The Scoreboard is a new 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.
D.C. could get used to this whole winning thing. Not only are the Washington Mystics in first place in the Eastern Conference with a 12-8 record while perennial All-Star Elena Delle Donne leads the team with 20.2 points per game, but coach Mike Thibault added another milestone to his record-setting career. The WNBA’s all time winningest coach won his 300th career regular season game on July 7 in the Mystics’ 83-74 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks.
Sparks coach Brian Agler is second on the list with 263.
“It just means I’ve been at it for a long time,” Thibault told The Washington Times. “It’s a nice number, but the only number I care about is that we’re the last team standing.”
You’re An All-Star
What do you do when you’re named to your second MLB All-Star Game? If you’re Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle, you tweet the news to the band Smash Mouth, creators of the 1999 hit “All Star.”
In 2014, Doolittle celebrated his first All-Star selection by “jumping up and down on the bed” while blasting the song.
Doolittle joins teammates Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer on the National League roster. Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon weren’t as lucky, as they were both snubbed from the team. Turner was a candidate for the MLB All-Star final vote ballot but finished fourth in the final tally. On July 5, Turner finished with a grand slam and eight RBIs to help the Nationals rally from a 9-0 deficit in their 14-12 victory over the Miami Marlins.
A New Era
Despite sitting in last place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference, D.C. United is basking in the glow of its shiny new toys—international superstar Wayne Rooney and the soon-to-open Audi Field.
Rooney arrived in D.C. late last month to hundreds of screaming fans and gives the franchise a jolt of excitement. He will make his debut on July 14, the same day that fans will experience the new stadium at Buzzard Point. The construction of D.C. United’s new home reportedly cost upward of $400 million.
The team doesn’t “need to look back at its history, it needs to create more history,” Rooney told the audience at the Newseum last week. “I’ve said many times I’m not here to see out [my] last few years, I’m here to compete. I’m here to win, that’s the way I’ve always played.”
Whether or not that happens this year remains to be seen.
Loss of Spirit
D.C.’s other professional soccer team isn’t finding much success on the field either. In the nine-team National Women’s Soccer League, the Washington Spirit is in second to last place and was held scoreless throughout the entire month of June. This is happening despite having the fifth-highest shot total. As of early Wednesday night, forward Ashley Hatch is third in the league with 46 total shots but only has 17 shots on goal.
The Spirit rank in the top five in only one other category: yellow cards.
Dwight Howard will play on his sixth team in eight seasons. Jeff Green, the former Georgetown star, will be on his fifth team in five years. Both have joined the Wizards for the 2018-19 season. Howard will receive $5.3 million while Green is set to get the $2.4 veteran’s minimum, according to Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo.
The moves give the team veteran experience “at a cost that builds in little-to-no risk,” Woo wrote. But they won’t particularly excite a frustrated fanbase.
At least LeBron James has left the Eastern Conference.