by Borderstan.com February 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm 4 Comments

From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome. Email him at [email protected].

"Sports"

February: a slow sports month. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Happy post-Super Bowl, no-football-untill-September to everyone! Hope everyone enjoyed the big game, ate lots of food and were with good enough friends to get you through Barack Obama’s planned power outage (I mean, it had to have been his fault, right?).

As the shortest month of the year, I have always seen February as a waste of space on the sports schedule. NBA, NHL, and college hoops are in the meat of their seasons with little urgency or exciting play for the most part.

It’s around this time I like to take stock of the city and see how we are doing. So lets take a look and, using my scale of 1 to 5 (1 being would rather watch new episodes of Wipeout and 5 being I am buying tickets now), let’s see the state of District.

The State of DC Sports

  • Nationals. Pitchers and catchers report to Florida for Spring Training in about a week. The Nationals added a 5th president to the famous President’s Race and we all look forward to a very wobbly Taft losing many races. Star pitcher Gio Gonzalez was named in a steroid report, but we’re unsure if this will have repercussions. The first exhibition game is at the end of March against the New York Yankees…Oh Yea.  Excited: 3.5 more presidents the better
  • Capitals. Last place; not looking like a team at all. Still major questions in goal. Fans receiving weird magazines. Bottom line here: Ovi needs to step it up, and soon, if there will be playoff hockey in the district this year. Excited: 2 worried this funk will last too long
  • Redskins. Rookie of the year honors to RG3. A division title and a win over the Super Bowl Champion Ravens during the season. Lots of players coming back. Excited: 4 as long as RG3 heals well, nothing but upside
  • Wizards. … yea, let’s just move on here.
  • Georgetown/GWU: Gtown is a top 25 team, big wins over Louisville and UCLA, always gets hot come March. George Washington University is still finding their offense in a much improved Atlantic 10. Excited: 5. MARCH MADNESS IS SOON

Not a bad state of the city. There are a lot of things to feel good about as we glide through this short month. Stay warm everyone!

Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!

  • New Yorker’s 101 pizza slices. Yum!
  • It has begun. The robots are taking over.
  • Paperman. An amazing Pixar short.

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by Borderstan.com January 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm 0

From Kent Barnes. Follow him on Twitter @KentBarnes, email him at kent[AT]borderstan.com.

"Verizon Center"

They are on the court. (Scott Leibowitz)

District sports fans rejoice! After a dreary end to 2012, the Verizon Center is finally back to being the hub of the local sports scene.

Buoyed by the return of star player John Wall, the Wizards have reeled off seven wins in January after only mustering four in October, November and December combined. The awful start to their season all but guarantees the team will miss the playoffs for the fifth straight year, but the recent improvements should bring more fans to the area, much to the delight of local bar and restaurant owners.

Perhaps more importantly to the majority of District residents, the Capitals finally took the ice on January 22 after a lengthy lockout delayed the start of the season. The lockout did nothing to cool the local fans’ enthusiasm as the team continues to sell out their games and dominate local sports coverage (along with William Howard Taft). And thanks to the compressed schedule, those fans can catch Capitals games about twice a week between now and the end of March.

As always, if you can’t make it out to the Verizon Center to see the Wizards or Capitals in person, head to your favorite Borderstan bar for a beer and the big screen.

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by Borderstan.com January 23, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome. Email him at [email protected].

Hockey

Capitals are back! (Luis Gomez Photos)

It’s been a big week in DC in the theme of returning. Sure the average person might rank Obama’s 2nd term as the strongest return story of the week, but those who have been avoiding Chinatown in anger and dismay see the bigger picture.

The owners and the players have reached an agreement bringing hockey back to America/Canada, but more importantly the Capitals are back in the Verizon Center. Sure the lockout was long and quite stupid, but some season is better than no season so lets get ready.

I have written about my love for our best pro team in the city (I still stand by this even with the Redskins division title) and could not be more excited to have this back in town. DC has always been a quasi sports town waiting for glory, and no team has taken them closer in the last two decades than the Capitals. Easy to get to stadium, knowledgeable and passionate fans, and plenty of great personalities on the team makes this team easy to root for.

