With the change of the New Year we reflect upon a season of ups and downs for Washington area sports:
Washington Nationals- After entering the season with high expectations, the Nats disappointed the entire fan base with their 2013 campaign. Bryce Harper, Stephan Strasburg, and Gio Gonzalez all shined and showed great signs of development, but simply weren’t enough to lead Washington into the playoffs. 2013 was also the end of the Davey Johnson era, which saw the Nationals make their first ever playoff appearance. Johnson had a rough outing in his final season, and was never able to live up to his preseason “World Series or Bust” comments. I predict the Nationals will return to form in 2014, and qualify for their second playoff appearance in three seasons.
Washington Redskins- The ‘Skins began 2013 with high hopes of diving deep into the playoff race. Washington captured their first NFC East crown since 1999, but was unable to topple the Seattle Seahawks in a game, which saw Robert Griffin III tear his ACL. The handling of RG3 was under much scrutiny for the entire off-season and bled into a disappointing 3-13 season. Owner Daniel Snyder relieved head coach Mike Shanahan of his duties, and Washington will now look to move in a new direction in 2014. I predict Washington will finish the 2014 season 7-9 and once again miss out on the post season.
Washington Wizards- Zard Nation performed admirably in 2013 watching the team play impressive basketball with point guard John Wall in the lineup. Washington, however, was unable to qualify for the playoffs and landed home grown star Otto Porter Jr. Then, the Wizards dealt for center Martin Gortat, which has helped Washington to a 14-17 record thus far in 2013. In 2014, Washington will get their first taste of the post season since 2008, and the future looks bright for the Wizards.
Washington Capitals- The Capitals persevered through a tumultuous 2013, qualifying for the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. Captain Alex Ovechkin returned to form and dominated the NHL, winning the Hart Trophy. Washington has continued to show improvement and will finally break through before falling in the Conference finals.