WTOPspin Live

The official blog of WTOP Sports.

  • Joe Theismann thinks Kirk Cousins should start over RG3

    WASHINGTON -- Following the Washington Redskins’ 23-17 preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night, a former Washington signal caller shared some surprising thoughts about the quarterback situation in our nation’s capital.

    Joe Theismann, the two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl winner, was candid about his views regarding incumbent starter Robert Griffin III and backup Kirk Cousins. From The Washington Post:

    “Let’s stop beating around the bush … Kirk Cousins has played much better at the quarterback position than Robert Griffin III has. Now, Robert is learning to work out of a pocket. He doesn’t look as smooth or as comfortable throwing the football. I mean, your eyes will tell you everything you need to know.

    “It’s going to be a decision that Jay Gruden is going to have to make,” Theismann said. “Right now, Robert Griffin III is his quarterback. Now, if there was a quarterback competition, it wouldn’t be a competition. Kirk Cousins would be the man I believe he would have to go to.”

    Cousins posted far better numbers than Griffin, going 14-for-20 for 122 yards and two touchdowns, to RG3’s 5-for-8 for 20 yards and an interception. Of course, Griffin was facing the Ravens’ starting defense, while Cousins was matched up largely against second and third-stringers. Griffin has also played fewer series, as most starters do, as teams look to limit exposure to potential injuries.

    In Green Bay, Scott Tolzien has more completions, a higher completion percentage and more yards than Aaron Rodgers. In San Francisco, Blaine Gabbert has more completions, yards and touchdowns than Colin Kaepernick. And in New Orleans, Ryan Griffin has thrown for more than twice as many yards and three more touchdowns than Drew Brees.

    Do you believe there is a quarterback controversy? With less than two weeks until the season begins, who would you choose to lead the team? Vote in the poll below.
  • Former NFL referee says he avoided Washington games due to team name

    WASHINGTON -- In a column by Mike Wise of The Washington Post Wednesday, former NFL referee Mike Carey revealed that he asked specifically not to be assigned to any Redskins games from 2007 on, due to his aversion to the team name.

    The 19-year veteran, who was the first African-American referee to work a Super Bowl and was widely regarded as one of the best in the game, now works in the NFL main office a rules analyst. His views only came to light thanks to the larger discussion among whether or not the name will be used on broadcasts this season.

    “The league respectfully honored my request not to officiate Washington,” Carey told Wise. “It just became clear to me that to be in the middle of the field, where something disrespectful is happening, was probably not the best thing for me.”

    For the complete story, visit The Washington Post.
  • Cubs grounds crew unable to roll tarp out, lose game to rain

    WASHINGTON -- In case you missed it Tuesday night, the Chicago Cubs Cubbed the living Cub out of a baseball game in the Cubbiest way possible.

    Leading the San Francisco Giants 2-0 at home heading to the bottom of the fifth, the game had just qualified under baseball rules as an official contest when the umpires called for the tarp. The Wrigley Field grounds crew brought it out, but managed not to unroll it properly, allowing the weight of the falling water to throw physics against them. Pretty soon, all was lost.

    Even though the rain eventually stopped, sections of the infield were far too soaked to continue. Efforts to repair the grounds were fruitless and the game was called, meaning that the Cubs actually won. Unsurprisingly, the Giants are going to protest.

    One YouTube user did the only appropriate thing under the circumstances and set a sped up version of the idiocy to “Yakety Sax” for your enjoyment. So, enjoy.

    For more comedy, take a look at the Twitter chronology from CSN Bay Area’s Andy Baggarly, who chronicled the madness as it happened.
  • You wish David Belisle was your Little League coach

    If you played Little League growing up, you probably had some good coaches and some bad coaches. But you probably never had one give a speech as good as David Belisle, skipper for Rhode Island’s Cumberland American squad.

    Following his team’s elimination from the Little League World Series Monday night, Belisle gathered his young men and gave them advice they will probably carry with them for quite some time.

