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

Aug 08, 2013

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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How are folks at the paper feeling about the sale? Is it going to be like the Who - "Meet the new boss/ same as the old boss"? I don't have the sense that he'll take a meat axe to the paper - he's purposely taking the paper *away* from the pressure of Wall Street "I-gotta-make-big-bux-NOW" idiots by going private. The fact that he reads the Post and the Times and the Journal every day is a good sign.

I hope that one thing the genius of Amazon brings to the Post is improved chat software.... Section 405

I can't speak for the mood at the paper. It was certainly stunning to me. The Grahams were tremendous owners.

I won't begin to speculate about what Jeff Bezos will do. I have no earthly idea. I'm not sure many people here do, either. This was a closely guarded secret and it's been out for less than four days.

BTW, sorry about last Thursday's late cancellation. I got a cortisone shot in my thumb and my hand was paralyzed for about 24 hours. Well, it would move, but then I'd sort of pass out. :) Worst moment was arriving back at the Metro parking lot and trying to get in my pocket for my car keys. Brought me to my knees. I'm going to have to have surgery, but will probably do that next spring. Long recovery.

Enough! Let's get started.

What does the team do with Zimmerman? He's a liability at 3rd but can't move to first without benching LaRoche who can't play left like Morse could have. So many holes on this team. Why did they mess with what they had?

LaRoche only has a season left. Maybe they'll trade him, although that might be tough. Why did they mess with what they had? They really didn't make a ton of changes. Every year you lose players and get new ones. I certainly don't consider the past offseason as an overhaul. Anyone want to chime in on Zim?

Congratulations! I see that the Royals have a better record than the Nats and are closer to the playoff than the Nats. After seeing both teams throughout the year last year, did you think that would happen so soon? Does this have anything to do with the 30-year anniversary of the Brett pine tar home run?

I thought the Royals would be better this season. I did not think they'd be better than the Nats. I'm not sure the pine tar anniversary has much to do with it, but it's fun to remember!

Liked your Manzell article. Do folks realize that "amateurism" is sports is a remnant of British upper-class Victorian snobbism? The "gentlemen" didn't want to have to compete against the smelly hoi polloi that actually had to get some money out of it to be able to afford to compete. How ghastly would it be if someone like ---that --- actually defeated a morally upstanding gentleman who didn't receive fillthy lucre for his efforts (because his distant thug ancestors were strong enough to steal a pile centuries earlier).

Is this a legacy of the 19th Century we really want to preserve? Besides -- Johnny Football fits the bill - his parents are rich! Section 405

I think "Chariots of Fire" sort of illustrates the point.

or the sports section. I had to go to your personal page to find it. Can't be helpful if only we rabid ones search it out. -Sec 129.

On the home page, you go to the weekly list and it's there:

http://live.washingtonpost.com/

On the sports front, it's linked right under the photo of Bryce Harper.

Got to experience some great crab cakes and crab soup last week on my annual jaunt to Maryland. Did not have time to sample many of the local brews but did get to play the Maryland National Golf Course west of Frederick. For a flatlander in fly over country, the elevation changes were amazing. I am trying to get interested in the pennant races other than St. Louis and I'm looking for a team to root for. Any ideas?

Royals for the wild card?

Tracee, this is way before your time in DC, but he was referenced in the Post's recent article on Jo Jo Hunter. In the early 1970's he was a lights out shooter at Montgomery Blair HS in Silver Spring. He could make a basket from anywhere on the court. We expected him to be a superstar at UMD but for some reason Driesell rarely played him and he transferred to GW after his sophomore year. He still makes the occasional all-time top 10 ACC shooters list even though he only averaged around 4 points a game. I think he then played in Europe for awhile. Apparently he's still in the area. Does anyone know what he's up to these days? I and I'm sure many other Blair alumni thank him for all the wonderful memories and continue to wish him well.

I know nothing of him but perhaps one of your fellow chatters does.

Liked your A-Rod column where you said "Rodriguez must be punished. It sounds simple because it is simple." But then I must have missed the part where you explain what you think is the proper punishment. 50 games? 211 games? If we are punishing him for obstruction of justice, then we need to go back and quadruple the punishment for Melky Cabrera for creating fake supplement websites justifying his positive test. Or are we just punishing him more severely because he is annoying. Yes, he should be punished. But your column was missing the amount of punishment, no?

Sorry I wasn't clear. I wrote that while a lifetime ban would have been a a fun fight, MLB would have lost. I think they did the next best thing. They couldn't give him 50 games because that's what the guys who negotiated deals got. I think baseball IS punishing him more severely, not because he's annoying personally, but because he's already admitted to steroid use, which I am sure annoys the heck out of them. But that's crystal ball gazing. I had no set amount of time he should be out except that it should be more than 50 games and a lifetime ban was a dream. Those were my parameters. Sorry I wasn't clear.

They'd be an NFL rival, play games, but only stream them (like Netflix), no TV contracts. I recall the 1974 World Football League, and our own Washington Ambassadors.

Hmmm, well, I would have no interest, but I am not the target audience (my demo is too ancient). I can't imagine players wanting to play in it over the NFL, so you'd get the less talented.

