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August 2, 2010

9:35
A.M.

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

Total Responses: 25

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

Meat Loaf said two out of three ain't bad, and after their weekend series with Philly, the Nats would agree. Or we can talk Skins training camp, or what you did this weekend, or whatever. I'm easy like a Monday morning.
Q.

Tracee Hamilton :

Meat Loaf said two out of three ain't bad, and after their weekend series with Philly, the Nats would agree. Or we can talk Skins training camp, or what you did this weekend, or whatever. I'm easy like a Monday morning.

Q.

Haynesworth Drill

I'm curious as to whether all the Redskins had to pass this drill. I'm a 28 year old marathon runner, in excellent shape, and it sounds brutal to me, especially in this heat and humidity. Maybe football players are in better shape than I give them credit for!
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Two Redskins players were close to having to perform the drill -- Andre Carter and Rocky McIntosh, Andre because he had surgery and missed some workouts and McIntosh because he hadn't signed. They were told they would have to do the drill if they didn't get their participation numbers up to a certain level (I don't know what that level is). They did, and they avoided the drill. But they knew what the drill was and were preparing for it just in case.

I certainly don't think it's a piece of cake.

And good morning, everyone! I was Redskins Park yesterday and did perhaps the stupidest thing I've ever done. Was it:

a) locking my keys in the car

b) leaving my keys in my unlocked car

c) leaving my keys in the ignition and the car running for all of the morning workout

 

– August 02, 2010 9:35 AM
Q.

Keeping Dunn?

So nice to see Adam still in our uniform (even though so many baseball insiders are saying we should have traded him).. What do you think the chances are that they keep him?

A.
Tracee Hamilton :

That's the big question. They can still trade him until August 31, I believe the date is, for waiver trades. I still think they'll re-sign him but it's not completely over yet.

– August 02, 2010 9:37 AM
Q.

Obama family at the Verizon Center

Did they bring their own food in when they attended the Mystics game? Would you let your child and her friend eat and drink anything from the food concessions there? Bet their are several Secret Service SAs chugging Pepto right now.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I can't imagine they don't have rigid rules for screening good for the President and his family. Would I want to eat there right now? Not particularly. But this problem has been going on awhile now and thousands of people HAVE eaten there. I'm not trying to downplay the issue, but there hasn't been an outbreak of anything. Perhaps that's just luck...I said before, if you start to think about how and where your food is prepared, you'll never eat out again.

– August 02, 2010 9:37 AM
Q.

Everything Redskins

I'm not about to say Jim Zorn was a great head coach, or even that he was a very good head coach, but it's tiresome to hear that he "spend the majority of his time with the quarterbacks", that "there's a new sheriff in town", and a repeat that while "...former head coach Jim Zorn spent almost the entirety of practice working with the quarterbacks, Shanahan prefers to patrol the field more like a CEO." Jim Zorn, when he was hired, was coming from being a position coach to becoming the offensive coordinator; he came here, as good a player or position coach as he was, without having broad coaching experience. And, not telling anyone anything they don't already know, he was elevated from being offensive coordinator to head coach, in part because no one else took the job. It was too good an opportunity for him to refuse, just as no one here would refuse a significant promotion if they were offered it. But no, Shanahan isn't the sheriff in town; he's a head coach. Period. He's an experienced coach, and experienced head coach, but he's the head coach. Not sheriff or talk show host or auto salesman, he's the head coach. As for Kyle Shanahan being the one who helps with the quarterbacks, the difference is, unfortunately, the Redskins previous head coach came from what he did best (quarterbacks) and tried to continue doing what he does best, working with and helping the quarterbacks on a team that needed quarterback help, along with a lot of other help. And, like it or not, Coach Zorn depended on a coaching staff that, for the most part, he didn't select, and for which he was dependent. No opportunity to succeed was given to Coach Zorn; every opportunity has been given to Coach Shanahan to succeed.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I'm not a fan of the "sheriff" comparison. Just like I'm not a fan of comparing a football game to a war or a battle. It's football.

I don't agree with much you said about Zorn. He knew he wasn't anyone's first choice and he was working with an inferior GM. I do think it's a good set-up now, with Shanahan paying attention to more than just the quarterbacks; it was pretty obvious last year that Zorn didn't really pay attention to the defense. That gave Blache a lot of power.

