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  • ESPN ranks Redskins third-worst professional sports franchise

    Dan Snyder's team was the lowest-ranked in the NFL. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) 

    WASHINGTON -- ESPN released its annual Ultimate Standings Tuesday, ranking all big four professional North American sports franchises based on a combination of competitiveness, management and fan experience. The Washington Redskins ranked 120th of the 122 teams, and dead last in the NFL.

    The FedEx Field stadium experience was the worst individual ranking, coming in at 119. The highest rank was for the team’s title track, tied for 68th. Overall, the team dropped 11 spots from last year’s rankings.

    Of the other D.C. sports teams, the Washington Nationals ranked highest (41), followed by the Capitals (55) and Wizards (63).
  • Texas Governor drops massive jinx on both state baseball teams

    WASHINGTON -- Don’t try telling Astros and Rangers fans that sports jinxes aren’t real.

    At 3:02 p.m. local time in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott dropped the kind of massive tweet jinx usually reserved for Washington Nationals beat writers. Not only did he prematurely call out a result that was still six outs from being final, with Houston leading Kansas City 6-2 in the top of the eighth, he called out the Rangers, only leading 2-1 in their best-of-five series, about to start Game 4.

    The Astros immediately surrendered four runs before recording an out, allowing five in all in a disastrous eighth inning. The Royals tacked on two more in the ninth to swipe a 9-6 win and push the series back to Kansas City for Game 5.

    Meanwhile, Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland was tattooed for three home runs his first time through the Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup, eventually leaving after two innings of work with six earned runs on his ledger. The Blue Jays had a 7-1 lead through three innings.

    Abbott tried to enact some damage control, but the baseball gods cared little for the effort.

  • Breaking Madden has RG3 destroy Washington

    WASHINGTON -- For those unfamiliar with it, Breaking Madden is a web series produced for SB Nation by Jon Bois. Over the past few years, Bois has taken a number of different scenarios into the game to expose its programming flaws and attempt to deliver entertaining results. This week, he exacted Robert Griffin III’s revenge on Washington.

    If you are a Washington football fan, you will either find it hilarious or infuriating, depending on your perspective. Either way, you will probably laugh at the Kirk Cousisn GIF.

    Whether you are familiar with Breaking Madden or not, you should read the entire setup to fully understand what is happening.

  • Taylor Swift has cursed Major League Baseball

    Surely baseball fans would never believe in curses, right? (AP Photo/John G. Mabanglo) 

    WASHINGTON -- Taylor Swift is popular enough that the most logical venues for her shows are the largest ones available. Those tend to be sports stadiums, so the fact that her summer tour in support of her 1989 album included a number of Major League Baseball parks was no surprise.

    But some believe the tour has cast a dark pall over the sport. As ESPNW reported, when Tay Tay visits your ballpark, something wicked this way comes.

    Two nights after Swift’s second of two concerts at Nationals Park this summer, a bank of lights went out. The Nats had a 2-game NL East lead at the time, coming out of the All-Star break. They have gone just 32-39 since, tumbling out of playoff contention as they were eliminated over the weekend.

    When the Houston Astros unexpectedly charged out to first place in the AL West, they moved Swift’s tour date at Minute Maid Park from October 13 to September 9 to avoid any potential conflict with a home playoff game. When Swift played her show, the Astros held a two-game lead in the division. But they have gone just 8-11 since, clinging by a half-game to the final Wild Card spot as of Thursday.

    The last time Houston collapsed with a great chance of making the postseason? Oh. Oh no.

    As baseball fans are (begin sarcasm font) entirely reasonable people who would never believe in silly things like superstitions (end sarcasm font), surely there is no connection to be drawn between the two. Right?

