Tag Archive | "d.c."

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Orioles, Nats and MASN Money for Dummies: A complete primer on how Peter Angelos has lied and pocketed your dough

Posted on 03 January 2016 by Nestor Aparicio

“What you can expect, though, that those that comment – putting aside the fellow you mentioned (Nestor Aparicio), who you know is not even worthy of getting into that (chuckles), it really makes no sense to respond to him – the responsible people, who know baseball and who are baseball fans – the writers like you (Stan Charles) – if they want to criticize, they better look at the economics. They owe it to the public to explain to whoever is interested that the problem is disparity in revenues. Now, I have heard some of them mention that this MASN development might really generate some real funds, which would permit the Orioles to spend more money. That’s a pretty strong acknowledgment that the key to all this, to get off the losing years and so on, is more money invested on the field. And obviously, with that becoming available, that’s exactly what we’re going to do. We’re going to do that because we are hometown and we are sensitive to what the public is thinking. I know a lot of Baltimore fans, and, just personally, I want them to feel like I am responding to their wishes.”

Peter G. Angelos, May 2006

(as told to PressBox via Q&A)

PETER G. ANGELOS DOESN’T WANT YOU to know about the billions of dollars he has collected, dispensed and quietly usurped from local sports fans from six states via your cable television bill. It’s time for someone who is “responsible” to do the math on where all of that money has gone over the last 10 years as the Orioles. and its spinoff cable TV partner the Mid Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), have become a virtual annuity for the owner here in Baltimore.

Clearly, given the dozen years that he’s fought with his Major League Baseball partners, Bud Selig, Rob Manfred and now Ted Lerner and the Washington Nationals over this incredible sum of “found” money, surely there must some large pot of gold somewhere? The Washington Post wrote that it was $298 million in dispute from 2011 to 2015 after the New York Supreme Court hearing in early November. But that’s just the tip of the financial iceberg – a small number compared to all of the money that’s been flushed through MASN since it was berthed as a olive branch to Angelos by then-commissioner Bud Selig for allowing baseball back into the nation’s capital in 2005.

Over the last decade, I’ve been portrayed as a liar or a heretic by Peter G. Angelos and his media partners. After 21 years with a Baltimore Orioles media credential, my access was taken away by the club in 2007.

However, my track record still stands as unblemished heading into 2016.

I always tell the truth and write the truth. (That’s why you’re here.)

As you’ll see, I’ve put in all of the work for you – a little “term paper” for you oldtimers who spent time with microfiche in a lonely library – so you can learn about this history and realities of how the Nationals came into existence and what it’s meant for Baltimore and Washington baseball and the fans.

This series of facts is presented with two educational goals:

  • Track everything that was said – and very openly in the “mainstream” media – a decade ago when Angelos began this power struggle for the future money of Washington, D.C. and what he considered his market
  • Document everything that has happened since he began this trail of lies in search of all of the money that was designed and originally earmarked to improve the Baltimore Orioles

Everything presented in this series will be linked to major media entities like Forbes, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The New York Times, ESPN/Grantland, Sports Illustrated, USA Today and various reports with financial annotations. I’ve always been accountable in my work. Meanwhile, accountability is always completely absent from the mind and spirit of Angelos and his …

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Bud Peter

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The Peter Principles (Ch. 13): Mi$ter Angelo$ & $on$ Network change$ everything for two citie$

Posted on 18 December 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

This is Chapter 13 of the upcoming book, “The Peter Principles.” This lengthy excerpt is a prelude to a WNST report on ten years of MASN money and how Washington baseball has affected Baltimore baseball over the past decade. The first three chapters of the book are available here:

The Peter Principles (Ch. 1): So, just how did Angelos become ‘King’ of Baltimore baseball?

The Peter Principles (Ch. 2): The error of tyranny at Camden Yards

The Peter Principles (Ch. 3): How close did Angelos come to owning Baltimore’s NFL team?

