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

Jul 25, 2013

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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I'm submitting early because I'll be on my way to the 12:35 game as the chat goes live.

After watching the Nats underperform against the Dodgers and Pirates since the break, it's pretty clear that it's not going to happen this year. Enjoy baseball for its inherent values and pleasures (Tuesday night, I saw an out caused by a bunt hitting the batter in fair teritory, a play I had never before seen in person, plus Andy McCutcheon's super effort that almost robbed Ramos of his homer). Hey, Nats fans, you know all about that if you were on board prior to the bandwagon. Let's take our pleasures as they come, enjoy the rest of the season, and hope for a winning record....

I'm waving at you, 405! Can you see me? I had a bad feeling the Nats would be swept by the Dodgers and possibly the Pirates. We'll see today if that is what happens. But yes, they are done.

And we are just getting started! Chatting from the press box today at Nats Park, if you didn't figure that one out. Let's get started!

Tracee, this week we are a house divided. PH won't even watch the games because he's afraid his Bucs will lose; I've been watching the games and almost weeping in sadness and frustration because my Nats lost. Honestly, though, Tracee, I've hired a chorus of nuns to sing this song. How Do You Solve a Problem Like Drew Storen? I know he's your friend, but he's just morphed into someone we dread seeing come into the game. Meanwhile his former roommate Tyler Clippard is just getting better and better (1.85 ERA, 5th best among NL relievers, 6 wins, 48K in 44 innings, and 17 holds, 3rd in NL), and is arguably the best reliever on the team. I also think it's a shame Strasburg got the loss; he didn't deserve it; Storen did.

I'm not sure what PH is afraid of. The Bucs are the better team. And yes, something's wrong with Drew.

High 70's, a little cloud cover, not too humid?

It is an awesome day. Warmed up enough not to be chilly with the windows open, thank goodness, because it didn't occur to me to pack a jacket. It occurred to me an 8 a.m. walking over here with an iced tea in my hand. Brrrrr. I love writing "brrrr" in July!

I know you're a fan of Ripper Street, and you mentioned Copper last week. Which do you prefer? I like both but might give Ripper Street a slight edge because of the big difference in the leads; Patrick McFayden playing Reid on Ripper Street is a fine actor doing a sterling job, while Kevin Ryan as Corcoran on Copper seems to be channeling Sly Stallone quite a bit of the time. On the other hand, Copper has a much better and more interesting supporting cast, especially the stalwart African American doctor and the marvelous German madam.

I give Ripper Street a slight edge as well for the reasons you cited, but also for the guy who's Reid's right hand man and the doctor with a secret past and a madam for a girlfriend. The shows have eerie similarities, with dead daughters and such. But if Copper doesn't lose Annie, and soon, I'll quit watching. She really is on my last nerve.

Eager for Broadchurch in August and also the return of Law & Order: UK. Dum dum.

Tracee, This might be just me...but I suspect that MLB had a specific intent in bringing Rodriguez in last to ask him about Biogenesis. Something tells me that they started off the interview by saying..."We got YOU. We WANT Braun...", followed by A-Rod singing like he was Lionel Richie. I also believe that, while the eventual suspension will probably be like Braun's--the rest of the season--that there is an element in the MLB Front Office that wants A-Rod's career to be buried next to Jimmy Hoffa, and that element is comprised of people who were on the field as players and managers (Frank Robinson, Bob Watson and Joe Torre--though we could certainly say that Torre might have a personal stake with this...). While they also focus on all that A-Rod did with Biogenesis and the attempt to cover it up, I could see them also arguing Rodriguez's serial violations of the Unwritten Rules and Protocol--slapping the ball out Bronson Arroyo's glove, yelling behind Howie Clark when Clark had settled under the pop fly, crossing the mound in Oakland, and announcing his opt-out during Game 4 of the 2007 World Series. In short, the argument becomes that he's openly acted larger than the game and become its greatest detriment. So, using the "best interests of baseball" clause, the game's biggest on-field problem should be sent away forever. For all of the complaints from the A-Rod camp about the Yankees trying to sink him, they ought to consider themselves lucky. If George were still alive, he might be working on his third suspension; but it would be safe to assume that "performers at gentlemen's clubs", ex-girlfriends, former lawyers would have all been contacted by The Boss...

Possible. A-Rod's a hard guy to love. All that money... Athletes by and large make a good living and I usually don't gripe about salaries because the earning window can shut in a hurry, but I make an exception for him. That earning window may be about to slam on his fingers. He should be set for life but we'll see how good a money manager he is. Maybe the cousin with the syringe has been handling the bills...

Like many of us I remember when MLB games started at 8 and ended by 10. You and others have made good suggestions as to how to improve the pace. Another would be to limit catchers' visits to the mound to one per batter, which would shorten Red Sox games by hours. But the main problem is TV commercials. 2-3 minutes between each half inning, not to mention during pitching changes and the like, adds an hour to the game. Since it's all about the money, I don't think there's any way this is going to change.

