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D.C.'s Top Six Beloved Athletes


Seriously, which other local athlete inspires this? (Photo stolen from M. Miller.)


Ok, beloved isn't exactly the word I'm looking for. I'm not sure what that word is.

After the pre- and during- and post-game group hug the 35,000-plus bestowed upon Ben Olsen on Sunday, Washington Post Live host Russ Thaler and I were discussing which other local athletes might receive such an outpouring of emotion. Olie Kolzig mighta been a contender, but he's no longer a local athlete.

The best descriptor I could come up with was this: "Which D.C. player would get the loudest ovation if it was revealed he was playing his final game as a pro?" Stir that around with a sprinkle of "Man, I just can't imagine [this player] wearing a different uniform," and add a dash of player-specific stadium-wide cheers, and you can imagine what I'm looking for.

So we're not talking skill here, but we're not talking niche cult worship either. We're looking for players who engender loyalty, love, and that irrational feeling that this particular athlete is really just dying to go out with you and have a strictly platonic drink or two. Not the most popular players, necessarily, but the players you'd be most likely to shed a tear over in a particular fit of yellowed newspaper-clip nostalgia.

Last summer I tried a guess at D.C.'s Top Six Athletes, based on some combination of local Q rating and popularity; now, I'm trying out D.C.'s Top Six Beloved Athletes.


Or this? (By Jonathan Newton - TWP)

1) Alex Ovechkin. And this feels weird, because he lacks the one thing this list should require: longevity. But it's the passion he plays with, the fact that he single-handedly dragged this team back into relevance, and the way his gap-toothed smile makes middle-aged men from Waldorf go weak in the knees. Especially with Kolzig's departure, officially turning this into Ovie's Team, I just can't see who else could take the top spot. Bonus points for the weeks of "M-V-P" chants.

2) Ben Olsen. And you non-soccer folks might protest that the average D.C. sports fan is ignorant of Olsen, but if you're talking about a fan base's sloppily expressed, slightly embarrassing, middle-school-crush style devotion to its favorites, Olsen is certainly top three in this market. Heck, his beard might deserve a place of its own on the list. And "Ben-ny Ol-sen" has a pretty good ring to it.

3) Jaime Moreno. I know, I know, more soccer, but the fact is, Gilbert could leave town this week. People would be crushed, sure, but it's just not that hard to imagine the Wizards playing without Gilbert, not after the past two seasons. I was in the Verizon Center when Gilbert finally returned from his injury, and it was just nothing like RFK when Olsen returned on Sunday. Moreno has already left once, but this is his 12th year with the franchise, and it really is jarring to imagine the club without him. His "final-game ovation" would be immense.


The glory days? (By Jonathan Newton - TWP)

4) Gilbert Arenas. Got to put him somewhere, I guess.

5) Chris Cooley. Got to have a Redskin on here, and I couldn't decide who. Clinton Portis? But we have seen the Redskins without him, and it wasn't that strange. Plus, so many fans were so quick to turn on the guy after a few bad games; Love means never having to say your hero has lost a step. Jon Jansen? Ditto, plus, he's an offensive lineman. Marcus Washington? Shawn Springs? Mike Sellers? Chris Samuels? All have significant followings, but would any really cause a spontaneous outpouring of emotion in his final game? As far as I'm concerned, no one's final-game ovation would be louder than Cooley's, and the "Coooooooley" wail is one of FedEx's most memorable.

6) Chad Cordero. This most recent injury could certainly change things, because Nats fans will go 12 months without seeing him on the field, but he certainly fits the "I can't imagine them without...." standard better than Mr. White Bread, Ryan Zimmerman. So few players are left from the 2005 team that briefly had D.C. excited about baseball, and none of those players ever caused such a stir among fans, even if it was mostly because of a hat brim.

And your thoughts?

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 2, 2008; 10:29 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , D.C. United , Mystics , Nats , Redskins , Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Look: Portis in Tysons
Next: D.C. Sports Media Approval Ratings: Joe Beninati

Comments

no offense, D.C., but this seems like kind of a sorry list. and i like soccer, but the fact that there's no real "face" for either the local football or baseball franchises makes it seem like it's a bit of a down time for D.C. sports.

Posted by: jamie | July 2, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

There is no one that fits this mold at this time. The closest you can come would probably be Cooley but he's not quite there yet and neither is Alex O. Everyone else has been or will be somewhere else. This includes Gil/Jamison/Butler, Springs, Smoot, Santana. The Nats havent been around long enough and not a large enough percentage of DC cares about soccer enough to latch on to a player (regardless of what you say about Olsen).

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The fact is that if you throw in former athletes, a guy like Darrell Green would blow everyone out of the water.

Posted by: Alberto | July 2, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Cliche as it may be, if we could aware one person post-humously it would likely be Sean Taylor. Perhaps it's the general response to personal tragedy, but the way the DC area poured out for this man after his death really showed love. He was a heavy hitter and though he had his rough edges, was looking to become a GREAT Redskin that time would have only told could have been held as high as our two inductees into the HoF this summer.

Posted by: MDNCSkinsFan | July 2, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

CP
Cooley
Smooooooot
Zimmerman
Ovechkin
Gil

please god no freakin soccer might a well put a lax player or someone from the wnba team jeez

Posted by: jonthefisherman | July 2, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Chad who?

I like the Nats and all, but Zimmerman is the only one who should qualify for this list, and even then it's not a given. Sad as it is to say, the hometown baseball team is dead last in terms of fan passion.

Posted by: pondaz | July 2, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

fisherman,

You kind of missed the point. 35k erupted when a player came back from a potentially career ending injury, and inspired this list, so I'd think soccer ought to count.

CP and Smoot? Yeah, they're neat quotes, but they don't bleed for their team. Cooley is close. Of course, Green is the level of class and character they must measure up to for this list.

Zimmerman? I doubt he's here in a couple of years. The Nats don't have a face.

Gil is an obvious choice. And Ovechkin is also there.

For the Caps, I think you need to look at Kolzig's playoff sendoff when he stayed on the ice and got an ovation. Also in the Caps past, Dale Hunter.

Posted by: Kim | July 2, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin should be numbers 1-3 on the list.

Posted by: J.P. | July 2, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Your list is pretty good johnthefisherman but you don't need to dis the soccer team dude!
Then again you might be one of those folks that thinks poker is a sport. OH yeah and fishing too...Talk about boring.

Posted by: Dadryan | July 2, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

The problem comes down to the way leagues are structured now. Having a player remain with a team for twenty years is almost unfathomable. So most cities do not have a "face" like Darryl Green or Steve Yzerman or Cal Ripkin anymore.
The Capitals were close with Kolzig. If there's ever a Kolzig Day or some such, you'll see the fans.
As such, I think the longest tenured are with United, most talented is Ovechkin, most cult-like are with the Wizards. Baseball is still too new to have that kind of attachment.

And it's not just DC, but across the country you'll see similar in most sports.

Posted by: Grooven | July 2, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Two Soccer players??? seriously??? United may have some devoted fans but its a niche market. And I love the nats but no one on this team has earned beloved status in my opinion. Zimm is close but needs to put together some back to back seasons.
Drop Jaime...add Tough Juice.
Drop CHAAD...add Portis.

Posted by: J-Bonius | July 2, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Get Cordero off this list immediately. He bothers me more than the two soccer players.

CP
Gil/Ovie
Cooley
Caron
JC

Posted by: Wrong | July 2, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

yo Dadryan my name is a reffers (sp?) to a song by Primus

no card game should be called a sport (even though i am a fantastic Poker player)

Posted by: jonthefisherman | July 2, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin owns DC right now - agreed

Posted by: Andrew | July 2, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Kim

you must have never been to a Skins game
I have heard 90k+ scream Smoooottt many times

Posted by: jonthefisherman | July 2, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

1. Patrick Ramsey
2. Tom Gugliotta
3. Jamoir Jagr
4. Rod Gardner
5. Manute Bol
6. Grandma G

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Factz:

DC United Fans>>Capitals Fans>>>>>Wizards Fans>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Nationals Fans.

These are the facts.

Also, Jaime Moreno goes above Olson.

Posted by: kwamesnani | July 2, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

1. Ovechkin - MVP, nuff said
2. Cooley
3. CP
4. Caron Butler
5. Arenas
6. Peter Angelos

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | July 2, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Heath.

Shuler.

Posted by: Eddie C | July 2, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

He's not an athlete, but there would be a large standing thunderous ovation if it was revealed that a certain game was Dan Snyder's last as owner.

//Eagles fan//

Posted by: Franconia | July 2, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Jonthefisherman,

"Smooooot" is fun to say, it's not necessarily out of love. I wouldn't forget the guy, but would certainly pay him much less mind if he left the Skins. Grooven raises a great point... how many of these people will even be in DC in 5 years? It's hard to give love to a player when you know he may just as quickly leave. I think Steinberg nailed it with Cooley because he appears to have the most staying power... provided he doesn't get snuffed by Zorn.

On the note of soccer, DC United is probably one of the more talented, consistently-performing teams in DC... give them their due.

Posted by: MDNCSkinsFan | July 2, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Where did kwamesnani get these "facts"?

At least among the true Wizards fans (and bloggers)....I would say that Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler would get an equal or larger ovation than Arenas (he also has many detractors are of late....Jamison and Butler do not).

But the uneducated/casual DC basketball fan probably still goes Gazo over Gilbert.

Posted by: TruthAboutIt.net | July 2, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

2 Players in the most least watched sport is absurd.

The list should be:

1. Ovechkin (and I hate hockey)
2. Gil
3. Portis

The rest is all debatable, but those are the top 3 most loved sports figures in DC.

Posted by: Keino | July 2, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

DC United a niche market? Their attendance and local TV ratings are comparable with the Wiz, Caps, Nats...only the Redskins reign supreme, and Stein struggles to find a spot for them at number 5. weak.

Posted by: Tweaked | July 2, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Portis
Cooley
Smoot

Are the top 3 in my opinion.