The Peter Principles (Ch. 12): Selig vs. Angelos – trust, antitrust and billions of dollars

 

 

“The most important part of the deal is the equity in MASN over the long term. In a few years that equity stake in the network will be worth far more than any rights fee that a Comcast or a Fox SportsNet could pay (the Washington Nationals). So they will in time have a 33 percent stake in MASN without one penny of investment. We pay all production costs, overhead, the staffing and program fees. The new Nationals get all the benefits without the risk. My goal, and I am sure it is the same for the Washington owners, is to have two very successful franchises that work together on a number of projects while being friendly rivals on the field.”

Peter G. Angelos

The Examiner

April 7, 2006

 

 

AS PETER G. ANGELOS WATCHED THE Boston Red Sox win the 2004 World Series, he was still a state of shock that his Major League Baseball partners and commissioner Bud Selig had actually done the unthinkable – placing a rival National League team into Washington, D.C. to compete with the Orioles, forever dividing the marketplace.

Insiders said they’d never seen Angelos so angry, so agitated, so betrayed and hell bent on making them pay for this decision to double cross a partner. Selig had been contrite in their conversations and vowed to somehow find a way to keep Angelos whole on the deal and the burgeoning business of television networks had become the next generation way of getting money from the masses to fund baseball growth. In the 1980s, MLB discovered sponsorships and a higher-end clientele. In the 1990s, MLB discovered leveraging municipalities for new stadia, skyboxes, club seats and premium sponsorships. Now, in the new century, it was going to be television rights and revenues derived from cable purchasers who are bundled into larger all-but-invisible packages where the “regional sports network” would garner a few dollars per month, per subscriber.

This was a way to collect automatic, “unseen” money from virtually every home in their region. They would be getting tens of millions of dollars from folks who wouldn’t even know they were funding Major League Baseball. The Lords would be getting money from people who didn’t even know what baseball was ­– or where to find it on the multi-channel cable dial.

Angelos had already become wise to the reality of the changing media marketplace. He didn’t really understand but it ­– but knew it had tangible and growth value in the future.

It was no accident that the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox had more far revenue to spend on better baseball players, which exponentially aided their ability to win and keep the money machine well oiled with local interest and new-age marketing. The Yes Network was a product of a 1999 merger between the Yankees and New Jersey Nets for the express purpose of marketing a cable television channel in the New York region that would cut out the middleman – the sports cable television networks. The war in New York with Cablevision was legendary and it was big money. In 2001, the New England Sports Network (NESN), which enjoyed a near monopoly status in the region for television sports, went to the basic tier of cable, meaning far greater distribution and more money that would be used to fund the new and improved Boston Red Sox.

The same Red Sox that Angelos just watched win the World Series, who were led in part by Larry Lucchino – the former Orioles president and investor, who was the visionary for the modern franchise and building of Camden Yards, and the first employee whom Angelos unceremoniously partnered with and then ousted a month later in 1993 after his Orioles acquisition from Eli Jacobs in a New York auction.

Angelos knew all of his options, demands and “asks” in regard to what he’d be trying to retain and obtain if Selig and his MLB partners ever crossed the line and did the unthinkable – putting the Expos just 38 miles away in his backyard.

But, make no mistake about it, Angelos would’ve far preferred to have never seen the Washington Nationals born at any cost or any profit.

He abhorred the concept of D.C. baseball.

Washington baseball was truly his worst nightmare as the owner of the Baltimore Orioles. He was absolutely convinced there was no financial way to make him “whole” – and worse, he truly believed that it would drastically affect not only his team, but that the Washington team would fare no better in a market that Angelos and most everyone else remembered as a two-time baseball loser in the 1960s and early 1970s. But a lot had changed since the Senators left for Arlington, Texas in 1971 to become the Rangers.

The Northern Virginia suburbs had grown exponentially over the nearly four decades and the biggest enclave of per capita earnings in the United States fell throughout what Angelos felt was hard-earned Orioles country. Angelos valued the Washington, D.C. community for the same reasons Selig and the other MLB owners did – they smelled the size, money and disposable income. Angelos claimed that 30% of his audience came from those homes and wallets. The Orioles and Major League Baseball were a television brand that his baseball brand had cultivated over 30 years and he and his partners paid top dollar for in 1993.