Nope, the length of commercial breaks won't change unless the game can find a way to get more more money doing something else -- and what that would be I don't know. We have sponsored pitch trackers and scouting reports, etc. etc. That doesn't help, either. Sometimes the pitch tracker is important; sometimes it's used because the company has paid for it to be used.

I root for the Nats, Giants and Blue Jays and was expecting great seasons from all of them. Of course I really can't complain as the Giants have won 2 of the last 3 World Series, but this year has been very disappointing.

No, you really can't complain. Don't become one of those people who expect your teams to contend every year and complain when they don't. No one likes those people.

Hi Tracee, Will the Caps make the playoffs this upcoming season? With the new division reallignment and lack of moves by GMGM this will not be as easy as the Southeast division?

It won't be as easy, no, and they are not a lock. They've lost, not gained.

Well Ms. H, at the start of the b-ball season, if you told me the Nats wouldn't make the playoffs, I'd have been surprised, but not shocked. Now, I'm shocked - because of how badly the Nats are playing. Look at Strasburg - in the last two starts, 3 runs in 15 innings, with a no-decision (two runs in 7) and a loss (one run in 8), AND, the game before that, against one of the very few teams hitting worse than the Nats (Marlins), the Nats get him 3 runs in the first inning, and he promptly gives up 8 in two innings. The pitching is usually good to decent - the hitting horrible. From Bob Ryan on "PTI" yesterday - St. Louis is hitting .378 with runners in scoring position for the season, while the Nats (for the past few weeks, maybe more), hitting .080. That is hard to bottom. On to the NFL pre-season!! AHG

I think that's a good way of putting it. The shocking thing to me is how quickly they were essentially "out of it" and the way they've played. Certainly no one to blame but themselves.

Normally I wouldn't care about someone's walkup song unless its take on me or Bryce Harper, but in the first at bat for Haren he goes up to the plate to "One More Chance" by Notorious BIG. For someone who has had a dreadful year, it falls somewhere between insanely ironic and borderline mocking to the fans. After seeing him give up two no doubters and a couple of more that were struck very well, this may not be the brightest song choice.

I am baffled by a majority of walk-up songs, since I never recognize any of them. Although Harper, on the 4th, had all patriotic songs. Something I recognized!

Hi, Tracee: Do the Nationals practice hitting ground balls to the second baseman? That's all they've been doing for the last several weeks. Thanks. Nats Fan

Well, they may be rusty at it today because there's no batting practice, but you know, practice makes perfect.

If you were playing for the Nats, what would your song be as you walked to the plate to bat?

"Tracy" by the Cuff Links. It's obvious but you can dance to it.

@Pittsburgh Wife, please remind your husband that if the Pirates win a bit more than 1/3 of the games they have left to play, they'll have their first winning season in nearly twenty years. Pirates...winning season...good lord, but it feels good to be able to use those words in the same sentence.

PW, please note.

If we're going to give Braun's MVP to Kemp, can we give Frank Thomas the 2000 MVP that was robbed by Jason Giambi? What about naming new winners for all of Barry Bonds' MVP trophies and Roger Clemens' Cy Youngs? At some point you need to accept that what happened, happened, for good or bad, but some lame attempt to alter the record books so that only the "real" winners are listed is foolish and shortsighted.

It's a nice idea in theory, but where and when do you start, and stop? I would not want to be in charge of that.

Does the team have an optometrist on staff? Not Laz Diaz's optometrist, but one who can actually help people see. That call last night was awful, but it was not the entire problem. When Harper isn't in the line up, we can't hit. When we can't hit, Drew Storen's mistakes are magnified. When Drew Storen's mistakes are magnified, we lose. Don't lose. Get Direct TV.

Okay, that's funny.

To all the people complaining about Drew, yes his mental state is a little off. However next year there will be a new manager and a new attitude in the clubhouse. There is also probably a bit of fatigue from last year in a number of these players similar to how NFL teams have a very hard time making the playoffs the next year after a long run the previous one. Next season will be a Latter year!

Well, we'll see. That's one possibility. I am sorry to see Drew struggle but it's also possible that he might be better off somewhere else. I would hate to see that but it's possible.

Yay, another person who doesn't like Annie! I stopped watching the first season for that reason. Should I push through and watch the rest on Netflix?

She's pretty darn tedious this season. She physically attacks Ellen, and Corky chooses her over his wife. Then she nearly gets a station full of cops killed. Sick sick sick of her. I guess you could FF through her scenes.

Charlie Weis about his team, or his team about Charlie Weis? TBHitW

Yeah, I'm still ... pondering that. May be fodder for my Sunday column.

The Yankees would love to be out of that contract!

Who wouldn't?

