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Thanks for joining us! We write about sports, food, life and anything else interesting here in Ashburn and Loudoun County, all while cramming as many features into the site as possible.

Our staff consists of one old man and a dog named Maggie The WonderBeagle. Want to know more? Click on the icon below:

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Aug
10

So Now The ACC's Bold Plan Is To Hire Consultants?

I will admit, I have not been impressed with new ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips since hearing his comments at ACC Media Days last month.

Work in Corporate America long enough and you’ll see certain types of people in charge. Some are leaders, ready to charge the next hill and find a way to get their company to the top. Some are dreamers, not necessarily being all that interested in all the numbers on the profit and loss statement, but always asking “why can’t WE do that?” and pushing the envelope at every turn.

Then there are some that just want to be the person in charge. Many get there because of longevity, as someone left and it was “their turn.” They generally make sure the lights are on and the doors are open, and they serve as an ambassador for their business at meetings with customers and the community, but they don’t really add a lot. If there’s a problem, they talk in terms of studying the problem, maybe even appointing a committee to figure it out.

That’s the vibe Phillips gave off when asked what the ACC would do in the face of the Big Ten poaching UCLA and USC from the PAC-12. He spoke in analytical verbiage, all but said everything was fine, and that the ACC would not be left behind.

About the only thing Phillips didn’t do that day was say the ACC would hire consultants to make sure everything turned out fine.

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Aug
08

Pry's First Season Will Show Us A Lot About The Hokies' Future...

First-year coaches generally get a pass in college football, but I’m taking a different approach this year with Virginia Tech’s new Head Hokie Brent Pry.

The future of the Virginia Tech football program will become a lot clearer this year. Pry has his work cut out for him — the Hokies weren’t very good last year and many of the returners from that roster have been inconsistent throughout their careers.

Theoretically, this will be the worst roster Pry ever coaches while in Blacksburg, but it is also the perfect time for us to get a framework of the kind of coach Brent Pry can be. Rather than coast on the traditional hall pass that is Year One, we should be able to see Pry flexing his coaching acumen.

The strength of the decisions he makes, as well as wins and losses, will matter quite a bit this year.

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Aug
05

It's Going To Be Tough Watching Mancini In An Astros Jersey...

I had been looking forward to Monday night for weeks. It was Aug. 1, which meant one of my favorite bands, a Scottish group called CHVRCHES, was coming to The NorVa on their most recent American tour.

I left my apartment and started towards my friend’s place, as we were carpooling. And it was at that moment that I checked a notification on my phone that immediately dampened my mood.

Trey Mancini had been traded to the Houston Astros.

I spent the remainder of the drive trying to exorcise my feelings of disappointment and frustration, hoping to get rid of them all before arriving at the 7:30 p.m. concert. The performance was spectacular and I had an amazing time, but the following day forced me to fully confront my displeasure with the Mancini trade head-on.

Sure, the Orioles received a couple of pitching prospects, and those prospects have names and abilities that may one day help Baltimore win their first World Series since 1983. But it’s hard to comprehend that at the moment.

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Aug
03

Rest In Peace, Vin Scully: The Greatest Of All Time

Many times over the last few years, an old friend – the late Wendy Rieger – and I would commiserate over getting old. One of her favorite lines about our advancing in age was saying “it seems like the only thing I’m getting better at is learning how to deal with a sense of loss.”

I could hear her saying those words in my head this morning when I turned on my computer and saw that at the age of 94, Vin Scully had passed away.

To say Scully was the greatest baseball announcer that ever lived is both true, but an incomplete answer. He was much more than a baseball man, or a broadcaster, for that matter. In an age where the strength of an announcer’s voice has been at times more important than his substance, Scully was the full package of a smooth voice combined with a substance that far exceeded the bounds of chalk lines and green grass.

If you grew up in the 50s and 60s like I did, radio announcers held a special standing in your sports world. Every game ever played wasn’t on television so you were dependent on the sounds of a person you’d never meet coming through a tiny transistor radio to paint the pictures of what was going on with your favorite team in a town hundreds of miles away. You grew dependent on that person every night, to the point he eventually became part of the family.