Angelos felt absolutely deceived, absolutely blindsided by their lack of concern …

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Jerry’s Collision Center Presents WNST Wizards Hoops Bustrip to D.C. vs. New York Knicks (April 3)

Posted on 05 December 2014 by WNST Trips

We’re trying to get more aggressive and do even more WNST trips to Wizards games in D.C. than usual this season but can only do these trips based on demand. If you love the Wizards and the NBA and don’t like the drive before and after games, our trips have an eight-year track record of being easy, fun and affordable. We appreciate you supporting all that we’re doing to grow the hoops  community in Baltimore. If you know of other NBA and Wizards fans in Baltimore, please help us spread the word and fill some buses with hoops fans.

All aboard another Jerry’s Collision Center Wizards Bus to D.C. as Washington takes on the New York Knicks at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 2015. Our Gunther Motorcoach will depart from the White Marsh Mall at 4:30 p.m. with a pickup from Catonsville/UMBC I-95 Park N Ride (at Rt. 166) at 5 p.m. All tickets are upper level in the Verizon Center and include a limited supply of cold beer (for those 21-and-over) en route and snacks, soft drinks and fun videos and giveaways.

We will be able to accommodate larger groups upon request and always keep groups together.

We hope you join us for a night of hoops and fun aboard the Jerry’s Collision Center WNST Wizards Bus to D.C. Families and children are welcomed and encouraged to join us! It’s a great night out!

Your PayPal receipt is your ticket and we always throw you an email 48 hours before the game to confirm everything. All you need to do is purchase and we’ll see you at the bus. We bring the game tickets with us. Nice and easy!

If you have any questions, throw me a note: nasty@wnst.net

COST: $90 per person

Pickup Location
Mobile contact #

 

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Jerry’s Used Car Superstores Presents WNST Wizards Hoops Bustrip to D.C. vs. Miami Heat (March 6)

Posted on 05 December 2014 by WNST Trips

We’re trying to get more aggressive and do even more WNST trips to Wizards games in D.C. than usual this season but can only do these trips based on demand. If you love the Wizards and the NBA and don’t like the drive before and after games, our trips have an eight-year track record of being easy, fun and affordable. We appreciate you supporting all that we’re doing to grow the hoops  community in Baltimore. If you know of other NBA and Wizards fans in Baltimore, please help us spread the word and fill some buses with hoops fans.

All aboard another Jerry’s Used Car Superstores WNST Wizards Bus to D.C. as Washington takes on the Miami Heat at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 6, 2015. Our Gunther Motorcoach will depart from the White Marsh Mall at 4:30 p.m. with a pickup from Catonsville/UMBC I-95 Park N Ride (at Rt. 166) at 5 p.m. All tickets are upper level in the Verizon Center and include a limited supply of cold beer (for those 21-and-over) en route and snacks, soft drinks and fun videos and giveaways.

We will be able to accommodate larger groups upon request and always keep groups together.

We hope you join us for a night of hoops and fun aboard the Jerry’s Used Card Superstores WNST Wizards Bus to D.C. Families and children are welcomed and encouraged to join us! It’s a great night out!

Your PayPal receipt is your ticket and we always throw you an email 48 hours before the game to confirm everything. All you need to do is purchase and we’ll see you at the bus. We bring the game tickets with us. Nice and easy!

If you have any questions, throw me a note: nasty@wnst.net

COST: $125 per person

Pickup Location
Mobile contact #

 

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Jerry’s Collision Center Presents WNST Wizards Hoops Bustrip to D.C. vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (Feb. 20)

Posted on 05 December 2014 by WNST Trips

We’re trying to get more aggressive and do even more WNST trips to Wizards games in D.C. than usual this season but can only do these trips based on demand. If you love the Wizards and the NBA and don’t like the drive before and after games, our trips have an eight-year track record of being easy, fun and affordable. We appreciate you supporting all that we’re doing to grow the hoops  community in Baltimore. If you know of other NBA and Wizards fans in Baltimore, please help us spread the word and fill some buses with hoops fans.

