The Scoreboard is a sports feature spotlighting the winners and losers, the champs and chumps, the highlights and lowlights, and anything in between, of sports in the D.C. area.
Oh What a Night
Things are looking up for D.C. United. The club has won four of its last five matches and is six points away from a playoff spot, but during its Aug. 19 victory over the New England Revolution, what happened on the field took a back seat to what happened in the broadcast booth. For the first time in the history of the country’s five major men’s sports leagues, the television broadcast team was entirely female, with Katie Witham hosting the broadcast, Lisa Byington serving as the play-by-play announcer, and former U.S. Women’s National Team member Danielle Slaton offering analysis. This move excited both fans and players—all three members of the team shared a photo on Twitter of a young female fan wearing a shirt that read “Make History,” and Witham wrote that Revs striker Juan Agudelo personally thanked her after the match.
At long last, The Athletic, the subscription-based sports site whose co-founder infamously expressed his disdain for local news, announced that it will launch a D.C. vertical in September. Few staffing details are known right now, but the Capitals site Russian Machine Never Breaks cites anonymous sources that say NBC Sports Washington’s Capitals beat reporter Tarik El-Bashir will cover football for The Athletic.
At the same time, The Washington Post’s sports section is rethinking its daily newsletter. Sports Daily is now known as D.C. Sports Bog, and in addition to story links, it will include writing from former columnist Dan Steinberg, tweets from readers, and conversations with Post writers.
Yes, it’s that Adrian Peterson. In a move that will excite some D.C. sports fans, the local NFL team signed Peterson, a former league MVP, to a one-year deal.
The pick-up comes after several running backs, including rookie standout Derrius Guice, suffered injuries during the pre-season.
Peterson, 33, rushed for 11,717 yards and 82 touchdowns during his 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, where he earned four All-Pro honors and the 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player Award. But he only played 10 total games in the past two seasons with the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals before being released.
Still, his workouts and practices in D.C. have reportedly turned heads.
“He’s a physical freak,” Coach Jay Gruden told ESPN. “He’s in great shape, explosive, and that’s what sold us. Some of the backs we had in here [for workouts] were huffing and puffing, keeling over. He was standing straight up. He could have gone on another two hours.”
Waving the White Flag
Remember when the Nationals beat the Mets, 25-4, on July 31 and were supposedly on their way to righting the ship and winning the National League East? Yeah… that didn’t happen.
The Nats stood still on the trade deadline, with general manager and team president Mike Rizzo taking his chances on the roster he built. Since then, the Nats have lost half of their games in August and Rizzo reportedly almost got into a physical fight with a player he ended up removing from the roster.
The team also quietly resumed their partnership with Papa John’s Pizza, which did not exactly earn rave reviews from fans.
On Aug. 21, the team let go of Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams, and Mark Lerner, the team’s principal owner, penned what was essentially a letter of surrender to fans, writing, “the time has come for us to make decisions that will bolster our roster for next season and beyond.”