Posted by: The Mayor | July 2, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I find it hard to give love to CP because as much as I like the guy, I could see him leaving the Skins for a bigger paycheck... the only reason he hasn't yet is because with his injuries and some underperformance he's lost some value... if he has 2-3 good seasons in the coming years I would not be surprised to see him leave. The only thing that may keep him (and Santana) on the team is the team-spirit still surrounding ST's death.

Posted by: MDNCSkinsFan | July 2, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

These are also facts:

Wizards' Blogworld>>>>>>>All other sportsblogworlds

Posted by: kwamesnani | July 2, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin is probably 1 but Portis and Cooley are both definitely up there. Maybe for the small minority of DC that follows United Olsen can be there but not as the collective DC area fans go, most don't even know his name. The top 6 are in no particular order, Cooley, Portis, Ovechkin, Arenas, Butler, and Gary Williams.

Posted by: JDP | July 2, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

if ticket prices were the same at wiz as united games, i'm sure you'd see more than the staid excitement when any wiz player comes back. "for players who engender loyalty, love, and that irrational feeling that this particular athlete is really just dying to go out with you and have a strictly platonic drink or two" isn't that gil except with video games? ovechkin 1, gil 2, debatable otherwise.

Posted by: CreditZard | July 2, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

City wide? I'd go with...

Gil
Antawn
Portis
Cooley
Ovechkin
Ben Olsen

For me...

Ben Olsen
Caron
Antawn
Marcus Washington
Cooley
Gheorghe MureÅŸan

Posted by: Kev | July 2, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I'll have you know that Alana Beard is the definition of beloved.

Posted by: StetSports.com | July 2, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse


you must have never been to a Skins game
I have heard 90k+ scream Smoooottt many times

Posted by: jonthefisherman

============================================

Because a person's name lends to a really cool fan scream doesn't mean that he's 'Beloved'. Smoot's a good player, a good quote, and a poor guy to share a boat ride with.

It's really about personality and how a player really connects with fans. While the Skins reign supreme, it's extremely difficult in football where players are here for a brief time, especially in free agency. The other Skins' affiliated name that would have qualified along with Green is Gibbs.

Posted by: Kim | July 2, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Marco Etcheverry
Jaime Moreno
Ben Olsen
Sonny Jurgensen
Frank Howard

Posted by: Tim O. | July 2, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Rod Langway
Dale Hunter
Wes Unseld
Gheorge Muresan
John Riggins

Posted by: Tim O. | July 2, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Keep Cordero on the list--when he comes onto the field at home, lotsa fans wake up (or put down their cell phones) and start baying "Cheeeeeeeeeeef!" His character as much as his performance makes him stand way above the boring, overrated Zimmerman. You just sense something in him. I sure hope Cordero can make it back to the MLB.

Posted by: DC Woman | July 2, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I dont think any one on this list can match up with Ben Olsen when it comes to loyalty and cult following. The difference between Ben and the rest of these players is that he is DC United till death. the rest of these players with exception to maybe Chris Cooley would leave in a heart beat for a fat paycheck. Ben is more of a Cal Ripken type player. He comes every day gives 100%, gives his whole heart and expect those that step on the field with him to do the same.He is the first guy in the stadium and the last guy signing autographs. And his fans love him for it and would be heart broken if he ever put on another jersey. i think that is the point of the article, not who has the most fans currently.

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little embarassed because I never heard of Ben Olson or Jaime Moreno until today!!!
Clinton Portis should also be on the list and Arenas should be higher IMO for a city list. my personal list is different though..

Posted by: lc | July 2, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

i was trying to think of who other cities would have as their top 6, and it's tougher to do than i thought, so maybe DC isn't so bad off. for example:

Philly: McNabb, Utley, who else? Burrell? Westbrook? Daniel Briere? Andre Igoudala?

Dallas: Mike Modano and Nowitzki would be there. Which Cowboy(s) would you take? Romo? Flozell Adams? Roy Williams? Jason Witten (what is it about white tight ends)? Anyone from the Rangers even rate since they traded Teixeira? Maybe Michael Young?

Atlanta: Chipper Jones and then what post-Vick? Keith Brooking? Ilya Kovalchuk?

Boston is probably the easiest with Varitek, Manny, Ortiz, Brady, Paul Pierce, etc.

what other soccer players might even merit consideration? Beckham wouldn't seem to meet Dan's qualifications. Landon Donovan might crack the LA list, but Claudio Reyna wouldn't get anywhere near NY and there's not many other players with the longevity of Olsen and Moreno.

Posted by: jamie | July 2, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

CP
CC
JC
Gil
AO
then the soccer players..

Posted by: Jo | July 2, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Capitals Average 2007-2008 Attendance -15,473

Wizards Average 2007-2008 Attendance - 17, 961

DC United Average 2007 Attendance - 20,967

Not sure why everyone thinks its a niche market sport...

Posted by: CRitch | July 2, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Jamie's got a point. This is a sort of crappy time in sports everywhere because of the player movement from team to team. Jerry Seinfeld once joked that now we no longer cheer for players, we cheer for the team shirts they are wearing.

The last time I can recall that a fan base got truly outraged about a player's switch to another team was when Damon left the Bosox, and I suspect that was mainly because he joined the rival Yankees (if he had become a Met, I doubt that the fans would have cared so much).

Posted by: Cootie | July 2, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

1. Juan Dixon
2. Lonny Baxter
3. Steve Blake
4. Byron Mouton
5. Chris Wilcox
6. Gary Williams

Posted by: Skinner | July 2, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I would put Ben Olsen and Jaime Moreno at the top of the list. With all the free agency, there are no players on any teams that would stay if a bigger pay check awaited. Look at what Arenas is doing now. He doesn't love you.
Olsen was built here in DC as a youngster (winning championships when no other local teams were even in the playoffs) and he has had a full career wearing the Red and Black. No other team can say that. Hell, I'd put Marco Etcheverry out there too. He'd get as big a cheer from any crowd even today!
Anyone that bashes soccer and the fan base is just ignorant.
Come on, lets hear all the ignorant arguements.

Posted by: moreno4prez | July 2, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

this list is stupid. since when did beloved mean fans could see the team without them. the list is so fiscal also, say fletcher or jansen or any decently aging playe on the skins decides to retire after the season and the skins play well they'd be catapulted to the top

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

jamie,

For Philadelphia try Chris Coste for the Phillies, or Mike Richards for the Flyers.

If you're looking for similar type guys in MLS, the best I can really come up with is Jimmy Conrad in KC, or Ralston in NE.

Posted by: Kim | July 2, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Olsen wouldn't leave for a big paycheck because it doesn't exist in MLS!

Theres a different culture in other pro sports. And Maybe just maybe the United attendance is higher as they have far fewer matches and a bigger stadium

Just a hunch though

Posted by: JDP | July 2, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

CRitch, average attendance. not only factor. tv viewership. big factor.

Posted by: CreditZard | July 2, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Who is Portis, does he play hockey?

This is the 1st time I have heard of him
or even ovenhckin. in fact I could not tell you anyone from the redskins if my life depended on it except for that Green guy. He was good

Posted by: dc fan | July 2, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

1. Peter Angelos
2. Michael Westbrook
3. Kwame Brown
4. Jamoir Jagr
5. Trung Candidate

Posted by: Reality | July 2, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Dc United easily have cemented their place in DC in even more so than the Nats, and maybe even the Wiz. With the fan base, championships and recognition, they deserve the kudos.

Redskins>>>Wizards>DC United>Caps>Nats

By Athletes it's:

1. Alex Ovechkin
2. Gilbert Arenas
3. Ben Olsen
4. Chris Cooley
5. Clinton Portis

Posted by: Douglas | July 2, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

When was the last time the fans not the owners/team mad a poster or something as big as what DC fans made for OLSEN.

Soccer a nich sport? real funny because it seems that every other sport just has fair weather fans. if your team loses you go for another team. When the team loses you laugh it off and drink another beer, when your team is losing every game you still come to the games but hang out at the bar. TRUE FANS, Other sports can take lessons from DC united fans on what it means to be a real fan.

DC UNITED FANS would undue any local sports fans in a heartbeat. From 2000-2002 we had one of the worst teams in the league, we barely won and our attendance kept growing, we were still out ther not at the bar but in the seats cheering them on. We did not switch and become LA fans, or NY fans like other sports do.

Do Moreno and Olsen belong on that list... EAsily just like the other players that I have never heard about.

Posted by: United | July 2, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Olsen is GOD!!!

Posted by: BOB | July 2, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Please stop making lists....I'm just getting more and more depressed as I read them. I long for the days of championshihps in DC. Zero since 1991. Un-ac-cept-able. And please, dont give me the whole- DC United Dynasty - argument. The MAJORITY of DC area fans dont care about the United. You can put the Hoyas and Terps over the United and on par (at this point) with the Caps and Nats.

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

United....ever been to a Skins game? You cant even get fans in the upper section of RFK. The Skins sold it out for 20+ years. Enough United Already!!!!

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@CRitch

MLS Soccer (as well as soccer in general) still has a ways to go in America general before people stop labeling it as a nitche sport. That's just how it is.

As far as throwing out the attendance numbers of those 3 teams, your argument is a bit flawed. Verizon Center seats a max of roughly 18,000+ for hockey and 19,000+ for basketball. While RFK can seat 50,000 max. DC United has very loyal fans, but if you break it down but percentages according to the attendance numbers you've given, the Caps averaged 80+% capacity, the Wizards with 90-95% capacity and DC United with under 50%. If you throw the Redskins in there, you get a team that averages 90,000+ fans per game and percentages in the high 90s.

If you mention names such as Gilbert Arenas, Clinton Portis, and Alex Ovechkin to the general public in our area, many more people will likely to know who you're referring to, than if you throw out the name Ben Olsen.

Posted by: Bonzai | July 2, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

maybe your teams do win champiships because your fans suck

Posted by: olsen | July 2, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

your view is pretty funny and idiotic, just wanted to let you know

Posted by: anti-fushezzi | July 2, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Name a team in DC that's won anything in the last 25 years.

It's a short list.

Beginning and ending with DC United.

As far as this list goes, there simply aren't any local teams outside of United who've had players with any longevity on the roster.

