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July 28, 2010

9:34
A.M.

First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton on the latest sports news

Total Responses: 43

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Tracee Hamilton

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 was 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 subway etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

First Things First Archive
Tracee Hamilton Column Archive

About the topic

Never mind the Nats' 43rd win; I'm sure everyone wants to chew over the cancellation -- however temporary -- of Strasmas. Plus anything else that's on your mind.
Q.

Tracee Hamilton :

Never mind the Nats' 43rd win; I'm sure everyone wants to chew over the cancellation -- however temporary -- of Strasmas. Plus anything else that's on your mind.

Q.

Stasmus - Booing the scratch

Keep it classy DC! On that note, my kids, we are a mixed family, Jew and Catholic, we call it both Strasmus and Strasover - we celebrate everything.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Last night wasn't Strasmukkah, it was a Bat Mitzvah! For Batista. Get it? Yeah, I can hear the groans from here.

Good morning, all. I'm quite sure we'll talk a lot of Strasburg, among other things. Let's get going.

– July 28, 2010 9:34 AM
Q.

Boz?

T-Ham, has any one checked to see if Boz is still breathing? I figured he either hyperventilated last night or fainted when Stras didn't pitch! At least he got to see the team win!
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Boz is on vacation but I assume he cut that short and rushed to the Park to offer his organs, tendons, etc. (I kid Boz because I love Boz.)

– July 28, 2010 9:36 AM
Q.

Strasburg

So will the Nationals do anything for the fans that were there last night who went to see Strasburg? I mean we stayed and it was great to see Batista do so well (although I counted at least 5 full counts in the first 13 batters he faced, with only 1 walk) and see the Nats win, but what about giving 10% off tickets purchased at the box office when a valid ticket from last night is shown. Wouldn't this be a great PR move?

A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Truthfully, I think it would be a huge mistake. There are no guarantees. The rotation could have been changed by rain. The game itself could have been rained out. You take your chances when you buy your ticket. And while I perfectly understand the desire to see Strasburg, fulfilling that desire is not the Nats' top priority. And it would send the message to the rest of the team that they are worth less than Strasburg. Which may or may not be true, but not a message I'd want to send to my employees.

– July 28, 2010 9:38 AM
Q.

Rizzo's Decision? Really?

Rizzo was quoted as saying it was his decision to scratch Strasburg last night. But isn't it the Manager's job to decide who plays and who doesn't? Shouldn't that have been Riggleman's call? Or at least Rizzo should have said that after consulting with Riggleman that they both decided to scratch Strasburg. Making it sound as if Rizzo unilaterally made the decision undermines Riggleman's authority in my opinion. Do you agree?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Again, no. It's been made clear since get-go that decisions about Strasburg would be made at a higher level. The pitching coach tells the manager a pitcher's condition, usually, and in this case Riggleman was involved. And I think he would have done the same thing. But Rizzo has been making all decisions about Strasburg, especially pitch count. Riggleman seemingly decides when to pull him (or not pull him) from games, but everything else is Rizzo's call. I don't have a problem with that, because it'll be on Rizzo's head if something goes wrong with this.

– July 28, 2010 9:39 AM
Q.

Superfriends alternative

The Axis of Egos
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I like that, too, but I'm kind of in love with Just-Us League.

– July 28, 2010 9:41 AM
Q.

Cynic here

I absolutely want SS to be OK, feel a bit guilty for even thinking this, but when I turned on the set and heard he was not pitching "because he had trouble loosening up," I'm sure I'm not the only person who thought, 40,000 extra ticket sales! If everyone who had trouble loosening up sat on the bench, the playing fields would look pretty empty out there.

A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Wow, I have seldom disagreed this often in a single chat, but again, I disagree! If you're entire career is your right shoulder, and your right shoulder isn't loose, and you're still basically a child, with what should be a huge career ahead of you, why would you risk it? It wasn't Game 7 of the World Series. It's quite possible he wanted to pitch and they shut him down; he's pretty competitive. Don't forget how hard he throws, not just his fastball, but his slider as well.

And if they'd thrown him out there last night and he ended up with a labrum tear, everyone would be howling today, and rightfully so.

– July 28, 2010 9:41 AM
Q.

Why scratch

Why scratch SS as we are still in the thick of a playoff race :)? In reality, a no brainer by Rizzo. Go Nats.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Finally, I can agree with someone!

