The Redskins and Virginia Lottery introduced their joint scratch ticket program yesterday.

The money line: The tickets will cost $20 each.


Sure, it takes a village for such a stupid idea to actually get to market. But, good god, is whoever runs the Redskins tone deaf or what?

Quote of the press conference came from Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery: “I know how hard it is to get tickets to [a Redskins] game,” Otto said.

Well, sure it is, in the same way that it’s hard to get a scratch ticket from the Virginia Lottery.

Paula, I’ve got an easy way for you to find out how hard it really is to get a Redskins ticket. Just show up in the FedExField parking lot before the Skins 2009 home opener in September, hold up one finger and a $20 bill, the price of one of your new scratch tickets, and you’ll have Skins season ticket holders racing and beating the crap outta each other to get to you first to sell you a seat.

But, much as the idea of a $20 scratch ticket annoys me, anything that brings us closer to total sports gambling is a good thing.


Tonight’s the big draft party at Nationals Park.

Color commentator Rob Dibble, telling it like it is, urged folks not to buy into the draft ballyhoo. During Sunday’s MASN telecast, whenever the draft was mentioned Dibble would advise viewers that “you can’t tell” much about major league potential from the way a kid performs in college, a “ping!” realm where aluminum bats are standard.

“I’d rather watch a guy in the Cape Cod League with the wood bats and see what he can do,” Dibble said.

History backs Dibble up, of course. Here are the top picks made by the Nats/Expos from 1997 to 2008:

2008 Aaron Crow

2007 Ross Detwiler

2006 Christopher Marrero

2005 Ryan Zimmerman

2004 Bill Bray

2003 Chad Cordero

2002 Clint Everts

2001 Josh Karp

2000 Justin Wayne

1999 Josh Girdley

1998 Josh McKinley

1997 Donnie Bridges

Zimmerman’s a keeper, Ok. But ain’t a whole lot of tickets to Cooperstown punched by this bunch.

And has anybody ever heard of Joshes Karp, Girdley or McKinley?


A lot of baseball folks have been debating whether Randy Johnson will be the last 300 game winner. Well, something called “Bob Feller’s Little Blue Book of Baseball Wisdom” landed in the box here at City Paper lately. It’s full of, um, wisdom from the 90-year old Feller, an all-timer who threw for 266 wins during a career with the Cleveland Indians despite missing several seasons to fight WWII. (One amazing Feller stat: He threw 36 complete games in 1946, his first year back from service.) Feller made an appearance at an event at Nationals Stadium several months ago, and, though he gave a speech that was borderline reactionary wacko, damn if he didn’t have an air of greatness about him. I’ve been scanning his new book for clues, and if Feller’s way is indeed the right way, well, we won’t see his like again.

Take, for example, his recommended workout for pitchers:

“Dumbbells should be 10, 15, or 25 pounds, no more; barbells or other heavy lifts should not exceed 125 pounds. The medicine ball is a fantastic tool in developing all sorts of muscles usind n pitching and hittin, and I like the rowing machine as well. I even used to hit a speed bag.”

And, the biggest hint that Feller’s preparation methods are passe: There’s no mention of syringes!


No time like Draft Day for a Brandon Snyder Update: Ex-Sure Thing Snyder can tell Mr. Strasburg that there’s no such thing as a sure thing. He was a million-dollar bonus baby and the Orioles top pick coming out of Westfield High in Chantilly in 2005, and was being groomed as the catcher of the future until the next Sure Thing, Matt Wieters, came into the organization via the First Round of the 2007 draft. (Wieters is hitting .143 for the big league club in limited action this season.) Snyder had a horrible first few years in pro ball, but this year in AA Bowie he has gotten folks believing in him again, leading the team in hitting (.343) and about every other offensive category. A back injury slowed him down last week, his first blip in what has otherwise been a great comeback season.

And while all the scouts were sure he’d be above the Double-A level after four years as a pro, you have to consider that had Snyder gone to college instead of cashing out, he’d just be getting drafted. He’s only a year-and-a-half older than Stephen Strasburg, but has four more seasons of pro experience.

And, sure, Snyder could still get a cup of coffee in September.


A story from distant lands with DC ties broke while I was on vacation.

From an AP report:

New Mexico football coach Mike Locksley, on the job less than six months, has been accused of sexual harassment, age discrimination and retaliation by a former administrative assistant. Sylvia Lopez filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She worked under Locksley at the Lobos football office before transferring last month, then quit her university job May 15.

Locksley is a DC native and former assistant coach and recruiting phenomenon at the University of Maryland, Florida, and Ilinois. He developed some sort of magic pipeline from his hometown to wherever he lays his hat. Most notbly and recently, Locksley was the guy responsible for bringing scads of DCIAA talent (All-around superstars Arrelious Benn and Vontae Davis from Dunbar, and QB Eddie McGee from H.D. Woodson) to the University of Illinois, where for the last four years he served as an offensive coordinator for the Illini. And he’s been well paid for his talent gathering: A Chicago Sun-Times report found Locksley, with a salary of $479,233, to be one of the highest paid workers on the state’s payroll.

A lot of DC area kids have signed with New Mexico since Locksley took the head coaching job there in December, becoming one of only four black head coaches in whatever the NCAA now calls D1.

(Back to the AP report for a second: Not to joke about serious matters, but shouldn’t your average reporter know better than to use the line “She worked under Locksley…” in a story about sexual harassment?)

(And, please, no complaints about the use of “head coaching” in this post. Grow up!)


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