All aboard another Jerry’s Collision Center WNST Wizards Bus to D.C. as Washington takes on Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. Our Gunther Motorcoach will depart from the White Marsh Mall at 4:30 p.m. with a pickup from Catonsville/UMBC I-95 Park N Ride (at Rt. 166) at 5 p.m. All tickets are upper level in the Verizon Center and include a limited supply of cold beer (for those 21-and-over) en route and snacks, soft drinks and fun videos and giveaways.

We will be able to accommodate larger groups upon request and always keep groups together.

We hope you join us for a night of hoops and fun aboard the Jerry’s Collision Center WNST Wizards Bus to D.C. Families and children are welcomed and encouraged to join us! It’s a great night out!

Your PayPal receipt is your ticket and we always throw you an email 48 hours before the game to confirm everything. All you need to do is purchase and we’ll see you at the bus. We bring the game tickets with us. Nice and easy!

If you have any questions, throw me a note: nasty@wnst.net

COST: $125 per person

Pickup Location
Mobile contact #

 

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Jerry’s Used Car Superstores Presents WNST Rock The Red Caps Bustrip to D.C. vs. New Jersey Devils (March 26)

Posted on 05 December 2014 by WNST Trips

We’re trying to get more aggressive and do even more WNST Baltimore “Rocks The Red” buses down to D.C. than usual this season but can only do these trips based on demand. If you love the Caps and don’t like the drive before and after games, our trips have an eight-year track record of being easy, fun and affordable. We appreciate you supporting all that we’re doing to grow the hockey community in Baltimore. If you know of other Capitals/Skipjacks/Clippers/Bandits hockey fans in Baltimore, please help us spread the word and fill some buses with Baltimore “Rock The Red” fans.

All aboard another Jerry’s Used Car Superstores WNST Rocks The Red Puck Bus to D.C. as the Washington Capitals take on the New Jersey Devils at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, 2015. Our Gunther Motorcoach will depart from the White Marsh Mall at 4:15 p.m. with a pickup from Catonsville/UMBC I-95 Park N Ride (at Rt. 166) at 4:45 p.m. All tickets are upper level in the Verizon Center and include a limited supply of cold beer (for those 21-and-over) en route and snacks, soft drinks and fun videos and giveaways.

We will be able to accommodate larger groups upon request and always keep groups together.

We hope you join us for a night of hockey and fun aboard the Jerry’s Used Car Superstores WNST Rocks The Red Puck Bus to D.C. Families and children are welcomed and encouraged to join us!

It’s a great night out!

Your PayPal receipt is your ticket and we always throw you an email 48 hours before the game to confirm everything. All you need to do is purchase and we’ll see you at the bus. We bring the game tickets with us. Nice and easy!

If you have any questions, throw me a note: nasty@wnst.net

COST: $75 per person

Pickup Location
Mobile contact #

 

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Jerry’s Collision Center Presents WNST Rock The Red Caps Bustrip to D.C. vs. Minnesota Wild (March 5)

Posted on 05 December 2014 by WNST Trips

We’re trying to get more aggressive and do even more WNST Baltimore “Rocks The Red” buses down to D.C. than usual this season but can only do these trips based on demand. If you love the Caps and don’t like the drive before and after games, our trips have an eight-year track record of being easy, fun and affordable. We appreciate you supporting all that we’re doing to grow the hockey community in Baltimore. If you know of other Capitals/Skipjacks/Clippers/Bandits hockey fans in Baltimore, please help us spread the word and fill some buses with Baltimore “Rock The Red” fans.

All aboard another Jerry’s Collision Center WNST Rocks The Red Puck Bus to D.C. as the Washington Capitals take on the Minnesota Wild at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, 2015. Our Gunther Motorcoach will depart from the White Marsh Mall at 4:15 p.m. with a pickup from Catonsville/UMBC I-95 Park N Ride (at Rt. 166) at 4:45 p.m. All tickets are upper level in the Verizon Center and include a limited supply of cold beer (for those 21-and-over) en route and snacks, soft drinks and fun videos and giveaways.