The Full Caps Experience

I was out Saturday night and watched their first game of the season (a bad loss) at Boardroom on Connecticut Avenue and could just feel the excitement of hockey returning. As the season rolls along, here as some helpful hints and thoughts to get the most out of your Washington Capitals experience.

  • Watch For Deals: Thanks to LivingSocial being located across the street from the stadium, as well as other deal websites, there are a few times during the season when there are good ticket deals. It is a short season so there may be less of these but just keep an eye out.
  • Get Pumped: Game experience is not meant for those looking to relax and sit down for a few hours. Game day crowds are loud, vibrant, and electric when it comes to their Capitals. If this doesn’t sound like you, enjoy a happy hour at the slew of fun bars littered around Chinatown.
  • His name is Ovechkin: Every team has its stars (minus the Wizards) and the Caps have Alex Ovechkin. His personality is as big as his game and at this point he probably holds the title for most talented player without a Stanley Cup (NHL playoff finals) appearance. I think he is due.
  • Put on your winter gear, head to Chinatown, and get ready to ROCK THE RED!

What’s in the Hopper?

Super Bowl. Gonna be a great one. Tons of awesome story lines.

Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!

  • March madness style bracket of best Chappelle Show skits. Awesome.
  • DC cabs must take credit cards by end of March. About damn time.
  • 42. The movie about Jackie Robinson looks great.

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by Borderstan.com May 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,653 3 Comments

"Dc United" "Soccer"

D.C. United fans. (Scott Leibowitz)

From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome. Email him at scott[AT]borderstan.com.

If there is one thing I enjoy, it’s being proved wrong (just not all the time). For the most part, I have generally found DC sports fans to be fairly fair-weathered when it comes to general game-day enthusiasm and excitement for their teams. (This may sound overly harsh, but it’s not meant to be). Yes, the Capitals playoff atmosphere for the triple overtime game I attended two weeks ago was amazing, but playoffs are a special occasion. On Wednesday, I attended the D.C. United vs Colorado Rapids professional soccer game at RFK stadium and I was quite impressed.

Now, to be fair, I went to the game with fairly low expectations. Major League Soccer (MLS) is still a growing league and has not taken off as they thought it might when it started. Sure, interest is high during World Cup years, but I would guess most average sports fans couldn’t name five teams in the league. I had only been to one previous MLS game and that was to see NY/NJ Red Bulls play the LA Galaxy in what was David Beckham’s first MLS game in NYC. Giant Stadium packed 66,000 people and it was an exciting game atmosphere (Beckham had 2 and 1 assist, just awesome).

Back to D.C. United. Located at RFK Stadium (which is a bit old), there was a great tailgate atmosphere upon arrival (yes, I’m sure Redskins have this too). Thanks to my girlfriend’s fantastic people skills, we actually had box VIP tickets for the game which made a big difference. As for my first United game, here’s what I thought:

Passion, Passion, and Constant Cheering. The section right next to midfield is filled with the loudest and craziest fans I have seen in D.C. It’s like they took a page right out of England’s soccer hooliganism playbook and though their numbers were small, they NEVER stopped singing/cheering during all 90 minutes of play. It was a multicultural crowd singing in Spanish and English assisted by a team of stadium staff assigned to getting the crowd going. It made a nice soundtrack to watching (they even have their own song to the tune of Yankee-Doodle).

21st Century Concessions. If you have ever sat in expensive/box/floor seats anywhere, you may have experienced waiter service. RFK has a great system which everyone can use, an online menu with free delivery. Within five minutes I was eating nachos and popcorn and I never left my seat. More stadiums need this.

Stadium is too Big. Seeing the entire upper deck empty was a bit depressing. My suggestion: Demolish RFK, put a new stadium for Redskins there, build United their own mini stadium either next to it, or somewhere else in the city. Easier said than done I know.

