In this week's edition: Dan Snyder is not vanilla with his pranks, the NBA Finals is full of former Wizards, another 'Bryce Harper's future is so bright' story and Virginia lacrosse has championship swag after beating Maryland.
This weeks edition of Chain Reactions deals with the prankster owner of the Washington Redskins, Ex-Washington Wizards in the 2011 NBA Finals, more happy Bryce Harper news and the all-ACC 2011 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament championship game
Dan Snyder Not Vanilla When it Comes to Pranks
Dan Snyder gave two exclusive interviews to NBC and FOX 5 last week, and to me, the most interesting stuff came from Dave Feldman of FOX 5. In that interview, Snyder reveals he a prankster (!) around Redskins Park.
"I think that people don't know me, and [PR honcho] Tony Wyllie has gotten a chance to know me now for about a year-and-a-half since he took over communications. He is shocked by the amount of jokes and things we do to people around here, and it's just fun."
You know, fun stuff like putting Vanilla ice cream on former defensive coordinator Mike Nolan's desk. There's nothing funnier than coming in your office and finding melted ice cream all over your desk. We had to go back to the way back file for help with this one. As Nolan told John Feinstein for his book, Next Man Up: (Note: the legal department has asked me to add "allegedly" to this post).
Early that season, after a Redskins loss, Snyder told Nolan that his defensive calls were "too vanilla." Like the other coaches, Nolan had figured out by then that trying to explain football to Snyder was pointless, since he already had the game figured out. A few days later a gallon of 31 Flavors ice cream showed up on Nolan's desk with a note that said, "This is what I like. Not vanilla."
Nolan laughed and sent Snyder a note: "Thanks for the ice cream. My kids enjoyed it."
"The first time it was actually kind of funny," Nolan said. "I didn't mind it at all."
The next time wasn't as funny.
The Redskins lost on the road to Dallas, and Nolan went into his office late Sunday night to start looking at game tape. When he arrived, there were three giant canisters of melting 31 Flavors ice cream on his desk with another note: "I wasn't joking. I do not like vanilla."
I wonder how Jim Haslett would react to such a joke? I'm guessing the former NFL Linebacker would not handle it as well Mike Nolan.
Wizards in the 2011 NBA Finals ... Former Wizards, That Is
The Washington Wizards would like to be in the NBA Finals someday once again, but until then, we will have to settle for watching former Wizards like Juwan Howard, Mike Miller, (sort of) Zydrunas Illgauskas, Mike Bibby, Brendan Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson and Caron Butler, who will be watching while most likely wearing a suit and chewing straws as he rehabs from a knee injury.
It never feels good to watch former players win with another franchise. Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld tells Mike Wise the are no hard feelings on his end.
"I'm very happy so many of our former players are getting a chance to compete for a title," Grunfeld said by telephone Saturday. "We were in a rebuilding situation and for many of the veterans it's good they were able to get that opportunity. They all left on good terms."
If you feel bad as a Wizards fan. imagine how awful Bucks fans must feel their team traded Dirk Nowitzki for the late Robert "Tractor" Traylor.
Larry Hughes is now Pumping Gas, Which Is Not a Bad Thing
In more former Wizards news, Larry Hughes spent his weekend pumping gas. This is not a tragic story of a former NBA player hurting for money. It is actually the opposite, Hughes was just being generous pumping gas for 150 cars at a gas station near his hometown in St. Louis.
Another 'At Least Bryce Harper is the Savior' Post
Instead of reflecting on the current state of the Nationals, I find myself stopping at every Bryce Harper story I see and combing over it to make sure it matches up with the previous one. They all essentially say he is as good as advertised and he is just trying to be one of the guys. He also has an old school approach.
"He's got some throwback in him,'' Nationals farm director Doug Harris said. "You look at some of the old power hitters, and they used to get that back leg off the ground when they had their extreme hip rotation. When Bryce gets into a ball, there are times when he gets that. And it's fun to watch.''
How good is Harper in Hagerstown? Harper is so good could get a Teddy Roosevelt a win in a Presidents Race if he coached him.
ACC Lacrosse>ACC Basketball
It has been a painful decline in the ACC watching men's basketball take a backseat to the Big East in recent years in overall depth. Also, there is the annual disappointment known as ACC Football. But when it comes to lacrosse, everyone else is just a spectator.
The ACC had three of this years final four teams, and Virginia won it all, beating Maryland in Monday's Championship game, 9-7. Also, Cavaliers fans looking for championship swag don't have to wait. I'm guessing the Terps' championship swag is on its way to a grateful third world country.