    This is on the level of Gene Hackman in “Hoosiers,” or Al Pacino in “Any Given Sunday.” Thanks, coach, we’d play for you any day.
  • These Redskins fans wore this to Landover tonight

    WASHINGTON -- The Washington Redskins are playing the Cleveland Browns in Landover on Monday night in a preseason game. Amidst the ongoing team name controversy, some fans took it upon themselves to put together their own costumes for the contest.

    Creative? Offensive? Share your thoughts with us…
  • Ninety-five percent of Philadelphians think Taney is better than Phillies

    WASHINGTON -- There’s a nugget of gold in the middle of a Philadelphia Enquirer article recapping the amazing run of the Taney Dragons at the Little League World Series.

    After a few graphs, a poll asks readers whose defense is better: The Dragons’, or that of the Philadelphia Phillies. As of just before noon on Monday, 94.5 percent of respondents picked Taney.

    Coming from the city that booed Santa, that actually sounds just about right.

  • Young Pirates fan is trapped in a bleacher seat of emotion

    WASHINGTON -- In case you missed it, Sunday evening’s Nationals-Pirates game was bananas.

    After playing five rather uneventful, scoreless innings, the Pirates turned a host of weakly hit groundballs into a two-run rally in the sixth, as Washington forgot the basic tenets of how to throw and catch baseballs. Evidently, poor defense is contagious, as Pittsburgh gifted runs right back to them in similar manner in the seventh.

    The Nationals built a 4-2 lead, which they took to the ninth, where Pittsburgh blew up Washington closer Rafael Soriano for three runs to push ahead, 5-4. That’s where we first meet our young protagonist.

    After rescuing the game from the depths, the Pirates made a mess of the bottom of the ninth, narrowly escaping with a tie game into extra innings. But Scott Hairston’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 11th eventually sent Washington home as walk-off winners for the second straight night. Join us as we watch this young fan ride the rollercoaster of baseball emotions into the sweet night.

  • Mo’Ne Davis is the best thing that happened this week

    WASHINGTON -- It’s been a tough week all around, both in sports and in America in general. So on a Friday afternoon, it was terrific to end the week with an inspiring sports story.

    Mo’Ne Davis and the Taney Dragons took on a team from Tennessee in their first Little League World Series game Friday afternoon. In case you’ve been under a rock and haven’t heard, Davis is the first girl to play in the tournament since 2004, and only the 18th in the 68-year history of the event.

    And she’s awesome.

    Seriously, look at this fastball.

    And then this curveball.

    The pitches start on an identical plane, then go in totally opposite directions. That is some filthy stuff.

    And on Friday, on national television, she twirled a two-hit shutout to lead Taney to victory. She didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight, punching out the side in the sixth and final inning.

    There’s the larger story of the Taney team, as well, that’s well worth watching. The Dragons are predominantly African-American in a sport increasingly devoid of black players, hailing from Philadelphia’s inner city. Learn more about them in the terrific ESPNW profile below, and check them out on ESPN2 on Sunday as they take on the winner of Texas and Rhode Island.

  • Four Notre Dame starters dismissed

    WASHINGTON -- Four starters on the Notre Dame Football team have been dismissed from the school for academic fraud, according to multiple reports.

    According to Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman, the four players are receiver DaVaris Daniels, defensive back KeiVarae Russell, defensive lineman Ishaq Williams and linebacker Kendall Moore.

    The 17th-ranked Fighting Irish are fresh off another academic scandal involving quarterback Everett Golson last season, who was just named the team’s starter earlier this week.

    More on this as it develops at wtop.com.
  • MLB elects Manfred as new commissioner

    WASHINGTON -- Major League Baseball has officially elected MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred to succeed Bud Selig as the next commissioner, according to multiple media sources.

    Selig himself appointed Manfred to the CEO position at the end of the 2013 season, a year after Selig signed a two-year extension that ends after the 2014 season. Manfred, an attorney, served as outside counsel for MLB owners during the 1994-95 MLB labor strike before joining the league full-time in 1998.

    Manfred inherits a league prospering financially, but also one with several major legal issues on its hands. In addition to the Biogenisis steroid probe, Selig will pass along unresolved matters of territorial rights between the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants, as well as the ever more contentious MASN negotiations between the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles.

