Tracee Hamilton discusses local and national sports -- and whatever else you want to talk about.

May 09, 2013

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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I don't know whether someone's bounced one off somebody's helmet, but clicking the link at "For previous columns by Tracee Hamilton, visit .washingtonpost.com/hamilton." takes you to -- Boz's summary page.... Is this a plagiarism scandal <g>? 

Your unpaid producer, Section 405

That's hilarious, and of course Boz has no need to plagiarize me. There has been near constant problems with this since I started writing a column. A more sensitive person might start to take it personally. :)

And good morning, everyone. I literally just walked in the door, put out some salmon and cheese for the cat (really) and threw in a load of clothes because -- yes -- the water heater comes tomorrow. There was actual water (just damp, not a pool or anything) around it but it wasn't from the heater but from some kind of outlet valve of some ilk. So I may also need something done to the control on my water line. Because why wouldn't I? Anyway, that's the fascinating home improvement update from Casa de Tracee. And here is Doc's first trip across the keyboard. He is feeling very abandoned and milking it for all it's worth. So I'd better get going.

PH & I did go to Saturday's game at PNC Park. I wore my W cap & my Clippard tee shirt. The Pittsburgh fans were very very nice and courteous. There were many red jerseys, mostly with Harper or Strasberg or Zimmerman, though I saw a Werth and LaRoche or two. Even a couple of Morse! It was a great experience, and, of course, we won! The double steal (with RZimm having a sore leg!) was great, as was Clip's inning-ending defensive play (he deserved the win IMHO!). I also enjoyed your column on Jordan Zimmermann, Ms Hamiltonn!

Sounds like a great day at the park!

O goddess of the Plains and Knower of all things Great and small It seems that a significant number of NHL playoff games are going to sudden death overtime. However , they revert to the OLD overtime rules--no 5 minutes of 4 on 4 then shoot out if still tied as is the case in the regular season. Changing the rules for the playoffs seems silly if it means full teams going on forever. Here's a solution: 5 minute sudden death overtime "periods", the first one 4 on 4; the next one 3 on 3 ; 2 on 2; etc until goalie on goalie. How cool would THAT be ? I know the hockey purists will faint, but hey, purity is over rated anyway, right? The goddess can make this happen !

Ah, yes, my power is great, MVMD. Yes, the purists would faint, but the journalists trying to write running stories would be huge proponents. Maybe I can start a petition.

To worry, Ms. H - not panic, but worry that the Caps are doing a pretty good job against the Ranger's goalie, but are screwing up just enough to lose two in a row. (the Rangers aren't playing too badly, either). The "funny" thing is the Caps won the game in which the Rangers' defense was at its best. Enough complaining, let's just hope the Caps can win two out of three, or we'll have to switch all our worrying to the Nats. AHG

AHG: If you score 3 goals on Henrik Lundqvist in each of two games, you should normally expect to win at least one of those games, and probably both. Instead ...

I was actually walking up Half Street, in sunshine, when the Nats called off Tuesday's game. There was no rain the remainder of the evening. Yesterday's game was played, even though it actually rained. Leaving out the controversy over the thankfully-overturned stupid money-grubbing new rainout policy, what gives? <p> I'm reminded of the daytime Pirates game a few seasons ago that was "rained out" 6 hours ahead of what turned out to be glorious 80 degree blue sky weather.... 

BTW, I'm leaving for the ballpark sometime around noon... Section 405

So I'd better get to your posts early! I wish I could go but no way I can stay awake. Two hours of sleep last night.

I missed the rainout kerfuffle and have no yardstick to judge the rains here. We got poured on in New York Wednesday but happily I didn't need a cab so I didn't care!

With the so called "play-off penalty rules" of just let them play only seems to apply to who ever plays the Capitals. There have been what at least 3 if not 4 "soft" or bogus calls against the Caps. The "double" minor in the 1st period against Ovie and Erat when Stepan should have been called for elbowing Erat. But this still does not excuse the sloppy play of all the Caps players including Holtby. Yes he has had some stellar stops but then again he has left the net for two goal "empty net goals in three chances. Totally unacceptable.

I was a little surprised about the penalty to Erat and frankly to me it looked like three guys going very fast and getting tangled up with each other. But I didn't think Stepan was blameless. And Erat is going to pay the price.

