
The Washington City Paper's Dave McKenna makes the case that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder might be preparing to rename his team the Washington Warriors. Among the evidence: The Skins will play next season in "throwback" uniforms. Problem is, in their 69-year history the Redskins have never worn any uniforms resembling the "throwback" edition.
Snyder trademarked the name Washington Warriors two years ago, explaining that he would use it for an Arena Football League team. But Snyder never assembled an AFL franchise, and AFL officials say he won't have one this year or next. And the Redskins' "throwback" helmet was first conceived as the helmet of his AFL Warriors.
Volunteer work: Last week, Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon skipped his team's "voluntary" minicamp. The Miami Herald's Dan Le Batard defends him:
The players' union negotiated limits into the collective bargaining agreement to keep coaching dictators from removing the "off" in "offseason" and running players into the grave year round. … But these minicamps are voluntary in name only, see? Coaches get around the rules by calling them voluntary and then getting all indignant if players don't show up for them, and they are backed by outraged fans who are all too willing to view rich guys like Gannon as spoiled, disloyal millionaires who don't care. … In an ideal world, sure, Gannon sucks it up for the team, swallows his annoyance and goes to work even on what are supposed to be days off. But if this were an ideal world, public opinion wouldn't turn on a man for not working during what his contract clearly says is vacation.
Start spreading the news: The Yanks trail the Boston Red Sox by four and a half games in the AL East. The New York Post's Wallace Matthews isn't worried:
Everyone repeat after me: So what? … If Jason Giambi remains mired in mediocrity and Bernie Williams never comes out of his perpetual concussion, and if neither Shane Spencer or John Vander Wal or Rondell White turns out to be the answer in the other two outfield spots, Steinbrenner will go out and trade for or buy someone who is. There will be baseball in the Bronx this October, and every October, so long as the economics of baseball remain as they are.
During a recent home stand, the Seattle Mariners denied admission to anyone wearing a "Yankees Suck" T-shirt. The ACLU contemplated an investigation. Mariners fans howled. The New York Post's Phil Mushnick replies, "[T]his isn't a freedom of expression issue. … The shirt in dispute doesn't read 'Boo Yankees' or 'Yankees Stink,' it carries a gutter euphemism. That such shirts would be tolerated in a publicly owned ballpark makes the point at least as strongly for the potential defendant as it does for the potential plaintiff."
Empty Seats Watch, cont'd: The Detroit Pistons fielded their best team in years this season, but fans didn't bother to sell out Sunday's home playoff game against the Boston Celtics. The Detroit Free Press' Mitch Albom rants:
The last time the Pistons played in a conference semifinal, they were the defending NBA champions and the city was nuts. You'd cut off your arm for a ticket. That was 11 years ago. Now, finally, here they were again on Sunday afternoon, conference semifinals, whupping up on—of all teams—the Boston Celtics, and there were tickets available, tickets unused, and so many empty seats, in certain sections you could have strung a net and played volleyball. … Where were you?
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Bryan Curtis, Slate's "Middlebrow" columnist, writes for Grantland, Texas Monthly, and Newsweek. Follow him on Twitter.