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WP: The Bog Goes to Camp, Thursday, August 9, 2007


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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/08/AR2007080802422.html

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The Bog Goes to Camp

Dan Steinberg blogs from Camp

Thursday, August 9, 2007

It was Fan Appreciation Night in Ashburn, and you could barely move for fear of being appreciated.

There were white paper Chick-fil-A chef hats, "for autographs!" because nothing screams out classy like a fast-food chicken hat bearing Fred Smoot's signature. Next door was the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association booth, where you could get coloring books featuring pleasantly multiethnic children eating yogurt, and also mini footballs and pencil sharpeners and pencils attesting to the merits of cheese. One confused fan asked the dairy people for a mini stuffed cow, forgetting that the mini stuffed cows were actually a Chick-fil-A gimmick.

Across the way you could pose for photos with the Lombardi Trophies, and a few steps more brought the Frito Lay potato chip folks, appreciating fans to the tune of 3,360 bags of original-flavored potato chips. "Take as many as you want!" they were telling us, a phrase that must boil Daniel Snyder's blood. I half expected team officials to show up and demand 30 cents per bag.

But no, fans were free to put their goodies inside their Mobil-sponsored tote bags, or maybe their MasterCardsponsored plastic bags, and then to soak in the appreciation offered by the Redskins Marching Band, which started with "Hail to the Redskins" before transitioning into the theme songs for various televised sports programs. The crowd watched silently. A few lucky fans were appreciated via merchandise giveaways, including a Brandon Lloyd jersey, which by rights should have been saved for Depreciation Night.

To kill time while waiting for Joe Gibbs's address, I began asking fans for some predictions. The first chap I addressed, 16-year-old Derek Lett of Manassas, immediately said "16-0." "The Redskins are the greatest," he pointed out. I, in turn, noted that the weather seemed a bit warm for the Redskins Santa hat he was wearing. "I know," he agreed. Later, I saw him playing football while wearing the Santa hat.

In all, I talked with 24 fans. One dirty, cut-and-run pessimist predicted 8-8. The rest, basking in that hope-springs-eternal optimism that pours out of the glands on 102-degree August evenings, had the Redskins finishing with a winning record. The predictions averaged out to somewhat north of 10-6. Why not?

By now, the band was on "Hail to the Redskins: Take III," and the ever-optimistic fans appeared too overheated to clap along. But moments later Gibbs appeared to a massive ovation, complete with the requisite shouts of "We Love You" and "Thank You." He began by apologizing for the limited autograph opportunities: "I always feel bad about that," he said.

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Gee Steinberg, could you ooze any more condescension, or paint the fans or the effort to give them a glimpse at training camp any more cynically?

You need to find something to do for a living that doesn't involve expressing disgust for your fellow human beings.

This is what we get from the local sports journalists (and using that term here is pretty generous)? One of these days, the Post will figure out that alienating its audience might not be the sharpest growth strategy available.

We deserve better.

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Gee Steinberg, could you ooze any more condescension, or paint the fans or the effort to give them a glimpse at training camp any more cynically?

You need to find something to do for a living that doesn't involve expressing disgust for your fellow human beings.

This is what we get from the local sports journalists (and using that term here is pretty generous)? One of these days, the Post will figure out that alienating its audience might not be the sharpest growth strategy available.

We deserve better.

Steinberg is the man. The stuff he writes on the Wizards is great. Through him, you really get to know the local teams.

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This article just seeps of contempt for the fans, team,....the entire organization.

What was he expecting? Free fitted caps for everyone? This is the kind of **** that pisses me off. So the fans have no right to enjoy themselves?

This guy is not a football fan, he should be writing in the leisure section or something.

And that little jab about snyder and chips, what snyder isn't allowed to make money anymore?

**** its fan appreciation day. Get over it ********.

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Steinberg is the man. The stuff he writes on the Wizards is great. Through him, you really get to know the local teams.

Well he needs to stick to basketball then, because he sucks as a football writer.

Get to know the local team huh? He makes himself sound like he's too good to even be there.

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