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Aug
03

Preller Proves To Be Rizzo’s Padre At Trade Deadline

If you asked me entering this season who the Nationals were likely to trade at this year’s deadline, I would’ve spewed off a somewhat extensive list of names. Some of them materialized, while many of them did not.

I would’ve never included Juan Soto, though.

Yet here we are, with Soto and Josh Bell both heading out west to San Diego, adding to a lineup that already includes Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr.

The struggles of the team, combined with Scott Boras once again puffing out his chest in contract negotiations, arguably severed the long-term relationship between Soto and the Nationals. After their camp rejected a 15-year, $440 million new contract, it became clear that reaching free agency was inevitable and a priority for Soto and Boras – and we’ve all seen how risky that game is.

Given these financial demands and poor overall outlook for the franchise, it wasn’t too difficult to understand that the Nationals should start fielding offers on Soto – mostly to just do their due diligence.

But to pull the trigger still sounded far-fetched.

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Aug
02

It Was Only A Few Years Ago That Everything Looked So Bright...

I don’t know why, but it seems the universe is punishing me.

Well, the sports universe is.

I came to this conclusion thinking back to 2016. Virginia Tech football had a new coach in Justin Fuente and the Hokies went 10-4, including a big comeback at South Bend to beat Notre Dame, and an even bigger comeback in a bowl game against Arkansas. VT was down 24-0 at halftime and still won.

This new guy could be OK, I thought.

That same year the Washington Redskins were coming off a 9-7 year where they made the playoffs and Kirk Cousins had everybody saying “you like that?” There was a Sunday night in late November where Cousins threw for 375 yards and Washington kicked Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers all over the field.

Things were coming together for this favorite team too.

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Jul
30

Bells Are Ringing: Many Nats Could Be On The Move

All season, we’ve discussed how the Nationals would likely soon flip a handful of their best players for prospects or younger big leaguers. Thus far, that hasn’t happened. But in any profession, deadlines spark action.

Tuesday, August 2 marks the annual MLB Trade Deadline. Every year, it’s a time when the rich get richer and the bottom-feeders attempt to reset their rosters looking toward the future.

For the second consecutive season, the Nationals find themselves in the latter category. In fact, they’re the lowest of the low across the entire league.

What makes the Nationals so much more captivating approaching this year’s deadline than most “sellers”, however, is that they hold the keys to some of the best available assets that “buyers” will be bidding for.

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Jul
25

Washington Nationals Mailbag No. 1: Say it Ain’t Soto!

I’ve decided to let our loyal audience call the shots, and you all didn’t disappoint! Unsurprisingly, everyone wants to hear about Juan Soto from the perspective of a non-credentialed reporter or national talking head.

I want to lay out some context here, because I want everyone to realize that I’m just like you. I’ve followed this team since it returned to DC. I was there for the highs of Alfonso Soriano in 2006, for example, but man, those weren’t pretty seasons!

The team got much better, beginning in 2012. But looking back, it’s almost all forgettable for me. Maybe it’s a product of being a prisoner of the moment, but much of what’s happened during the last three seasons feels all too familiar.

We’ve seen the Washington Nationals let star after star slip away. We’ve heard the – in hindsight – empty promises that the next guy would be handled differently.

I used to believe them. Heck, I got a Juan Soto shirsey in 2019, and my parents bought me a Soto jersey for my birthday in April. The Nationals told us Soto, much like stars past, would be different. They had me hook, line and sinker.

Guess what? For better or worse, this time is different! Rather than waiting until his contract is almost up, the Nationals are actively negotiating with Soto. It’s convoluted by numerous factors, though, from a transfer in team ownership to an on-field product that’s regressed further and quicker than anyone could’ve expected, with a splash of a greedy agent holding the organization hostage.

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Jul
22

A Question For The ACC Commissioner: What's The Plan, Jim?

As the esteemed owner and editor of Dulles District will attest, if you’re not getting better at something then you are getting worse.

