Once again, it’s time to check off some items on my “TIDU List™” – Things I Don’t Understand:
*How the U.S. men whiffed on World Cup bid
All things considered, reaching the World Cup should’ve been the least of our concerns. Soccer has exploded in popularity in the U.S. We hadn’t failed to qualify since the 1986 cycle. The opponent on Tuesday, Trinidad & Tobago, had nothing to play for. According to FiveThirtyEight, the American men hadn’t lost a match with such a high probability of winning since 1885.
No wonder our soccer is clowned around the globe.
*Why President Trump needled the local hockey team
The Pittsburgh Penguins brought the Stanley Cup Tuesday as they visited the White House. Trump rubbed it for D.C. fans. “Are they tough, the Washington Capitals?” he jovially asked the Penguins. “Are they tough? What do you think, huh?” Pittsburgh defeated Washington in the playoffs the last two seasons. Overall, the Pens have won nine of 10 postseason series against the Caps.
The only thing tough when they meet is the Caps’ luck.
*How forced adherence equals unity
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones – and fans who agree – are missing an important point in the debate on player protests during the national anthem. Taking away the very freedom that the flag and nation supposedly represent is counterproductive for demonstrating that this is a free country. The freedom to differ is fundamental and liberty doesn’t coerce individuals to honor songs or symbols.
That’s something I’d expect to see in, say, North Korea.
*Why ESPN suspended Jemele Hill
The SportsCenter anchor tweeted that fans who oppose the stance by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones should “boycott his advertisers.” As someone paid to offer her opinions, Hill did her job. ESPN has failed to say exactly what constituted a suspension-worthy offense. The network comes across as knuckling under in response to criticism or commentary that might have a negative impact on sponsors.
Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, indeed.
*How the NFC East has flipped upside down
When Philadelphia and Washington met in the season opener, it was billed as a battle to avoid last place, where one of the franchises was predicted to finish. Since then, Carson Wentz emerged as a budding star and Washington’s defense appears formidable. Meanwhile, New York and Dallas are bringing up the rear with no indications of impending change.
For most fans in D.C., it couldn’t happen to nicer franchises.
*Why Terrapin QBs are an endangered species
Ohio State drubbed Maryland by 48 points last week and added injury to insult by knocking quarterback Max Bortenschlager out of the game. The sophomore – filling in for injured Kasim Hill (who was filling in for injured Tyrone Pigrome) – might miss Saturday’s game against Northwestern. This marks the third straight year and fourth out of six that the Terps have started at least three quarterbacks.
Of course, rival schools won’t whisper that to Maryland prospects.
*How Alex Ovechkin turned back the clock
No one can maintain a pace of scoring 191 goals, especially not 32-year-olds with as much mileage as the Capitals’ captain. But the “Great Eight” has served notice that he’s not done yet, despite evidence he was slowing down. Ovi, who scored just 33 goals last year (his second-lowest total in a full campaign), is the first player in 100 years to open a season with back-to-back hat tricks.
I’ll have whatever he’s having.
*Why October and Dusty Baker don’t mix
Second guessing is second nature in postseason baseball. Moves are magnified and decisions are dissected a hundredfold compared to the dog days. The Nationals manager is 14th on the all-time wins list and has a higher win percentage than Bruce Bochy, Lou Piniella and Jim Leyland. But Baker entered Wednesday with a 5-13 postseason record in one-run games and a reputation for wrong moves at the worst times.
He deserves better but might never get it.
*How A.P. in Arizona wasn’t destiny
We should’ve seen it coming. Former rushing champions Emmitt Smith, Edgerrin James and Chris Johnson finished their careers with the Cardinals. Now it’s Adrian Peterson’s turn, traded from New Orleans where whatever he has left (if anything) was wasting away. He totaled 27 carries for 81 yards with the Saints, but Smith, James and Johnson all had at least one big year after arriving.
Retirees and old halfbacks really love it in the desert.
*Why Chris Foerster recorded himself and sent it
It’s not the fact that a (now-former) Miami Dolphins assistant coach sniffed cocaine. It’s not the fact that he apparently did so at work. It’s not the fact that he cavorted with a gorgeous Las Vegas model. It’s not the fact that he has a wife and three children. It’s not the fact that he reportedly earned between $2.5 million and $3 million per year.
It’s the fact that he was SO stupid!
— Brooklyn-born and Howard-educated, Deron Snyder writes his award-winning column for The Washington Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Follow him on Twitter @DeronSnyder.