A Little Spring Cleaning …

As the month of March arrives, one of the tasks facing many households is the dreaded Spring Cleaning.  If you looked in on Curmudgeon Central with its “files” masquerading as “piles” of papers, you might think that the best cleaning process would be a flame thrower – – and my long-suffering wife would likely agree.  However, my clipboard with notes about things to rant on in the future is in a state where cleaning it up is more like spiffing it up and could easily be accomplished by devoting two rants to that process.  So, I shall do a half-way Spring Cleaning on my clipboard today.

  • [Aside:  It would be unmannerly of anyone to suggest that this is a half-assed cleaning as opposed to a half-way cleaning.  Just saying…]

First up is a local story of sorts.  The Washington Commanders have played their games in FedEx Field since 1999; the naming rights deal ran through 2026.  This week, the shipping company pulled out of that deal meaning new Commanders’ owner Josh Harris’ projections of team revenue for 2024 could come up $7.5M short – – unless a new deal comes along quickly.  According to a statement from the Commanders:

“We have already started the process of identifying our next stadium naming rights partner — a partner who will play a crucial role in ushering in the next era of not only Commanders’ football, but also a robust slate of top live events and concerts.”

I know nothing about the inner workings of either party here or how the decision to truncate the agreement came to be, but I will say that the stadium facility itself in Landover MD is not something I would want my name on.  In the late days of their existence, Shea Stadium, The Vet and RFK Stadium were – at the very best – eyesores.  FedEx Field had degraded to that status and was not/is not a jewel to be associated with one’s name.  Any new naming rights deal would have to include some transition rights to whatever new stadium the Commanders get because the most appropriate naming rights partner for the current facility would be Waste Management Inc.

Moving on … Fed Ex Field is not the only off-field aspect of the Commanders’ franchise that needs replacing; in the annual NFLPA survey of players regarding their working conditions, once again the Commanders finished dead last in the league.  Here is how the Washington Post summarized this situation:

“The survey included 11 categories: treatment of families, food/cafeteria, nutritionist/dietitian, locker room, training room, training staff, weight room, strength coaches, team travel, head coach and ownership.

“Among those categories, Washington’s locker room and training room ranked last. Only 26 percent of Commanders players who voted said they felt they had enough room for their lockers, and some cited multiple sewage leaks. Washington ranked 31st in treatment of families, training staff, team travel and head coach.”


If you thought that Josh Harris and his minority partners had a lot of work ahead of them to get the on-field product up to an acceptable level, add a new stadium and a total revamp of the team facilities/practices to that “To Do List”.

Next item …  I tuned in to see part of a Nats Spring Training game earlier this week and I want to go on record now with this statement:

  • James Wood is 21 years old, and he is going to be a force majeure in MLB.

Wood is a huge human being; depending on where you look, he is listed as 6’5” or 6’ 7”.  Do not picture in your mind this young man as a tall string-bean; he is built like a tight end or a power forward.  He hit a home run in the game I watched that may not have come down yet but even more impressive to me is his approach to the game.  This was a meaningless Spring Training exhibition game and Wood was hustling and playing as if it were an elimination game in the playoffs.

The Nats acquired Wood – – along with CJ Abrams and Mackenzie Gore and a couple other guys – – in the trade that sent Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Padres.  Soto is now with the Yankees and Bell is now with the Marlins.  I do not think it is premature to say that the Nats fleeced the Padres on that deal…

Switching gears …  About a month ago Old Dominion basketball coach, Jeff Jones, “stepped away” from the position following a heart attack.  That health event came on top of ongoing treatment Jones was receiving for prostate cancer.  Earlier this week, Jones announced his retirement.  Previously in his career, Jones was the coach at American University for 13 seasons.  I never met Jeff Jones, but every time I saw him interviewed – – in defeat or in victory – – he impressed me as genuinely gracious and civil.  Bob Molinaro covering sports for the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot saw Jones far more often and far more closely than I did and here is what Molinaro had to say about this retirement announcement:

“Old Dominion’s men’s basketball team has lost too many games over the past five years, but judging from the attendance at Chartway Arena, many of the staunchest fans haven’t abandoned the program. I’m guessing that this, in part, is because of Jeff Jones’ temperament and dogged professionalism. May his successor pick up that mantle while giving the diehards a brighter bottom line.”

Finally, let me close today with another cogent observation by Bob Molinaro:

“One way to stop entitled college kids from court-storming is to surround the floor with wire mesh, the way it was done 100 years ago, more to keep players out of the stands than anything else. It’s where the now-antiquated term “cagers” comes from. Of course, I’m being facetious. But equally ridiculous are the voices in media and elsewhere celebrating court-storming as a worthwhile student rite and a public relations win for schools. The enablers should be ready to own this in the event of a catastrophic injury.”  [Emphasis added…]

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



2 thoughts on “A Little Spring Cleaning …”

  1. I remember Jeff Jones as UVA’s coach back in the early nineties.
    Back then, had any MBB coach in the ACC knocked on my front door, I would have recognized him and known his name. Not so much any more, but it’s not what it used to be and to use a tag-line from “The Wire”, “It ain’t ever gonna be what it was.”

    1. SteveNC:

      Totally agree.

      By the way, I did a double take when I saw that the MLS team in Charlotte hired Dean Smith as their coach…

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