    More details coming on WTOP.com
  • Redskins file appeal to trademark decision

    The Washington Redskins filed an appeal in federal court on Thursday to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office decision from June to cancel six federal trademarks of the team name deemed “disparaging” to Native Americans. Here is the full statement from the Redskins:

    Today the Washington Redskins NFL team filed its appeal of the split decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”) ordering cancellation of the Washington Redskins’ long-held federal trademark registrations. The appeal is in the form of a complaint, effectively starting the litigation anew, this time in a federal court before a federal judge, and not in the administrative agency that issued the recent split decision.

    “We believe that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ignored both federal case law and the weight of the evidence, and we look forward to having a federal court review this obviously flawed decision,” said Bob Raskopf, trademark attorney for the Washington Redskins.

    The Washington Redskins’ complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, explains why the Court should reverse the Board’s order and properly find that Native Americans did not consider the team name “Washington Redskins” to be disparaging during the relevant time frame of 1967-1990. While the complaint points out the many errors in the Board’s decision, the federal judge may disregard the Board’s decision entirely in conducting its own independent evaluation of the evidence.

    The complaint also asks the federal court to consider the serious Constitutional issues that the Board lacked the authority to address. Specifically, by cancelling valuable, decades-old registrations, the Board improperly penalized the Washington Redskins based on the content of the team’s speech in violation of the First Amendment. The complaint also alleges that the team has been unfairly deprived of its valuable and long-held intellectual property rights in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

    “The Washington Redskins look forward to all of the issues in the case being heard in federal court under the federal rules of evidence. The team is optimistic that the court will correctly and carefully evaluate the proofs, listen to the arguments, and confirm the validity of the Washington Redskins’ federal trademark registrations, just as another federal court has already found in a virtually identical case,” Raskopf said.

    While the case is in federal court, the Washington Redskins’ federal trademark registrations remain in full force and effect. As always, the Washington Redskins has the right to use its marks and to enforce them against infringers and counterfeiters.

    More on www.wtop.com
  • Raiders and Cowboys brawl at joint practice

    Washington -- In the least surprising sports news of the week, a brawl broke out at the joint practice between the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, California on Tuesday. Perhaps more surprising, the NFL doesn’t seem to have any issue promoting the altercation, posting video to its official Twitter feed.

    That escalated quickly. A fan Instagram video shows us more of the aftermath, though it’s unclear whether this is part of the same incident, or a separate one.

    Other than Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew fighting out from the bottom of a pile of Cowboys sans helmet, it’s hard to say exactly what happened here based on the video. Less difficult to determine was why the altercation briefly entered the stands, thanks to (presumably) a Raider fan’s use of a team helmet (Drew’s?) to hit Cowboys cornerback B.W. Webb in his own helmet.

    The two teams practice together again on Wednesday.
  • Mike Rizzo is just trolling you at this point

    WASHINGTON -- Even casual fans of the Washington Nationals have probably noticed that there seems to be an awful lot of players with similar names floating around the organization. General Manager Mike Rizzo has been acquiring players with oddly comparable monikers for several years now (more on that later). But the craziness may have reached its tipping point this week.

    Initially, it looked like this article could wait until at least September, or possibly even next year. But then Steven Souza Jr. -- recalled from the minors last week -- forced the Nats to dive deeper into the farm system to bring up Michael Taylor when he landed the disabled list after doing this.

    Taylor made his debut Tuesday night, singling on an 0-2 pitch in his first at bat, then later bashing an opposite field home run. He has been one of the most impressive prospects in the farm system this year, slashing .313/.296/.539 with 22 home runs and 34 steals in just 98 games while playing a stellar defensive center field at Double-A Harrisburg.

    But we’re here to talk about his name.

    Michael Taylor is not to be confused with Taylor Hill, the pitcher who made his MLB debut earlier this year with a pair of relief appearances. Nor should you mix him up with Taylor Jordan, another of the Nats’ pitchers, but not the same pitcher as Jordan Zimmermann, who is someone else entirely. That’s not even getting into the whole Zimmermann/Zimmerman thing, which we’ve largely avoided this year, with Ryan being shelved on the DL much of the season.


