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

Jul 05, 2012

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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Is the meetup still good to go? Could you repost the when and where details, please? Section 405

Yes, Crystal City Sports Pub, July 16, 6 p.m. I believe that is walk-able from the Crystal City Metro stop; chatters, please correct me if I'm wrong -- it feels like ages since we discussed this. More can be found here.

And hello, everyone. I hope your Fourths were great and that your Fifths are even better! Let's get going. I do expect this to be a quiet day, chat-wise, but we'll see.

And if this Azarenka makes the women's finals, I'll be breakfasting without Wimbledon this year. That ridiculous noise!

Ms. H: They're looking too good, so I have to worry. Should I worry about 1) Strasburg's "shut down" just as the pennant race heats up: 2) Zimmerman develops an allergy to cortisone: or 3) Teddy wins the President's Race and the world ends? Speaking of Teddy, how do those "Presidents" and any other mascots, for that matter, survive this heat? I'd pass out in about 5 minutes stuck inside one of those outfits. What did you do when you were Baby Jayhawk? AHG

Well, let's see. Strasburg's shutdown will happen, so go ahead and worry about that. Zim won't develop an allergy to cortisone, but there are issues with this that I may columnize about at some point. Teddy will never win the President's race. Will one of them pass out in those suits? Highly possible. Back in the day, we did one quarter of one football game -- I don't have to tell you how hot it was on the turf in September and October. One quarter was more than enough. We were not fit company afterward. During basketball season, we were able to do one half of one game. I'm guessing those suits are more vented and made of lighter weight material than ours, but they are larger, so it hardly matters. They are still hot and heavy and unpleasant. And man, must they be funky. I would invest in Febreze stock, AHG.

It is amazing to see all the possible trades for Dwight Howard mentioned that completely ignore his back problems. I have a herniated disk at age 30. Some days I feel like I'm 70 years old because of it. When a disk grabs your spinal nerves, it just doesn't matter how tough you are. And surgery is really a crapshoot. I hope his doctor fixed it all, but I wouldn't exactly sign him for a 8 year contract.

Yes, back problems are a crapshoot -- that is the perfect word. Some people have surgery and it works like a charm. Others -- not so much. And while sometimes it depends on the quality of the surgeon, quite often that has nothing to do with it. It's just the kind of injury.

Woohoo!!!

Well, I had mine on the 19th, so I'm good to go. I do think there is a danger here and they aren't a permanent answer.

Tracee, This Nationals team is amazing!!! I realize we are still probably a football town but with Bryce and Stras and all these wins, do you think our nation's capital will start becoming more of a baseball town?

I think people will discover that they can be both. It's not like you have to choose one, like declaring a major. The Skins play once a week. RGIII is a dynamic personality and I can't wait to see what happens -- but there are a lot of dynamic personalities playing for the Nats, too.

I know it's before the all-star break, but I've got that natitude that they've got!

Everyone loves the heat except poor Stras, it seems. They sure found their bats. Yesterday's game was fun to watch. The all-star game may be coming at a bad time for them -- they are rolling.

Tracee: Loved yesterday's 11AM Nats' start. Hope they do it again. It was nice to see a game AND still have the whole afternoon left for other things. South Africa's decision to put its best 400M runner in the Olympic - a double amputee, no less - is truly inspirational. The man was born without bones in his legs, for goodness sakes, and is still his Nation's fastest 400M runner. Can anyone see him and imagine his transcending effort and not feel good about him, and about themselves? Athletics shows us what is possible, and he pushes the envelope even further. Bravo! Can't wait to cheer him on! See you on the 16th. Deli Man

I might be mentioning Pistorius in tomorrow's column. Maybe. Perhaps. I, too, love the 11 a.m. start. Not practical a lot of days but for summer day games, why not? Get people in and out before rush hour hits on the trains, keeps the players out of the hottest part of the day, there's a lot to be said for it. Following a rain-delayed night game, it's not ideal, though. They get to the park pretty early.

Hi Tracee, Die, Die, Die hard Nats fan here since the beginning. I love this team, am living in the moment and will not kill myself if they don't make the playoffs (but I do demand a winning season) as in my view, 2012 is all gravy. I do have a question as to other fans. Once the Redskins start up again, do you think the Nats will be "backbenched" or do you think the love affair is real?

I still say people can have both. I hope I'm right. This is still predominantly a Skins town but as I said last week, four years ago the Nats slipped inside the paper when the Olympics and Skins started up and it wasn't a hard decision. That will not happen this time around. And it shouldn't. They've earned it.

