City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Swooning for Ted Leonsis, DeAngelo Hall; Free Preakness Tout Service!

A day after the crushingest defeat of his Capitals ownership, Ted Leonsis went on "The Sports Reporters" on WTEM-980.

He was awesome.

Hosts Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin brought up the rumored but unspecified injuries to Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green, giving Leonsis an opportunity to blame his team's ouster from the Stanley Cup playoffs on mitigating factors.

He wouldn't take it.

"All teams are banged up," Leonsis said.

Leonsis thanked the fans and sounded sorry for letting them down. He said he's capped the number of season tickets at 13,000 for next year so folks who have been loyal for years but can't afford to buy for every game can still get in.

Not that the cap will hurt his wallet: He said he expects all games in the 2009-10 season will still sell out anyway.

Why do fans like him so?

Leonsis said it's because his organization is "transparent" and "honest" with the fans.

The Leonsis interview will be repeated on WTEM on "The John Thompson Show."

On a related note: WTEM is owned by Dan Snyder. If I'm not mistaken, Snyder has NEVER been interviewed by Pollin and Czaban, hosts of the best and top-rated show produced by the station, which runs in afternoon drive time.

Leonsis: Honest, transparent, beloved.

Snyder: Meh. Nah. Bah humbug.

***
The positive power of exposure was also in evidence when another Snyder employee, DeAngelo Hall, went on WJFK's "The Sports Junkies" during yesterday's morning drive-time.

Hall came to the Redskins last season with an awful reputation. He'd been given away by Atlanta and Oakland, and in the past his alleged no-goodnickness was brought up more than his 40 time or two Pro Bowl appearances as a cornerback.

But hearing him talk with the Junkies, who asked again and again about his purported dark side, Hall was impossibly likable. Even when he was saying things folks could have trouble with. Like when he talked up his old teammate, the notorious dog killer Michael Vick.

Or about how much money he makes, and accusing ex-teammates in Oakland of disliking him only because he "got paid."

He boasted about his own off-field awesomeness, too: "I'm the coolest cat you'll ever meet."

And, after just a few minutes of hearing him talk about himself, you could believe he really was the coolest cat.

All the hosts believed, proclaiming as one that they were now "DeAngelo Hall guys."

I wanna be a DHG, too!

***

Switching Mediums: I have a new favorite TV show: DC Armor game replays, microcast Thursdays at 8 pm on WJLA's surplus digital station, channel 7.3 over the air.

I'd seen snippets of the telecasts before while surfing. But last night I sat through the whole 3-hours-plus broadcast, totally gripped.

The production values were fabulously horrendous. The audio was a quarter-second behind the video, giving interviews the feel of a vintage dubbed Japanese movie. The replays were grainy and choppy and had a Zapruder film quality to them.

The scoreboards in the arena were actually projected tv's shown on white screens set up at each end, the sort of set-up you'd by at Best Buy for your super bowl party then return for a refund after the game.

Even the sponsors were C List: All of the commercials were for some Maryland restaurant/freak magnet called Medieval Times. Tag line: "More Chivalry and romance! Call 1-800-We-Joust!"

The level of play was lousy. One DC Armor kickoff hit the speakers hanging from the ceilings, another went into the crowd at a right angle.

The crowd was announced as 1,389, which seemed accurate only if you removed the "1."

But play-by-play man Mark Gray didn't let the profound tickytackiness poison his commentating.

Gray, the longtime host of WOL's sportstalk show "The Sports Groove," gave fans a game call that could make you think you were watching a World Cup final. After the final gun, Gray told viewers they'd witnessed an "historic night!" What he meant was the expansion Armor had won their first home game ever.

As if the telecast wasn't enough of a time-machine, at game's end the station cut to an episode of "Rockford Files" — already in progress!

Old School! Have I died and gone to 1975?

I can't wait til next Thursday!

***
All the buzz and the money are riding with Rachel Alexandra, the first filly to be favored in the Preakness in a couple decades.

But John Scheinman, also known as the Last Turf Writer in Washington Post History, isn't buying into the hype. He never buys in.

Two of the biggest betting scores Scheinman made while on the Post's racing beat came when he bet against fan favorites and chalk: Barbaro in the 2006 Preakness and Smarty Jones in the 2004 Belmont (and on longshots Bernadini and Birdstone, respectively).

"Going against Barbaro in the Preakness was just not done," Scheinman says. "Everybody was thinking he was the second coming, but he didn't even make it to the clubhouse turn. I carried the ticket and felt like I had blood money in my pocket. When Smarty Jones was [going for the Triple Crown], I would have been happy to lose that bet on Birdstone. I was happier cashing that ticket."

He can't wait to bet against Rachel Alexandra.

"A lot of smart people are saying Rachel Alexandra's win in the Kentucky Oaks made them think of Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes," he says. "I was at the race, and I didn't see a machine. I saw a really good filly chasing down a lone speed horse running its eyeballs out, beating that horse into submission, then galloping away from three deeply inferior horses. That's not Secretariat in the Belmont. Now she's got to beat 6 or 7 or 8 horses the quality of which she's never faced. I don't see it."

But here's what Scheinman does see: Mine That Bird, Pioneer of the Nile, Musket Man, and Big Drama.

"I'm going to box 'em," he says. "All the women at the track for the Preakness will bet on the filly. But if she finishes where I think she's gonna, which is fourth or fifth, then I'm gonna blow up that triple."

You heard it here first, degenerates! And if Scheinman's picks don't come in, you get THE REST OF THE YEAR FREE!

***

My personal view, this Depression needs another Seabiscuit: So if either Rachel Alexandra or Mine That Bird takes both the Preakness and Belmont, everybody wins.

Everybody but Scheinman, anyway.

***
Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com

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