And yes, Holtby has been puzzling. He was so good in the first two games and you can't be lights out every night, but his distance from the goal mouth is sometimes awesome to behold. That's how Oates wants him to play, though, so I don't anticipate a change.

Its all too typical for fans to blame a ref for their teams shortcomings. That said, this series is starting to have shades of the old Lakers/ NBA debacle. We had a player get hit after a goal, and there was no call. For the first time I have ever seen in hockey two players were called for a penalty on the same infraction (both of which were very questionable calls according to national and local media). The penalty discrepancy in the last two games is laughable. Its highly suspicious that the team that brings in the biggest national ratings also is getting the most calls. There is also the possibility that the NHL just has the most incompetent refs in a major sport.

I am always the last one of "the refs are against us" bandwagon. But there is no question there have been some questionable calls. We'll see how things go Friday night. But I'm with you -- hate going down that road but ... something to keep an eye on. The Caps have been very careful not to kvetch publicly about it.

Hi, Tracee. I've had season tickets with 7 different major and minor league teams, going back to when a full season upper box ticket at Memorial Stadium cost around $150. I never knew anyone to expect to get the same seat when he or she turned in a raincheck. C'mon folks, grow up and Go Nats!

It wouldn't have occurred to me, but it seems like the Nats are doing the right thing in changing the policy. It seems unfair to dictate when you have to attend a makeup game. The seating thing, alas, is going to continue to be a problem until the team stinks again. So pick your poison, Natstown!

The Nationals expected 35,000+ people to show up at a Thurs. afternoon game on 2 days notice or lose theuir money? How to insure that no one ever again buys a ticket in advance! That's not a learning experiencem, that's stupidity. I'm glad they came to their senses.

Yes, good for the fans for putting on the pressure and good for the Nats for listening.

Do you have any idea where the Nats ticket prices rank amongst the other MLB teams? I've been to both Camden and Nats Park and it seems Nationals tickets cost about 50% more. Just to get decent tickets (even with the infield dirt bordering the outfield, lower deck), I had to drop almost $360 for last nights game vs. the Tigers and that's not even counting parking and food.

It might be buried in here somewhere. That seems pricey but for four tickets? Six? Either way it's high; just wondering.

I like them, but F.P. made an egregious blunder this weekend when he said "Roger Craig made the split finger fastball famous." Elroy Face, 18-1 with the 1958 (I think or '59) Pirates was the first pitcher to make the then called forkball famous.

Okay. I seem to recall Craig teaching it to guys like Jack Morris during my time in Detroit, but I could also be wrong. It's all a blur. I do not remember Elroy Face, because I wasn't born -- I can say that less and less -- but I believe you.

handicapped accessibility at RFK was terrible, but I chalked that up to the old stadium. I've been to the new park exactly once. Access to the wheelchair seat was OK. Access to the bathroom was terrible, and occupied by peanut vendors who used it as a smoking lounge. Door lock did not work. Written complaints to Nats management went unanswered. Unfortunate Solution: Baltimore is not that far away, and while their owner is a fool, seating, ushers, parking, access, and bathrooms in Baltimore are accessible. It's too bad really, as I sure do like the Nats. They look great on my TV.

More people feel like you do -- the hassles of the ballpark are overriding the enjoyment. I would be pretty angry at finding myself in a smoking lounge inside the park. That's a no-no and employees should be following that rule.

You know I love Clippard and am always happy to see him pitch, but the last three games, aside from one inning by Storen, we've used only Clip & Soar (new nicknames?). I'm just as glad we aren't using HRod or the 3rd Z man (Duke), but shouldn't we use Stammen? He's been just outstanding. Clip is doing much better, BTW.

They seem to go through periods guys kind of disappear, but it's so much to do with matchups. I'm sure we'll see Stammen soon. In fact, maybe today!

In watching a lot of NHL playoff games this year, it seems that on many seemingly innocuous plays that involve contact, the "hit" player goes out of his way to embellish, flop, fake, or otherwise feign an injury. When did the NHL become so soccer-like? It is embarrassing, and our beloved Caps have also hopped on this bandwagon. Have you noticed an increase in these kinds of faking?

