Saturday, April 14, 2012 could have gone down as a day for the ages for Washington D.C. sports. With wins from D.C. United, the Washington Nationals, and a playoff win for the Washington Capitals, it all came down to the Washington Wizards to defeat the depleted Cleveland Cavaliers to make it a perfect foursome on one of the most beautiful days of the year…
Well, three out of four isn’t so bad, right?
There hasn’t been much to be proud of lately as a DC sports fan, but with the Nationals gaining traction and fans by the pitch, the Caps squeezing in the playoffs, and DC United maintaining their normal fan base, the Washington Wizards are truly the outsiders in DC.
The loss tonight made them the headlines of nearly every sports story for the nightly local newscasts and websites (including this one). Many (including me, again) joked that the Washington Wizards had to be the one to screw this great day up. There’s a number of factors for this that go beyond the win/loss column, however.
With the amount of controversy that has surrounded this team in the past couple of years and the questionable decision-making of front-office and coaching staffs, there just hasn’t been a big enough of a loyal fan base to stick around this team.
When Ted Leonsis took over as owner of the Wizards, many thought that he would try and build this team in the same way he did the Capitals. I still believe he is going this route with the team. However, after only eight games of the regular season down, I would have to suggest that Ted take the approach of the Nationals. No one ever thought that this town could be a baseball town, but nearly 40,000 fans five days in a row in Southeast would tend to disagree now.
There is a lot to do all-around to turn this town into a basketball town and it’s going to take a significant amount of time; but in the immediate future, it all can be boiled down to a simple equation—one game can win the fans over. While the Cleveland game meant nothing to most people yesterday morning, the game would have meant the world as of about 7pm last night to make it a perfect day for DC sports teams.
And that, like many other things this season, was a chance that the Wizards blew.