– August 02, 2010 9:39 AM
Q.

Happiness is...

... clicking on the sports section, looking at the week ahead in chats, and seeing five straight days of FSF (or, as we call it in my house, Hamiltime!) on the schedule. Woohoo! But I also noticed the announcement of Cindy's new blog. I love a new blog, of course -- doesn't everybody? -- but is it wrong that I was mostly interested to see that she's grown her hair out, and that it made me wonder what kind of shampoo she uses?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

You should ask Cindy on her new blog; I'm sure she'd tell you!

– August 02, 2010 9:40 AM
Q.

Rizzo and Lerners

How many losing seasons will it take for you to stop praising these guys as if they are somehow methodically transforming the Nats into a superpower, rather than simply cheapskating their way into last place?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Um... I've never written a word about the Lerners, good or bad. I do think Rizzo is doing a decent job and I have written that. And I'll stand by that at least for the rest of the season.

– August 02, 2010 9:42 AM
Q.

Albert in Ashburn

Hey, hey, hey, no test today... So, is it just me or is this conditioning test about to blow up in Shanny's face? Al isn't winning the PR debate, but he keeps getting the outcomes he wants. Al doesn't want to play NT, and it seems like he's not going to have to. He didn't want to go to OTAs, and he didn't go. He wanted to get all the bonus money, he got it. Now, he doesn't want to practice and he doesn't have to as long as he continues to fail/not take the conditioning test. Brilliant!!!
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Yes, I was thinking about that yesterday as I watched him trudge past into the building. He's missing a lot of hard work. This is the strangest game of chicken I've ever seen.

– August 02, 2010 9:43 AM
Q.

Re: The Verizon Center food

This has become a popular question in the past week and I understand why but can we introduce these people to a little concept called reality? Yes, I am willing to take a bold stand that rodents and food meant for human consumption don't mix (I'm funny that way), but if there was a problem with the food being served to thousands of people on a virtually daily basis, wouldn't have noticed something by now? Like a massive outbreak of illness at the games? Besides, even at the cleanest ballpark, you're eating a HOT DOG, for Pete's sake? What do you think is in there?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Yes, this is my point as well. If you have ever worked in a restaurant you know way too much about the food preparation areas, the hygiene of the employees, etc. And yes, hot dogs are not made of sugar spice and everything nice. Every now and then I get a craving for one but I ignore it.

– August 02, 2010 9:44 AM
Q.

The Most Beautiful Sound In Sports

is 20,000 Phillies fans going absolutely silent when Ryan Zimmerman crushes a Brad Lidge pitch. Followed closely by 20,000 Nats fans screaming for joy at the top of their lungs. Best night I've had at the ballpark in a very long time.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Yes, that must have been fun.

– August 02, 2010 9:46 AM
Q.

Nats-keeping Dunn

All the baseball talking heads are saying the Nats blew it by not trading Dunn. When did the law get written that says teams that are out of contention must trade all their assets to the contenders for minor league prospects that by percentage don't make it in MLB? I think this system keeps the same teams at the top. Rizzo was right to ask for the moon and the stars for Dunn.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

No disagreements here. He had a high asking price and no one met it. A lot of the contenders think they can raid the also-rans; Rizzo was letting it be known that they can't. I don't think that' s a bad thing. But now they need to re-sign Dunn.

– August 02, 2010 9:47 AM
Q.

Haynesworth

I noticed a lot of sports writers, you included, second-guessing Shanahan's dealings with Haynesworth. Isn't it possible that Shanahan knows what he is doing here, and that ultimately Haynesworth will come out of this a better players, or will be exposed for being a lazy loser that we don't need anyway?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Um, again, what? I've not written a WORD about this  since the testing business began. I'm not second-guessing Shanahan. I do wonder how he will end this situation gracefully, but I don't think he cares. I'm not against the drills.

– August 02, 2010 9:48 AM
Q.

Nats

First I was worried that they were going to trade Dunn, then I was happy that they didn't, now I'm being brainwashed into thinking that they blew an opportunity to get prospects for an aging player and that they will lose him anyway to a higher bidding team and end up with nothing except some draft picks. Can you help me out Dr. Hamilton?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I bandied all the sides of the issue around quite a lot before I wrote that they shouldn't trade him. I can see the argument on the other side, believe me. It's not cut and dried. The key is, if they were going to keep him, they have to believe he is re-signable. Deep breaths.

