DCSB: Holy wow, the Mystics

Ahem. Ok. It’s time to get excited about the Mystics. You don’t have to paint your face. You don’t have to buy merchandise, at least not yet. But you might want to start paying…
The Washington Post
D.C. Sports Bog
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It’s time to get excited about the Mystics. Right now. This second. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Ahem. Ok. It’s time to get excited about the Mystics.

You don’t have to paint your face. You don’t have to buy merchandise, at least not yet. But you might want to start paying attention.

Because the Mystics just advanced to the WNBA Finals for the first time in a 21-year franchise history that has been pockmarked with far more disappointments than highlights.

Because for all our lamentations about the Caps in the playoffs and the Nats in the playoffs and the Wizards in the playoffs and the Redskins in general, it’s the Mystics who almost certainly have Washington’s most miserable history: a 3-27 season, back-to-back years with a combined 11-57 record, exactly three winning seasons in their first 17 years of existence, a playoff past too gross to even mention. (Okay I’ll mention it: one playoff series win in their first 19 seasons! One!)

Because it’s now Washington vs. Seattle, 40 years after a different Washington vs. Seattle series led to D.C.’s single best pro hoops moment. Because a star named Elena Delle Donne came back from what looked like a season-ending injury (and then professed her love for D.C. on national television), and because a rookie named Ariel Atkins is now possessed by hyperactive gritty demons, and because a veteran named Kristi Toliver — who hit what remains one of the most memorable basketball shots I’ve ever watched — is happily directing it all.

Because Bradley Beal is in, and Derrius Guice is in, and D.C. United is in, and people who’ve waited a long time for this are in, and hundreds or maybe thousands of random Washington sports fans who don’t often watch the WNBA were in on Tuesday night, and that was fun, it really was, because maybe we don’t usually watch the WNBA playoffs, but now we were all watching this together.

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Because Washington’s steady and sturdy fourth quarter — polished off by Delle Donne, the best free-throw shooter in WNBA history and one of the best free-throw shooters in the history of organized basketball — gave me and my wife an excuse for some late-night bourbon, and honestly, anything that provides an excuse for late-night bourbon must have several redeeming qualities.

Because the greatest summer in Monumental Sports history just keeps getting better, a Caps Stanley Cup followed by a civic burst of Caps elation followed by a (sort of ridiculous) Arena Bowl win followed now by this Mystics run.

Because the Nats are toast, and the Caps and Wizards are still on break, and the Redskins keep begging me to buy tickets to the home opener, and there’s a window here — a modest, humble window, but a window nonetheless — for the Mystics finally, after 21 years, to get a tiny, tiny bit of attention from casual D.C. sports fans.

Because a newsletter reader named Peter emailed me this in the middle of the night, asking me to lead today’s newsletter with the Mystics, and I just can’t imagine a compelling retort: “The football season hasn’t started yet. The Nats are out of it. If D.C. sports fans can’t muster some excitement for a D.C. team in the league finals, then maybe they aren’t really DC sports fans. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”

That’s the pitch, anyhow. Scott Allen put together four reasons to jump on the bandwagon, and that should push you over the edge. Game 1 is Friday at 9 in Seattle. Washington’s home games will be at George Mason. And it’s … okzy to believe? As always, you can find me @dcsportsbog or via email, and let’s do this again tomorrow.

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