DC: District of Champions

From coming back from 0-2 against Columbus to defeating their arch rivals in Pittsburgh to beating the hottest team in hockey in the Golden Knights to more recently finding their homes/beds after a 24 hour bender across the DC area, these Capitals have shown they are up for every challenge that comes their way. And as the Hurricane Ovechkin party tour winds down and these players go their separate ways for the offseason, they leave behind a city that has now tasted victory and wants more of it. So the real question for this Capitals team is this: can they transform this city into the “District of Champions”?Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 11.14.42 PM.png

To do so, they would have to have left some of that championship mojo back at Nats Park after celebrating with the Cup (and a few dozen beers) at Saturday’s game. The Caps Stanley Cup championship coupled with this iteration of a powerhouse roster for the Nats give this city its best chance at back to back titles in the 4 major professional sports. Could the Nationals do the unthinkable and hoist the World Series trophy only 6 months after DC hoists the Stanley Cup? It’s very possible but in order to do so, the Nats will have needed to learn a few things from their drunken compadres on the ice.

The first lesson from this Stanley Cup run is that stars need to play like stars when it counts most. For all the talk of Ovechkin disappearing in big games, he, along with Kuzy, Backstrom, and Wilson, were all over the stat sheet throughout the playoff run and specifically the series against the Golden Knights. The Nats will need their superstars to step up come playoff time, meaning Max Scherzer will need to make up for last year’s disastrous Game 5 showing against Chicago and Bryce will need to bat better than his current .231 average.

Secondly, coaches must coach to win and not just to not lose. No decision made more of an impact in this playoff run than Barry Trotz’s decision to bench goalie Philip Grubhauer for backup Braden Holtby. Holtby rewarded the coach’s gutsy decision with incredible performances, including back to back shutouts against Tampa Bay to save that series. In years past, Nats managers, riddled with crazy high expectations, have coached scared, not willing to shake things up when things seemed perilous. In order to win the big one, Davey Martinez and his staff will need to make tough calls and be wiling to shake things up when need be.

Finally, the greatest lesson from the Capitals playoff run is just how much this city will get behind a championship team. For all of the haters and naysayers (looking at you Wilbon) that call DC a “minor league sports town”, this Stanley Cup run showed just how hungry this city is for a winner and the lengths we are willing to go to root them on and carry them to victory. So the Nats would be wise to remember that come October, that if they can get over the proverbial hump (insert Camel joke here), then they will be showered with the most insane love and gratitude and loyalty that this city has to offer. And for a city not known for its loyalty, that ain’t nothing.

The Juan Soto / Bryce Harper Dilemma

Juan Soto capped his first home run trout with a classic Bryce Harper hair flip – needless to say Soto does not have any hair endorsement deals. Nonetheless that moment may have signified the passing of the torch from one superstar to another potential superstar. Was Soto subtly announcing himself as the new Bryce Harper? The similarities don’t end with just hair flips. The rise of Soto may seal Bryce’s fate as a National.

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Let’s first compare these two players. Harper and Soto both reached the minor leagues as teenagers – at the same ripe age of 19. While there, they also performed outstandingly and achieved similar numbers. Soto’s numbers in the minor leagues were .362/.434/.609 compared to Harper’s .397/.521/.917. In addition, although we’re working with a small sample size, Soto’s current slash line for the major leagues is just as impressive as Harper’s, with numbers like .286/.400/.571. Perhaps most significantly, however, they are also both outfielders.

With players like Soto, the reality is that the Nationals may not need Harper in the outfielder position any longer. In fact, Soto might not even be the Nationals best outfielder prospect – Victor Robles, for instance, is regarded as a top 5 prospect in all of baseball. The Nationals outfield has the potential to be made up of an impressive young group of players as early as soon as the start of next season, with players like Eaton, Taylor, Soto, Goodwin, and Robles all there. Since Soto and Robles are going to be cheap young talent for years to come, it’s hard to imagine the Nationals spending record money to keep a player in a position where the team is already pretty deep.

It’s also important to remember that Bryce is not the only big free agent that the Nationals will need to make a decision on during this offseason. Gio Gonzalez is also a free agent, and the Nationals will need to spend a large amount of money to resign or replace him with a comparable third line starter – all of which will take funds away from potentially resigning Bryce. In addition, the free agent Daniel Murphy may also need to be resigned or replaced if it’s decided that Wilmer Difo cannot adequately replace him.

Overall, the fast rise of Soto, the potential of Robles, and the need to replace other free agents are all factors that make it ever more likely that Bryce will leave the Nationals after this season. While his departure would mark the end of one chapter in the Nationals book, it would also symbolize the start of a new and exciting chapter led by Soto and Robles.

Golden Knights Win; Capitals Score 4; Vegas Pregame; Warriors to NBA Finals

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-whtdx-92258c

The #Capitals had two different chances to win game one by holding on to a one goal lead… twice… but couldn’t do it and the #GoldenKnights took the win. The studs on both sides played “ok” but nobody expected a 10-goal shootout. #Vegas is fast but #DC may be more encouraged than discouraged in the end. Joe is joined by Ashley from @VGKladies to discuss game one in detail and share her perspective from inside of Tmobile Arena in downtown #LasVegas. Hockey fans everywhere should be excited about this Final… just as NBA fans should be disappointed that #Cavs vs #Warriors is our NBA Final for the fourth straight time.

Capitals vs Knights; DC vs Vegas; Stanley Cup Preview

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-7qknx-920f15

Happy Memorial Day and remember to remember those that have paid the ultimate price for our great nation this holiday weekend. The #Capitals are in #Vegas to face the #GoldenKnights and Joe is joined by Aaron Crouch, host of the Vegas Squares Podcast (@vegassquares) to breakdown the SCF matchup and discuss what may be a storybook ending for one of these two teams that both kinda feel destined to win the Cup of Lord Stanley Preston. This is it DC, we are just one “sleep” away from game one! Listen and learn everything you need to know before history is written on Monday night!

Nationals Welcome Soto; Capitals to SCF; NFL Anthem Issues

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-7qxvb-91eee9

Welcome to the DTC week in review. Mat, Stevie, and Joe discuss Juan Soto and his debut with the Nationals as a lone brightspot for the team this week with a “must-have” weekend series against the Marlins coming up. At the 12 minute mark the #Nationals talk shifts to #Capitals talk with a recap of the viewing party at Cap1Arena for game 7, and a discussion of why this IS the team that can bring home a title. Tom Wilson, Great8, Holtby discussed in detail, plus, has any one GM ever been responsible for two teams facing each other in the championship round of any sport? George McPhee built both the Capitals and #Vegas #GoldenKnights and deserves credit. The final topic starting at minute 29 (after a discussion of old guys and boobs) is about the #NFL and why their new national anthem policy will only make things worse for the business. Listen, like, and share!