We will be able to accommodate larger groups upon request and always keep groups together.

We hope you join us for a night of hockey and fun aboard the Jerry’s Collision Center WNST Rocks The Red Puck Bus to D.C. Families and children are welcomed and encouraged to join us!

It’s a great night out!

Your PayPal receipt is your ticket and we always throw you an email 48 hours before the game to confirm everything. All you need to do is purchase and we’ll see you at the bus. We bring the game tickets with us. Nice and easy!

If you have any questions, throw me a note: nasty@wnst.net

COST: $75 per person

Pickup Location
Mobile contact #

 

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Dorsey's Dugout - Durant to DC and Capitals Potential Forward Lines

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Dorsey’s Dugout – Durant to DC and Capitals Potential Forward Lines

Posted on 01 August 2014 by Nick Dorsey

 

Durant to DC Talks Must Settle

With LeBron James going back to his hometown team, discussions around the country have escalated regarding another NBA star heading back to his hometown in the near future. Kevin Durant, arguably the leagues best player behind James, is set to be a free agent at the end of the 2015-16 regular season and already talks have begun on the possibility of the Thunder star coming back home.

There is a legitimate shot that the 2014 NBA MVP could wind up in a Washington uniform for the start of the 2016-17 regular season, but the chatter must settle for now.

The former Longhorn standout still has two more seasons in Oklahoma City and his deal is not similar to what LeBron James had in Miami. When Durant signed a five year contract extension in 2010, his deal did not include an opt out clause after the fourth season. So unfortunately for Wizards fans, he cannot opt out after the upcoming season.

The coming back home hype for Cleveland fans was warranted after the conclusion of the 2012-13 season because there was a chance that James would opt out of his final year in Miami. The city of Cleveland remained patient for a whole season and the Akron native did what they had hoped.

Wizards’ nation is now feeling what Cavs fans did over a year ago, but it is a different situation. Washington must be patient due to the fact Durant cannot opt out of his final year and hit free agency.

As enticing as it may sound to land one of the biggest stars in the game, Wizards fans must play the waiting game. The game will not be too difficult because of the potential this team has for the upcoming season. With all the pieces added to the puzzle from the off-season, there are high expectations. So for now, Washington fans should just live in the moment because this season has a chance to be something special.

Washington Capitals Potential Forward Lines

With training camp on the horizon, everyone will await to see how new head coach Barry Trotz tinkers with the Capitals forward lines. Since Washington did not address the hole left at second line center by Mikhail Grabovski, there is uncertainty how the top six will shake up.

Trotz recently dropped hints regarding potential replacements for Grabovski, who signed a deal with the New York Islanders in free agency. The former Predator head coach mentioned the possibility that players like Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky could fill that center void.

With Brooks Laich back in the swing of things assuming he stays healthy, the top six can get tricky. Even the top nine becomes crowded with some of the younger prospects trying to climb their way into the lineup. With that being said, it is time to sort out the four forward lines and evaluate the possbilities.

1: Brooks Laich, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin
2: Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Troy Brouwer
3: Jason Chimera, Eric Fehr, Joel Ward
4: Tom Wilson, Michael Latta, Jay Beagle

As of now, the above line up could set up to be the top four forward lines for the Washington Capitals. It is possible, but there are several different ways these lines could change and it begins at the top.

Brooks Laich has seen his time on the wing playing along side Ovi and Backstrom in his career, but he was given a contract extension years ago based on his ability to be a quality two-way center. So if Laich can stay on the ice, he could find himself filling the void at second line center.

The third line should remain in tact because that combination above was consistently the most productive line throughout the season. Ward and Chimera had career years and their chemistry on the ice would be tough to separate.

The biggest problem that arises from this current lineup is Tom Wilson playing on the fourth line. Wilson is a young promising player and it is now his time to see increased minutes. Remaining on the fourth line will not help Wilson get those minutes, so he could find his way into the top three lines.