– July 28, 2010 9:42 AM
Q.

Andre Dawson Night

To correct someone from yesterday, Walter Johnson Night would be at Target Field, not Arlington Stadium. But it's really not a good analogy, because actually it would be here in DC. All the cities that lost baseball teams either had another team still there, or another team eventually came in (KC, Milwaukee, Seattle). Montreal is now the only exception, after DC had to wait 33 years for its third team. So unless you want to count Toronto, Andre doesn't really have another place to go. And I suspect the main reason it's happening here is that Andre wil be here anyway, working for the Marlins. If it involved a special trip, I doubt that either side would be interested.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Thank you, you expressed that point better than I managed to yesterday.

– July 28, 2010 9:44 AM
Q.

Montgomery Village, MD

Tracee Last night's situation reminded me of several years ago when my wife and I had planned for months to see Les Miserables. Ordered tickets well in advance, nice dinner before, etc. When we arrived, a notice was posted that the lead role was going to be performed by the understudy. Lots of folks were mubling and grumbling. My thought was , how many chances does the understudy get to star during a play's run. This is his spot to shine. And indeed he did. He performed wonderfully and got a standing ovation. I realize the roles were somewhat reversed last night , that the rookie was scratched and a more seasoned player stepped in, but fans got their money's worth, the Nats won and it was a nice night to sit outside and watch a game. Complainers/whiners, get over yourselves and enjoy life as it comes. Thanks !
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Common sense is a wonderful thing to possess. Good for you!

– July 28, 2010 9:45 AM
Q.

DUNN TRADING?

Ok, here goes, I know how you feel on it, and frankly I feel similarly. Same for Capps. But.... with Dunn, what would happen (and I assume this has happened before). They get a great offer for him, could they then, tell him "here's the deal, you are being traded, and in the off season we would you to give us first right of refusal - or a gentleman's agreement - if you will, to match any offer you get - unless you elect to stay with the new club." I assume this a form of collusion or cheating or - whatever, but - what the heck? They could even tell him, we are offering you 3 years for $45 M, and throw in a few incentives - so he at least has a starting point, in the meantime, any trade would have to be for player who can at least compete to play now, and maybe a couple AA or so players - pitchers likely. Sorry for the lengthy message.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I've said before that I think that option is a non-starter, and I still think it. They can't agree to a handshake deal and then trade him and sign him back; that can't possibly be legal. And once he's gone, I think they'll have trouble affording him on the open market.

– July 28, 2010 9:46 AM
Q.

Strasburg scratched, Batista starts

There was much discussion in our part of the stadium last night about how to respond to the various changes. We didn't boo when Bastista was announced, but rather went to our Blackberries quickly to try to find out what happened to Strasburg. When they put up the news on the scoreboard (we already had our answer from online, an usher and Rizzo on radio), we were mostly quiet. How do you show appreciation for Bastista stepping in (and Stras being, hopefully, okay) without appearing like you are cheering this development?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

That seems to be the right approach. I don't think clapping for Batista would indicate anyone was happy that Strasburg was scratched. Glad you weren't among the boo-birds. I get the disappointment but ...

– July 28, 2010 9:48 AM
Q.

Cue the violins

My wife and I are not wealthy (our young son has cancer) but we scraped up well over $300 to take her father, who also has cancer, and uncle to last night's game to see Stephen Strasburg pitch. This included 4 - $50 tickets, $40 for a handicapped space in a nearby parking garage, refreshments and two Strasburg t-shirts, which I'm now told we could have bought at WalMart for half the price. Lesson learned, and a very sad and hard one it is. Given my father-in-law's condition, I don't think he's going to make it back, though he did appreciate our efforts.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I hate to hear this, and I'm sure the Nats hate to hear this as well. I just don't know what to tell you. It's always ALWAYS a risk to buy tickets to an outdoor event. Injuries can also mess with the rotation. I'm really sorry it happened, though.

– July 28, 2010 9:48 AM
Q.

T.O.

Is he really still that talented, if he ever was? Wilbon has called him a "cancer" for years. If I owned an NFL team, I wouldn't want him within miles of the place. Of course, I don't, and never will, so that's easy for me to say. What say you?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

In his younger days I thought he was very talented. Haven't been as high on him in recent years. He's a guy I like to watch play but for the rest of the time I put him on mute. Combining him with Ochocinco -- I can't even imagine. I really can't.