– August 02, 2010 9:49 AM
Q.

Heavyset Albert

Why can't the Redskins make Haynesworth practice with the team to learn his new position, get in some grueling workouts instead of hopscotching around garbage cans, and still make him pass the conditioning test? Won't the daily work outs improve his conditioning more so that the trash can drills? Albert doesn't seem to be moving so fast in the footage I've seen on TV of him doing those drills. Make the dude sweat and learn his position.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

This has been suggested and I think it has some merit, but it doesn't allow the team to send a clear signal that if you don't follow the program, you suffer. They don't want him to be fit by his trainer's standards; they want him to be fit by THEIR trainer's standards. Hence the drills.

– August 02, 2010 9:50 AM
Q.

Haynesworth

If he doesn't pass the conditioning test, we don't want him here because he is not as fit as the rest of the players. So why is it a problem that Shanahan is making him take the test....I mean, how can we possibly be worse if he fails? We were 4-12 with him last year, and he missed 25% of the season, and nearly 50% of the plays when he was playing. So, isn't it possible that what Shanahan is saying is that he has no value to the Redskins if he can't pass the test?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Possible. I also think time is on Shanahan's side. Haynesworth wouldn't have played much in the first preseason game, but if he has to spend that game on the sideline in street clothes ... every NFL player wants to play. That may be the one thing they all have in common.

– August 02, 2010 9:51 AM
Q.

Mike Rizzo

As an Orioles fan, I think he's doing a much better job than Andy MacPhail! Nats took 2 of 3 from the Phils over the weekend, O's lost 3 of 4 to KC. I hope I'm wrong, but time will tell.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

As a Royals fan, it was nice to see the Orioles for four. Poor Baltimore. I don't know the Lerners well enough to like or dislike them, but I can't imagine most Nats fans wouldn't rather have the Lerners than Angelos.

– August 02, 2010 9:52 AM
Q.

Redskins Training Camp

C'mon, Mike, give it (and Fat Albert) a rest Let him practice with the team! Never thought I'd feel sorry for Haynesworth, but I do. Plus it's a huge distraction. Side point: despite 2 great Nats wins on Fri. and Sat., lead story on local News at 11 was Haynesworth, both nights. I know t his is a Redskins town, but that is still disappointing.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

This is the problem with discipline -- it's unpleasant to see it actually enforced. Everyone wanted Haynesworth punished to some degree when he was skipping workouts and mandatory camp. Now that it's happening, it's no fun to watch. But if Shanahan gives in now, it's like giving in to your kid when he gets a timeout and his lip quivers -- that's going to be one spoiled kid. Haynesworth is getting a timeout and it's a very public one.

– August 02, 2010 9:55 AM
Q.

Your July 30 Chat

"Shanahan is walking a fine line here. Haynesworth seemed to be trying to make amends with the Wednesday meeting; Thursday comes and he gets put through the wringer. I have NO problem with that. But you have to know when to let up. Is today the day to let up, after he's made his point? Apparently not -- Rick Maese reports that he failed the test again. The key for Shanahan is knowing when to give a little as well. It appears as of now that he's not giving yet. I think if this daily humiliation keeps up he hurts himself. He sends a definite message, but even the players who are mad at Haynesworth are going to start siding with him because he is one of them, in the end. You want the respect of the locker room, and to get that you have to show respect to the players. I'm no fan or apologist for Haynesworth, but this could backfire on Shanahan." Why did you just say you haven't said a word about this?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I meant I hadn't written a column about it. Yes, we've talked about it in the chat. I thought the players might start to resent Shanahan if this continues, but  after being out there yesterday, I am not sensing that yet. Do I think this could backfire? Yes. Do I think he should give in. No. Yesterday was my first day out there and in general the discipline and seriousness of camp is very different than last year. What's going on with Albert is in line with that. And the players seem to be much more worried about learning their new systems and making the roster than worrying about Haynesworth.

– August 02, 2010 9:59 AM
Q.

