Document Review

Jun 10

The Time Tony Kornheiser Pissed Off The Entire Country of Bolivia and Created An International Incident

Saying that it feared a violent reaction to a recent sports column in The Washington Post, Bolivia has canceled a visit to that country by two American teams and is considering withdrawing from the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

The column, written last week by Tony Kornheiser, dealt with Bolivia’s announcement in May that the economy would not allow the country to field an Olympic squad, a decision that was later reversed. (6/15/1984)

Mr. Kornheiser, reached at home in Washington, said he was sorry if he had offended Bolivians. ”I certainly meant no disrespect to the Bolivian people,” he said, adding that the aim of the column was satirical and that it had been written ”tongue in cheek.”


George Solomon, the Post’s assistant managing editor for sports, said: “It was a funny column. If Art Buchwald wrote about them, would they withdraw from the United Nations?” (6/14/1984)


The Bolivian Olympic Committee, by a vote of 9 to 6, decided Wednesday night to participate in the Games that begin July 28 in Los Angeles. (6/21/1984)


Bolivia has decided not to participate in the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games to protest a recent Washington Post article that “injured the dignity of the country,” Bolivian Sports Secretary Julio Barragan said. (6/24/1984)

In a Washington Post column, which writer Tony Kornheiser said was intended to be humorous, he suggested that “one of the sponsors of the games, such as Budweiser could bring the Bolivian athletes (to Los Angeles) and that they could later pay their debt selling beer.”

Kornheiser also wrote that he would give $13 to the team if Bolivia baptized its national flower with the name of the Australian singer Olivia Newton-John. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he wrote,” the Bolivia Olivia.”


We hope Bolivia’s athletes are sturdier than the dignity of their leaders…It is one thing to stay away from the Olympics for bona fide reasons of poverty. But to base an Olympics boycott on something no more earth-shaking than a newspaper column, by a writer who has apologized and said he meant no disrespect, is ludicrous. (6/29/1984)


The Bolivian government changed a previous decision Monday and authorized a delegation of four athletes to participate in the Los Angeles Olympics, according to Miguel Urioste, a government official. (7/10/1984)

"Independent of any political considerations, and having received public satisfaction on the part of a press organ that affected the dignity of our country, the constitutional government has decided to authorize the trip of Bolivia’s four best athletes."

U.S. Ambassador Edwin Corr and political and sports figures later met with Barragan in an effort to persuade him to reverse the government’s decision.

Nov 8

Aug 16

Rob Dibble apologizes, 8/15/2010.

Mar 9

The Unofficial Strasburg on MASN & MASN HD Drinking Game

1 drink if Bobby Sunshine:

says “young man”

says “beautiful day”

says “youngster”

says “good head on his shoulders”

says “See. You. Later.”

complains about Strasburg’s draft bonus

complains that Strasburg has never pitched a big-league inning

Drain glass if Bobby Sunshine:

says “jamjob,” “jam sandwich,” or some other jam variant

says “How far it this one going to go?” & ball is not HR

makes fun of stats

1 drink if Kenny Powers:

says “Niiiiiiiiiiiiice”

says “trust his stuff”

says “smackem yackem”

pines for the X-Mo camera

says “lunch”

tries to break down a batter’s swing

Drain glass if Kenny Powers:

emits a Paciorek-like subhuman wail when things go the Nats’ way

rides the officials for the Nats not getting calls

denigrates bloggers or people on Twitter

Jan 18

Oct 21

Ask the Post: Sports Editor Takes Your Questions

Fairfax, Va.: Redesigns are great and I do enjoy the new format. But I still find there’s too much coverage of the Redskins and not enough of the Caps. Is this something on your radar to address?

Matt Vita: Another comment on the re-design. Thanks. As for the coverage of the Redskins vs. the Capitals. We hear a lot — pro and con — about the amount of space we devote to the Redskins. They are the biggest sports story in town, and we try to cover it thoroughly. As for the Caps, they are a terrific story, and one that we devote a considerable amount of energy covering. Just recall last spring’s playoff drive. I think what’s happening now is that it’s still football season, so the Caps may seem to be getting less prominence. That will change as autumn turns to winter.

* * *

Chicken or the Egg: Which comes first?

I wish that the Post’s Sports section did a more balanced job of covering all four of the regions pro sports teams.

I’ve seen various Post editors and writers defend their choices to cover the Redskins ad nauseam, occasionally at the expense of the other pro teams. And the Post defends its choices by using web traffic and statistics to point out that readers to go the Redskins info.

Sure they do, I’m not likely to come to for Nats news, because most days, you guys don’t have any. So, which will come first, the chicken or the egg?

Matt Vita: Thanks for your comment. While the Redskins do indeed receive a considerable amount of coverage, we provide terrific coverage of all the sports teams in D.C., including the Nationals.

* * *

Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: What was behind the decision to remove the section listing results of area sports teams (i.e., of major leagues - NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS, NCAA) on the front page? I really liked the left margin summary of scores and results. It was a quick read and provided a reference to any accompanying article.

In fact, I believe that I have not seen the result of a DC United game on the front page for weeks. Surely, somewhere in the front page filled with stories about NFL quarterbacks or the New York Yankees, you guys could include some small blurb about previous night’s results for area teams …

Matt Vita: Yes, we did stop listing scores on the front of the Sports page with the re-design. Except for Monday’s paper, when we publish the NFL scores at the top of the page in the new navigation bar directing readers to stories inside the section. It was a judgement call.

* * *

Reston, Va.: Why does swimming have a special place and graphic on the Post’s sports web page?

I think most people are interested in the Capitals, the Redskins, the Wizards, the Nationals and their leagues, golf, tennis, soccer.