I loved your Shakespeare quote, and I especially loved that it was just a throwaway line without referring to it. And I do believe that the Nats have become a "Band of Brothers." They looked so fantastic the last few days; I am in awe. I also loved the bull pen in their long red socks. Can't wait to see the throwback uniforms tonight.

At every Olympics, I used to do the St. Crispin's day speech on the day before Opening Ceremonies. I love that one. I would like to have given that one more time, in England, where "gentleman now abed shall think themselves cursed, and hold their manhoods cheap, whilst any speaks that fought with us upon St. Crispin's  Day!"

That may not be perfect; trying to do it off the top of my head.

Jason Reid just wrote a column calling for the Nationals to make a trade for pitcher Zack Greinke. But with the Phillies looking like they're turning into sellers, why would the Nats trade for a known headcase and grumpy personality in Greinke, when for a similar package, one would think they could pry Cole Hamels from the Phillies? What would it take to land Hamels in that sort of deal?

The price for either would be high. I wonder about Greinke. He had his chance to be here. And Hamels ... I really wonder about Hamels. What a locker room meeting that would be between him and Harper. Rizzo has proven he is loathe to trade away talent they've developed; I wonder if he thinks they can make it with spit and baling wire and a tight bullpen. They sure have so far.

On a scale of 1 to 10, what are the chances the Nationals sign him?

Tricky way of making me make a prediction. 8.

Isn't it cute when Boswell is giddy? That being said, I feel much the same way about the Nats. They're really fun to watch now, with a nice mix of offense and pitching.

Boz was giddy as a girl, as the saying goes, when the Nats were not, ah, good. He's off the charts now. Then I found myself channeling him for Monday's column. Disturbing. I find Boz as charming now as he's ever been. Benjamin. Button.

Calsgr8 -- what a handle! -- has sent me a photo of an eatery called "Cheeseboy." I am dying to publish it but of course do not know how to do it on a chat. But I'm working on it. I may have to give it to Dan to put on the Bog.

It was truly strange to be in the park in the morning. All of the usual "shade" areas were in the sun, and all of the usual hot spots were in the shade. I love Section 405 because it's always in the shade, except it wasn't for yesterday's game.

I'd actually gotten Red Carpet Rewards seats in Section 309, which turned out to be on those aluminum risers, turning them into an EZ-Bake Oven (my *feet* were uncomfortably hot). So me and my friends bailed, and found shaded empty seats high up in section 420. The view was analogous to that from 405, but on the first base side, and we proceeded to enjoy a highly enjoyable game. 

I remember reading in a chat - don't remember if it was yours or Boz's - that the reason that writers don't like Nats Park is that the press/media box is so high up. I normally don't get over to the first base side upstairs much, so I'd never seen the "staircase" (or catwalk) that leads up to the media center, but I did yesterday. Holy Wallenda! I hope there is another way (elevator or something) up there. If that's the only way up there, I don't understand how someone with vertigo (or even a bum shoulder) could get up there.

 Section 405

That must have been Boz's remark - it IS high but he goes far more often than me! There are elevators from the field level to the box. I'm not quite ready to brave a game but looking at the schedule to try to find an appropriate date.

If the season ended right now, I believe the Orioles would be shut out of the playoffs, with the Angels ahead of them. Is that right? How do you think it will end?

I believe that if the season ended this morning the Angels and Orioles would have a one-game playoff for the AL wild-card spot. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Spent a few minutes before work swimming like a dolphin in my K-Mart above-ground pool, which makes the summer feel good! The golden light, the cold water, the bubbles! I no longer feel like I am "dead and decomposing" as Mr. Tony describes this climate. Do you sit Tyler Moore and Lombo et. al for Werth on his return?

I think you have to put him in there and see what he does, yes.

Hmmm, above-ground pool. Since my grass is dead anyway, I could get one of those.

Are they okay? Two weeks without them and now I'm worried.

I'm sorry I can't answer that. I can answer bookshelf and paint questions, though. :) Seriously, I'm guessing they are on vacation but when in doubt, email one of the chatters. I'm sure their email addresses, like most, are last name first initial @washpost.com. Or they all took the buyout. Seriously, this place is depleted.

Katie reported that a TSN panel really ripped Semin. Do you think that McPhee was hoping for something like that to push down Sasha's value so that he can re-sign him for less, or is the relationship really dead? I consider myself more of a hockey fan than Caps fan and have been (poorly) playing organized hockey for 45 years. I just love watching his talent. Sure, he gives up the puck too often at the blue line, but he does skate back hard and has become a better two-way player.