– July 28, 2010 9:49 AM
Q.

Mommy, they cancelled Strasmas

I was at the game last night. I can understand why some fans booed when they announced Batista as the starter. It was a shocker that took a while to digest. (Everyone got on their smartphones, bringing 3g to a crawl, trying to get more info. It was like a Steve Jobs IPhone premiere) I don't understand why anyone would then leave the ballpark (though contrary to the implication in Kilgore's gamer there were very very few who left before the customary late inning exodus). Last night's game is why baseball is so fascinating. You just never know what you'll see.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Well put. The people who got up and left ... ugh.

– July 28, 2010 9:49 AM
Q.

Form of a Tiger

85 and TO are the Wonder Twins! "Wonder Twins powers, activate!"

A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I'm not familiar with the Wonder Twins' work, but just glancing it over, I think this may, again, be too positive a nickname.

– July 28, 2010 9:50 AM
Q.

Everything else

Strasburg will be fine...just a little sore...everyone take a deep breath.... Now, on to the important stuff. The Skins are exciting year in and year out going into camp with all their moves but I'm excited about the way they have handled themselves this year. Two questions though: Do you think they should have made a harder move for an upgrade at WR? (not talking T.O.) and what's your prediction for record this year? (don't sidestep this one.)
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I think they could have used another veteran receiver, just a little "less veteran" than Galloway, but agree -- not T.O. It's time for Kelly or Thomas to have a breakout season and I'm sure they are counting on one of them doing just that.

Sidestep? I scoff at sidestepping. I've said 8-8 consistently and I'll stick with that.

– July 28, 2010 9:51 AM
Q.

D.C. Baseball Fans

Well, last night shows how much further we have before we can even be considered a decent baseball town. I went to the game specifically to see Strasburg, and of course was disappointed when he got scratched, but when the worst case scenario for your evening is "I have to watch a baseball game in July on a beautiful evening," well, I just can't find much reason to boo. I understood why people booed, but it's classless, I think, to to rain boos when a guy on your own team is announced (I also understand many weren't specifically booing him, just the situation, but still) just because he isn't another guy. At least give him a chance to show you what he's got. Also, Batista's start was better than Strasburg's last start, so there.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Testify!

– July 28, 2010 9:53 AM
Q.

T.O. to Bengals

Can we expect some choreographed end zone routines with these two dancing divas and sometime football players?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Oh, I think they'll have more choreography than "All That Jazz." Absolutely, positively.

– July 28, 2010 9:54 AM
Q.

Shifting the spotlight

With the Skins about to open camp, we can expect the media to spend most of their time on Shanahan, McNabb, Haynesworth & co. But I suspect the Nats will get more attention than normal coming down the stretch and their offseason activity, along with the start of the seasons for the Wizards and Caps, will keep the Redskins from being the only game in town this season. Don't you think things are changing in this town when it comes to how media coverage will be doled out in years to come?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I think it's a three-way battle for No. 2, which currently is being one by the Caps (when everyone is playing, I mean). As an example, our numbers on the web, for anything Skins-related, beat any other numbers almost hands down. And that's been true in the Skins' worst seasons. I wish it was a little more evenly divided but truthfully, it may take one of the other three teams to hoist a trophy for any of them to challenge the Skins' supremacy. I think the gap has narrowed somewhat, but it's still a gap.

– July 28, 2010 9:55 AM
Q.

This is not Camden Yards

How about a column about the fact that yelling O during the National Anthem is something not to be done at Nats park!
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Not worth an entire column, but I've said before I think it's bad and I still think that. I get that there are O's fans everywhere, and that's fine, but I don't like yelling of any kind during the national anthem. What, we can't keep our traps shut for 2-3 minutes?

– July 28, 2010 9:57 AM
Q.

Embarrassment buffett

So which is more embarrassing, that I almost cried when they announced The Scratch, or that I'm seriously considering having one of Miguel Batista's poems tattooed on my chest? Maybe it's time for me to take a little step back from this season, no?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Yes, time for another Hamiltime intervention. You need some help.

– July 28, 2010 9:57 AM
Q.

