Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A great night to be a Wizards/O's fan

It's not huge admission to point out that being a fan of the Wizards and the Orioles (and the Redskins too, for that matter) hasn't been a rather pleasant experience lately. The Wizards finished 26-56 last season and had a drama-filled year that included 1) Gilbert Arenas and the locker room gun situation; 2) the departure of Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Brendan Haywood, and DeShawn Stevenson; 3) the death of Abe Pollin; and 4) the battle between Flip Saunders and Andray Blatche, just to name a few. And, as for the Orioles, they appear to be headed in the right direction because of some of the pieces they possess in both the major and minor leagues, but right now they're 13-27 and have struggled to put runs on the board.

As I'm sure you've heard by now, the Wizards won the NBA Draft Lottery last night despite holding just a 10.3 percent chance to do so. (Check out this chart for a more visual display of the Wizards' chances.) As the lottery was playing out and it was revealed that the Wizards would have a top three pick, it was pretty exciting. Still, I fully believed that the Wiz were going to end up with the No. 3 pick in a draft with two no-doubters: John Wall and Evan Turner. But, again, that didn't happen, and somehow the Wizards ended up with the No. 1 overall pick.

Here were some of my immediate thoughts when this happened:
  • DAGGER!!!!!!
  • John Wall or Evan Turner? (I say Wall.)
  • A Wall-Arenas backcourt would be thrilling to watch, but could it work?
  • Kwame Brown.
  • Wow, I like Ted Leonsis already.
  • The Wizards wouldn't trade the pick, would they? (No!)
The NBA Draft isn't until June 24, so there's more than a month to wait until the Wizards make a selection, but it's good news that Wall seems more than content with the possibility of becoming a Wizard. These two paragraphs from that article particularly stuck out:

"President Obama can be at your games," said Wall, as he stood outside on [agent Dan] Fegan's patio. "I'll keep working hard and hopefully they'll pick me."

Fegan said he just wanted for Wall to get a "good opportunity. This is a big market with a good opportunity. I've been in situations where we wonder what the teams are going to do. This one is 'wow.'"

Wow, indeed.

As for the Orioles, they obviously didn't have an achievement on par with what the Wizards could boast, but they did turn another apparent so-so performance into an exciting one with some late-game heroics. Facing Zack Greinke, the defending Cy Young award winner, and down 3-1 in the seventh, Luke Scott hit his second home run of the game to cut the lead to 3-2. Then, in the eighth, Corey Patterson homered to tie the game (though that shot came off of Blake Wood, not Greinke).

Meanwhile, Kevin Millwood pitched eight innings, giving up just three runs, striking out seven, and amassing 120 pitches -- the most he's thrown this season. Millwood's workhorse-like outing kept the O's in the game and eventually allowed them to push the game into extra innings, when they scored on a bases-loaded single by Nick Markakis in the 10th.

It's rare enough for two of my teams to win on the same night. But it's absolutely crazy that the Wizards won the draft lottery and that the O's pulled off an exciting 10th inning comeback victory all in the span of a few hours. And, as you might imagine, it was pretty cool.

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