Adam Dunn

There are a myriad of reasons that the Nats shouldn't trade Dunn, but chief among them for me is the fact that he is one of the more recognizable stars on a team that is still trying to build its fanbase. Trading the guy who is (with Zimm) the offensive face of the franchise is a bad idea. The Nats are still trying to convince people to come to the park on days when Strasburg isn't pitching. You don't make a good argument by trading away your most powerful hitter (and a guy who wants to stay here!).
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Yup.

– August 02, 2010 9:59 AM
Q.

Two out of three ain't bad...

...but a sweep would have been better. The fact that we blew it (and had some ump help, I think) makes it harder to look on the bright side. One big upside that I did see was that Nats fans were at the Park and loud. I was there on Sunday and any chants of "Let's Go Phillies" were properly drowned out. Folks were even initiating "Let's Go Nats" chants on their own. The hometown fans showed the Philthies that NP is not Citizen's Bank Park South (which don't flow at all, like "Fenway South" does--not that I like that either).
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Good to see a nice crowd on a Sunday afternoon when the team is out of contention.

– August 02, 2010 10:00 AM
Q.

Batista

It seems to me that, right now, Miguel Batista can have anything he wants. So what should he ask for? The closer's job? A regular rotation berth? Shortstop? Albert Haynesworth's signing bonus? Miss Iowa's phone number?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

I'd go with Albert Haynesworth's signing bonus. Miss Iowa is a  Cubs fan so there's no future there.

– August 02, 2010 10:01 AM
Q.

Where's the Offense?

Looking at the Nats yesterday, the bottom half of the order had no pop and low averages. Looking at the P-Nats, the batting has a bit of power, but only a couple regulars hitting above .260 or so. Is there anyone in the pipeline elsewhere in the system who can help out? And what's up with Bryce Harper?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

This, to me, was the downside of the Nats' two trades -- that they got more pitching and almost no hitting. I still think the trades were good ones but they do need some hitting help. Bryce Harper tweeted this weekend or late last week that he would love to go back to college for  a year. Truth or negotiating tactic? Hard to tell.

– August 02, 2010 10:03 AM
Q.

Miss Iowa

Nice of the Nats to bring her to DC, and great Teddy gave her flowers, but what was she so upset about? She's a nice looking woman, but she's not Miss Universe. At least she made a decent pitch! The Nats seem more attuned to good PR moves than their neighbor to the North, with their ridiculous game-day surcharges.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

It was a nice move by Batista and the Nats, and it wasn't her first baseball game, which was refreshing as well. A win-win for all, which is rare.

– August 02, 2010 10:04 AM
Q.

Quality of DC sports fans

Not sure I agree with a comment you made Friday that DC fans tend to pick one team and ignore the others. The Skins are king in DC because football is king everywhere. The problem is that there are too many people in DC that didn't grow up there. I love the Skins, Caps and Wizlets equally, though I will never cheer for the Nats over my beloved Orioles <insert snicker here>. One of my best friends is gaga over all things Atlanta. We once took in a Hawks game at the old Omni (great arena, by the way), and the place was like a church on Sunday. He said Atlanta just had too many transplants that cheer for other cities' teams. I thnk Washington has the same problem. The same can't be said for places like Philly, Cleveland, Detroit and up here where I live now in Packer/Brewer crazy Milwaukee.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

Yes, the transplant argument has some validity, I think.

– August 02, 2010 10:05 AM
Q.

Next Washington Post sports columnist...

Miguel Batista. I mean, first, he's already a published author. Second, the "Miss Iowa" quote. Third, when asked what he hopes would happen when he meets Miss Iowa: "Hopefully she says, 'Oh, he was a cool guy. He looked like a low-budget Vin Diesel, but he's nice.' " I mean, c'mon, is he good or what?
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

He's great. Maybe we should get him to do an online chat. Paul??

– August 02, 2010 10:06 AM
Q.

Z

There isn't an athlete in Washington (including Ovechkin) who rises to the occasion like Zimmerman. I have a feeling that when he gets to October baseball he'll be clutch. A most underrated superstar.
A.
Tracee Hamilton :

October baseball? What's that? Let's hope he gets that chance; it would be well-deserved.

Okay, no one guessed at my boneheaded move yesterday  at Skins camp but the answer was c). I also came back with a very mild case of heat stroke, I think. Jason Reid will never forgive me for forgetting my hat!

Sorry I couldn't get to the all the questions today. I'll try again tomorrow.

– August 02, 2010 10:09 AM
Q.

 

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