I can't speak for McPhee's thinking but I'd be surprised if they don't want to rid themselves of him. I don't think re-signing him for less is much of a problem; no one is busting down the door at Kettler trying to steal the guy at the moment.

Are you back, T-Gal (or is someone filling in for you again)? Did you lose power, and how did the kitties hold up?

I'm back, back to my usual writing schedule, etc. I don't have internet at home, but hey, I'm not complaining! The kitties held up pretty well. I get bored easily and did not, but again, it was only like a day and change, so get over it, Tracee! I feel terrible for those people still trapped with no power. Must be awful.

Please don't write about them anymore, It's torture to my eyes!

Please don't read what I write anymore. No one put a gun to your head, ace. I, on the other hand, take the assignments given me.

Tracee - funny how everybody has been clutching their pearls for years about Bonds and Clemens et al during the steroid days, but nobody seems to blink when Zimmerman gets a cortisone shot and suddenly turns into Ted Williams overnight. Isn't cortisone a, um, steroid?

Not banned. Lord, if they banned cortisone, the sport might shut down. I definitely would. It's not performance enhancing. It does not make you stronger. It does not build muscle. It masks pain, more than anything, which is why it's risky business on a long-term basis.

Pirates -- who'da thunk it!

Weren't we saying this a year ago?

I thought the Giants were pretty good this year - until I saw them get pasted by the Nats on Tuesday. And heard them get pasted again on the radio yesterday. What's up with them? They used to have a June Swoon regularly, but this is July already.

The Nats have always had success against Lincecum, but their hitting just came alive at a bad time for the Giants.

Hey, somebody had to say it. Pretty weird when our little banana republic is the coolest spot in the southeast. Hope y'all get your AC back soon. TBHitW

That is weird.

Oh, thank  God, Serena won. Seriously, the whoo girl needs to get checked out.

How are you doing? I figure probably okay, since you're doing columns and chats, but thought I'd ask anyway. In other news, who are these guys and what have they done with my Nats? I asked my husband and he said, "Who cares? I like these guys better." I've always loved my Nats no matter what but I think he may have a point. :-) Looking forward to July 16. natsfan1a

This is a fun bunch. I mean, fun to watch. I love when Lombardozzi or Bernardina or Moore come in and do something big. Then you remember Werth is coming back and so is Drew. Going to be fun to watch!

I like them as well as the next gal, but why would I abandon my baseball team for potatoes?

Never ask that question of an Irish gal. I would abandon a lot of things for the potato. Or the onion, come to that.

Ms. H: When I type "Adam Oates" on my phone, it auto-corrects to "Adam Latest." I fear that this is indicative of another short tenure as coach. What's your take? P.S. I can't wait for your Olympic coverage!

That is disturbing. You should type Oatsie. See what your phone makes of that!

Okay, I've been watching baseball, playing baseball, and reading about baseball for 30 years. Never before have I heard the phrase "spit on" for when a player takes a close pitch that ends up being a ball (e.g., "he spit on a low slider for ball four). But now it's everywhere in the Post, and yesterday the announcers were using it. Where'd this come from??

I don't know. Anyone?

Watching the Tour de France I often wish Virginia would encourage the development of bicycle paths along rural roads... esp around the scenic mountains.

Don't you think they'd be finding a certain number of skeletons wrapped around bike frames? If I looked at the scenery, I'd go over the side of a mountain? But then, I'm not a great cyclist, either.  I know my limitations.

I listen to the games on the radio.

Yes, one thing I learned during the storm aftermath -- I need a new radio, and this is the reason!

Speaking of giddy, am I the only one who has to watch the Nats game on mute? I have never seen such homers as the Nats TV crew. Every inning F.P. Santagelo sees a play that is among the most incredible plays in the history of baseball. Every Nats scrub is just a slight adjustment away from being an allstar. I know Dibble was fired for not being a company shill, but I know they're employed by the team, but at some point the tonguebath that they are giving the Nats is just revolting.

I have noticed that as well. They're giddy, too, but three hours of it ... I use the mute button and I also work on other stuff during the game so I can tune it out a bit. It's a long season, too. I am often hard on those guys but one reason it's hard to be likable as a baseball announcer is just the sheer number of games. If you think about it, that's a lot of time spent with a person. Maybe it's just me, but there aren't a lot of people I want to spent 3-4 hours a day with. :)

Would you have wanted to cover the Olympics in London? How does the WaPo make the decision on whom to send?

