Could season ticket worries have played a part in the Redskins’ tampering case?

Albert Haynesworth‘s former employer, the Tennessee Titans, have long been saying that Dan Snyder had a deal worked out with the star lineman too early. By NFL bylaw, it’s illegal to even begin negotiations with another team’s players until the free agent signing period begins. The Skins gave Haynesworth the biggest contract ever given a defensive player just hours after signing season opened.

Snyder was seen with Haynesworth agent, who also represents Redskin receiver Malcolm Kelly, at league functions before the opening.

The rule is well known. So why would Snyder, who always outbids everybody anyway and would have gotten Haynesworth in due time, want to rush things?

Well, conspiracy theorists might point out that since taking over the team, Snyder has moved up the date payment for season ticket renewals is due. This year, fans had to send those payments in by March 2. That’s the first business day after the Haynesworth signing. If Snyder hadn’t landed Haynesworth on Day 1 of the signing period, there would have been no publicity about the signing by due date for ticketholders.

The team’s desperate behavior this offseason indicates that Snyder may have felt he needed a bigger bang this year than ever before to move tickets.

Reports say Redskins officials will be interviewed soon by NFL investigators. The team could lose a draft pick if found guilty. Given the way drafts have gone of late, that’s not a huge hit.

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The Nats lost two out of three games in the Beltway Series with the Orioles, then fell on the holiday to the hosting New York Mets. Fans can blame a bad video replay decision, which gave mercenary ‘roid-allegations-magnet Gary Sheffield a home run, for that last loss.

Washington is now 13-31 on the season. Whenever I see a reversed number pair like that, I think about 2112, the Rush album from 1976 that was just huge in my neighborhood when I was a kid.

I can’t think of anything that would link that Rush record with the Nats’ record. But I bet I’m going to go listen to “Temples of Sphyrinx” as soon as I finish typing this.

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Unlike the Nats, the DC Divas didn’t let a team from our insecure and less successful little brother city leave town happy. On Saturday, the Divas set a team record with 56 first-half points on the way to a 70-14 win over the Baltimore Nighthawks at the P.G. Sports and Learning Complex.

The Divas are now 5-0 and have outscored opponents 186-28, good enough to have the girls on top of the Massey Ratings, a national ranking of 49 “pro” women’s football teams. Poor Baltimore is now 2-4.

But, dangit, Baltimore the city still has several songs written about it way better than anything ever sung about D.C. (Here’s Randy Newman‘s “Baltimore”—-though seek out the Nils Lofgren version if you can—-and Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris‘ duet of Harlan Howard‘s good-as-it-flippin’-gets “Streets of Baltimore,” tho your homework assignment is to seek out a higher-fi version of this after class.)

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D.C. United tied Real Salt Lake, 0-0, on Saturday at RFK. I’ve always supported sports leagues that allow games to end in ties, as the rest of the world does, rather than the wholly American policy of inserting artificial rules after regulation just to ensure that somebody goes home a winner.

But D.C. United, with an embarrassing seven ties in 11 games, is making everybody who holds that opinion look douchy this year. United players blamed Salt Lake for the boring game, but their silly season tie percentage and the fact that DC had one shot on goal the entire game screams for an attitude adjustment.

For crissakes, guys, for the fans and the integrity of your hurtin’ damn sport league, lose with pride rather than settle for another damn tie.

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In the middle of Sunday’s naive or dumbass defense of Ari Fleischer‘s successful Let’s Get Bill Maher Fired campaign from 2001, Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander did teach me something: Bush’s spokesman during the Weapons of Mass Destruction charade left the White House to become a “sports media consultant.”

And the sports/politics nexus gets even more prominent: the only legal decision mentioned in all the early reports of Sonia Sotomayor‘s nomination to the Supreme Court was her ruling in ending the baseball strike of 1995.

For all these years, I’ve believed Cal Ripken saved baseball!

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WarmWatergate, anyone? Mayor Adrian Fenty gets a toasty bath whenever he trains for triathlons at East Potomac. The Washington Post blew the lid off the story of the one pool in the city with a water heater, which just happens to be the mayor’s favorite pool.

My own swimming hole, the Upshur Rec Center, opened for business at noon on Saturday, just as it did for the few years Clark Ray ran the DC Department of Parks and Recreation before he got run out of his job for God-and-Fenty-only-know-what.

The pool was glorious, and the rec center seemed understaffed, so I hate to complain, but: Good god, something has to be done about the bathrooms. And I mean something big. By the middle of the FIRST DAY OF THE SEASON, the men’s room had sights and smells as bad as anything I ever saw or sniffed at the old Preakness infield. Me and good personal hygiene parted company a while back, but I was gagging and ran out the door. Also, city lawyers might want to note that not only was there no soap in the liquid soap dispensers, but instead the showers had bottles of hand sanitizer hanging near the showerheads which, if mistaken for shampoo as could easily happen, could burn through your retinas.

I went back to Upshur on Day 2, and the scene in the locker room was worse.

The city would shut down any private business that tried to operate under such grotesque conditions.

Why do D.C. residents just accept crap like this? (And, sadly, I literally do mean crap.)

How beaten down are we?

And not to pile on, but it also bugged the crap outta me that the Upshur baby pool, which broke in the middle of last summer, still isn’t fixed. What’s the offseason for? Was the maintenance staff too busy installing a heater at Hains Point?

But, again, the big pool was magic. Summer’s here.

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