Yeah, there was at least one in last night's game, and I'm blanking on who it was, that was just embarrassing, it was so obvious. But until they cart the players off the ice on stretchers, only to have the players leap to their skates on the bench and come back in, I don't think it's reached soccer's level.

Weeks ago, you were worried about why your outside water was on but you found out it was just the Orkin people. Back when I was very young and trained for marathons in the extreme summer heat, I would run in the dark early mornings and I would refill my water bottle from people's outdoor faucets. I naively grew up in farm country and didn't think anything of it. But then someone told me that some Virginians could get spooked and come out shooting. Didn't believe them until I saw recently on the news that some teenager mistakenly came home very late to the wrong house and got shot as an intruder. (I guess this came under "whatever else you want to talk about.)

Yikes! I grew up in farm country, too, and you could trespass with impunity -- except during pheasant season. Then you might get shot "by accident" for traipsing around someone's farm. A lot of city folk go to my hometown, because the shooting there is pretty good, and they are amazed that they have to make arrangements with landowners.

I guess you can count me in as a purist, but MONTGOMERY VILLAGE is putting forth a solution where no problem exists (and I was at the 4 OT Night of the Skating Dead in '87. I also know exactly where I was when a certain player ended OT on May 10, 1970. You may have seen a picture of that one.) I would endorse his solution for the regular season, however, as I'm not a big fan of the shootout.

I kind of like the shootout but there's no way it should decide playoff games. So then if it's wrong, why use it at all? I don't know, but I enjoy watching it. (Love Night of the Skating Dead... I can't imagine how any of them managed to go that long. They lose so much water just practicing it's ridiculous.

I have been to 48 of the 50 states, having missed KS and MO. I turn 50 in a few months, and am thinking I should hit all 50 states before that date. It seems like the perfect time to do it is for the Nats at KC. I assume the KC fans will not have a problem with me rooting for the Nats, but other than baseball, is there anything to see in KC?

Oh yes. First, the Royals fans will not mind. That ballpark has been redone and it's pretty awesome. Make sure to try a Kansas City brew -- lot of microbreweries.

The Negro League HOF is there. The Nelson-Atkins museum. The ship they found in a wheatfield ... man, I always forget the name. Perfectly preserved steamboat that has been restored; it's amazing. Grrrr. I am so darn tired. The Arabia! There's lots of stuff. Remember, a lot of that is on the Missouri side. If you want to see Kansas, I suggest you go as far west as Lawrence. Less than an hour's drive and it's a great little town. The original rules of basketball might be housed there somewhere ... hmmm, let me think. Ah, yes, THE UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS! :) But seriously, you could take a look at Allen Field House and the attached museum, which is quite nice.

We solved that problem down here in the 'Glades: about half the outdoor faucets are "irrigation" water...and you never know which faucet's going to come up stinky.

My uncle was constantly trying to kill himself as a child. He drank kerosene but survived it. Then he and some friends took a drink out of the hoses that were watering the football field. The town still talks about that one. He hasn't lived there since the '60s.

On my way home last night, I turned on the radio to listen to Dave and Charlie tell me about the Nats game.. All I could find was hockey. This made me sad. Are the Nats on the radio anywhere when this happens? I need Dave and Charlie!

They must be. Here you go; they are on the 106.7 sister station.

 

There is some diving in all professional sports. The NBA has a ton too. However show me an occasion where a soccer player loses a tooth while scoring a goal and instead of celebrating looks for it with his teammates. Hockey players are a different breed of toughness than all the other sports (with the exception of football and thats a little different). Comparing them to soccer, is a low blow.

No argument from me. I can't remember which Cap lost eight teeth during a playoff game. And you are right, there is diving in all sports, and the NBA is quite guilty of it.

Roger Craig was the pitching coach who taught many of his pitchers the split finger fastball which is marginally different from a forkball in that it is thrown harder and is intended to have a little less drop but have it occur closer to the plate. So I think F.P. was right.

Craig was definitely the guy who spread the split-finger around the majors. I don't know a lot about Mr. Face (cousin of Mr. Hand).