Because I have serious loyalties to my home teams in the four major sports, I am leaning to becoming a D.C. United fan. If anything, their jerseys with their logo (Screaming Eagle, badass) is pretty cool. Overall, a team worth checking out and I will attend again.

 

Scratching My Head on This One

Caps make great playoff run, coach quits… hmm.

Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!

  • The Nats are good. Maybe we could start thinking post-season. Hope this isn’t a jinx.
  • Tim Tebow probably has great lawyers
  • College. Football. Playoffs. YES
  • Congrats to Borderstan reader/resident John Harms for winning Caps-Rangers series contest!

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by Borderstan.com May 4, 2012 at 12:31 pm 1 Comment

Washington, Capitals, Luis, Gomez, Photos, Stanley, Cup

Game 4 of the Caps-Rangers series is Saturday at the Verizon Center. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Borderstan columnist Scott Leibowitz, aka Lebodome, previewed the Wednesday-night game (a heartbreaker, for sure) between the Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers. In cased you missed, you have a chance to win a $40 bar tab, compliments of Borderstan.com.

All you have to do is answer this question correctly: Who will win this series and in how many games? Game 4 in the Best of 7 series in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs is tomorrow at the Verizon Center, 12:30 pm.

As Lebodome noted in his column: If you are the first person to answer correctly in the comments section, you will win a $40 bar tab at your favorite Borderstan-area watering hole, courtesy of Borderstan.com — with or without me, Lebodome. Naturally, we will have to wait until the end of the series to find out who wins!”

UPDATE: We have added a tiebreaker question — and if you have already answered, go in leave a new comment. The tiebreaker question: Please also guess how many goals Alex Ovechkin will have by the end of the series, in addition to the series outcome. Good luck everyone!

That’s all there is to it. Check out his Wednesday column, Lebodome: Time to Jump on the Capitals Bandwagon! and leave your prediction in the comments section. Remember: You have to use a real email address so we can contact you if you win.

As for the $40 bar tab? It’s your choice of a favorite local watering hole. We’ll either send you a gift certificate or arrange a tab with the establishment.

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by Borderstan.com May 2, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,336 5 Comments

Washington, Capitals, Luis, Gomez, Photos, Stanley, Cup

The Washington Capitals play the New York Rangers at the Verizon Center tonight. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome. Email him at scott[AT]borderstan.com.

Urban Dictionary defines a bandwagon fan as “Anyone who claims they are a “fan” of a particular sports team, even though they had no prior support for/interest in the team until that team started winning. These types of fans only show playoff interest, have probably never watched a regular season game, don’t own any type of team merchandise, nor would they buy any.”

This definition is spot on and is exactly what being a D.C. transplant is all about when it comes to the local teams. Yes, there are plenty of locals who can root for the Wizard/Skins/Nats/Caps, but come playoff time, the extra boost that this city can get from people jumping on the bandwagon can be the difference maker.

Tonight, I will be attending game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoff quaterfinals between the #1 NY Rangers vs #7 Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center in Chinatown. The series is tied 1-1 and it’s a best of 7 series, so everything is even, and you need 3 more games to move on to the conference finals. For a team that barely made the playoffs and have a very rookie goalie, the Caps are hitting a stride. Teams that get hot at the end of the season can make serious championship runs on momentum alone.

I will be live tweeting from the game so follow me @Lebodome) and feel free to chat me there. If you are the first person to answer the first question correctly in the comments section (see below), you will win a $40 bar tab at your favorite Borderstan-area watering hole, courtesy of Borderstan.com — with or without me, Lebodome. Naturally, we will have to wait until the end of the series to find out who wins!

Now, I should be honest here. I am not going as a Caps fan. I grew up in the shadows of NYC in Jersey, and I will be there wearing my Rangers jersey and cheering quite aggressively against Alex Ovechkin (insert booing noise). But that doesn’t mean the rest of the town can’t “Rock the Red.”

I don’t see any better time than now to start cheering for the Caps. If they win this series, they will face another “Acela Line” team in the next round (Philly or N.J.). If they make the Stanley Cup finals… well, lets cross that bridge when they get there.