    Swift performs at Rogers Centre in Toronto this weekend, home of the Blue Jays. GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN, TORONTO!
  • Dan Snyder, Joe Theismann surprise Washington couple vacationing
    in Greece with gifts

    Joe Theismann (center) with newly-engaged couple Zach Gordon and Stacy Kaufman in Greece over Labor Day weekend. (Courtesy of Stacy Kaufman)

    WASHINGTON --Everyone sing along with me: "It's a small world after all…" 

    A local couple, Stacy Kaufman (who works in the WTOP Sales Department) and her fiancée Zach Gordon, were vacationing in Greece over Labor Day weekend. After getting engaged on the second to last night of their trip they decided to dine at Selene, a restaurant in Santorini. As they were enjoying their meal, they noticed Redskins owner Dan Snyder and his wife Tanya, along with former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, his wife and others sitting at a table next to them.  

    Waiting for the right moment, Zach approached Theismann once he got up from the table, explained that they were from Washington, and asked if he would take a picture with them.

    Theismann agreed, and once the couple told the Redskins contingent that they were from the area and had just gotten engaged the night before, the group started talking and spent a good amount of time together. Upon leaving Tanya Snyder asked for a business card and for shirt sizes of the couple. 

    After returning to Washington, Zach received a big package delivered to his office. He took it home and opened it with Stacy. Inside was a large amount of Redskins gear and a note from the Snyders congratulating them on their engagement.

    All that is fine and good, but we have another question: What were the Snyders and Joe Theismann doing vacationing in Greece together?

    The contents of the package. (Courtesy of Stacy Kaufman)

  • New Madden NFL 16 ad is five minutes of hot, flaming nonsense

    WASHINGTON -- What?

    Madden NFL 16 | Madden: The Movie
    by EASPORTS via YouTube

    The one thing we can say about this is that it sure is something. Don’t expect any actual football from it, unless you consider whatever Rob Gronkowski is doing to be football.

    If there was any way to distill this to the entertainment value of Julio Jones (excuse me -- Trick Montalban) continuously karate chopping a goon for 20 seconds while breaking the fourth wall into the entire thing, maybe we’d have something here.

    Impossible to un-watch, indeed.

  • Minor leaguer places trash can lid on head, ends up saving his own neck

    WASHINGTON -- File this under things-you-could-try-again-a-thousand-times-and-never-repeat.

    During Wednesday night’s minor league game between the El Paso Chihuahuas and the Las Vegas 51s, Chihuahuas second baseman Ramiro Pena lined a foul ball into the Las Vegas dugout, sending a plastic trashcan spilling down the steps and dislodging the lid.

    51s catcher Johnny Monell, after scrambling out of the way, grabbed both the can and the lid, using the latter as a makeshift helmet as he had himself a laugh. But as it turned out, that helmet would get some immediate use.

    Pena pulled the very next pitch foul again into the dugout, striking Monell in his makeshift helmet. The catcher celebrated his stroke of ingenuitive genius with his teammates before restoring it to its rightful place.

    Catchers, man.
  • Golfer, caddie murdered by kraken in new GEICO ad

    WASHINGTON -- Is it just us, or are GEICO ads getting awful dark these days?

    Just in time for the PGA Championship comes a new spot, in which a giant squid inexplicably emerges from a lake on the course and grabs hold of a golfer and his caddy, sending terrified spectators fleeing for their lives. Meanwhile, the monster uses other tentacles to wreak havoc on a television tower as it decides, presumably, the order in which to eat its prey.

    It’s all a bit morbid, especially for a supposedly comedic ad, in which the punchline (as it were) is that the golf announcers remain in a heartless whisper despite the murderous destruction going on around them.

    But hey, anything to lighten it up on HUMP DAY, amirite GEICO?
  • Motor vehicles destroy bike race

    WASHINGTON -- When watching major bike races like Le Tour de France, it’s always impressive how the motorbikes and team cars are able to weave through the packs of cyclists without disturbing the race, much less making contact with the riders. With all the narrow roads along with the steep ascents and declines, it’s a wonder they aren’t constantly colliding.

    Well, welcome to the Tour of Utah this weekend. On a sharp descent into a hairpin left-hand turn, everything goes horribly wrong.

    Irish rider Matt Brammeier is the unfortunate soul who T-bones the team car at the 0:21 mark. And as brutal as the collision is, it may have kept him from careening straight off the mountain. But the absurdity is just getting started.