Batista quote

Gotta love his Miss Universe/Miss Iowa quote...
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Yup. You have to love him, just for the quote and the way he took everything that happened.

– July 28, 2010 9:59 AM
Q.

Cheese Boy

What happened to Cheese Boy's Tuesday chats? Did he wear himself out covering for you when you were on vacation?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I don't know. I think his chat is going to undergo some changes but I never know what's going on.

– July 28, 2010 10:00 AM
Q.

Discounts and refunds

Thank you for reminding everyone of the rules of baseball. Just like there is no crying in baseball, there are no guarantees. Sometimes things happen, like last night. You take your chances. They always say "Subject to change". If last night's game had been rained out would people have demanded that they be given replacement tickets to a Strasburg start?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

The answer to your question, sadly, might be "yes," but they'd be wrong, too! :)

– July 28, 2010 10:01 AM
Q.

Canceled reservation at Hotel Strasburg

I'm not worrying too much about this; I'm glad the Nats are erring on the side of caution. But I'm sure those who bought tickets for Sunday are probably worried that his turn in the rotation will be altered. Sorry, gang, but that's the way baseball goes, and if Strasburg is the only reason you're watching this team (which still isn't a good one, but improved from the '08 and '09 disasters), that's your loss. BTW, can we please, PLEASE get rid of "Sweet Caroline" at Nats games? That's a Red Sox song, and I want the Nats to have their own identity, not be associated with the New England Evil Empire. (If that dismays all the pink-hatted Ivy Leaguers in town, tough -- head back to Harvard. We townies don't need you.)
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I swear the last Nats game I was at, pre-surgery, they did NOT play Sweet Caroline. Or maybe I tuned it out. But yes, I agree, it's the Sox's song.

– July 28, 2010 10:02 AM
Q.

Strasscratch

The last minute hook of Strasburg seemed to enliven all the pitchers, not just Batista. Was it just me or did Burnett and Storen have more lively outings than usual?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I didn't see it; I had a meeting and got in the house in time for Capps. I think being in the home park helps, too. Plus Batista is a bullpen guy; I'm sure Burnett and Storen wanted to see him get the win. Not that they wouldn't want Strasburg to win.

– July 28, 2010 10:03 AM
Q.

Understudy

No Bette Midler?!?!?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

A young girl's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk...Rochelle, Rochelle!

– July 28, 2010 10:03 AM
Q.

Trade Dunn? Tres Dumb

A sign I saw last night as I left the park after the game - which I'd thought to take a picture of it. And it was a great game - even without SS. The team made the right call.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Clever sign; I'd like it even if I didn't agree.

– July 28, 2010 10:04 AM
Q.

The three Am Egos

How about Miami Thrice
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

We're looking for something pejorative. Or at least I am.

– July 28, 2010 10:06 AM
Q.

Relax already

I'm sure (MarkPrior) that it's just precautionary (KerryWood) and nothing to be (MarkFidrych) concerned about.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Deep breaths. I'm going to start putting you people in touch with each other.

– July 28, 2010 10:06 AM
Q.

Tell me it's gonna be okay

So, Tracee, I'm out on the ledge here and my wife keeps telling me that it's not a big deal, the MRI was negative and Strasburg's not hurt. Should I believe her? 'Cause she made another good point, that I'm not going to accomplish much by jumping since we only have a two-story house.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I don't think it's a big deal. The MRI would show something -- take it from one who knows. Shoulder inflammation -- I laugh at shoulder inflammation. Any hard throwing pitcher has some shoulder inflammation. That's what the giant bags of ice are for.

– July 28, 2010 10:07 AM
Q.

Fair weather fans

Boo the team, leave, demand refunds because Strasburg isn't starting? Who needs fans like that?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Well, sadly, right now, the Nats do. When they start winning, hopefully the fair weather types get weeded out. But they are there every season, the ones who make one trip a year. They are just more obvious this season. You just have to hope, if you're the Nats, that some of them will fall in love with the game, not one guy, and come back.

– July 28, 2010 10:08 AM
Q.

BATISTA

Tracee, any chance Batista could become a regular starter for awhile (until we see Zimmermann, Olsen, Wang, Marquis, etc.)? The Detwiler, Balestar crowd doesn't seem to have it. Batista looked real good last night. What do you think?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I don't think that would work because Batista isn't used to working long. So his starts would be short and that would require more bullpen help. Which is the same problem the Nats are having with the youngsters. I doubt they are looking at that as a long-term solution.  Marquis is very close, so that should help.