3-4 Years, such as the cases of Ovie, Arenas, Cooley, etc, just isn't enough time to engender that sort of fan adulation.

The money may not be in MLS at the moment, but it's only a matter of time. As far as Olsen goes, if it weren't for some tragic ankle injuries 7 years ago, he'd likely be playing in the Premiership, or at least the Colaship.

Posted by: AlecW81 | July 2, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The United sold less than 20,000 tickets to their last playoff game, and that was with prices that were much much less than for lower level seats for the Wizards or Caps. I go to a couple DC United games each season and always have a great time, but despite the league name, they are a minor league club and their popularity does not compare with the Skins, Nats, Caps, and Wizards.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Care to elaborate anti?

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Bonzai | July 2, 2008 1:04 PM

What does the capacity of the stadium have to do with it? Nothing unless you are sold out every game.

Epic fail.

Posted by: JkR | July 2, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Bonzai, you're a moron. "soccer in general" is the most popular sport in the world. Making a general statement like is ignorant. There is not even a close second to soccer in general. Make your points intelligently.

Posted by: moreno4prez | July 2, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

hey ALEC,

Dont bother waisting your time on people who are stuck in 50s, They dont understand that we are in 2008 and the world changes. Just like demographics, they still think that there sports are viewed by the whole world. I respect there games but that doesnt mean we watch the games. There millions of other people who do not watch other sports, they may not watch MLS but they watch soccer epl, la liga, etc.

Posted by: LA NORTE | July 2, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

no one stops you from showing your support for a player. I have never seen an ovation/presentation for a player like UNITEd had for OLSEn. Prove me wrong, with evidence please.

What sport do you play?

Posted by: anti-fushezzi | July 2, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

hey ALEC,

Dont bother waisting your time on people who are stuck in 50s, They dont understand that we are in 2008 and the world changes. Just like demographics, they still think that there sports are viewed by the whole world. I respect there games but that doesnt mean we watch the games. There millions of other people who do not watch other sports, they may not watch MLS but they watch soccer epl, la liga, etc.

Posted by: LA NORTE | July 2, 2008 1:15 PM

So what do you predict our attendance will be July 12th. :) Vamos United!

Posted by: kasdc | July 2, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Kim - good call on Coste. he's only a part-timer, but he's got a great story and they do seem to love him there. i thought of Ralston, but he's way overshadowed in that market. Conrad could crack KC's list if only because they only have 2 major teams, both of whom are in fallow periods.

Fushezzi - DC United has won the MLS Cup in 1997 at RFK in front of 57,000+. i'm sorry, but that counts. The MAJORITY of DC area fans don't care about the Caps or Nats, either (or G'Town or Maryland for that matter). just because you don't care doesn't mean you get to decide for everyone else that those 4 championships don't count.

Posted by: jamie | July 2, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

The reason their stadiums are smaller is because they know that no more than that amount of spectators are going to show up for the game. So if DC builds a 20,000 seat stadium instantly their attedance approves. What since does that make...... rocket scientists and their imaginary math.

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I understand the attendance numbers are a bit misrepresented. But when you look at MLS as a whole it's impressive. And worth noting the numbers get bigger each year...

If I'm going to add my 2 cents to this, I think the passion and loyalty shown by DC United fans is matched in this area only by Skins and Terps fans. I've been to plenty of Wizards and Caps games, and they certainly have hardcore fans, but United fans really seem to be a community who show up every game they can make it to. And the tailgate/pregame experience only rivals NFL games. Where else in DC do you see people congregating for a game 5 hours before it starts?

Also, and I'm a fan of all sports, pro, college, I'm a NFL season ticket-holder and blah blah blah... but the most fun, best-spectator-oriented sporting events I've been to in this country have been soccer games. To those who call it a niche sport, I'm just sayin it's worth a try...

So, obviously, Olsen and Moreno should be on this list. They are obsessively adored by one of the best fan bases in the city. And I'd add Ovechkin and Cooley. Not sure the Nats have someone who matches those 4.

Posted by: GoNYinDC | July 2, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

WAIT I meant something not payed by the team. EXAMPLE: no One ever payed or forced DC united fans to come to games screaming, with drums, flags, signs, smoke bombs. NO ONE.

In 2005 The NATIONALS actually offered LA NORTE (DC UNITED FAN CLUB) free tickets so that we can come and cheer them on with our drum, because (his exact words) "BASEBALL FANS HAVE NO PASSION".

So if youare going to mention a banner made by the team or paid by the owner that does not count.

NOW THE BALL IS ON YOUR COURT!!!

Posted by: anti-fuchezzi | July 2, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@moreno4prez

Learn to read before you write. I wrote "MLS Soccer (as well as soccer in general) still has a ways to go in America".

I did not state that soccer has a ways to go in the world. Soccer is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the world, but I was referring to it as a sport in AMERICA. And yes, it still has a ways to go here in the U.S. If you believe soccer is the most popular sport in America, then you have some sort of mental dysfunction. Soccer lags way behind American Football, Baseball, Basketball, and probably NASCAR here in the U.S.

Posted by: Bonzai | July 2, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Redskin fans 90,000 strong do not make as much noise or create as much atmosphere as 20,000 United fans. Don get me wrong I am a skin fan and love going to the games, but win or lose a United game is a party, and everyone has a good time and supports the team. The only noice you here at a skins game is guring a touchdown or chant of de- fence. United fans go all out for 90 minutes straight and then some.

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

30k or more will be at the game and atmoshpere will be intense, L ANORTE will be there holding down the fort because we know there will be alot of goat fans.

Posted by: LA NORTE | July 2, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

JIM ROME IS A FAG

THAT IS ALL

Posted by: Jim Everett | July 2, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Anti,
What the hell are you talking about? Who cares if you bang drums at the game? The United fans are a loud, loyal bunch---however, that does not change the fact that the MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN THE DC AREA do not care about Soccer. I'm not talking about La Liga, Premier, etc. I'm talking about the team in this area, the DC United. If they have such a staunch following then why are the Redskins selling 70k more tickets per game then United? The argument here is the Most Beloved Athlete in the DC area. If most people dont even know who OLSEN is then how can he be most beloved? He has a strong, SMALL base of fans who love him but as a whole the numbers just dont add up with those who feel the same way about Cooley, Portis, Alex and the like.

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Not sure why this has become a huge b****fest against soccer. Let's face it, DC United is a great team that has both loyal players and a loyal fan base. It is the combination of those two factors that make for players that fans love. Olsen and Moreno are essentially the soccer equivalents of Darrell Green... why? Because they've stuck with their team, through thick and thin. This has little to do with the attendance a team receives and more to do with the player makes you feel. Don't like soccer? Fine, but don't belittle the sport or those fans that get 10x more excited about their players than those of the Wizards or Caps because we all know they don't have staying potential. They're going to run to the higher paychecks... and when it really comes down to player love, it's about who loves you back and many of these players in other leagues could give two s*its about which city they're playing in.

Posted by: MDNCSkinsFan | July 2, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Werent we talking about a player that local fans would shed a tear fro if they leave? You mentioned that Olsen and moreno did not belong on the list. Explain why OLSen got a big reception and BAnner compared to other players?

Posted by: anit-fushezzi | July 2, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

The United games do have great tailgating. Of course it helps that they play in the summer, at a stadium with a huge parking lot, and they only play at home once every couple weeks. The Nats had a real nice tailgating scene at RFK too and they play seven home games in a week.

As far as stadium noise, Skins fans make a heck of a lot more of a racket without the help of drums and horns.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

All you football, THE REAL FOOTBALL, haters can just s*ck on it an like it!

The DC Area has been a waste-land of professional sports the last 20 years, with the exception on DC United.

"Ooooh, but 'soccer' is not a niche sports, sorry" - Yeah, so its not a niche sports that its actually the most played sport with kids? Its not a niche sports when AMERICAN sports owners ---> the Glazers (Tampa Bay Bucs), Randy Lerner (Cleveland Browns) and Tom Hicks (Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars) are buying up football teams abroad?

WAKE UP FOLKS! FOOTBALL, the REAL FOOTBALL, not that Pig-Skin-Rugby-with-Pads League, is here to stay not only in DC but in the country.

Its still WAY more affordable to take a family of 4 to a DC United game than it is to take them to a Redskin game. And the sell outs at Fed Ex, are those with or with out the 20k OTHER TEAM FANS in the stands? Because the REDSKINS BLOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: 761-091 | July 2, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

If Olsen left United then 20k fans would cry. When Darrell Green left 500k fans cried. I guarantee if Cooley or Gilbert. left their teams more than 20k would be upset. Its not bashing soccer, its just sheer numbers.

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

MDNCSkinsFan scores with his comments.


I'll never understand why some people (on both sides) need to belittle a sport just because they really like another. I'm not a fan of some sports, but it's a personal preference.

A point of pride here in DC is that it's really the first (and best) FIVE sport city in the US.

Posted by: Kim | July 2, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The United games do have great tailgating. Of course it helps that they play in the summer, at a stadium with a huge parking lot, and they only play at home once every couple weeks. The Nats had a real nice tailgating scene at RFK too and they play seven home games in a week.

As far as stadium noise, Skins fans make a heck of a lot more of a racket without the help of drums and horns.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 1:33 PM

-------------------------------------------
Since when was playing in the summer in DC a good thing? Did you go outside on Sunday? There was a noon United game is 90+ degree weather and some people were tailgating since 6:30 am!

NFL tailgating is great, but you have 1000s of individual tailgates. Our supporters groups create tailgates for 1000s!

As far as noise in stadiums? At least we aren't prompted by organs and we chants that are more than two-syllables long!

Posted by: kasdc | July 2, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

JDP,

Why is Olsen restricted to MLS???

Bottom line is that United fans love their mainstays so much that they give more than standing ovations for their efforts (see above photo).

"I don't understand, it I really don't. These people here are just so supportive of me. All I do is play hard, I like to play soccer, I like this team and I guess they appreciate it. It's nice to see. It's emotional. A lot of this stuff you act like it's not a big deal. But I like to play soccer; this is my living and I want to come back, but again it's going to be a long road back. But again I'd like to thank the fans for helping me through this and giving me the benefit of the doubt - I get choked up just thinking about it now."
-Ben Olsen

Who couldn't love him?