    With Brammeier down in the road on the back half of the turn, the team cars slow to avoid him as onlookers rush to help. Then there are the motorbikes, particularly the one with the rider rocking the orange vest. Stopping in the middle of the turn to gawk at the scene, he takes out not one, but TWO other riders simultaneously, glances at the wreckage he’s wreaked, then just moseys his way on down the mountain.

    His fellow rider ambles through the scene afterward, clipping a fallen rider’s water bottle and firing it back into his broken body, adding literal insult to injury. Good try, guys, good effort.

    While he was hospitalized with multiple fractures, Brammeier is listed in stable condition and may avoid surgery altogether.

    All good in the hood guys. Thanks for the messages.

    — Matt Brammeier (@Mattbrammeier85) August 9, 2015

  • Nationals unveil team-specific emojis

    WASHINGTON -- While their National League rival Los Angeles Dodgers were busy adding strength to their starting rotation and bench -- and possibly setting themselves up for even bigger deals -- the Washington Nationals unveiled a set of roughly 10 team-specific emojis on Wednesday.

    An early look at the emojis, via the Nationals and The Washington Post. 

    As Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post first reported, the club will reveal the emojis over their social media accounts. Generic images include versions of the Curly W logo, while others include Racing President Teddy Roosevelt, Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, and the chocolate syrup bottle that has become a part of the team’s postgame celebrations this season.

    The Nationals are not the first MLB team to create their own emoji set, as the New York Yankees have had theirs available for download since the beginning of the season.

    As of press time, the four horsemen of the apocalypse had not yet appeared in the skies above Washington.

  • Indiana Pacers to wear ‘Hoosiers’ themed jerseys

    WASHINGTON -- Basketball is life in Indiana. That’s true to such an extent that it’s hard to imagine a professional team in any other state wearing a special theme jersey with a high school basketball team’s colors, much less a fictional one.

    But that’s exactly what the Indiana Pacers will do for select games in the 2015-16 NBA season, as they rock red and gold Hickory jerseys, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of the movie Hoosiers

    Now, if only the Pacers can actually make a spirited, miracle run through the Eastern Conference Playoffs…

  • Maryland men's basketball announces 2015-16 non-conference schedule

    WASHINGTON -- The Maryland men’s basketball team announced its 2015-16 non-conference schedule today. Maryland begins competition with an exhibition on Nov. 6 versus Southern New Hampshire.

    The Terps will officially open the 2015-16 campaign on Nov. 13 at XFINITY Center against Mount Saint Mary’s.

    The Terps then welcome Georgetown to College Park for the first time in 42 years as part of the inaugural Gavitt Games on Nov. 17.

    An old rivalry will be renewed Dec. 1 as Maryland makes the trek to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina in the ACC/B1G Challenge. Maryland is tied for the second-most wins all-time in the Challenge, collecting 10 victories since its inception in 1999. Maryland and North Carolina will meet for the 180th time in school history in a series that dates back to 1924.

    Maryland wraps up its non-conference schedule with a home contest versus Marshall Dec. 27.

    2015-16 Non-Conference Schedule
    Fri., Nov. 6 Southern New Hampshire (Exhibition)
    Fri., Nov. 13 Mount Saint Mary’s
    Tue., Nov. 17 Georgetown
    Fri., Nov. 20 Rider
    Tue., Nov. 24 vs. Illinois State (Cancun Classic)
    Wed., Nov. 25 vs. Rhode Island/TCU (Cancun Classic)
    Sat., Nov. 28 Cleveland State
    Tue., Dec. 1 at North Carolina (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
    Fri., Dec. 4 St. Francis (PA)
    Tue., Dec. 8 vs. UConn (Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden - NYC)
    Sat., Dec. 12 Maryland-Eastern Shore
    Sat., Dec. 19 Princeton (at Royal Farms Arena - Baltimore)
    Sun., Dec. 27 Marshall
  • Sports Illustrated honors USWNT with cover for each player

    WASHINGTON -- It was tough to choose just one player to represent the U.S. Women's National Team's World Cup victory. So Sports Illustrated didn't choose. Instead, they gave each member of the team her own cover.