    Did you click that last link? You’ll never be able to unsee that. You’re welcome.

    So, to recap: Michael Taylor Jordan Zimmermann. Four names, three players. Got it?

    Of course, Rizzo started this madness back in 2012 when, just six months after trading for star pitcher Gio Gonzalez, he used his first round draft pick on the highly touted Lucas Giolito.

    Rizzo then quickly doubled down, selecting infielder Tony Renda with his very next pick just a year after taking infielder Anthony Rendon.

    The Nats traded for Denard Span two offseasons ago. Then, last September, they received minor league pitcher Matthew Spann as the player to be named later in the David DeJesus trade with Tampa Bay, because of course they did.

    Heads up Danny Worth and A.J. Ramos. You might be next.
  • Redskins release video in support of name

    As Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post reported earlier today, the Washington Redskins have released a video on RedskinsFacts.com, the purported fan site being backed by former players, and apparently the team itself.

    While not stated as such, the piece appears to be a direct response to the viral, two-minute spot produced by the Nationals Congress of American Indians (NCAI), a version of which aired during the NBA playoffs.

    The Redskins Facts-produced video picks up where the NCAI version left off, with a team helmet sitting in the grass. The piece includes a number of testimonials, some clearly shot during the team’s recent training camp in Richmond, as evidenced by the dome of the Science Museum of Virginia in the background.

    See both videos below. Does this affect your opinion in any way? Or is it just another case of both sides reiterating their preexisting points?

  • Pants-less Mustard is an American hero

    WASHINGTON -- This is the cutest thing you’ll see all day.

    This video comes from Kansas City's Hot Dog Derby in between innings at Kaufman Stadium on Sunday. Our friend Mustard seems to have found a lane to the inside coming out of the right-field corner, with a clear lane to victory.

    But then, it all goes wrong.

    Yes, it’s the pants. Undone by the very costume he has been made to wear, Mustard struggles valiantly to his feet, only to fall once more.

    You won’t want to laugh, but you will. And then you’ll feel bad about it. But then you’ll convince yourself that you’re laughing with the pants-less child as he struggles his way around the warning track in front of tens of thousands of spectators.

    Soldier on, valiant Mustard. You are an inspiration to us all.


    See the full, raw cut of the race right here.
  • After signing autographs, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, asks for a favor in return, he has Vincent Silver, Jr., left, and Evan Washo sign his shoes after training camp practice Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014 in Richmond, Va.. At right, Griffin's niece Jania Hope Moton wears his helmet. (AP Photo/ Richmond Times-Dispatch, Dean Hoffmeyer)

  • A Redskins alternative: The Rednecks

    WASHINGTON -- There have been many suggested alternatives for the Washington Football team name ever since the debate over its appropriateness heated up over the last year. One T-shirt company in San Francisco is offering its solution, requiring only a minor change in design, and just a few letters away from the original.

    Behold: The Rednecks.

    The "Rednecks" logo. (HeadlineShirts.com)

    With the traditional feathers swapped out for raccoon tails, the logo features a goteed, mutton-chopped Caucasian, with a bandana sweeping back a majestic mullet, sunglasses tucked in behind his head. The shirt retails for $18.00 on the company’s website.

    The company has sold about 1,500 shirts in the first week. That makes it “easily five times the average for the first week of a new shirt,” the company’s creative director told Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post.

    Offensive? Brilliant? Tell us your thoughts...

  • Donovan plays hero, announces retirement

    It’s been a good year for U.S. Soccer; less so for Landon Donovan.

    One of the most popular and successful players in U.S. Mean’s National Team history, he was left off the 2014 World Cup squad, leading to a very public dispute with coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

    But Donovan remains a hugely popular figure, and has had a terrific last 24 hours.

    In the MLS All-Star Game in Portland Wednesday night, Donavan scored the winning goal in the 70th minute against his old side, Bayern Munich, keying a 2-1, come-from-behind victory in a terrifically exciting and tense game. MLS keepers-- including D.C. United’s Bill Hamid -- came up huge to keep the scoreline steady.