My handle is the answer to your problem. Come upstairs and watch the game from Section 405. They're great seats and they are $10 list price (often a little less on StubHub). You get to watch the game as a whole, baseball as a chess match - you don't get the same sense of player positioning when you sit downstairs. They're one of the best bargains in sports. Equivalent priced seats in Camden Yards are located in Dundalk. Even if I won the lottery and could sit anywhere I wanted, I'd still want at least a third of my games in 405. Well, if I won the lottery, maybe 305... Section 405

And you'd be able to watch the game with 405, which would be fun. He's good people.

The case of the drunken teenager (while horrible) is a bit different. He actually entered the house and continued to advance towards the homeowner when told to stop. True, a gun nut could shoot you when outside filling a water bottle but the chances are almost nil.

With all the home invasions these days you'd have to be worried if someone came in your house, no question.

I don't think of it as "changing the rules" for the playoffs. Basically they just continue playing the game under regular conditions until one team wins. It's more like they added rules for the regular season to avoid so many ties.

That's a fair way of looking at it.

Don't get why he's suing - I don't know how he was harmed by the tour when he was the one who volunteered that he took the deer antler spray in a magazine article. They investigated briefly, then dropped it. And who takes medical advice from a caddie???

No one who's dumb enough to use that stuff should be awarded a dime.

Is that deal with McLemore's non-KU coach meaningless or really, really meaningless? The school didn't do anything; in fact the school would have been trying to talk him into staying. If the NCAA comes down on KU they'd better be padlocking the Calipari Fieldhouse. TBHitW

I don't see the wrongdoing on KU's part. This guy taking the money and then coming forward because he wants to "help other basketball families" -- what a joke. This was a poor, vulnerable kid. If he had been paid to steer the kid to KU, then that's a whole nother ball of wax. We'll see what happens. Until then, In Bill I Trust. :)

It's true that there is some diving in all professional sports. But it seems like the tolerance of it in hockey is way up this year. I think this is a bad thing. If referees were to penalize players for embellishing (10 minute misconduct--the team doesn't go short handed, they just play without the diver), it would almost immediately stop. One of the things that I like about hockey is that the most talented team doesn't always win. It takes grit, sacrifice, team work, selflessness, and toughness to prevail. I don't want the best actors winning the game. I want the players that embody the toughness (physically and of character) to win.

No argument with anything you said.

I am happy to see that the Nats reverted to their previous policy about rain-outs. However, I am mystified by all the complaints from Season Ticket Holders when we are the ones who come out of the old deal the best. Let's say that the postponement was for a game in July, which you already know that you would not be able to attend. STH can exchange, as long as it is 72 hours in advance and not for a prime or marque game, tickets from one game for another. Also, under the new ST system, if you don't use a ticket under your plan, your card will be credited with Nats Bucks. I'm not sure, but I think Nats Bucks can be used to buy tickets (might only be food/drink and stuff at team store). Under the previous policy, there were a few games for which you could exchange your unused tickets, for worse seating, and that was it.

Wait ... a happy STH with no complaints? God love ya.

Fixed it for ya. Have a great vacation!

Ouch!

Actually for last night (and I presume for any conflict with Caps playoff games) the Nats are on 99.1 fm. Reminder that tonight's #Nats radio broadcast is on WNEW 99.1 FM due to the @washcaps playoff game

Yup, that's what that link showed --Friday night, when the Caps are playing, the Nats are on 99.1. I'm guessing that will happen Sunday too because Game 6 is looking like a 12:30 start, unless they made it official while I was on the train (and how I wish they would).

After the water heater discussion 2 weeks ago, I decided to check mine. I hadn't done it in forever because it's a pain to get at. Looked like a little dried seepage, so I called Mgmt., they got the Maint. guy up here immediately. After looking at it, he figured it had only weeks to live, and even though it was 3PM, got to work on replacing it. If I didn't see the chat, it would've stayed out of sight, out of mind.

Awesome! I'm a big believer in the preventative home improvements. Why risk it?

You know, most homeowner's insurance doesn't cover sewage backup, but you can get coverage cheap from Dominion, if you have their service. Another little fun fact from Bobbee the builder here.

That's it! The video shows what he did with one of them, but he's the guy who lost eight. Awesome. They're just teeth.

Why do you think the Pens and Caps are having so much trouble with the New York teams? On paper (ha!) these series should be nearly blowouts. Re the Pens, I notice that coach Bylsma plans to start Tomas Vokoun in goal tonight -- maybe new fatherhood's been costing Fleury his beauty sleep?