The wildcard of all this could be last years first round selection Andre Burakovsky. The 2013 first rounder had a tremendous season for the Erie Otters in the OHL, so there is temptation to bring him up to the big league. If he shows flashes of promise in training camp, Burakovsky could find himself on the big roster.

With all that being said, here is another look at how the lineups could unfold for the upcoming season:

1. Marcus Johansson, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin
2. Tom Wilson, Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer
3. Jason Chimera, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Joel Ward
4. Eric Fehr, Michael Latta, Jay Beagle

The first line does not see much change except for the swap of MoJo and Laich. This second line is assuming that Trotz hopes for Laich to hold onto the second line center position. This top six seems ideal for a couple of reasons.

Tom Wilson gets a lot more experience cracking the top six, which will be imperative for his growth. The second line has the make up of a Trotz style in which accountability is a priority. Laich is a very good two-way center while Wilson brings another dimension of physicality. Troy Brouwer got hot scoring toward the tail end of the season and this line would depend on him to continue providing points.

The third line had a minor change in dropping Fehr to the fourth line. Kuznetsov did not play a lot of center last season and with this lineup, he would get the much-needed experience at playing that role. Ward and Chimera were the constant point producers from the third line last season with the center position being interchangeable between Grabovski and Fehr. Kuzy could find his way to become the second line center if Laich re-aggravates past injuries.

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Grunfeld Building a Contender with Stellar Off-Season

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Grunfeld Building a Contender with Stellar Off-Season

Posted on 18 July 2014 by Nick Dorsey

 

The Washington Wizards 2013-14 season was among the most successful the franchise has had in quite sometime. There is a lot of momentum from last season to build off of and general manager Ernie Grunfeld had a task ahead of him going into the off-season. Continuity was the main goal and for the most part they succeeded.

Priority number one for the organization was bringing back center Marcin Gortat. Washington acquired the Polish center from the Phoenix Suns in a trade last off-season and a first round pick was part of the price. Gortat had one of the best years of his career averaging 13 points, nearly 10 rebounds and had 37 double-doubles.

Gortat was a big difference maker for the Wizards last year and they could not afford for him to walk. He helped elevate the franchise to a playoff contender and giving up a first rounder for Gortat made him nonexpendable. The front office took care of priority number one by signing the Polish center to a five year $60 million deal.

The second priority for Grunfeld was bringing back starting small forward Trevor Ariza. The 10-year veteran had one of the better seasons in his career averaging 14 points and shooting 40% from the three-point line. Ariza also brought a great defensive presence and should have gotten recognized for his defensive skills on one of the All-NBA defensive teams.

Ariza wanted the big contract, as he was most likely entering his last big free agency period of his career. Wanting long-term financial security, this was his best time to get that.

Washington did not want to overspend for the services of Ariza, but they expressed interest in bringing him back. Unfortunately, they were unable to come to an agreement and Ariza chose to sign with the Houston Rockets for a four-year deal worth $32 million.

The loss of Ariza at first left a large hole for the former third overall selection Otto Porter to fill, but Grunfeld made a big move.
Former Brooklyn Net Paul Pierce signed on the dotted line and was officially a Washington Wizard. This move came as a bit of a surprise to many, but it is a move that had to happen. There are several different opinions about Pierce at this point in his career, but this was an outstanding addition to the roster.

Entering his 17th season, Pierce played a career low last year in terms of minutes per game. He might have some age to him, but Pierce brings qualities to this team they desperately need.

When Ariza left for Houston, a lot of experience within this team was lost. Trevor Ariza won a championship with the Lakers and brought that championship experience to a team that was so young and not full of playoff experience. The Wizards now get that back with Pierce, who has won a championship with Boston and was once awarded Finals MVP.

Washington was able to close games in their first round series against the Chicago Bulls, but found difficulty in closing out games against the Indiana Pacers. Bradley Beal was that guy first round, but Paul George made it tough for him second round to do so. Nobody else was able to step up in that role and Paul Pierce brings that ability with him.

The Truth is known as one of the more clutch players in the NBA and is one of the best closers. With the experience he brings to the lineup, no stage is too big for him and it will rub off on the rest of the squad.