Posted by: Glaucon | July 2, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

1. Moreno
2. Olsen

these are homegrown stars. DC United is the only team in town that can consistently win. these guys have been loyal to their team for years and they have won games and won titles. no other team in time can say that year and year out. For the redskins i would list dan snieder (for hamstringing the team), art monk, darrel green for their service and sean taylor cause we miss him

Posted by: hiro_pro | July 2, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Fushezzi has it absolutely correct. The average DC Sports fan could care less about Soccer and could not tell you who Olsen is and what position he plays.

And there are number of comments that seem to be incredibly specious and irrelevant. I mean who tailgates at NHL and NBA games, majority of which are played in the Dead of Winter all of which are played indoors? How do the pre-game festivities relate to the most beloved athletes?

Posted by: Keino | July 2, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

damn it. i just re-read. you're right

Posted by: moreno4prez | July 2, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Soccer will become the #1 sport in America, around the time when the Metric system becomes more popular than the English system of measurement in America...

Which will not be in our lifetime.

Posted by: Zing! | July 2, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I think people are missing the point. Pretty much all the sports Americans play are lame compared to Aussie Rules. All your sports concentrate on one ability (strength-football, coordination-baseball, endurance-soccer, basketball) while Aussie Rules require it all.

But this isn't about the sport its about the athlete and Olsen, Arenas, Ovechekin and Zimmerman are the guys I hear DC Sports fans cheer the most. The Nats created more player stability in 3years than I have seen in the past 10 years from the Skins.

Posted by: southeasterner | July 2, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I am sure they cried for me but not for cooley or gilbert. Those players are good players but never left it all on the field. Get that through your head. THIS IS A LIST OF PLAYERS THAT LEFT IT ALL ON THE FIELD.

Someone is lost in LALA land

Posted by: Green | July 2, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Green - read my orginal post

There is no one that fits this mold at this time. The closest you can come would probably be Cooley but he's not quite there yet and neither is Alex O. Everyone else has been or will be somewhere else. This includes Gil/Jamison/Butler, Springs, Smoot, Santana. The Nats havent been around long enough and not a large enough percentage of DC cares about soccer enough to latch on to a player (regardless of what you say about Olsen).

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 10:49 AM

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"At least we aren't prompted by organs and we chants that are more than two-syllables long!"

The United fan club chants are a lot of fun, but I've never been tempted to walk over and join in. I like watching the games more than participating in male bonding sessions.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

where da meat hook?

Posted by: hoagie | July 2, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats created more player stability in 3years than I have seen in the past 10 years from the Skins."

What are you talking about? I'm watching the game right now and the only player in the game who was here in 2006 is Lopez.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

To the capacity arguement, I agree that it is only valid when all of these venues are filling to capacity.
Also, I am a Redskins season ticket holder as well as United. When I go to United game, there are few if any opposition fans present. When I go a Redskins game, there are far too many igles fans and cowgirl fans. Its annoying to me because the atmosphere is so corporate that the impassioned fans are priced out of the stadium. Same with the Wiz and Nats. When a NE baseball team or a big time basketball player (Bryant, Lebron, etc), only then do the stands fill up.
United has a pretty base of fans that show up all the time because they love their team.
I think this is the spirit with which this list was put together.

Posted by: moreno4prez | July 2, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"At least we aren't prompted by organs and we chants that are more than two-syllables long!"

The United fan club chants are a lot of fun, but I've never been tempted to walk over and join in. I like watching the games more than participating in male bonding sessions.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 1:52 PM
-------------------------------------------

Funny you should mention that... I'm a girl and we have plenty of them that are just as or more dedicated than the guys in all our groups!

As for preparations relating to the most beloved fans? Do you have any idea how many hours a lot of people in our supporters groups spend on creating those displays you see above? And we do it EVERY match! I don't see much at other sports except those foam fingers and a few small posterboard signs.

Posted by: kasdc | July 2, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Baseball is not a sport.

Posted by: AlecW81 | July 2, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

err.. most beloved "athletes"

We know our fans are the best!

Posted by: kasdc | July 2, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cooley? I had to look him up. Better than average tight end with a good personality, apparently.

From the 'skins games I watched, I bet half the crowd doesn't know when he's in the game or on the bench.

Posted by: JkR | July 2, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Fushezzi,

I think you're mixing things up a bit.

First. While United plays in RFK, it's not a stadium designed for them. They should be, and they want to be in a 27,000 seat stadium. And they won't sell upper deck seats until the lower bowl is sold out.

If they were drawing 1700 to a game, I'm with you that it's a niche and doesn't register. But 20,000 is a significant amount, and the crowd is not dominated by the fan groups. There are plenty of individual twenty somethings, and families there too.

Comparing attendance numbers doesn't compare much. United plays once or twice a week for 20+ home games, the Wizards and Caps can play several times a week for 40+ home dates, the Nats have long continuous homestands for 81 home dates, and the Skins are weekly with 8 regular season dates.

The NFL is big right now, and always is and will be in DC, the small time commitment on the calender for games, and regularity of it lends to big crowds.

Posted by: Kim | July 2, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

JkR - Go back to Dallas

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"As for preparations relating to the most beloved fans? Do you have any idea how many hours a lot of people in our supporters groups spend on creating those displays you see above?"

That was my point, most people (including the United fans) go to watch the games. There is a vocal segment of DC United fans who are more into making a scene, to the point of having to watch the game later on Tivo if they want to know what happened. Which is fine, it just doesn't compare with the fans for the other local teams who couldn't care less about chants, flags, and smoke bombs.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Kim

I never said United was a niche sport. Possibly mixed another post up with mine. I said that United has a small base (20k) compared to other teams in the area like the Redskins and therefore, in just sheer numbers you cant have a United player be most beloved. We arent debating the loyalty and loudness of the fan/athlete relationshihp but rather the number of people/fans who would react a certain way if a player were to leave. There are 90k fans at each Skins game so if even one-third of them cared about a player (say Cooley) then it already out numbers 100% of the fans at any given United game.

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@Fushezzi

Really struggling aren't you? Dallas? Doesn't even make sense.

Posted by: JkR | July 2, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

JkR

If you dont know who Cooley is and had to look it up, you obviously arent from around here.

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

We are talking about players that DC area people care about... Ovchechkin. I didn't even know he existed until I watched game 7 this year of the playoffs. To tell you the truth since they went on strike I forgot Hockey existed. When he leaves for a big paycheck to a team that has a chance of winning in the NHL the few people that still watch hockey will complain, but not cry. When Ben Olsen leaves he will be missed and talked about for years to come. That is why 35,000 people erupted when he entered the game because we thought his career was over due to injury and that is what this list is about. We didn't care how bad he played just that he was there. The crowd did not erupt when Gilbert came back from injury, we just complained about how horrible he was when he came back. Its not only about the player but the person and what they stand for. I put Olsen and Cooley 1 and 2 I dont believe the Nats or Caps have a player that fit this category, and I would go with Butler over Gilbert for the Wiz. I agree with a couple of the people who said Gary Williams even though he is not a player.

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

JkR. Please don't tell me you don't get Fushezzi's Dallas reference... You probably haven't lived in the D.C. area very long. You can't go around talking smack about a Redskins player or their fans without Skins fans jumping on you and claiming you're from Dallas.

Posted by: Bonzai | July 2, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

To be fair, Benny and Jaime did leave/try to leave a while ago and the world didn't end. The only jersey I own is an Olsen 14, so they're at the top of my list, but free agency is a reality in soccer, too. Keepers are often the anchors in MLS, like Reis, Onstadt, Hartman, etc.

Posted by: danj | July 2, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe y'all aren't feelin' Elijah Dukes.

Posted by: Extra P. | July 2, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Joe

When he leaves for a big paycheck to a team that has a chance of winning in the NHL the few people that still watch hockey will complain, but not cry.

He just signed a 12 year deal so.....
But I will agree, soccer and hockey arent separated by much in terms of interest among the people in DC

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Gary Williams?

You're kidding right?

I've lost track of the amount of supremely talented local players he's not been able to recruit to the Terps.

Posted by: AlecW81 | July 2, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Fushezzi,

Sorry must have mixed up some of the posts.

But the original premise isn't "What athlete would all of DC be crushed to have play his last game?", it's "We're looking for players who engender loyalty, love, and that irrational feeling that this particular athlete is really just dying to go out with you and have a strictly platonic drink or two. Not the most popular players, necessarily, but the players you'd be most likely to shed a tear over in a particular fit of yellowed newspaper-clip nostalgia." OK, so Dan could have used fewer words.

So the list isn't looking across the board or comparing them. And if you dismiss United because of their 20k attendance, then you must dismiss the other 20k teams, Caps, Wizards, and Nats. Especially the Nats, because while the Caps and Wizards are closer or at capacity, the Nats are only drawing 50%.

I think four out of the five teams have characters and personalities that fit the mold.....the Nats don't unless you count Teddy.

Posted by: Kim | July 2, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"That is why 35,000 people erupted when [Olsen] entered the game.."

The reason that 35K cheered when he entered the game was because Beckham was there, otherwise ~20K would have cheered.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

@Fushezzi

24 years, bright eyes. I don't support the skins, but I certainly don't support Dallas. I give the 'skins every bit of attention they've earned: almost nil.

There have been multiple players over the years from the 'skins that would dominate this list. Sadly, inept management has loaded the current team up with retreads, has-beens, and never-were's. There is no core of the franchise.

Which might be why Steinz gets any mileage at all out this post.

Posted by: JkR | July 2, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Imagine for a second you are trying to talk to a cricket fan in India. As far as he is concerned, cricket is it in India, and all of those other sports are just niche sports. You try to point out that in the grand scheme of the world, cricket is just a niche sport, but alas he will not listen. This is exactly what it is like trying to reason with the American football nuts about the rise in soccer in America. How many of your kids play football compared to soccer? Why don't they say football moms drive minivans? What we see with American football is a dying sport...all those kids are now playing soccer and frightened old men cling to the pigskin and resist soccer because that is all they knew growing up.