Ok, season is done. 8 games back (or is it 9)? Davey is doing desperate things (PH with the back up catcher for a bunt?)... I feel sorry for the pitchers....Stras pitched a great game; even Haren's was ok. So, I can now not hate the braves (still hate the phillies)....I did not see this mediocrity coming. Either the team has not played up to the potential, or the potential is not as high as we expected...maybe both...maybe the pressure of "World Series or Bust." Actually, that explains a lot...swing for the fences, when a bloop hit will score a much needed run. Maybe, if I go on vacation, I will come back, and find the nats four games back and surging. At least I will not be worrying like last gear when the eight game lead dropped to as little as 1.5 before finishing at 4. Now for the question: who whould have predicted that all of the post-all-star offence is comming from JDub and his beard?

The question is, is the talent really here as we keep being told or is the talent being overestimated?

Two numbers, 42 and 99, has been retired league wide in two different sports. Who were they?

Jackie Robinson and Wayne Gretzky? I never just answer without throwing it out there but we're running out of time.

Tracee, my wife and I have been watching the Nats since they arrived from Montreal. We two of the faithful few watching the team on television and in person during the dark days. This is the first time that I have been disgusted with the team's play. We have free tickets to the August 6 game against the Braves, and I'm thinking of giving them away. I have no desire to pay $50 for overpriced food and drink,and another $30 for overpriced parking to see the team choke when I can watch them choke on MASN at no extra charge. We have been seriously thinking of buying a 30-game package next year. Note how the verb in the previous sentence is in past tense. The Nats will see the consequences in their bottom line next year when thousands of seats that were filled this year go empty. Mediocrity is no longer acceptable. Davey Johnson should change the name on the back of his jersey to Busted by Gosh.

I am not going to argue that point. If they were playing hard, if they had been the victim of hard luck or bad injuries ... but that is not the case. They aren't good. Solving that will be Rizzo's problem. And I don't blame fans, in these times, for opting for TV over tickets.

Actually Tracee, practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Clearly, the Nats need a little more perfect practice.

Does that get you to Carnegie Hall? Or the Carnegie Deli? Did they close the Carnegie Deli? I'm very confused.

"Loser" by Beck. In particular, the chorus.

Ouch.

Well, you forced me to go find it.

Catchy, ain't it? :)

These Boots Are Made for Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra. Probably why I'm not a major leaguer.

Oooo, another one on my short list. I think I've told the story about changing my name to Nancy in first grade because of this song. I got in trouble. Teachers didn't see that as a former of self-expression in the '60s.

I still think it was the right thing to do, but I wonder if Davy regrets it now.

Remember, for what feels like the 100th time, that was RIZZO's decision, not Davey's.

I realize this is a chat for more knowledgeable fans than I, but I have recently started getting into baseball and I am trying to make sense of it, so maybe you can humor me. I watched the Nats game on TV last night. I know it was a long shot for the Nats to come from behind in the bottom of the 9th, but they sure were giving it their best...and then a boneheaded call ended the game. Is there ANY recourse, in baseball, when there's a bad call? The replay clearly showed that Ramos wasn't touched by the ball, but at that point everyone's walking off the field. It's incredibly frustrating to watch.

Essentially, no. Remember the boneheaded call that cost, oh, what was his name, the no-hitter? Baseball doesn't have do-overs. Maybe if a form of replay is instituted, someday, but not now.

Wow. That was just painful. And poor Drew. I love him. I want him to succeed. But he's still in a bad headspace, I think, from last year. And the Soriano signing sure couldn't have helped. Is it time to trade him to somewhere else where he can become himself again?

This is one theory. I would hate to see him go.

As much as I dislike A-Rod, it would be complete BS if baseball let the Yankees out of that massive contract by banning A-Rod for life. It would show the Yankees are running baseball because they dont want to pay him. Anything that lets the Yankees off the hook for all that money is playing favorites.

Maybe the money should be paid into the pension fund for the pre-CBA players who don't have much of a pension. There's an organization that could distribute that money  but again, my memory is dreadful.

What do you think about Storen starting a game and pitching 1 or 2 innings? Since we won't have batted yet, there will be no pressure on him to preserve a lead. Plus, there won't be any runners on base to let advance at will. Maybe he can just focus on getting batters out. He is a talented pitcher. Maybe some kind of shakeup will get him on track.

At this point, the Nats could try anything and I don't see what the objections would be.

"I have no desire to pay $50 for overpriced food and drink,and another $30 for overpriced parking" Ride metro and carry in your food and water.

While I love Metro, not everyone has a station convenient to them. There are parts of northern VA where you'd drive as long (with traffic) to a Metro station as you'd drive downtown. Me, I would never drive, unless I had to. That's why my odometer just rolled over 41,000. Well, my car's odometer. My odometer is much, much higher.

Okay, I need a couple of minutes to gather myself and have at least one fight with my arch-nemesis, Kilgore, who is sitting to my left. I'm looking in section 405 and I do not see 405 but I'm sure he'll be here soon. Wish you were all here; it's a beautiful day and how often does that happen in D.C. in July? Have a great weekend.

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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