Oh, I had hoped London would be my last. I've been in charge of coverage, or gone, at various papers since 1984. This year will be a big change. But for a variety of reasons this is probably for the best. I would have had to delay surgery, for one thing. And I was in pain, and would have continued to do damage to all my muscles. The bone spur was tearing all of them. So who knows what my dr. would have found in September? And the cat needs more attention than he used to and he didn't do great while I was gone to Kansas. So there are a lot of ways of looking at it. I'm content.

My understanding is that it is a fairly ubiquitous call for any time a batter takes a pitch... Ball or strike. Essentially, the batter didn't think too much of it, thus "he spit on it."

Okay.

While walking with my wife yesterday, we were discussing the amazin' Nats. We wondered if anyone in the locker room refers to Tyler Moore as "Mary" or are they all too young to make the connection? Cuban Pete

I can't imagine a single one of them knowing who that is, but I'll have to ask my arch nemesis that question. It's very funny.

I feel like I'm repeating what's already been said, but here goes: We kept wondering all season "How fun will it be when the Nats start hitting?". Well, now we know. It's exhilarating! AND we/I no longer fret when the opponent takes a 3 run lead. WOW, so THIS is what winning baseball feels LIKE!

'Zactly!

Can they work it so they can bring him back if they make the World Series? Sometimes, it's just your team's "year." Hate to miss the opportunity if this year is the "one."

Nope. When he's done, he's done. The clock doesn't "restart" at the end of October.

L.A. media celebrating the move of Steve Nash to the Lakers as all but guaranteeing that the Lakers can now take on the likes of the Spurs and Thunder, if not the Heat. A real coup. Your take?

I think Nash is a good pickup but I don't see him as the missing piece that takes the Lakers all the way. The Spurs, Thunder, Heat ... everyone else will be making moves, too.

Ms. H: Your mention of "how hot it was . . ." reminded me of the not-so-good old days selling beer at the almost brand new KC Royals Stadium in the mid-1970s. On the hottest days, the field temp was at least 130 degrees, and the outfielders were constantly dancing around to try to aleviate their burning feet, as the artificial turf seemed to retain (and reflect) heat. It was a good time to sell beer, though - sometimes I'd barely get down one section before selling out my tray, as I'd be besieged by desperate fans. Should I also mention that Kansas City's humidity level is often higher than the DC area's? AHG

Yes, people think of Kansas as flat and arid, but the KC area, because of the river, gets a lot of humidity. It can be brutal in the summer. Out where I'm from ... not so bad. Tolerable. Although they are in a drought so bad that folks we know are selling their cattle because they can't get the water to keep them going. Dreadful.

The Rime of the Ancient Manager

There was an ancient manager, and he stoppeth one of three.

"By thy long white hair & glitt'ring eye, now wherefore stoppest thou me? The bullpen gate is open wide, and I am next to pitch. The fans are met, the batter's set, so please don't make me itch!" He holds him with his skinny hand: "You blew two saves," said he. "Hold off! Unhand me, greyhaired loon." Eftsoons his hand dropped he. He holds him with his glittering eye, and Bradley Lidge stood still And listened like a three-years child. Dave Johnson had his will. To be continued. . .

That's pretty good!

Don't you love that? In my first "real" job I sat next to the fax machine and, as such, had the pleasure of field all manner of questions about operating, maintaining, and repairing the dang thing. We are funny creatures, no?

Okay, that's scary, because I got a call the other day from someone wanted the information from the fax machine, the one that sits next to me. There is no fax machine within a hundred yards of me. But she didn't believe me. She also called DURING THE CHAT and I was trying to get her off the phone. It got ugly. One hour a week, folks, without phone calls. That's all I ask. :)

I have been a Mystics' STH for a couple of years but I have to say I am leaning toward not renewing. Is there any hope for this team? I watched Sunday's game from home (too hot to go out) and heard a laughable attendance figure of 10K+. The shots of the many many thousands of empty seats belied that number. Is the WNBA in general an idea that just never caught on or are the Mystics just an ill-favored team? Thanks.

For awhile, the Mystics were one of the league's bigger successes, but it just didn't hold. I don't know why women's professional sports leagues don't work in this country, but empirical evidence suggests they do not. If I had kids a certain age and wanted to take them to a cheap, COOL entertainment during the summer, the Mystics would fill the bill, though.