The Olsen = Ripkin analogy is apt. He is there playing his heart out every game he can get in and wears out his ankles over and over giving his best for DC. Just sitting on the bench injured gets fans and players motivated. He is the heart and soul of DC. Moreno (present) and Etcheverry (past) are beloved masters of the game. Last season they had an Etcheverry tribute match. Name other DC atheletes who get that.

As far as United fans go, you American Football Neanderthals should check out Chris Mannix's 'I bet you hate soccer' article in which even he with his Simpsonesque understanding of footy was impressed by DCU Fans cheering in thunderstorms and only leaving the stands after being requested by refs. Fanbase matters because DCU levels of rabid support exceed the other DC Area franchises supporters.

Posted by: United Fan | July 2, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

That was my point, most people (including the United fans) go to watch the games. There is a vocal segment of DC United fans who are more into making a scene, to the point of having to watch the game later on Tivo if they want to know what happened. Which is fine, it just doesn't compare with the fans for the other local teams who couldn't care less about chants, flags, and smoke bombs.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 2:08 PM

------------------------------------------
My bad, I thought we were talking about how fans show support for our beloved players?

Posted by: kasdc | July 2, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

But the 35k reflects that folks that were just there for Beckham indicates that Olsen was still known and admired in the stadium.

How many people were actually there doesn't make a difference, the intensity of the moment wasn't defined by the number of people that were present.

Posted by: Kim | July 2, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

PB lets get this straight, not cheering and watching makes you a better fan.....OK I'll have to write that down because Ilways thought fans were supposed to cheer there team on, no matter what the sport. Ever watch a Duke Blue Devils basketball game? Thats why they are recognized as some of the best fans of any sport in the country. Thats what a United game is like, its about supporting your team and giving them a true Home field advantage, if I just want to watch I can stay at home. Maybe thats the skins problem. Maybe Zorn can change that... Not likely

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Bonzai | July 2, 2008 2:16 PM

Classic stuff! Not a 'skins fan, so I must be a Dallas fan, and not from around here?

Are you high?

Posted by: JkR | July 2, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Actually I love soccer as well as football and laugh at the notion that American Football is a dying sport.

Regardless, please try to compare a DC United player (say Olsen) with a Redskins one (say Riggins) and, frankly, there is no comparision.

Honestly this has turned into numerous different discussions/viewpoints. If you want to talk about sheer numbers then I can name at least 5-7 Skins who MORE DC residents would care about then Olsen. But if you want to talk about the passion the fans feel for a certain player I dont think we've seen fan response like we saw for Olsen since we've Darrell left. However, in order to see the ovation Olsen got you had to be watching the United game and most DC residents werent.

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Olsen never left. He was injured for a season.

Posted by: moreno4prez | July 2, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I like all the area squads but the only team that matters in this town is the Redskins. Everyone else takes a backseat. Period. Not debatable.

Posted by: About that.... | July 2, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"PB lets get this straight, not cheering and watching makes you a better fan."

Joe: Reading is not your strong point. I stated that many of the United fans are more into cheering than actually watching. Being loud in support of your team is great, up until it becomes more important than the game itself.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Gary Williams???

http://firegarywilliams.blogspot.com/

Posted by: moreno4prez | July 2, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Gary is loved, get over it. Sure his recruiting prowess is questionable but he is the face and sweat of that team and has been and will be.

Posted by: JDP | July 2, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

jkr - Seriously, Snyder did that almost ten years ago. We have one of the younger teams in the league. We have numerous DRAFT PICKS starting now. I'm arguing for the inclusion of Olsen and Moreno on this list, you have to at least use valid arguements.

Posted by: moreno4prez | July 2, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

@ jonthefisherman
I was probably seeing Primus for the first time live when you were still in diapers. Unless of course you are my age, then you might have been in middle school...
Ben and Jaime have been going strong for years. I love Smoot but how long has he been around?
I should have known better when I set sail on these seas of cheese=)

Posted by: Dadryan | July 2, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Gary loses fans with every game that he can't motivate his players. He loses credibility with every recruit that drives past College Park to some other school (like Georgetown). I am an alum and a shameless fan, but I know where the old recruiting came from. I worked in the ticket office at Cole Field house and it was always Jimmy Patsos who recruited the players. He got Wilcox, Mouton, Baxter, Blake and most importantly, Dixon.
When Patsos left for Loyola, the recruiting went down and Williams deficiency was that much more evident.

Posted by: moreno4prez | July 2, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

PB I dont think its my reading that is the problem. I think its your ability to make a point. I'm still not sure what your point is by stating United fans like to cheer and not watch, and I'm pretty sure you can do both at the same time. None the less it is a pointless comment.

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

The original question is a bit unclear and open to interpretation. If you read it as "which D.C. players are most beloved by their fans?" then I can see why Olsen and Moreno are on the list. If you read it as "which D.C. players are most beloved by D.C. residents?" then it's harder to argue for Olsen and Moreno over some of the 'skins players.

As both an NFL and DC United fan, I can say that comparing an NFL game to an MLS game is useless. They are both distinct experiences and need to be viewed within context.

Posted by: KA | July 2, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

@ JkR

No, I am not high. The reason I assumed you haven't lived here long is that even a good number of non-Redskins fans in the area get the Dallas reference.

Posted by: Bonzai | July 2, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Moreno4prez

Help me out,who's 'we'?

I've been following the NFL for 40 years, and I don't think the current 'skins team has a player on it that personifies the team the way former players (Riggins, Jacoby, Grimm, Monk, Stark, Manley, Mann, even Theismann)did. Jansen and Samuel are about it. Cooley doesn't have the years of service in, IMHO...

(jeez, people really think that much of Cooley? I swear he was a part timer until recently...)

Posted by: JkR | July 2, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I dont think the article is stating residents . Unless a pole was done I dont think you can aswer that one. Also not all DC area team fans are residence. And I'm sure most DC area residence can not afford a ticket to a Redskins game or probably a Wizards game, and do most of their cheering from home. I believe the article means by their fans, which to me makes the most since. In that since you cant argue against Benny. Jaimie maybe... he's mostly on here for longevity, most United fans would not cheer for him like they did Benny, although I think he would top a few players on this list. I dont think a non DC United or soccer fan understands what Benny means to a United fan. I was a huge Cal Ripken fan I would watch that man play wiffle ball in his back yard over the current Orioles. Benny has the same type of relationship with his fans. I definetly would not put him up there with Cal on a list but that is the closest comparison I can think of.

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Joe - I should have written DC-area residents, not just DC residents.

Posted by: KA | July 2, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"I'm sure most DC area residence can not afford a ticket to a Redskins game or probably a Wizards game"

I'm just as sure that you can't afford to live in many sections of Capitol Hill or Northwest.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

jkr
I didn't say that they had players that personify the team the way they used to. I was speaking to your comment about the "retreads, has-beens, and never were's" etc from earlier. That is certainly not the case for the Skins these days. They are respected for their recent drafting history and have developed a core of players that are now starting (ex. Campbell, Samuels, Jansen, Betts, Montgomery, Gholston, McIntosh, Rogers, Landry, Dougherty, Cartright, and more).

"We" are the Redskins.

Again, I'm not arguing that they have the players to fill this list (evidenced by my arguing for Olsen and Moreno). My post simply corrected your mistake about the Skins.

Posted by: moreno4prez | July 2, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

JKR The list player was done previously in which no united players appeared on the actually lost but were mentioned as thought of. This list is about beloved players, so the dont have to be the best. i love Cooley for the way he plays and he always shows up when you need a big play. He reminds me of the old hogs you mentioned because he doesn't get much recognition for the dirty work he puts in. Ben Olsen is alot like that, he always does the dirty work, most people would not even notice him on the fiels if it weren't for the fact he looks like Jesus most days. But he loves the game and gives every thing he's got alot like Cooley. I think they both are very appreciative of their fans also which is why they are loved so much. I no that both do alot of local promotional stuff with kids and the radio. Some times those things mean more than stats.

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I think she should be on the list:

http://www.dcdivas.com/html/players/24_FischerA.html

Posted by: moreno4prez | July 2, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Should the Redskins even count?? Thought the post was 'Top 6 D.C. athletes', last I checked all the other teams play in D.C.

Vamos United

Posted by: Rocko | July 2, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Steinz,

Remember a couple of weeks ago when you were worrying about how to get more comments and participation?

I think you found a way ... bringing up soccer and elevating it, or any other niche sport and putting it ahead of the "Big 4" blows up the comments section evidently.

Posted by: DC Centurion's Shield | July 2, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin
Gil
CP
Caron
Olson
Elijah Dukes!

Posted by: Mick | July 2, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

If Soccer is niche then so is Hockey.

Posted by: Rocko | July 2, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Winky Wright

Posted by: Unsilent Majority | July 2, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I'm not from DC (Las Vegas) but have always followed DC teams because my dad went to AU - Washington College of Law and I grew up a Skins fan.
I am utterly amazed at the ignorance of so many of the comments on this thread. Stein made a list of who he thought would were the five (although for some reason there were more than five the past two years he has done this) athletes that would be missed if they left, guys you'd have a drink with, blah blah blah, etc. He puts up two DC United (gasp! Soccer?) players who are adored by their fans and somehow that pisses people off? Get over yourselves. Stein makes an incredibly valid point and the fact is that most sports these days see a tremendous amount of turnover in their rosters. The fact that any player stays with a team for more than a few years is remarkable. Let some franchise heroes fet their dues.

And DCU fans, lighten up and quit giving other sports fans a reason to hate you and your sport. You obviously got some love by Stein; Jaime and Benny made the list. Excellent. Who cares if people are anti-soccer? It's their loss. It's a beautiful game loved by more people on this planet than any other sport. You're in great company. If Skins, Caps, Nats, or Wiz fans are scared of that then let them cower in fear.

MLS has done a great job of slowly growing over the past 13 years, and it will continue to grow. Soccer is not a niche sport in this nation (see the ratings that Euro '08 got); MLS is a niche league. Soccer is incredibly popular in this nation, which is exactly why so many foreign clubs come play friendlies here and why those games are so well attended.