It’s applicable in all areas of life. If Juan Soto doesn’t continue to get better as a hitter, he’ll eventually be surpassed by his peers and watch others slug their way to a Home Run Derby title. If Dave doesn’t continue getting creative in the kitchen with his signature cooking skills, I’ll eventually catch up to him.

Maybe.

But for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the plan seems to be to stand pat while the rest of the Power 5 aims at getting better. And you know what that means.

The ACC is getting worse.

Rather than lay out a vision for the ACC to solidify its future as one of the premier athletic conferences in America, newly minted commissioner Jim Phillips seemed to simply point at the ACC’s Grant of Rights and say, “we’re fine.”

Sure, on paper, the Grant of Rights, which binds member schools’ media rights to the ACC through 2036, would seem to lock each school into the ACC for the foreseeable future. But as Phillips himself noted at ACC Kickoff earlier this week, that doesn’t mean much when many of the folks at the table had nothing to do with the creation of the document.

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Jul
15

Will Nationals Choose Youth or Experience With No. 5 Pick?

There hasn’t been a whole lot to get excited about for the Washington Nationals this season, as some young players like Josiah Gray and Luis Garcia have made strides at the major league level, but most veteran players on the roster – including Juan Soto – have struggled throughout most of the first half of 2022.

The team will continue to get younger at next month’s Trade Deadline, but their most impactful young player will likely be added via the MLB First-Year Player Draft Sunday night.

The Nationals own the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, and it’s the highest pick they’ve had since selecting Bryce Harper first overall in 2010. With their top pick, they’re almost certain to select a position player for the second consecutive year (Brady House in 2021). Last season was a departure from their typical approach, which had been to select a high-risk, high-reward pitcher. I discussed Washington’s recent draft history last year, and NexGen Nats offered a harsh but fair critique of the team’s failures in the first round since 2012.

This time around, they won’t really even have the option of taking a pitcher, because this year’s group is rather subpar.

The consensus top two prospects in this year’s crop are outfielder Druw Jones and shortstop Jackson Holliday – both of whom are sons of long-time, highly productive Major Leaguers (Andruw Jones and Matt Holliday). Beyond that, there’s less agreement within the draft community. However, there’s a group of four players from whom Washington’s selection seems most likely to come.

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Jul
14

Man, I Can't Wait Until Ricky Turns 40 :)

College football is quite unstable, and this uncertainty makes it difficult to have fun conversations about the sport knowing that it all might be tilted onto its head over the next 10 years.

So instead, I’d like to write a little about the past. After all, now that I’m the ripe age of 28, I can start providing some historical context that I actually lived through and didn’t just read about.

My journey to Virginia Tech football fandom began in earnest in the early-to-mid 2000s. I could start to understand the game at this age, and NCAA Football 2005 was the never-ending fix I never knew I wanted.

This was an exciting time for the Hokies. The National Championship Game berth wasn’t that long ago, the Hokies were moving into a larger conference with a better future and Tech was always competing for conference championships. BCS bowl games were a regularity. Something was amiss if Bud Foster’s defense wasn’t one of the best in the nation.

Two linchpins of Foster’s defenses in that era are two of my favorite players to ever watch — Xavier Adibi and Vince Hall. Adibi was inducted into Tech’s Sports Hall of Fame last year and this coming fall, we’ll watch his battery mate join him.

Adibi and Hall combined with James Anderson to create one of the best and most explosive linebacking corps in the country. Adibi and Hall, in particular, were especially intimidating up front. The pair started together for the first time in 2005, immediately helping the Hokies finish first in the nation in yards allowed and second in scoring defense. Tech finished first in scoring defense the following season and in 2007, the pair’s final season, Tech finished third in scoring and fourth in yards allowed.

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Ricky LaBlue

Ricky LaBlue

A longtime sports fanatic, Ricky is now channeling that passion into the world of sports media. Meet Ricky LaBlue.

Stephen Newman

Stephen Newman

The only things he loves more than following Virginia Tech and Washington sports teams are dogs. Meet Stephen Newman.

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