    To see a slideshow of each cover and see a behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot, visit
  • It’s a tarp!

    WASHINGTON -- Tarp-pulling can be dangerous business.

    Sure, we like to boo the grounds crew, in their matching uniforms, as they job out to cover the field, signaling an impending weather delay. But when strong winds rip through, it takes a team effort to keep the tarp flat on the field, doing its job. In Pittsburgh Tuesday night, it took actual members of the Pirates to make it so.

    Players are used to pulling tarp, as it’s standard in both high school and college for them to do it themselves. That doesn’t make the impulse of Andrew McCutchen, Sean Rodriguez and teammates any less impressive, coming to the rescue of the poor grounds crew member swallowed whole by the rolling tarp.
  • Two huge crashes force suspension of Tour de France

    WASHINGTON -- The world’s premiere cycling event, Le Tour de France, kicked off this weekend. But on Monday, Stage 3 grinded to a halt after a pair of horrific crashes involving dozens of riders prompted race officials to suspend the race for 18 minutes to allow the crashed riders to recover.

    Included in the second crash was the wearer of the yellow jersey, race leader Fabian Cancellara. At least four riders were forced to abandon the race as a result of their injuries, according got Sky Sports.

    The crash was particularly gruesome due to the speed of the tightly packed crew of riders. According to data from the Tour, the average speed during the fall was over 42 kilometers per hour, or better than 26 miles per hour.
  • Mets rookie’s grandfather is the best baseball fan

    Rookie Mets pitcher Steven Matz made his Major League debut on Sunday, where he got off to an inauspicious start by surrendering a home run to the very first batter he faced. But he settled in after that, and delivered an historic day at the plate, collecting three hits and four RBI to lead New York to a 7-2 victory and doubleheader sweep over the Cincinnati Reds.

    Matz doubled home a pair to give the Mets a 2-1 lead in his first-at bat, then singled through the open hole at shortstop on a hit-and-run his second time up. But it was his third hit, a two-run, bases-loaded single over a drawn-in Brandon Phillips at second base, that sent his grandfather into a state of pure joy and disbelief.

    (GIF from Amazin' Avenue/SB Nation)

    Sitting with other family members in a box watching his grandson make his debut, Grandpa Matz couldn’t believe his eyes. For a family from Suffolk County on Long Island chalk full of Mets fans, it was simply too much for the patriarch to handle. And it gave us one of the best sporting moments of 2015 so far.

  • Conor Doyle’s rocket leads D.C. United past Chicago

    WASHINGTON -- Road wins are road wins in MLS, and any time you can get out of another city with three points it’s a good night. So while Eastern Conference leaders D.C. United may have been hoping for a win against the last place Chicago Fire, they were only in position for a scoreless draw as the game began to wear thin Wednesday night.

    That’s when, in the 73rd minute, Conor Doyle collected a rebound of a blocked shot several yards outside the box and unleashed an absolute rocket past disbelieving Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson for the lone strike of the game.

    The win gave United 34 points through 19 matches, putting them a full 10 points clear of second place New England as they begin a five-game road swing that will culminate July 18 in Dallas.
  • Mets, Phillies fans worst writers in MLB

    WASHINGTON -- It’s been a good week for the Nationals and a bad one for the Mets. In addition to grabbing the NL East division lead away, Washington fans can now also claim to be far more proficient writers than their New York counterparts, a fact that they will no doubt find unsurprising.

    In a recent Grammarly study, Mets supporters came in dead last among MLB fans in terms of grammar mistakes made on team comment boards. Only adding to Nats fans’ joy, Phillies fans were close on their heels. Those two fan bases were the only ones to average more than 13 mistakes per 100 words.

    Conversely, Nationals fans rated the 10th-best in the league, clocking in under six errors per 100 words. That’s good enough to lead the NL East off the field as well, with Miami (16th, 7.0) and Atlanta (22nd, 10.2) well back in the field. This is especially impressive, considering that Redskins fans rated the worst in the NFL according to a similar study conducted in April.

    Cleveland Indians fans displayed the cleanest use of the English language, making only 3.6 errors per 100 words. For the full study, see
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