And I'm... spent.

Posted by: elopingcamel | July 2, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I think an important distinction needs to be drawn when we say "most beloved" because I think some people are approaching the word "most" differently. In my mind, "most" meant how strongly an individual would feel towards a player (collectively represented by the cheering for Olsen), rather than "most" as in a player having the LARGEST fan base. Fusheezi, your argument has been solely based on fan base size and basically asking how two United players could be on here. The importance is to HOW these people feel about the players.

Posted by: MDNCSkinsFan | July 2, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

p.s. I apologize for the spelling errors. My wife would kill me if she saw those.

Also, to clarify; I grew up a fan of the Redskins, but I transfered over to soccer as I got older. Now I mainly just follow soccer and basketball, but will always love the Redskins. Why did I tell you all of this? I don't know. Welcome to "Get to know ME time."

Posted by: elopingcamel | July 2, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I think some soccer fans are misunderstanding why Ovechkin belongs atop this list.

He is the best player in the world at his sport. He is singularly responsible for the tuning in of people who wouldn't otherwise be interested in the Caps or NHL in general.

When Jordan was in Chicago, even non-NBA fans loved him and watched him. That's what we have with Ovechkin.

When DC United gets a Pele' type player and gets the non-fans to tune in to their sport, then and only then will a DC United player belong on this list. Talk all you want about shifting cultures and death of the NFL and rise of Soccer (And of course in India, the Best Cricket players will be atop this list, but we are in DC right?), today, July 2, the order of importance in the US American Sports landscape is:

1. NFL
2. NBA
3. MLB
4. NASCAR
5. NHL
6. MLS

That is the reality. Again, I'm willing to bet that out of 100 random people, 50 wouldn't even know who Ben Olsen is. People simply do not care about Soccer in this town or country (Generally speaking).

Posted by: Keino | July 2, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Thank you MDNCSkinsFan. We know soccer is not bigger than Football, Baseball, or Basketball or if it will ever be. But that does not mean that Benny and Moreno aren't 2 of the most beloved sports figures in DC by their fans at present time.

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

FOR THE LAST FREAKING TIME ITS
UNITED not
the united, or the dc united

ITS JUST FLAT UNITED!

LEARN!!! ahhhh, at least dc united fans learn other teams names in the area, more than what i can say about other people.

Posted by: DCU | July 2, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Keino????? It isn't a bigger sport contest, Its who is most beloved by there fans, I think over the 5 hours of blogging we have already established this. Its also not about the best player, its about the most beloved player. You could put Christino Ronaldo on DC and Benny is still going to be my favorite player because of what he stands for. That is the point of the article. And comparing to Ovchek-who ever to Jordan is blasphemy.

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Keino,

No one is saying Ovechkin doesn't belong on the list and no one is saying that the MLS is the number one league in the US. It just doesn't make any sense to bash a sport if you don't like it.

Posted by: kasdc | July 2, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"today, July 2, the order of importance in the US American Sports landscape is:

1. NFL
2. NBA
3. MLB
4. NASCAR
5. NHL
6. MLS"

Gotta put MLB ahead of the NBA. Plus does golf go between NASCAR and the NHL?

Posted by: Andy | July 2, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Switching gears a sec. Too bad Fred Funk is on the downside of his PGA Tour career. There's a guy from Fairfax, Steve Marino who is doing fairly well on the PGA Tour and it would be cool if he could string a couple wins together and stick on that tour for 20 years to give this area someone to root for.

Any DC area men or women on the pro tennis circuit? Remember Harold Solomon, he was out there awhile in the late '70's and '80's.

Posted by: Sam | July 2, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Keino, that logic seems to be against the spirit of this blog. You are basically arguing that anybody coming into the team no matter how great they were/are will be the reason to be on this list. That is not the point of this exercise. This list is about the people we think envelop the spirit of the team they play for. Olsen and Moreno do just that. They are UNITED. They are the Red and Black. They have been doing it for a long time. Moreno could've left the last couple of years with offers in many different countries for a big payday, but he stuck it out with us. Thats the kind of guy that belongs on this list. Smoot should not be mentioned on this list. He left for a bigger pay day in Minn. That is contradictory to what this list is about.

Posted by: moreno4prez | July 2, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

United players might be popular with MLS fans but theres simply not enough of them to say that those players are among the top 4 beloved players when massive amounts more people value other players more. Thats it.

Posted by: JDP | July 2, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

JDP its not about the amount of fans the player has. Its about the amount of love for the player by the fans it has. Its not a numbers game or all NFL players would be on the list because it has the biggest total numbers following in DC. Re read the article or the 5+ hours of blogging that has already gone on.... Thank you please pull up to the 2nd window!

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Thats not it. Those people don't even care enough to get in the discussion. Look at the number of posts today and look at the usual number of posts. Its so obvious that I don't understand what kind of person doesn't get it. DC United fans care about their individual players way more than any other sport. Thats why Olsen and Moreno belong on that list and should be #1 and #2. That is it!

Posted by: moreno4prez | July 2, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Also how many MLS fans are in the DC area? People keep using that as an argument but know one has the stat, and if we go by attendance the DC is 2nd behind the Redskins. Again already listed earlier on this blog.

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

DCCCCCC UUUUUNIIIIIITED!
DCCCCCCC UUUUNIIIIIITED !
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DCCCCCCC UUUUNIIIIIITED !
DCCCCCC UUUUUNIIIIIITED!
DCCCCCCC UUUUNIIIIIITED !
DCCCCCC UUUUUNIIIIIITED!
DCCCCCCC UUUUNIIIIIITED !
DCCCCCC UUUUUNIIIIIITED!
DCCCCCCC UUUUNIIIIIITED !

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry with all the competition going on all thought I was at a game.

Posted by: Joe | July 2, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

United players might be popular with MLS fans but theres simply not enough of them to say that those players are among the top 4 beloved players when massive amounts more people value other players more. Thats it.

Posted by: JDP | July 2, 2008 4:03 PM
***
Actually, United has about the same level of popularity in the area as the Caps/Wizards/Nats. Comparable (better in some cases) TV ratings (haven't seen any for this season - they're hard to come by if you're not a potential advertiser, but in the past it's been reported that United's ratings were about equal to the Wizards and better than the Caps...that's pre-Bruce era, though, to be fair). The level of awareness of non-fans is also similar.

MLS might not be a big deal in other parts of the country, but United is in line with the other professional teams in this area in terms of support...except for the 'Skins, of course, but with all the No Fun League rules, plus free agency, it's hard for fans to come to appreciate players personalities these days, hence the relative lack of Redskins on Agent Steinz' list.

And for the record, I was at Darrell Green's last game. I stayed and stood and cheered after the game until he was done circling the stadium and shaking hands. A lot of other people did, too...but a lot more left (I'm looking at *you*, yellow-seaters).

Posted by: EdTheRed | July 2, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Is DC a part of East Coast Bias?
Yes and no:

http://www.sportsandjokes.com/id30.html


Posted by: Phil | July 2, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The United sell their premium seats for by far the least of any of the five local pro teams, based on the laws of supply and demand this means there is the least demand for tickets to the United games.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The United sell their premium seats for by far the least of any of the five local pro teams, based on the laws of supply and demand this means there is the least demand for tickets to the United games.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 4:30 PM

Hey, how much do club level seats cost for Caps games...oh...that's right, they don't even sell those seats...therefore, based on the laws of supply and demand this means there is the least demand for tickets to the The Capitals games.

Or maybe you're just wrong.

Posted by: EdTheRed | July 2, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

@PB

Based on the law of meaningless stats used to argue an invalid point, you win.


Posted by: sec 230 | July 2, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The United sell their premium seats for by far the least of any of the five local pro teams, based on the laws of supply and demand this means there is the least demand for tickets to the United games.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 4:30 PM

-------------------------------------------
Regardless, what's your point?

Posted by: kasdc | July 2, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

{Keino????? It isn't a bigger sport contest, Its who is most beloved by there fans, I think over the 5 hours of blogging we have already established this. Its also not about the best player, its about the most beloved player. You could put Christino Ronaldo on DC and Benny is still going to be my favorite player because of what he stands for. That is the point of the article. And comparing to Ovchek-who ever to Jordan is blasphemy.}

Two points. I am answering the question of "Most Beloved" players in DC area, and not in the manner of Steinberg's made up definition of "Beloved", but in the context of what the word actually means. And when talking most beloved, the sheer, raw numbers of people who feel that love be it in a passionate or detached way is most certainly relevant. It is why I and others feel that the fact that there are significant numbers of people in the DC area who cannot tell you who Olsen is, but sure as hell know who Portis, Ovechkin, Arenas are. At the end of the day, most beloved is essentially synonymous with most popular and if nobody watches your sport, you cannot be most popular. Answering the question as couched by Steinberg, I don't see how the answer isn't Sean Taylor, but that's me (and about 92,000 teary-eyed fans who had to come to grips with the fact that the guy played his last pro game).

Second. We shall see in 10 years or so, whether comparing Ovechkin to Jordan is blasphemous. I don't think it is. The guy's enormous skill seems to transcend his sport, similar to the way MJ did. Non-Basketball players wanted to be like Mike.

Posted by: Keino | July 2, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

keino,

Well the rest of us were using Steinburg's definition. So glad to see you had to change the rules to fit your logic.

Posted by: kasdc | July 2, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

You see, Dan? All you have to do to drum up a whole mess o' comments is end your posts with a question.

Posted by: EdTheRed | July 2, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

@ Andy -

I think it can be debated between MLB and NBA, but I think the debate ends at which sport is #2 and which is #3.

I would also argue that PGA is probably right where you have them, as is Tennis, but I was trying not to include individual sports (NASCAR I am told is a team sport LOL).

@ DC UNITED fans (DC intentionally put in) The team was originally called DC United. That's what I know them as. I still call the basketball team the Bullets. Get over yourselves, we all know to which team we are referring. (And I think it also speaks to the relevance of the sport when people in the hometown of said sport don't know they've changed the name).

