If one were to describe Washington sports hell, it might simply be called being a Washington Wizards fan.
But I'm not sure that is true sports-fan hell -- to be a Wizards fan is to be indifferent at best, numb at worst.
Now, if Dante were covering sports in Washington, he might say hell is this: Having two of the greatest young sports stars of their era -- generational players -- broken early in their careers, with all attention paid to their busted limbs and how best to resurrect the greatness promised.
In Stephen Strasburg,, you have a pitcher who was heralded as the an unprecedented prospect, compared already to Justin Verlander, and who debuted on national television with a 14-strikeout performance and left the voices of the game speechless.
Yet last week, the national conversation about Strasburg was what's wrong with him after he struggled against the Atlanta Braves in between sulking and shaking. Scouts across the country were calling media members offering their analysis. Former players like Curt Schilling were weighing in, claiming that Strasburg's delivery from day one has forever cursed him to have arm problems.
The story given is that Strasburg was not right Monday night because of a muscle stimulation machine, which I suspect is now on the curb at Nationals Park, free for the taking. But because of the Strasburg "shutdown" from last season -- the Nationals' rehabilitation plan to limit his innings coming back from Tommy John surgery in September 2010 -- every little twitch is magnified, fuel for the debate that will likely last for his entire career, however long or short it may be, about the organization's decision to stop pitching a healthy pitcher in a playoff year.
The same voices of the game who sang the young pitcher's praises cursed the team's decision to protect him and saw a chance to say, "I told you so." They may still get that chance, because no one will ever know if the Nationals' decision was the right one.
So one superstar was protected, and the reaction was vilification. The other, RGIII -- SuperBob -- was sent out on a football field in a playoff game against Seattle defenseless on one leg, resulting in torn knee ligaments that required a second surgery in four years for the rookie quarterback who was changing the game.
SuperBob came out this week a-tweeting and a-talking, railing against tyranny and telling ESPN the Magazine that someone was to blame for putting him at risk, but we still don't know who.
"With what happened and how everything was running -- you take me out," he said. "If that happened again next year, I'd come out of the game and sit until I was 100 percent."
Who is the "you" there, SuperBob? Me? Someone who, according to the story, took accelerated Latin at Baylor should be able to get his pronouns straight.
Strasburg and RGIII -- what's wrong and who was wrong? Washington sports hell.