Questions for You

So tonight. Tune in, go out to your local bar, wear red. I am not a hockey expert so I won’t write anything about the actual teams or how they are playing. Here are my questions to you:

  1. Who will win this series and in how many games?
  2. Where are you watching these games? Whats the best Capitals bar in Borderstan, aka Dupont-Logan-U Street?
  3. How many fights will break out?

I will be live tweeting from the game so follow me @Lebodome) and feel free to chat me there. If you are the first person to answer the first question correctly in the comments section, you will win a $40 bar tab at your favorite Borderstan-area watering hole, courtesy of Borderstan.com — with or without me, Lebodome. Naturally, we will have to wait until the end of the series to find out who wins!

Enjoy the game, everyone!

Thoughts I Can’t Ignore Anymore

The Washington Nationals are leading the division. If you were thinking about more bandwagon jumping, this probably isn’t a bad move either. I will reserve my judgement until mid-season… make sure this isn’t a flash in the pan.

Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!

  • Another reason why Hillary Clinton is awesome.
  • Athletes who make millions shouldn’t punch fire extinguishers, ever.
  • The next face of Washington baseball has a weird haircut.

Related Posts

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by Borderstan.com April 26, 2012 at 6:27 am 1,085 0

By Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.

Look, I don’t care if you don’t like hockey or know anything about it. But a seven-game series (that means the teams were tied at 3 games a piece, and all series are best of 7 games), all decided by one goal, with four going to overtime? It’s about time you become a Capitals hockey fan — last night the Caps beat the Boston Bruins (who won the Stanley Cup last year) in the seventh game of the first round. Moreover, the Caps won the series with their third line goalie.

"Borderstan""Capitals"

The Caps, who play at the Verizon Center, advanced Wednesday night in the playoffs in Boston. (Scott Leibowitz, file photo)

SB Nation brings you the game winning goal (in overtime, again) and here’s the story in the The Washington Post. At the very least, you need to skim an article so you can keep up at the water cooler today.

There’s not much reason for joy in DC sports, so grab a seat on the bandwagon and Rock the Red! The Caps are headed to the Eastern Conference semifinals of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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by Borderstan.com April 9, 2012 at 10:00 am 0

"Borderstan""Capitol"

A soccer game on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome. Email him at scott[AT]borderstan.com.

DC has a lot of unique qualities when it comes to the demographics of its residents, especially in the Borderstan area (aka completely dissimilar to the rest). One of the qualities that always caught my eye was the high variety of college alumni populating the area.

I mean if you got a degree in Political Science, the logistical move is of course go to DC and hope an internship turns into a job (boy, reality is a bitch sometimes). With all these people in the area, it has led to the creation of probably the most competitive league in the city, Capital Alumni Network (CAN).

The Capital Alumni Network

For anyone who was an active intramural participant during their college years, this is about as close as you will get to that feeling of competitiveness and serious play that you tasted then. This is not kickball or shuffleboard where heavy drinking is a part of league play.

The sports include 8 on 8 flag football, 5 on 5 full court basketball, full softball, volleyball and soccer. All of the sports have some sort of “# of girls required on the field” at any time to make sure it’s inclusive. There are also rules limiting the number of varsity athletes you are allowed, so the Kentucky team can’t load the court with their famous ‘one-and-done’-ers.

Now for those who might say, “Well I went to a huge Division 1 school and didn’t even like them that much,” you can actually join any team you want as not every school can fill a roster, so there is flexibility. I played on my brother’s college’s basketball team for the last two years and have had a blast.

Some schools have large alumni showings in DC due to proximity, but for others it’s a great way to organize and meet new people. The skill level varies from sport to sport, but I will say this is league is taken a bit more seriously, so if you are looking for easygoing afternoon activity, try the ski-ball league.

Overall, big fan of CAN mostly because of how official and how organized these leagues tend to be. Definitely worth a try for anyone out there.

Playoff Time!