Posted by: Keino | July 2, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

The United are selling lower level seats for their next game for $25. That hardly covers parking for the Nats, Caps, and Wiz. It's easy to drum up a bunch of fans when you only play once every couple weeks and you sell cheap tickets, so please please stop thinking that the United compare with the major league teams.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post fired Christmas Ape!?!?!?!?

...Well, I've never read this silly little no-readership publication from a rapidly dying medium... And now, I never will!

---

{sigh}

1) Cooley
2) Olsen
3) Ovechkin
4) Arenas
5) Cordero
6) Portis

Posted by: B.A. | July 2, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

@Kasdc

Yea, some of us actually know what the word "beloved" means, so we didn't have to rely on Steiberg's erroneous definition.

If Steinberg meant another word, he should have used another word. He slings words for a living, does he not?

Posted by: Keino | July 2, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

keino, that's dumb

Posted by: moreno4prez | July 2, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

The price of Caps tickets means nothing, since when was this an argument about which team rips off their fans more? Seems the ticket price is more related to cost (salaries, etc) which are light-years more in the NHL than MLS.

Your silly little bad-econ lesson failed.


Posted by: ???? | July 2, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse


I just had to Wikipedia Ben Olsen.

Posted by: TruthAboutIt.net | July 2, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

@Truth

Then this is also your first time reading the Bog so welcome.

Posted by: sec 230 | July 2, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Im a season ticket holder to DC United, partial ticket holder for the Nats and go to as many Redskins and Wizards games I can get my hands on and my company has season tickets to the Caps.

While I love soccer and the fans they truly have an insecurity that no other pro fans can match. Bring up the "I hate soccer" or "soccer sucks" comment and they will take it personal where as a typical NHL fan could care less what an MLB or NFL fan things of their sport. I doubt any NBA, NFL or MLB fan would care if anyone dissed their sport.

Having said that and going back to the original question if you don't think soccer players belong on the list then who does? Lets face it that DC Teams lack franchise players. Yeah we all loved Taylor but he is gone so doesn't really count as a current player.

I would put Zimmerman on the list...as he does have a strong following in DC.

Posted by: Southeasterner | July 2, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

@PB

ITS NO THE UNITED!
its DC UNITED or UNITED

Posted by: dcu | July 2, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

In the context of 'love per capita,' DC United players definitely deserve a spot on this list, and certainly the 2 & 3 if not 1 & 2 spots. In the context of less is more as well. :) But of course when you simply add up the fans, soccer players don't even have a chance [for now at least ;)]. I'm a DC United fan til I die and even I will recognize that.

By my interpretation, 'most beloved' would mean 'love per capita'--as in, how much do the player's fans love him/her as opposed to how many fans does this player have.

Quit the sport bashing, pro- or anti-soccer. Shockingly enough, the world is larger than just your opinion. (Sorry for how that sounded but I can't think of how to put it nicely.)

Posted by: rojaynegra | July 2, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

@keino from Merriam-Webster's Dictionary:

Main Entry: be·loved
Pronunciation: \bi-ˈləvd, -ˈlə-vəd, bē-\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from past participle of beloven to love, from be- + loven to love
Date: 14th century
: dearly loved : dear to the heart
-- beloved noun

It doesn't say anything about "the sheer, raw numbers of people" or who is most popular.

Posted by: kasdc | July 2, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

p.s. have some class and quit bashing Steinberg, whatever he may think 'beloved' means. he's doing us all a service, being a journalist and providing us with entertainment like this. sheesh.

Posted by: rojaynegra | July 2, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"If you dont know who Cooley is and had to look it up, you obviously arent from around here.

Posted by: Fushezzi | July 2, 2008 2:13 PM "
---------------------------------------------------

I've lived in the DC area since '83 and if it wasn't for The Bog Show, I wouldn't have a clue who Chris Cooley was. He seems like a nice guy based on Steinz' coverage of him, but I don't watch enough skins game to recognize him.
Totally agree on the Darrell Green and Cal Ripken comparisons with Ben Olsen. Those guys are all class, and all 3 don't understand why they are so revered, and that's one of the reasons we love them. Humble guys who just work hard and don't have a big mouth.
The one guy locally I'd put on the list who did have a big mouth and wasn't humble at all - and was still loved was that fun drunk John Riggins :-) But we all love fun drunks.

Posted by: Lonnie | July 2, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Steinberg hit the motha load on this one.

Posted by: JMR | July 2, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I just had to Wikipedia Ben Olsen.

Posted by: TruthAboutIt.net | July 2, 2008 5:13 PM

I know what you mean! I had to do the same for Clark Cooley and Clint Porter!

Posted by: JkR | July 2, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

There are so many ignorant people in this world. Just because you are not a fan of a team/sport doesn't make it any less important than any other team/sport. Ben Olsen and Jaime Moreno deserve to be on this list because they play just as hard as any other player in other sports.

Posted by: kris | July 2, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

The United's fans are so arrogant, dcu is now insisting that I type their team's name in all caps. Sorry, the United will remain mixed case along with all of the other area teams.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

@ Kasdc
Gee, the definition of "beloved" says nothing about raw sheer numbers? Maybe because the the definition of "beloved" isn't making a list of the MOST beloved at which point, raw sheer numbers become relevant. I'm sorry that this very basic concept seems to elude you. From Dictionary.com:

Most
-adjective, superl. of much or many with more as compar.
1. in the greatest quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number: to win the most votes.

Feel free to continue to misrepresent my argument, but any literate person who scrolls up will see that I said "most beloved....raw numbers". In "greatest quantity" certainly refers to raw numbers, at least in the English I use on a daily basis.

@Everyone
The most beloved players in the city regardless of the sport they play are those players who are known and loved by the masses of fans not just the rabid followers of the team or respective sport which the beloved plays. That has consistently been my argument. It is why I rate Ovechkin #1 even though I don't particularly care for Hockey. It is also why the fact that most people cannot tell you who Ben Olsen is, is completely relevant.

Finally, I am not bashing Steinberg. He admits himself that beloved is the wrong word. Ask yourself why that is? Here's my theory: Because if he were talking "MOST BELOVED" in the strict sense of what that means, no Soccer players would have been on the list and we all know that Steinberg and LaCanfora love some soccer.

I could go on responding to some of the ignorant comments with regard to American Football etc., but what would be the point? Just know that in DC (and America in general) Soccer is the sport kids play than cannot make the (American) football team in the fall and the baseball team in the spring. While the world put footy above all else, Soccer ranks last in priority for the American sports fan.

Posted by: Keino | July 2, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

"Ben Olsen and Jaime Moreno deserve to be on this list because they play just as hard as any other player in other sports."

The United players might play as hard, but they certainly are not as skilled in their sport as are the Caps, Wizards, and Redskins players, otherwise they would be playing in Spain, Italy, or England.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

He was referring to your addition of "the" before United, nothing to do with the CAPS. Its either DC United or United, never a "the".


Posted by: Rocko | July 2, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

The United must be referred to without the "the"??? Who came up with that rule? That's dumber than the rule that no one in the stadium knows how much time is left except the ref. Earth to FIFA, the technology to put the official game time on the score board has existed for at least half a century.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

@PB

I have decided you are either 10 or have the intellect of a 10 year old so its probably not worth even arguing with you anymore. You should be going to bed.

Posted by: Sec 231 | July 2, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Just as an aside so there is understanding for those who want it.

DC United is gramaticaly equivalent to Washington. We don't say "The Washington" when referring to the Skins or Caps, or nats. The is used as in The Washington Redskins or just The Skins

If you want to use a "the" you would have to say the DC United Black & Red, or just The Black and Red. For international comparison you don't say the Manchester United... it would be Man U. or the Manchester United Red Devils.

This isn't a new thing or a change either. DC United press office has been putting out requests and reminders on this for as long as I can remember.

Anyways lets not loose focus on the fact that SteinBog spends considerable time with all the franchises and fans in the DC area including college and minor league sports.... this was his honest take on it. Given how many people have professed a dislike for one or more of the sports discussed I would give the most credibility to Steinberg in making the assessment, which in the grand scheme of things means not too much beyond the entertainment value the blog provides

PS yes I know most people don't use the "Black and Red"

PPS Ben Olsen has been on Washington Post Live more than any other pro athlete in the area I can think of

Posted by: WC | July 2, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Washington Post Live? Never heard of it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Since you never left yoru identify we'll jsut assume you are

1) A liar
2) A sockpuppet
3) a first timer to the Steinberg Blog
3a) not really a fan of DC sports who lives in the general area


Washington Post Live? Never heard of it.

Posted by: | July 2, 2008 8:09 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

The United players might play as hard, but they certainly are not as skilled in their sport as are the Caps, Wizards, and Redskins players, otherwise they would be playing in Spain, Italy, or England.

Posted by: PB | July 2, 2008 7:11 PM
------------
That's the point: Ben Olsen and Jaime Moreno may be/have been good enough (especially Moreno) to maybe make it into a Spanish, Italian, or English side. But they chose to stick with DC United because they are the heart and soul of the team.

Posted by: rojaynegra | July 2, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Athletes...so Gary Williams can't be on the list. Where's Brian Roberts? He's on my list. Cordero hasn't played all season, so he shouldn't be on the list. If you have to have a Nat, I'd put Dmitri on. Arenas AND Butler should be there, too.

Posted by: UMD's Burning Couch | July 2, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Baseball is dying. I'd definitely put the NBA above MLB.

Although, I don't consider Baseball or NASCAR sports either.

NFL
NBA
NHL
MLS

Posted by: AlecW81 | July 2, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Soccer is the sport kids play than cannot make the (American) football team in the fall and the baseball team in the spring. While the world put footy above all else, Soccer ranks last in priority for the American sports fan.

Posted by: Keino | July 2, 2008 7:10 PM

Right, and how would you explain all the kids who are going out for soccer now? thats incuding girls, mind you. Just because it's the worst FOR YOU doesn't mean it's the worst for the rest of us.

