Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Best Fourth of July in 231 Years

The Nats ran over the Cubs 6-0, silencing annoying Chicago fans in the process, with electrifying performances from Matt Chico (will he ever give up another run?) and Dmitri Young. DC United won again and completed their climb from the bottom of the East to the top. We learned that elite center Michael Nylander turned down more money from Edmonton in order to come to the Capitals, putting a dent in that "good players don't want to come to Washington" argument. The region was aflutter as the AT&T National geared up for its start tomorrow, bringing PGA legitimacy back to DC. In all, it's hard to argue that, in a close finish, this was the second-greatest July 4th of all time.

Young's magnificent performance can be seen as a rebuttal to a pair of suspiciously similar articles by Thomas Boswell and Mark Zuckerman. Their pining for the departed St. Alfonso Soriano was a little disappointing, especially coming from two Manny Acta Optimist of the Week award winners. Virtually ignoring the renaissance that is Young, they long for a man with a batting average 30 points lower. Why not write about what the Cubs (and their fans) saw that they were missing: a coherent Plan for long term-success, one not burdened by eight year, $136 million contracts. A Plan unhindered by a crusty manager with a love of temper tantrums. A Plan that does not carry the burden of 100 years of losing tradition. A Plan that exists beyond one offseason of soon-to-be-in-vain free agent spending.

The words from Boswell that may hurt the most are: "...[Soriano] reminded his former team of what it no longer has -- the charisma, firepower and confidence of a superstar." These words couldn't have been more incorrect after seeing Dmitri deliver his fifth-inning grand slam. Let's go down the list. Charisma - Nats fans love Dmitri. Firepower - big 4-run blast, with a double and single to boot. Confidence - after an IBB to face him, likely thinking him a fine candidate for a double play, and after falling behind 0-2, Dmitri was unfazed and jacked one. Tom, Mark, we expect full retractions.

As for the United, there can be no doubt that they are fully back as an elite force , going 7-1-2 since that early season unpleasantness. Who's going to stop them?

While hints of worry may have crept into the minds of Caps fans yesterday and today as the we-saw-him-first crap storm came out of Edmonton, it seems ever-likely that nothing will come of it, and Michael will be serving up assists for Alex all winter (and spring and possibly summer). As the all-time greatest attorney Lionel Hutz might have said, "I'd like to refer to the case of Finders vs. Keepers." Michael stays here, and the Oilers can continue to make ill-advised trades.

Finally, we have big-time golf again. This no doubt sticks in the spiteful craw of noted DC(and probably optimism)-hater Eric Kay. It seems as though "America's sports arm pit" (hey, that's clever; almost as clever as "Kay's Korner") is a fine place, in the eyes of one of the greatest athletes of our generation, for a PGA tour event.

Yes, it was a great day.

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