So our local Washington Capitals snuck into the NHL playoffs and will be facing off against the defending champions and always tough Boston Bruins in round 1. As I have mentioned in previous columns, this is the best team in the city, and I am sure the bars in town will be great atmospheres to watch. Support our ‘Caps, and Rock the Red!

Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!

  • If you are ever arrested for public drunkenness, PLEASE do this.
  • Ever wonder why the Metro never runs right? Here is why.
  • No better way to start baseball season than an on the field streaker in a batman costume at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

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by Borderstan.com November 15, 2011 at 8:00 am 0

"Borderstan""Capitals", Lebodome

The Washington Capitals: The team is loaded with talent including one of the best personalities in sports, Alex Ovechkin. (Scott Lebowitz)

From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome. Email him at [email protected].

Hello, Borderstan! How ya been? Sorry I’ve been gone for a bit, but in the last month my travels have taken me to New York City, Kiev, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Newark and St. Louis for a wedding, business and plenty of fun along the way. I can only imagine you have been lost in the sports world (as there has been plenty of nonsense) but I am back and ready to get back in District activities.

Lets just do a very quick run down of where we are in mid-November in the never-ending cycle of pro and college athletics. Forget the NBA, it ain’t happening. College football got upended by the neglect of human decency in Pennsylvania and still won’t have playoffs, so forget that.

College hoops started on an aircraft carrier and will get competitive post-Thanksgiving (articles to come on local teams). NFL at midseason and yes, as I predicted, the ‘Skins are just plain bad. For the hardcore, tennis is at the end with its Top 8, but Novak has #1 locked up so nothing much brewing there. So where does that leave us? Yes you guessed it… hockey!

As it turns out, DC happens to have a well-established and pretty good professional hockey team, the Washington Capitals. Not a grand history of winning — in the last decade or so the Caps have had some great seasons, but fallen short in the playoffs. The team is loaded with talent including one of the best personalities in sports, Alex Ovechkin.

The Caps play at the Verizon Center in Chinatown and last weekend my girlfriend took me to see the Caps play my home town team NJ Devils (I happen to be a NY Rangers fan) and we had a great time. So here are a few of my thoughts on the game and why we all need to become hockey fans soon, if we are going to make it without NBA this winter.

Let’s Go Caps! Now I only have 3/4 teams to judge (never been to Redskins game) but this is easily the most passionate fan base in D.C. I have seen. Not only did around 60 to 70% of attending fans have on hockey jerseys (not cheap), but they all they knew the cheers and as they say “Rock the Red.” Wizards fan are happy when their players don’t bring firearms to the arena and don’t even get me started on Nats fans (the ones that at least stay for the whole game). Caps fans were in every play from start to finish. Impressive.

The View. The nice part of basketball/hockey arenas is that if you are in the upper deck, you can still clearly see the action. I was about 5 rows from the ceiling but I saw every shot and lots of great hits. Sadly no fights.

Game Soundtrack. Say what you want about the links between the nationality and backgrounds of pro athletes, but hockey games are all about heavy rock music. Sure there are some Top 40 thrown in there, but these games revolve around rock and heavy doses of guitar. In my book, this leads to excitement and head bobbing.

Overall, I had a pretty great Saturday night watching the Caps lose a tight one in a shootout. The food was pricey, as was the beer ($8) but what pro stadium isn’t. The NHL missed a whole season a few years back and the sport is much stronger for it. Let’s hope the NBA gets the picture, but until then, we should be like our neighbors to the north and wish we could ride a Zamboni around (I know I do).

Also, just want to welcome the many new and great new writers added to Borderstan in the last few weeks. This is a step in the right direction and will mean better coverage of this small slice of DC we call NW.

Thought of the Week

I have an iPhone now. My life is only sorta better…

Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!

  • Some time ago I touched on the relationships between bikers and runners, but I think this guy has got it right. Mark this blog down, it’s a good one.
  • Amazing video of view of Earth from space.
  • One year away from Election 2012, here are some choice quotes from the last year.
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