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Saturday Sports: Washington Commanders sale; historic streak in the MLB; NBA playoffs

MILES PARKS, HOST:

And now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

PARKS: The Washington Commanders go on sale with a big price tag. The hottest team in baseball, my Tampa Bay Rays. And the NBA playoffs begin. Here to talk about all of that, Howard Bryant of Meadowlark Media. Morning, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Miles. How are you?

PARKS: I'm doing great. Let's start with the NFL. Huge news this week - ESPN first reported that the embattled owner of the Washington Commanders, Dan Snyder, is ready to sell the team, and I feel like there was a collective sigh of relief in D.C. His tenure has been defined by controversy - mismanagement of the team, accusations of fostering a toxic workplace. Does this whole mess just get cleaned up by the sale?

BRYANT: Well, it can. And certainly, I'm sure people in Washington who are big football fans want to declare this a national holiday. It's been a terrible reign. This is one of the worst owners in the history of sports. And that's saying something because very few of them are actually any good. But you have to go back to Daniel Snyder. Let's not forget him insulting the Native American community by refusing to change the name of the team and then forcing - essentially being forced to do so. You've got the toxic workplace. And yes, does this clear up having a terrible owner? Yes. But there are still the lawsuit that is out there pending right now. There's still the report that has not been released about just to what depths Snyder has fostered this workplace culture. It's been a mess over there.

And it's not just there. It's also on the field - 24 years, no Super Bowl appearances, no conference championship appearances, only two playoff wins in 24 years. This whole thing has been a complete disaster. And really, I think that what it comes down to is people love that franchise, and he has been - he has not been a steward for the franchise. He's been a terrible, terrible owner. This is a great news for D.C. But also, he bought that team for $800 million and is going to sell it for 6 billion. So I'm sure people aren't weeping for him there either.

PARKS: Yeah, not too much pity. Let's turn to baseball now. My hometown Tampa Bay Rays tied the record over the last couple weeks for most wins in a row to start a season - 13 straight. And I'm wondering - 13-0 start - should I start saving my money for the World Series now? Or should I wait a couple weeks? What's the plan here?

BRYANT: No, you should do it now. I mean, they're a great team. They've been a great team. They've been knocking on the door for a few years. They went to the World Series in 2020, lost to the Dodgers in the shortened season. They've been to the playoffs four straight years. I mean, it's a franchise that - as you know, that has been known for what? The front office and really low attendance. But now we should be focusing on the players, especially Wander Franco. He's a generational talent, and this is a very, very good baseball team.

There's nothing about them that you look at where - they're a likable team for the most part. People look at them, and they think about the analytics and everything. But boy, they play the game right. They pitch. There's not an area in the game that they don't do well. And, you know, when you win the first 13 games of the season - I mean, no one thought they were going to win 162 in a row. But that gives you a cushion that is pretty much going to almost guarantee you're going to make the playoffs. And once you get there, we'll see what happens. But they're a very, very good team.

PARKS: And then, lastly, the NBA playoffs start today. They're long. We're going to be talking about this for the next couple weeks. But I want to focus on the first round - eight matchups. What's the one series that you're most excited to watch?

BRYANT: Well, I'm going to talk about two things. The first thing I'm going to talk about is the Golden State Warriors. That's the series in the NBA to watch. The Warriors are the defending champions. They were 11-30 on the road, but they're playing Sacramento. And the Kings hadn't been to the playoffs since 2006.

And then the other thing I want to talk about really quickly is, let's not forget about the Boston Bruins and the NHL. NHL playoffs start. The Bruins - 65 wins, 135 points. But you still got to go through Tampa Bay, who has been - you know, they've won the conference the last three years and two out of the last Stanley Cups.

PARKS: Yeah, it's one of the best times in sports - lots of playoffs, lots of games. That's Howard Bryant of Meadowlark Media. Thanks so much, Howard.

BRYANT: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Miles Parks is a reporter on NPR's Washington Desk. He covers voting and elections, and also reports on breaking news.