So why give swimming such a standard spot? Is some swimming organization paying for placement? Is a sports editor a swimming fan?

Matt Vita: That spot refers swimming fans to an experimental web page we launched last summer on the local swimming scene. It also has stories from Amy Shipley, one of our reporters who is one of the top writers on swimming nationally. And this winter it will be the place to go for high school swimming results in the Washington area. Check it out. 
(The sports editor likes swimming, but not any more than he likes a lot of other things.)

* * *

Alexandria, Va.: When I was in Boston in June one thing I liked about the Globe is that their sports page had a pretty thorough recap of all the playoff hockey series that were going on, even though the Bruins weren’t even in it anymore. And that’s what I don’t like about the Post - if it’s not about a local sports team, it’s lucky if it gets a mention outside of a box score. With so many people hailing from different cities in this area, I would think the readership would support a sports page that a more in-depth coverage of sports in general.

Matt Vita: You make a good point. Boston is a great, great hockey town. Washington seems to be embracing the sport through the Capitals’ success. So this spring we’ll try to adjust as things move along, and try to provide more of the Stanley Cup playoff coverage, even in summary form, should the Capitals bow out earlier than they’d like.

* * *

Redskins: I’ll defend the Redskins coverage. That’s what I want. And I’m not alone in this town, and people should stop trying to pretend that this isn’t a football town. L.A. gives inordinate coverage to the Lakers. They are a basketball town. This is what happens when one of your franchises dominates a market.

Matt Vita: Someone defending the amount of coverage we give to the Redskins. So I just thought I’d share it with everyone.

* * *

Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.: I get that the annual Redskins drama is a big story and should be covered, but for such an awful team, the Post sure as heck devotes are rather ungodly amount of resources to covering the same story: “Redskins Lose, Team Trying Not To Panic.”

That said, you have an excellent collection of writers who do some really outstanding work. Dave Sheinin’s story last week about Nick Adenhart had me near tears on the metro, Mike Wise’s story last spring on Donald Brashear was nothing short of surprising, Boz continues to delight every day, and Barry Srvluga might be the best of the bunch.

Now, if we could just get less Redskins…..

Matt Vita: Thanks for the shout-out to some of our great writers.

* * *

Franklin Square, Washington, D.C.: What will be the policy of printing game stories for the Wizards and Caps? I was surprised to see the Wizards vs. Hawks exhibition game story was not in my printed paper but was part of Michael’s blog — not even worthy of an online story? Couldn’t have been a timing problem unless Atlanta’s moved. Will East Coast games be in the print edition and all others online?

Matt Vita: We publish all the game stories in the paper, and provide coverage on-line, including on the Capitals Insider and Wizards Insider blogs. What you are referring to is deadlines — some non-East Coast stories don’t make the early editions. In fact, some late-ending stories occasionally don’t even make the paper. When that happens, we do post a story on-line right away for readers who want to see what happened immediately. In the following day’s paper, we either re-print the game story or follow through with a second-day story for those editions that failed to get it.

* * *

Arlington, Va.: The Post does a good job covering Georgetown and Maryland but seems to do less so with George Mason, Howard, and George Washington. The latter would be an excellent team to cover, either a real happy surprise or a disaster that would make the Redskins current difficulties seem like just another story.

Matt Vita: Thanks for the compliment on our Georgetown and Maryland coverage. We do cover George Mason, Howard and GW, though admittedly devote less space to those schools. We have a fulltime reporter whose job it is to cover their basketball teams. It’s all a matter of scale.

* * *

Bowie, Md.: Why are the Ravens not seen as a team in D.C.? They are doing well, but seem to be shunted to the back pages always. Why do we have to have all of the negative stories about the Redskins in the front of the Sports page.

And what about D.C. United? They are likely going to be in MLS playoffs and in the CONCACAF Champions League playoffs. It’s a shame that the Post spends so much time on losing teams (the Nats and Redskins) and not much time on winners (Ravens and United). Just a thought.

Matt Vita: Thanks. It’s a perfectly valid thought. See my previous reply on the Ravens. As for DC United, Steve Goff, who covers them, is the best soccer writer in the country. He’s United fans’ best advocate for better story placement, and usually lets us know when we are under-playing things. If you haven’t yet, take a look at Steve’s Soccer Insider blog on It’s a must-read for soccer fans in Washington and across the country.

Ask the Post: Sports Editor Takes Your Questions

Oct 1

Swing and a long one … deep left field … way back … warning track … wall … the leap … And the ball … is … GONE … GOODBYE!

Sep 22
“There must be something in the water, because the Chesapeake Drainage Basin seems to bring out the worst in team owners when it comes to meddling and making little progress. Ideally, the Lerner family is ready to let Rizzo and team president Stan Kasten strap in for the long, thankless task of building the organization up from a few key players worth watching: Zimmerman now, shortstop Ian Desmond soon, and power right-handers Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann eventually.” Baseball Prospectus - Kiss ‘Em Goodbye: Washington Nationals

Sep 21

USA Baseball held its trials for the 18-and-under National Team this week in North Carolina, and most of the elite prep players from the class of 2010 were there. I spoke with several scouts who attended, including multiple scouting directors, and here’s a summary of their reports on the best players there (the complete roster):

• Bryce Harper was, indeed, in North Carolina, and put on his regular show in BP. He wasn’t as good in games, although he improved after a four-punchout performance in the first game, and is still getting out on his front side too much; one scout thought it was obvious that Harper was still “pressing” as a result of all of the media attention in June. Behind the plate, he remains outstanding, with several raves about his arm strength and accuracy.

Law - Harper and others compete at trials

Page 1 of 2