Beloved Royals Crush Rivals (Updated)

UPDATE: The NHL pairings are set, with the Caps getting the Rangers in the first round. The teams have played four times in the playoffs, with the series tied 2-2. (It surprised me that they hadn’t played more in the post-season, since they are former Patrick Division rivals). Also, the detested Penguins will indeed meet the despised Flyers in the first round, so there’s one potential nemesis dispatched without effort. The way the seedings work out, if higher seeds win, the Caps can only meet a Pennsylvania team in the Eastern Conference Finals. Here’s hoping they don’t.

I’ve written before about the loneliness of the long distance Royals fan, so figure that I need to quickly get online this morning to crow about the fact that my beloved Kansas City baseball club is sitting atop the American League Central Division, a titanic one game above .500, and with a commanding half-game lead over Marcia’s Twinkies. Yeah, I know it’s only day four of the season, but as a long-suffering victim of The Curse of Joaquin Andujar (see the first link above for explanation, since no one other than a serious Royals fan, all seven of us, would get that reference), I figure that I need to get my gloat in while I can. So take that, Twinkies! And all the rest of you Central Division scum, too! How do you like the view of the (rarely seen) Royals’ back end, eh?

In other sports news, after a couple of seasons of twitchy, spasmodic near-success, my beloved Washington Ex-Bullets have returned to their normal bottom-feeding mode this season, which is disappointing, although I have to admit feeling more love for and interest in the NBA this year than I have in a long time. There are so many interesting storylines this year, the list of awe-inspiring, charismatic, game-changing players seems higher than it’s been in years, and the league and many of its stars seem to be taking themselves a bit less seriously this year, which makes the whole affair much more fun to follow. Some of the potential playoff matchups this year look epic, so I’m looking forward to watching all of that, just like the beloved Ex-Bullets will be doing.

On the other side of the spectrum, though, my beloved Washington Capitals are having a banner season, having broken their franchise record for points with a game yet to play. I was living in the DC metropolitan area when the Caps played their first season in the winter of 1974-75. They were playoff regulars for most of the ’80s and ’90s, even reaching the Stanely Cup finals once, where they were swept in four games by Detroit in 1997-98. They also experienced some of the most heartbreaking post-season meltdowns ever during those years, typically at the hands of the detested Pittsburgh Penguins or the despised Philadelphia Flyers. Grrr, Pennsylvania hockey teams make me angry!

But this year, they’ve got at least two rounds of home games locked up, and an exciting, young, high-scoring team, and they’re not going to face the Penguins or the Flyers in the first round, so that’s a good sign. (In fact, the two loathesome Pennsylvania teams could end up playing each other in the first round, so that’s a nice way of eliminating at least one nemesis, should it happen that way).

So go Caps! And Go Royals! And pass the popcorn, Ex-Bullets!

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