Something's messing up Flower, that's for sure. I think Bylsma almost has to make that move. I am far more surprised about the Pens-Isles than the Caps-Rangers. They were pretty even this season. And they seem to enjoy playing each other.

Wait, people actually thought that if their game was rained out they could get the same seats to another game?

Apparently. I'm confused about all of this but it sounds like that was one issue and the other was that if they didn't use the tickets today, they were SOL. I may be summing that up wrong.

It's the same complaint from the playoffs -- partial plan season ticket holders wanted their seats for playoff games, but of course they weren't "their seats" but shared seats. I can understand the frustration, though -- I don't mean to belittle that at all, what with my press pass and all.

Good for the Nats for listening to fans and changing the policy. It seems to me that the fan should have the option of choosing: crummy seating for a Sunday grudge match against the Phillies or Braves, or your preferred section for a quiet night at the park against the Padres or Brewers. Subject to availability, natch.

Some people like the grudge matches with a full ballpark and jammed Metro trains. Some people like a slow day at the park, in and out before rush hour, fewer people. I like fewer people myself. You can just imagine me in NY. I thought last night in the Caps dressing room was the night I would be suspended for hitting a guy. Closest I've come, and that's saying something. The media scrums there are, how shall I say it, unpleasant. I need to get to the wide open spaces soon. Happily, I am.

And yes, there are professional swimmers. Diving is a separate and legitimate activity in aquatic sports. So in at least one professional sport there is no diving.

But don't the swimmers dive into the pool?

Hi Trac! I thought about coming up with a question that would be seeded with words to make you sleepy ("Hey, it looked like the defensemen were dozing off back there!"), but I thought it would be cruel. So instead I'll ask you something easy: Why were you up all night anyway? Did you have to hitchhike back from MSG? Rico

No, my hotel was very close. Didn't get out of there till after midnight (and after getting into it with three drunks in an elevator by myself; I was really off my meds yesterday). But after the adrenaline of writing a running column (horrible) and then trying to get to the locker room and back and subbing it, all with far too little time, it's very hard to calm down. I took my sleeping pills but they wouldn't work. And I had to get up around 4 to make my train. So I slept from about 2 to 4. Rico, that's not enough for this old broad.

This is a journalism problem -- the deadline work. Even when I worked the night desk all those years, I couldn't sleep when I got home. Which is why I went to blind pigs instead and went home a little worse for wear at 4. I'm not proud of it, but that's what we all did. Memories.... light the corners of my mind.

Don't make a move toward Ovechkin. He will snap his head back and dive.

Ha! He is always very subdued in the dressing room. You can barely hear him.

Hmm. Interesting philosophical question: Can divers fake injuries? That is, is there diving in diving?

I suppose if you got up on the platform, say, and you suddenly got cold(er) feet, you might fake a hammy and climb down. But then, how could you climb down with a bad hammy? So you'd really just jump off the board. So divers would take a dive by jumping off the board. The answer is: yes.

Not if they are doing the backstroke. But that would be interesting to see if they could do it.

Good point!

Boy, when we go on tangents, we really go all out.

Um...I bought 15 tickets for the Scoreboard for less than $360. Where was this guy sitting? The one thing I love about Nats Park is how cheap it is to get in the gates and still have a great view of the game no matter where you are at.

That's why I wondered how many tickets. For 36 tickets, that's a great price. For one ticket, it's quite horrible. And yes, there really are decent seats in most ballparks that won't bankrupt you. But then every now and then it's fun to splurge -- or so I hear.

Ovie's up for the Ted Lindsay Award for "Most Outstanding Player" (as voted by players). But Sidney Crosby is too, despite missing 13 games in this foreshortened season. How can this be?

Crosby's numbers were very good despite missing 13 games. And his team had an outstanding season. Ovie had the rough patch at the start. I think that's all it is. Both good players.

Oh, my, I am going to have to run. I haven't had a meal since yesterday morning and I'm starting to eye the cat. Guess it's a good thing he weighs six pounds. Thanks for joining a bleary eyed me this morning. Enjoy the afternoon game from wherever you catch it, and we'll talk next week!

In This Chat
Tracee Hamilton
Tracee Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinions and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from genealogy to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there were a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor Metro etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

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