In the short time that sports blogs have been around, they have revolutionized the sports fan's experience. The Internet has given us new ways to understand the games we watch in our free time and tear down the wall that separates fans from their athletic heroes.
It's almost hard to fathom a time where we followed sports without all of the advancements the internet has given us in the last five years. Somehow, we managed to enjoy sports before we could type in a URL and connect with other fans who shared the same passion. I'm not quite sure how we managed to do it, but let's be thankful that we never have to go back to those dark ages. Instead, let's look back at some of the great moments in D.C. sports history and how much fun the blogosphere could have had with them if they had happened today, from 10 all the way down to No. 1.
No. 10: Roger Peckinpaugh wins MVP, commits 8 errors in the World Series
Believe it or not, 2010 was not the first time a Washington team lead by an MVP blew a 3-1 series lead. In the 1925 World Series, the Washington Senators, led by MVP Roger Peckinpaugh, saw their opportunity to repeat as World Series champions slip through their fingers.
Unlike Alex Ovechkin, the Senators' MVP was a big part of why the Senators lost the series. During the series, Peckinpaugh committed eight errors, including two in Game 7, that helped the Pirates win the title. On top of the all posts, comments and tweets attacking and defending his ability, there probably would have been at least one blogger who, in light of the Black Sox scandal, would have tried to make a name for themselves by accusing Peckinpaugh of throwing the series.
Worst of all, Washington was playing Pittsburgh in the World Series that year. Peckinpaugh's performance surely would have renewed the great Roger Peckinpaugh vs. Kiki Cuyler debate.
No. 9: The Steve Spurrier era
Imagine the Jim Zorn era with higher expectations, worse results, more fun and gun, less talent and Danny Wuerrfel. It would have been mighty depressing to write about, but blogs have been an online forum where fans can commiserate since their inception. Blogs would have made the Steve Spurrier era more bearable.
No. 8: Rod Strickland vs. Tracy Murray
Locker room drama is always good for page views. When teammates actually get into fisticuffs with one another? That's golden.
But it still gets better. The alleged cause of the fight would have take this locker room squabble to whole new level if blogs had been around, via the Associated Press:
These sources said Strickland physically accosted Murray on Dec. 10 when a woman both players know played a tape for Strickland on which Murray told her she thought Strickland was gay.
A locker room fight coupled with allegations of homosexuality? Like it or not, this would have been a major blog item for days.
No. 7: Michael Westbrook vs. Stephen Davis
This fight gets the nod over Strickland vs. Murray because cameras were rolling. If it happened today, the video of the incident would easily get at least a million views on YouTube (fast forward to the 55 second mark).
No. 6: Esa Tikkanen misses open net
Goats existed long before the Internet arrived, but Esa Tikkanen must be thankful he didn't miss a chance to seal Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals with a shot on an open net in 1998, rather than 2010. Remember all the anger Caps fans had after getting knocked out of the playoffs this season, as everyone from Mike Green to Bruce Boudreau took blame from fans looking for someone to blame the collapse on? Now imagine all of that anger directed at one person. If you can, then you can probably imagine the reaction of the Twitterverse and the reaction of comments at Japers' Rink in the moments after Tikkanen's whiff.
No. 5: Ledell Eackles reminds us why fireworks should only be handled by professionals
Strange sports injuries are always good for blog fodder. When the injury is caused by the athlete's own poor decisions, it makes for great blog content. This gem would have made it's way around the blogosphere faster than you can say "fireworks safety."
"It's seems Ledell was fooling with a Roman candle over New Year's, and it went off in his hand," said Unseld. "He wanted to practice, but Lally advised him against it." Pressed to comment further, Unseld said, "It was illegal, ill-advised and just plain stupid."
If only Eackles had been born 15 years later. He was a true Deadspin Hall of Famer before there was a Deadspin. Also, if TMZ had been around in 1992, it's a virtual lock they would have found photos of Eackles holding a Roman candle in the moments before it went off in his hand.
No. 4: 2000 NFC Divisional Playoffs
For most of you, I don't even need to remind you about what happened. Just saying the words "Matt Turk" or "Mike Alstott" are enough for most people. The game had all the ingredients necessary to create the perfect storm of angry posts in the hours after the game.
- Intense playoff game involving the city's most popular team? Check.
- A questionable call in game's closing minutes? Check.
- A botched play that could have won the game? Check.
- An opportunity to win a playoff game on the road and clinch a berth in the NFC Championship only to have it taken away in heartbreaking fashion? Check plus!
In a lot of ways, it was probably a good thing that sports blogs weren't around back in 2000. I'm not sure the Internet would have been able to process the rage in the hours after the game.
No. 3: 1983 NFC Championship Game
Lest we forget, blogs can cover the great moments in sports too. And though the Redskins three Super Bowls were greater victories than their win against Dallas in 1983, would have had all the ingredients for pure, unadulterated Internet joy in the build up to the Super Bowl.
- Intense playoff game involving the town's most popular team? Check.
- Defeating their arch-rivals to advance to the Super Bowl? Check.
- Making it back to the Super Bowl for the first time in 10 years? Check.
- Extra-raucous crowd? Check.
- Did we mention defeating their arch-rivals to advance to the Super Bowl? Check plus and a half!
If you thought #strasmas was something, just imagine what the D.C. blogosphere would have been like that day.
No. 2: Gus Frerotte gets in a fight with a wall, loses
This GIF would have been just the tip of the tip of the iceberg if this had happened last week.
No. 1 John Riggins' career
We could debate all day and all night about John Riggins' place in Redskins history, but there's no debate when it comes to who is the most entertaining player to ever wear the burgundy and gold. Whether it was his tough-nosed play, his goofy commercials, or his silver tongue, he knew how to endear himself to the Washington faithful while still being just controversial enough to stir up debate. He was the perfect combination of Clinton Portis' goofiness, Chris Cooley's down-to-earth relatability and Gilbert Arenas' flair for the dramatic.
And let's not forget, he gave us the signature highlight in D.C. sports history.
Though there is still plenty of great stuff to read and watch about Riggins' career in Washington, there is still so much more that could have been to done to commemorate Riggins' finest moments, in word, picture and video if he had played in this day and age. His legend would have risen to even greater heights thanks to the extra coverage he would have received in the era of sports blogs, where dominant personalities are just as important as dominant performances.
[Many thanks to Kyle Weidie, Chris Needham, Sean Fagan, Alex Reed and Brian Murphy for their help brainstorming this feature.]