    Thursday, Donovan announced that he would retire at the end of the season, bringing an illustrious career to a close on a high note.

    “I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to have played a role in the remarkable growth of MLS and US Soccer during my playing career,” he said in his announcement on Facebook. “And while my career as a player will soon be over, rest assured I will stay connected on many levels to the beautiful game.”
  • The DMV dog will destroy your life

    Looking for the authentic DMV food experience, all shoved together inside the friendly confines of a hot dog bun? Presenting the DMV dog at Nats Park: a treat for the culinary masochist deep inside your gut.

    The concoction starts with a footlong half smoke, a food staple of the District, often associated with Ben’s Chili Bowl. From there, it is “smothered with Maryland crab cheese,” taking it in a similar direction to Baltimore’s heralded Crab Mac and Cheese dog. But then it jumps off the deep end.

    As a coup de gras (yes, the strike of grease), the offering is topped with Virginia ham, because why not.

    Behold, the elusive beast, for all to see. Warning: just looking at it may make your heart hurt.

  • Five O’Clock Club reunited

    Unless you’re highly invested in who will claim a second string spot on your favorite team’s roster, preseason football can be…well…boring. Not to worry: Riggo and the Hogs are here to spice up your Thursday night Redskins-Patriots game.

    Redskins greats John Riggins, Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Jeff Bostic and Doc Walker appear in a Papa John’s commercial that will air during the game. The ad features the crew hanging out in the back of a semi full of pizza boxes. See photos from the shoot below, and check out the game tonight for the full cut, produced by 44Outdoors.

    (Courtesy 44Outdoors) 
    (Courtesy 44Outdoors) 

     (Courtesy 44Outdoors)
  • Gruden said that Bruce Allen will most likely be up in the booth helping out with replays. #Redskins
  • Gruden said he hopes to get the starters 8-10 plays tomorrow, could be more "depending on my satisfaction" #Redskins
  • Gruden says 1st team will play 8-10 plays Thursday, maybe more, "depending on my satisfaction"
  • Gruden: "I'm gonna be excited, running out for the 1st time. My number one objective is keeping order on the sideline. #Redskins
  • Jim Haslett will be on the sideline this season. He was upstairs in the booth last year. #Redskins
  • Gruden said these practices exposed things as a staff they need to work on as well. #Redskins
  • Gruden said there's a possibility of doing joint practices again, said he'd like to host a team though . #Redskins
  • Gruden said Pierre will not play tomorrow. Jackson is questionable for tomorrow night. #Redskins
  • Gruden said DeSean got cleated today, twisted his ankle. #Redskins
  • Silas Redd said he was told he will play most of the 2nd half tomorrow nigh at running back. #Redskins
  • DeSean Jackson out with what looks like ankle injury. Garçon already sitting out along with Ryan Clark.
  • Welp RT @Redskins : WR @DeSeanJackson11 walks off the practice field with a wrap on his left ankle. Update from Coach Gruden after practice.
  • Final joint practice today between the #Redskins and #Patriots at 8:30 then time to head north. There's a football game tomorrow at Fed Ex
  • The Mayor and Governor both support it, but how much is #Redskins camp helping Richmond? bit.ly/1y5nHoJ
  • RGIII echoes Gruden re: #Patriots . Essentially, good to play another team, no specific benefit from New England in particular
  • Griffin said he thought the scrimmage sessions went "great" today.
  • Griffin speaks very highly of Ryan Grant. "He's a great talent". Did you know that he is Ryan Grant III? Yup, RGIII #Redskins
  • Gruden: "You can't underestimate the number of reps we got today and yesterday." #Redskins
  • Gruden on Brady: "He's fun to watch. Poetry in motion." #Redskins
  • Gruden said these days are more important for the starters than Thursdays game. Get more work in. #Redskins
  • Gruden said Pierre , Clark and Phillip Thomas had hamstring injuries
  • Ryan Clark said he tweaked his hammy. Said he's fine and wants to play Thursday. Not sure if he will though. #Redskins
  • Extra lefty relief help. 37 y/o, good splits vs. lefties @WTOPSports : #Nats acquire LHP Matt Thornton from #Yankees on waiver claim
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