While i'm at it, go to a united game if you haven't already (i'm guessing you haven't) then you'll most likely understand why olson and moreno are on the list

Posted by: gottagetgoing | July 2, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

And the battle rages on, huh? I don't understand why people can't like Football and Soccer all at once... as if liking the former and not the latter makes you some neanderthal, and vice versa makes you some sort of queer... each sport has it's merits but I'll tell you it was SWEET to see DC United show LA Galaxy and all the Beckham fanboys what was up... it's a similar feeling to watching the Skins rip the Cowgirls a new a**hole.

Posted by: MDNCSkinsFan | July 3, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: elopingcamel | July 2, 2008 3:31 PM

Winner!

***

If people want to argue sheer numbers, us United fans have little contrary to say. However, I think Dan is looking to create a list of players that create the most intense devotion. That is to say, the players that people truly care about. Darrell Green was a great example in his day; people loved him for more than what he did on the field. Even if Green had only been a good, and not great, cornerback, people would still be rocking #28 jerseys (which, despite his being retired for years, still appears to be the most popular sports jersey in town).

I have lived here for my entire life, and am either a diehard fan (United, Caps) or am very familiar with the team and am friends with diehard fans ('Skins, Wizards) of the city's older franchises. I don't know anyone that cares about the Nats beyond thinking it's nice to have baseball closer than Baltimore (not saying there aren't diehard Nats fans, it's just that I don't know any).

For the Caps, taking only current players, the list begins and ends with Ovechkin. I am a huge fan of several of the other guys on the team, but Ovechkin's departure would be the only one that actually truly upset me on an emotional level.

For the Wizards, I think Arenas could have been the guy if it wasn't for his willingness to leave for a bigger payday/better chance at a championship. There are very few guys in the NBA that are playing for the name on the front of the shirt more than the name on the back, though...even Kevin Garnett left Minnesota. If I had to pick one player that Wizards fans love the most for both basketball and non-basketball reasons, I'd say it's Caron Butler, then Antawn Jamison, and then Arenas.

The 'Skins are in a tricky situation. The NFL's anti-individual stance makes it hard for people to have access to the human side of players, which is crucial for what Dan is trying to sort out. 'Skins fans might really like Portis and his costumes, or Cooley's personality, but I don't think they look at any current player with true emotion. Sean Taylor, before his death, would have likely been a top contender. Jon Jansen is likely tops from the current crop of players, but longevity alone doesn't really do the trick in my eyes. 'Skins fans love their team as much as any fans love any team anywhere, but that's love of the team...there's no current player that engenders that same strength of emotion.

Like I said before, I don't follow the Nats and don't know anyone that has any real emotion towards them, so I have little idea as to who their fans care about the most.

Now, onto United. I can safely say that the only player on any sports team in history that I have ever cared about anywhere near as much as I care about Ben Olsen was Peter Bondra (when he was the only truly world-class player on a mostly blue-collar team), and even that has been transcended by Benny. He clearly cares as much about United as those of us in the stands do. He has skill, longevity, personality, and humility. How people feel in the stands at RFK about Olsen can only be rivalled in this town by how people feel about Ovechkin. Sure, plenty of non-soccer fans don't know who Olsen is, but that has nothing to do with how much he matters to every single United fan.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | July 3, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

200th on this god dang Podium sloshing all kinds of crass, crazy, champagne all over the place dude, dog, bro, brah!

Posted by: Dadryan | July 3, 2008 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Why is "The PB" such a weiner?
and i mean the whiner pronuciation!!!
DC United!
Not the United.
That would be like me callin' your mom "the one".
I know you don't want that.
Thanks for the Laughs Steinz!
This thread is officially over.
#201!

Posted by: Dadryan | July 3, 2008 1:37 AM | Report abuse

"DC United is gramaticaly equivalent to Washington...DC United press office has been putting out requests and reminders on this for as long as I can remember."

The United press office thinks they control the rules of grammar in this country? The United fans want their team name to be the equivalent of a city or a state? I don't think so. The Redskins, the Wizards, the Caps, the Nats, and the United. That's the way it's going to stay.

Posted by: PB | July 3, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

The only team/stadium in DC that doesn't have music or electronic claps piped in during the game is DC United. DCU fans are inspired by the sport not the man on the wurlitzer. In fact didn't lil' danny snyder get his hands slapped by the NFL for playing his music too loud when the other team had the ball. Pick up a drum for cryin' out loud. Leave the "Who let the dogs out" at home.

Posted by: Max Headroom | July 3, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

@gottagetgoing

Sorry, but the best athletes in US Highschools still play Football, Basketball and Baseball. Those sports (the 1st two anyways) are where the Money is. Yes girls play soccer, but largely due to exclusion from Football and Baseball, and notice, none of us posting on the bog gave one ounce of consideration to female athletes (I do think someone mentioned Beard from the Mystics).

Again, my position is not to bash soccer, just pointing out that people don't watch it and since people do not watch it, United players don't have the "Transcending the Sport" appeal and consequently are not "Most beloved" in the truest sense of what that means. I hate Hockey more than Soccer, but I have ranked Ovechkin #1. Why? Because he transcends the sport. He makes people who are not NHL fans tune in, because he is a special talent. United had a player who was potentially that in Freddy Adu, but that never materialized.

And for the record, I've been to a DCU game and I went to Washington Diplomats games before that decades ago.

PS. I love how people want to talk attendance and yet ignore things like TV deals and TV ratings. On any given Sunday, there are well over a Million people tuning in to the Skins. It's really a running joke to keep comparing the United fanbase to the Skins fanbase......When United has sold out for 41 straight years, then maybe....maybe that fanbase will have a claim. Until then, the Skins rule the Washington roost and that is 100% fact.

Posted by: Keino | July 3, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@Keino

Sorry, dude, but at a high school level, neither basketball nor football players AS A WHOLE could athletically hang with the soccer team. There would always be a few exceptions, but a typical 60 man HS football team probably has 50 players who wouldn't complete the fitness required to play upper level club soccer. (HS Soccer can be quite dodgy)

Perhaps you mean the very few elite athletes in a position to play at an NCAA level. Great athletes there, as well as physical mutants.

By and large, most HS Football players couldn't complete a beer run.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 3, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

How did this article turn into a sport vs. sport argument instead of player vs. player argument?

The fact is that Ben Olsen received a huge ovation when returning from injury this weekend. The question is what other sports figures in DC would receive such an ovation? Regardless of attendance numbers (although United are right on par with the Wizards and Caps) and regardless of television numbers (again, United is on par with the Wizards and Caps), I believe the argument is what sports figures would elicit a huge ovation from those who are in the stadium at the time. Olsen is to soccer in DC what Green was to football in DC and what Ripken was to baseball in Baltimore. There are no other current players in DC who make a reasonable comparison to those icons.

1. Olsen
2. Ovechkin
3. Cooley
4. Moreno

Posted by: DCUMD | July 3, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Keino,
In the context of overall ratings, attendance, and general public attention, of course the Redskins dominate United and every other team in the area. But this argument is purely about fans' reactions to certain players, so I don't think the tv ratings or attendance numbers apply.

Posted by: DCUMD | July 3, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@ Unknown -

You are spiking your coffee if you think that 5/6ths of a HS football team cannot "Athletically Hang" with a Soccer team...the notion is preposterous. At the HS level Football and Basketball players are generally the best athletes walking around their schools. At least that's how it was at the WCAC school I attended (Though a few of our soccer players excelled on the B-Ball court & Baseball diamond).

@DCUMD

I realize that is the context in which Steinberg framed the question, but as I have argued, the strictest sense of "Most Beloved" does not fit his criteria. Most beloved (with an emphasis on Most) would factor how a player is "loved" throughout the whole DC area, not just by the passionate fans. Ovechkin, Portis et. al. are household names in the DC area. Olsen and Moreno are not. I cannot put it more plainly than that.

I have no opinion on Steinberg's criteria, because I cannot say for certain either way that Olsen would be missed by United fans more than Clinton would be missed by skins fans or Gil missed by Bullets fans. But I do have an opinion on "Most Beloved" in the context of what that really means and there is no way as Fushezzi and I have been arguing that United players make the Cut if the list is limited to Top 6.

FWIW - I don't think Smoot makes the cut if the list is top 20.

Posted by: Keino | July 3, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

We'll disagree then, but perhaps you need to spend some time in the local high schools. I believe you're seriously mistaken. We had high school football players on our club soccer team (4th division), and they couldn't keep up with the running, and lost their dexterity. Had to sub for them constantly.

Sorry I didn't tag my earlier post.

Posted by: JkR | July 3, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@JKR

Fair enough if that was your experience. My experience was drastically different. The best athletes in my school (and rivals like DeMatha)played football (And other sports). These same kids would finish at the top of the rankings in all of the Presidential Fitness tests that we had to take in PE classes. There is no doubt that some football players (Lineman mostly) are not equipped to handle Soccer athletically, but those players represent a significant minority and not close to the 5/6 you argued initially. In fact I remember specifically a number of gifted soccer players at my school opting for football and the Soccer coach trying to get them to drop football.

Posted by: Keino | July 3, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Lot's of High Schooler's drop soccer for other sports. The other sports are easier....

:)

And lineman are 50% of any Football team...

Sorry, good talk, but I need to be done. Have a pleasant weekend.

Posted by: JkR | July 3, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

who is ben olson? Mary Kate & Ashley's brother? 90% of DC wouldn't know ben olson if he came up to them and said, "Hi, I'm ben olson" And Javy Moreno or whoever I'll put him at 0.05%. Give me a break. On Sunday every player who steps on the field in a Skins uniform is more beloved than soccer players. Including the kicker.

Posted by: T W Prez | July 3, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Keino needs to wake up to 2008, he is talking like it is still 1972.

Posted by: D.C. | July 3, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

yeah, i grew up in south georgia where football is king and my high school soccer team had some amazing athletes. our football coach actually made his players train with them in the offseason and some of the better players, mostly wide receivers) were two-way stars (it's a spring sport down there).

Posted by: jerad | July 7, 2008 3:20 AM | Report abuse

Agent 0 - Gil
Clinton Portis
Caron B./Santana Moss
Tawn
Ovechkin

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

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