Otto Porter is due to get an increased workload this year and right now the Pierce signing does not limit that. Pierce will be great for Porter from a mentor standpoint and he is not killing a severe amount of playing time for the second year player. With Pierce only getting about 28 minutes a game last season, Porter will still get plenty of minutes to gain experience.

This situation could get a little tricky over a month into the season once Martell Webster gets back onto the floor. For now, the signing of Pierce is a huge addition for the Wizards due to the experience he brings and the ability to close out in the big moments.

Washington has other needs to address this off-season such as providing better depth in the front-court and adding another guard to the mix. The Wizards made several trades in the past few days to add to the depth in the front-court.

Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair were added to the roster through sign and trade deals. Humphries is a solid shooter from mid range much like Nene, except he is not as physical and defensively sound as Nene. Blair appears undersized at 6’7 for the low post, but he is a physical player able to rebound and score inside well.

With Drew Gooden set to return as well, the Wizards front court depth is much better heading into the season than they were last year. The roster is almost set nearing the 15-player maximum and Washington has flexibility with that last spot.

Ernie Grunfeld has done a tremendous job of building a contender in the Eastern conference. He has done a great job of setting up the team for success now, but also the future as well. Many of the new acquisitions have short-term deals with player options in the mix. These contracts give an opportunity for the front office to clear up a good amount of cap space.

This flexibility with the roster and the salary cap already is raising discussions on whether the Wizards are positioning themselves to make a run for Kevin Durant in 2016. With the LeBron returning home story just happening, eyes are already gazing upon Durant to potentially make a return home to DC.

Landing Durant is a possibility with an attractive roster to surround himself with and the cap room to get a big deal. It also bodes well for Washington when they chose to hire Durant’s former high school coach David Adkins. The pieces are falling into place for the potential signing, but that time is out on the horizon.

The Wizards took a big step as a franchise last season winning their first playoff series since 2005. With playoff experience gained and good pieces added to the roster, Grunfeld has the Wizards set to be a big-time contender in the Eastern Conference.

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Dorsey's Dugout- USA Helps Soccer and Caps Make Moves

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Dorsey’s Dugout- USA Helps Soccer and Caps Make Moves

Posted on 02 July 2014 by Nick Dorsey

 

USA

All of America was on the edge of their seats once the United States and Belgium match went to extra time. Despite the 2-1 loss in the first round of the World Cup sweet sixteen, that same excitement for soccer in this country will only grow.

The United States does not have the same kind of intensity within its fan base as the other countries in the World Cup, but this team might have changed the popularity of the sport going forward. A team that was not given a lick of a chance to advance out of the group of death, team USA silenced the critics and gave the fans across the country something to be proud of.

When team USA went down 2-0 in extra time to Belgium, the life was sucked out of the American fan base and their World Cup hopes had diminished. All the excitement that Klinsmanns squad brought to all of America seemed to be lost. Then Julian Green scored a goal off of a wonderful pass from Michael Bradley.

Even though the one goal was not enough to force a round of penalty kicks, it gave the team hope. Not only did Julian Greens goal give hope at a chance for a comeback, but also the goal symbolized hope for the game of soccer in this country.

Team USA does not have the talent that the other world powers have in the World Cup. Other teams feature their best athletes within the country to represent their nation. Since the United States has other professional leagues like the NFL and NBA, the best athletes in the country do not play for Team USA soccer.

While team USA does not have the same talent as the other world powers, they showed the heart needed to compete on the big stage. They tied one of the best teams in the world that featured soccers second best player and only lost by one to Germany who is amongst the worlds best.

The fact that the United States was able to advance out of the group of death and other soccer powers such as Spain, England, Italy and Portugal could not is astonishing. There are a lot of positives to come away with from the performance of the American squad and it will for sure carry over to the next Cup.

It was Jurgen Klinsmanns first opportunity as head coach for Team USA and he got the job done well. He made good adjustments during games within group play and came away with good results. The former German athlete did a great job in his first appearance as head coach for team USA and the fans will sure be by his side as the next Cup approaches.

