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Greetings from The Booth!
I want to start this week’s blog by sending thoughts and prayers to the people of Florida, who endured incredible devastation from Hurricane Ian last week. Many of us have some connection to the Sunshine State, whether it’s a family trip to Disneyworld, having relatives who live there, or just living vicariously in Florida through Jimmy Buffett’s songs. I’ve been to Key West three times, and once you’ve been there, it becomes a part of you. The rain we experienced this past weekend in the Shenandoah Valley was merely an annoyance, as compared to those who have lost everything. In some cases, entire barrier islands have been wiped away. The recovery effort will take years. Here’s to better Floridays ahead…
Changing gears, I came across one of the great movies of all time the other night, 1954’s “On The Waterfront,” starring Marlon Brando. The film won eight Oscars, including a Best Actor Academy Award for Brando. His character, a washed-up prizefighter, utters the line late in the movie, “what did I get? A one way ticket to Palookaville.” I looked up Palookaville in the dictionary, and it’s defined as a state or situation of obscurity or failure. I immediately thought of Washington, DC, as it relates to sports.
How did Washington become Palookaville? In 2019 the Washington Nationals won the World Series. Just a few short years later they are finishing a 107-loss season. Let that sink in. It’s said that in a 162-game season a major league baseball team will win 54, lose 54, and how good they are will depend on the other 54 games. Using that equation, the Nats are 1-53 in those games. Ouch. In two short seasons, GM Mike Rizzo gutted the team of it’s championship core and committed to a rebuild. How patient the fans are remains to be seen, but it’s easy to get to a Nationals game now–just park at the Vienna Metro stop and take the Orange line to Palookaville station.
Then, there are the Commanders, formerly the Washington Football Team, formerly the Redskins. Their ineptitude under owner Dan Snyder is well documented. There have been brief periods of success like the NFC East titles in 2012 and 2020, only to be followed by immediate returns to failure. The 20-plus years of the Snyder era have been filled with bad draft choices, free agents past their prime, numerous coaches and quarterbacks, terrible on and off-the-field decisions, one of the worst game day experiences in the NFL, Fed-Ex Field filled with opposing-team fans, and a toxic workplace culture. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?
The Washington Wizards are just perennially mediocre. Their last NBA title was 1977-78. Enough said.
And we come to the Washington Capitals, who won the Stanley Cup in 2018. Since then, they’ve been ousted in the first round of the playoffs every year, despite having one of the best players to ever lace up the skates in Alex Ovechkin. The Caps tease us each year with lots of regular season wins, only to make their tee times in early April.
And there you have it. But take heart, Washington sports fans. There’s always next year in Palookaville.
Until the next visit from the Booth…GO FLORIDA!