– July 28, 2010 10:09 AM
Q.

The Mr. Tony Experience

He's on the radio now, talking about going to the game last night...
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Ha! He will probably never attend a game again. I can just hear it ...

– July 28, 2010 10:09 AM
Q.

Strasburg

I think all the doommeisters and naysayers need to just shut up and sit down. The Nats are doing the right thing by being careful with Stephen Strasburg's shoulder issue. The MRI showed NO structural damage whatsoever. He should be ready to go in a few days. Calm down People. Thoughts?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Absolutely right.

– July 28, 2010 10:10 AM
Q.

It's all over

Strasmas is over, and we'll soon find out the MRI missed a detached muscle that will end his career. That will be followed by McNabb blowing out his knee at Skins camp when he accidently gets between Haynesworth and a package of Twinkies, and, some time in October, Wall will try to dunk, hit the rim with his head, get a concussion, and be out indefinitely. (I'm kind of a "glass half empty" guy)
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Uh, yeah. Yeah, you are.

– July 28, 2010 10:10 AM
Q.

Column

Tracee, on average how long does it take to whip up a column for the sports page? What's the break down on research and actual writing? I imagine very experienced columnists like Boz, Wilbon, etc. can spit them out quickly.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Wildly varies. The thing Boz and Wilbon can do that I admire so much is crank out a column on deadline. I am in awe of that ability and I was as an editor, too. Sometimes you feel it and it pours out; sometimes it's an effort. Lately, with the sling, it's been an effort just because my arm gets tired. I don't type fast enough to capture my brilliant thoughts, which then get left out of the column because I also can't retain information.

Seriously, I've been doing it a year and change and I still feel like a rookie at times.

– July 28, 2010 10:10 AM
Q.

85 and TO

More like the Menendez twins, considering their effects on a team...
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

LOL

– July 28, 2010 10:11 AM
Q.

Injuries can happen at any time

I personally don't think they were being too cautious with Strasburg last night, injuries can happen at any time. Just ask Chris Coghlan or the Marlins.

A.
Tracee Hamilton :

How'd you like to be the guy that rips up Strasburg's knee? Witness protection program ...

– July 28, 2010 10:11 AM
Q.

Matt Bomer

Why don't you want to marry him? BTW he was gorgeous last night (as always).
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Missed that last night, too. Sigh. I said that because a chatter thought his being gay might lessen my love, which it does not. Truthfully, I don't want to be married. Too late. I'm WAY too set in my ways. Unless I could have a Mary Wollstonecraft-William Godwin marriage.

– July 28, 2010 10:11 AM
Q.

Quote

So Tracee, what does being 'successful as a person' mean per the quote on the front page of the sports section today - print edition? You hear that a lot. Sounds great. What does 'success as a person' look like? Sorry to wax philosophical on you so early in the day, but enquiring minds want to know.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

If you mean the Friedgen quote, my edition says he'll be successful in life, which seems obvious. If I'm looking in the wrong place, sorry!

– July 28, 2010 10:12 AM
Q.

Star-Spangles

How about this: the announcer says "Please rise for the singing of our NATIONALS anthem"?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Yeah, again, I don't like messing about with the national anthem in any way. It's the national anthem. I am a fuddy-duddy.

– July 28, 2010 10:12 AM
Q.

Two Comments

Amen to the disrespect of the National Anthem. As a little kid, hearing the "O" bugged me and continues to even more as a Nats fan. Also, as far as the gap for Skins supremacy...a perfect example...I'm more excited for tomorrow's training camp (a practice) then I am for the Nats next game. (even if it was Strasburg)
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Another fuddy-duddy. Thanks! I think you are not alone in your Skins excitement, either.

And that' s it -- running long as always. I asked Maske when he'll be chatting and he doesn't know, so stay tuned for that. Someone asked about TK's show and I still don't know but will know tomorrow; I've got to get some answers at the doctor's and then can plan the next several months. I will miss Day 1 of camp, which stinks, but if it means getting out of this sling a week earlier, I've gotta do it. I'm going nuts. Well, more nuts than usual. Let's talk tomorrow!

 

– July 28, 2010 10:13 AM
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