T.J. Oshie was the American “hero” during the Olympic games in hockey for his performance in the shootout against Russia. After the stellar performance, Oshie was a household name everywhere in America. The same situation came to be when USA goalkeeper Tim Howard had a record-breaking match against Belgium.

Sure Howard has been the goalie for team USA the past few World Cups, but Clint Dempsey was the biggest name when it came to USA soccer. After the Belgium match, Howard is being called a hero for his incredible individual performance. With Howard now being recognized as a household name similar to Oshie, now fans in America might check out the goaltender play some in the English premiere league.

There are so many different parts of this team that make for a brighter future for soccer in this country. There is a plethora of young talent, new stars that have been born and a solid coach in control of it all. With all that being said, not only does team USA have a bright future, but also the popularity of soccer in the country.

Grading Capitals Free Agency Moves

The free agency period in the NHL kicked into high gear July 1st at noon and the Washington Capitals made several moves. New General manager Brian MacLellan got his first crack at making decisions at the helm and started the first day off with a few signings.

Washington had several needs heading into free agency such as finding a top-4 defenseman, a veteran backup goalie and a second line center. MacLellan began the day by signing veteran backup Justin Peters from the Carolina Hurricanes.

Peters, 27 years old, got to play in twenty-one games last season and finished with a .919 save percentage. This is a good addition to the Caps roster for several reasons.

The message being sent to Braden Holtby with this signing is that he is clearly the number one goalie on the team. Peters is a career backup who is trying to prove he is amongst the top tier backup goalies in the league. This should come to be no threat to Holtby as he will be leading the team onto the ice this year.

The best part about this deal is that it is cap-friendly. Peters signed a 2-year deal for $1.9 million that comes to be about $950,000 a season. Finding a veteran backup for this cost allows for Washington to make other moves during free agency. Grading the Justin Peters signing, a B- is a fair grade.

Brian MacLellan was not done after the Peters signing as he added two pieces to the biggest weakness on the roster. Two former Pittsburgh Penguin defensemen were added to the Capitals top six rotation. One is considered a good signing and the other is a bit of a head scratcher.

Brooks Orpik, 33, signed a 5-year deal with the Capitals worth $27.5 million. This addition to the team came to be a huge surprise  for many reasons. Orpik is 33 years old and is on the down side of his career. What makes this deal not so sexy is the money and longevity of the deal. Paying a player past his prime $5.5 million a year is quite risky. It also does not make sense giving a player who is 33 years of age a five-year deal.

Although there are a few negatives to the signing of Orpik, he does bring some qualities that will help this Capitals team. The former Penguin has been one of the assistant captains for Pittsburgh since 2008. He has been in a leadership role for several years and the Caps could use more leaders especially on the defensive end.

Most of the Capitals blue liners favor playing a style in which they like to carry the puck. They are considered finesse defenders and Orpik is the opposite of that. Brooks Orpik is the physical kind of defenseman that Washington needs. The Brooks Orpik signing gets a C- grade.

Joining fellow Pittsburgh teammate in Washington is new Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen. The former Penguin cashed in on a seven-year deal worth $40.25 million that equates to a $5.75 cap hit per year. Niskanen finished the 2013-14 regular season with 46 total points and a +33 rating. Niskanen is a very similar defender to what the Caps current defensive roster already has.

This was the best addition that new general manager Brian MacLellan made all day during the first bit of free agency. The Caps are getting a defender who is 27 years old and is in the prime of his career. He is a versatile defender who also has a good plus/minus rating. Niskanen was expected to get $6 million or more per season when he hit the market, but Washington managed to get him just under that range.

With the additions of Orpik and Niskanen, the team’s biggest weakness has been repaired. Last season featured a never-ending cycle of defensemen getting their chances to start. The Caps often called up prospects from Hershey to start at the blue line, but those times look to be done.

The defensive pairings look to be Carlson-Alzner, Niskanen-Orpik and Green-Orlov. The pairings could change as Orpik does have experience playing with Carlson during the Olympics. As of now, those pairings have a chance to resemble what it will look like when the team hits the ice this season.

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