Ok, I give.............what/why a shut down?

He has an inning count for the season and when he reached that he'll be shut down. Postseason or not. He will be unhappy but this has been known since Day 1. Fans who come to the team late will go nuts, but there it is.

Any thoughts on the CNN/FOX - um - "scoop" of the SCOTUS ruling on AHA?

Just that Stewart and Colbert did a good job handling that one. Not my bailiwick.

O goddess of the Plains and Knower of all things GREAT and small Just a comment re being a Nats and AND a Redskins fan ; In his great book on successful organizations, Jim Collins --not a brother of "Tom Collins" -- that in organizations and in life, when faced with situations requiring a choice ,we should "embrace the genius of the 'and' while rejecting the tyranny of the 'or'. One can be a fan of both teams , but I guess you wouild still have to get over hating "The Danny" . wow, too many "quotation marks" in this post.

"No", not "really." :) I think we overthink these things? Do you like football and the Skins? Then be a fan and ignore the owner. Do you like baseball? Then like the Nats. Etc. It's not complicated. It's more complicated to divorce yourself. Being a fan is legalized polygamy. You can have as many teams as you want, really.

Thanks for the advice last week about bookcases. My contractor husband tells me that we can't have built-in bookcases in the living room because we have cable heat in our ceiling (which we hate--we call our house the E-Z Bake Oven House). So bookcases in the living room it is. You may now return to your regularly scheduled sports chat. Signed, The Very Good Wife (who has not been cooking because of chemo--sigh).

TVGW -- Okay, that's a great reason not to cook. Can you use the living room to cook?

Or you could do built-ins only so high, like waist high, for books and also to store all your TV crap, assuming you have a TV in there. Won't interfere with your cable heat -- that sounds dreadful, by the way. Just a thought. I have that setup in my woman cave and love it because no cables, nothing shows down there, just my tv and my builtins. Clean. Nice.

Good luck with chemo and screw cooking. It's overrated and you are more important than meals.

Good thing you didn't give that person info on the fax. That's a scam where they try to get you to tell them what type of fax it is so they can send you toner at high prices. Their trick is to claim you ordered it -- "how else would we know what to send??"

Now I'm glad I turned into Bad Tracee with her.

Better chance with Mandy Moore, although at 28, she may be a little old for our Nats. Boy, does it hurt to write that sentence.

That is sad. Very sad.

I've been a Red Sox fan, Celtics Fan, and a Patriots fan since I was a teenager (many moons ago). Is is okay to have more than one local team to root for. What's wrong with Washingtonians!

Well, it's the "new" factor. You've had a baseball team a lot longer than they have, so give them a break. And the Skins here -- it's kind of indescribable. It has nothing to do with being "good" -- it's just such a  Skins town. Hard to describe.

One final note: one year, in the early days of Monday Night Football, KC Chief's highlights were preceded by something along the lines of "On the rolling Kansas plains . . ." KC, Missouri residents were not amused. AHG

Ooops. Well, nice try, dopes. Sadly, yes, the Chiefs and Royals are in Missouri. Ouch. Tracee hurts.

How do we know they're the real deal? My brother, who has given up professional footbal because they're all spoiled brats who play lazy and should donate all of their salaries to charity because they're lucky to play at all (whatever...) is going to a game with me on Sunday and bringing his family. It was Bryce Harper's hustle that did it.

Going to skip right over your brother's thoughts, as they are his, and say that I think Bryce Harper will attract a lot of fans to the park in the coming years. He's intriguing.

The Royals went from magic to tragic when Ewing Kaufman passed and they were taken over by a Wal-Mart executive who ran them like a Wal-Mart. When John Scheurholz saw the new owners, he left the Royals for the Braves. ("Pullin a Kasten?) What are your thoughts on the Royals? Are the Nats a Rizzo away from the same fate?

Boy, way to rain on our July Fifth parade! Let's not go there today. You are right about Mr. Kauffman though. I am eager for that stadium to get some attention, finally, at the all-star game.

is he ignoring you again? Make him co-host a chat with you and we will take care of him.

I've been looking for a good Thursday for him but the boy is bu-sy! Maybe I'll get James instead. To heck with Adam.

Meantime, it's time to sign off. Hope you are all doing well and we'll chat next Thursday!

Oh, next week, tell me if there's something you're watching this summer, non-sports division, that I should be watching. Although with the Olympics coming up, this quickly becomes moot. Still...

For instance: I hated "The Newsroom." Your turn.

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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