Dynasty is not just a prime time soap opera. Take the Woodrow Wilson Tigers baseball team.
Wilson competes in the Public School Sports League, DCIAA, in Washington, DC, although “competition” here can only be used loosely. Wilson beat DCIAA opponents 235-0 this season as they went into last week’s championship game against School Without Walls (SWW).
The umpires have introduced a slashing rule থাকলে either game is over if either team leads by 15 runs after 3 innings or 10 runs after five innings ায় in every game of the Wilson League this season except one: SWW only lost 6-0 to Wilson. Regular season matchup. Alas, the rematch of the teams in the DCIAA title game on Thursday, in a sixth innings led by Wilson’s Elias Rosario, raised the Tigers to 10, creating the result of a strange walk-off when ump declared a slaughter and closed the contest.
Wilson’s cartoonish dominance in DCIAA baseball, and the brutality of competition offered by other public schools in the city, is nothing new. The 2022 championship was Wilson’s 29th consecutive DCIAA title. Wilson has not lost a game to a public school in another city in more than 23 years. And the Tigers’ last league defeat, to Dunbar in 1999, was Wilson’s only defeat in 30 seasons.
Here’s a look at how long the winning streak has been: Josh Kribs was a sophisticated Dunbar player whose extra-base hit was key to the 1999 rally that beat Wilson in his last league. Kribes could return more kicks for touchdowns than any other return person in history to win multiple Pro Bowl invitations and his NFL career. He has been retired for eight years now. Eddie Smith, Wilson’s starting pitcher during the Tigers’ last league defeat, is now 40 years old. Manny Burris is considered to be the only Wilson Alum to make Major League Baseball. Burris, a classmate of 2003, never lost a league game while still in school. Her son now plays for Wilson.
The opening of the Washington National Youth Baseball Academy in southeastern DC in 2014 was to expand the supply of young baseball talent around the city. But there is zero evidence of DCIAA standing change; Anacostia High School has not fielded a single baseball team this year.
The Wilson baseball team has never received much support from its various official overlords. Eddie Shah, the man who turned the program into a gambler as a Wilson instructor in the early 1990’s, told me after retiring in 2009 that he was sick of begging the city’s school system for a baseball staple. Like a baseball field, for example: Shah’s teams play all home games on a converted football field with a right field fence just 180 feet below the line.
The school thought it was its dream field in 2010, when a diamond was built in Fort Reno Park, a federally owned plot across the street from Wilson High. (Fort Reno has been best known as the temple of rock fans for hosting free concerts every summer for decades, including the existence of that well-developed band, including the Fugazi show.)
But since the Fort Reno area has not been opened by any of the bureaucrats who were involved in its construction – the US Park Service, the DC Department of Parks and Recreation or the DC Public Schools – have not done much to maintain the ballpark. Because these organizations were constantly arguing over who should pay for what, field maintenance was left to Wilson coaches, players and parents. Drainage problems have been a persistent problem due to field design errors. Nearly all of Wilson’s scheduled games against non-DCIA schools were played on the street instead of in a mix of Fort Reno’s mounds of mounds and cut grass.
The perpetual feud between local and federal agencies, which would not have existed had DC not only ruled, became nuclear in March 2022. Park Service officials instructed the DPR to tear down the batting cage at Wilson’s ground without telling anyone in Wilson, saying the cage was not allowed on federally owned land. The cage has been there for six years, and the lack of time and communication from government officials makes the whole affair seem vindictive.
The Wilson players publicly confronted Mayor Muriel Bousser a few days after the midseason demolition project, and their protest was caught by local TV news crews covering the mayor’s presence at the opening day of a DC Little League. That little activism of baseball led the warring parties to agree almost immediately to allow a new cage to be assembled at Fort Reno.
The government came up with a way to end Wilson’s insane winning streak. Type, type. In December, the DC Council finally voted to remove the name of Woodrow Wilson, a hyper-racist villain from the school’s marquee, and renamed it Jackson-Reed High School in honor of two local black education pioneers. So, those who are leaning can finally say that Wilson has won his last baseball game.
All other evidence, however, suggests that the school may not soon fall off the DCIAA position at any time. But a sign of the past: No other public school in the city has fielded a junior varsity baseball team this year. Wilson had two. Even if the Knights Academy can’t move the needle, who knows what it will take to revive baseball at another DC school. Either way it’s not the Tigers’ problem: all they can do is keep winning.