I hate to say this, and I hope it's not true but he doesn't seem to care. His postgame press conferences are painful to watch. And the team is playing the same way. Wait til next year?

He does come off like that. I think that is his demeanor and not indicative of not caring.

I'm hearing a lot of anger from disappointed Nats fans (including some in my family) about how they are playing this season. I sort of get it, but I'm just sad and disappointed, and it makes me appreciate last season all the more. The funny thing is, I have been outraged the last few seasons at the Capitals, because they strike me as unmotivated lollygaggers. Am I being too soft on the Nationals? What is your take on this season?

My take on this season has been published. And I'll stand by that. I was a little surprised not to get more negative email on that column. (They've dropped an additional 7.5 games since I wrote it.)

I know they don't have a lot of team speed but they also don't have much offense. Why not follow the Braves and other teams lead by trying to steal a base, take an extra base, employ the hit and run? If they run themselves into an out, so what? They can hardly score less than they do now.

No, I think they need to try more hit and runs. They don't have a lot of speed in the lineup but enough to at least try. I think you are right.

I know hope springs eternal -- well, maybe not now -- but other than having Davey as manager there simply is no comparison. That team could really hit, had great defense and solid pitching across the board. And Davey was clearly having a ball. This season, not so much.

I'm not sure I'm following, but this team hasn't been able to hit much, the defense is better but not good, and the pitching has been all over the map. So no, I think Davey is the only common denominator. This team looks great on paper. (Hogwarts looks like a fun school on paper.)

Do you think the new ownership at the Post will support online chats? They have been cutback substantially in recent years, which has always been a mystery to me. A vibrant dialouge between readers and staff of the Post seemed like a great thing.

I'll answer this one about the sale and then I'm done: I have no idea. I'm not trying to avoid questions but I don't have answers. Bezos hasn't been here yet. How in the world would we know what to expect? The sale isn't even final. Honestly, I don't know what's going to happen. It's an unsettling time and I don't have answers.

Unless he can do one of those "hypnotize everyone else so he passes waivers" August blockbuster deals, he should trade LaRoche this winter and move Zim to first next spring. Hopefully, we get solid prospects less than a year from the majors. I do like the fact that Rizzo always insists on getting players who are under team control for a longer period of time....

I like Adam but a trade would be good ... but how much they'll get for him given his dropoff this year is the problem. So you put Rendon at third? Then who's at second?

I was having a conversation with myself on the way home from the game last night (something that assures me of an intelligent and sympathetic ear). I was wondering for whom the current state of the Nats is more disappointing -- the band wagoners or those of us who have been there from the beginning? This is my first year as a season ticket holder, Army making it geographically impossible to do so until now (I [saw?] the first game at Nats Park courtesy of the Armed Forces Network in Baghdad), making it hard not to feel somewhat cursed. I made it to at least one game every year, suffering through bad baseball at RFK, enjoying watching them improve as their surroundings did on South Capitol, and then came last year. I felt like we had Made It. Well, it turns out... not so much. Such is life as a baseball fan. Don't get me wrong. I'm no less passionate about the team but am realistic. I haven't given up, per se, but I just don't see them catching even the Reds for a wild card spot. It isn't the number of games back, it's the kind of baseball they're playing. I love the roster for the most part and don't think it's fundamentally flawed and I think Rizzo is, while not perfect, one the very best in the business. The questions born of this conversation: will attendance drop a lot next year? Will the Nats use the experience from this year to learn and improve? Will the arrival of a new manager usher in a new era of success? And when will be the next meeting of the FTF faithful? Thanks.

I think it'll hurt attendance, yes, because there was a group of fans who first "noticed" the Nats last year, when they were winning and it was fun. This season, if they were still playing well, it would be another matter. But as you say, they are not playing well. That's why I wrote them off when I did. Of course, mathematically, it's not over till it's over. But I don't see anything there that leads me to believe they can make a run to overcome that deficit.

FTF meeting? I need to think about that. Probably not till after Labor Day.

(I talk to myself a lot but I've got to stop doing it in public. Still, I have interesting things to say! :) )

It's a treasure hunt!

Exactly. I'm not saying it's easy. :)

Pete said PEDs destroy the records by un-leveling the playing field, while he only bet on his team to win.

I'm not sure it matters which is worse. Both are against the rules. That's a teenager's argument.

I have no idea what to think about him. Before the season he was a genius, now he's the goat who needs to be put out to pasture?

I think he's dying to be put out to pasture. But no, he didn't suddenly get stupid. There is something odd with this team this year. I don't know what it is; it has a different feel somehow. Is that Davey's fault? I don't know. He doesn't know. The players don't know. Rizzo doesn't know. Sometimes, **** happens and there isn't a simple answer. But is it all Davey's fault? No.

Tracee, a guy in my office is from KC so we're going to see the Nats in two weeks. My quest is to visit all MLB stadiums (Not original, I know, but still) and this will be a great way to see Kauffman. Baseball, beer and BBQ, as well as the Negro League museum. Hopefully the Nats will provide a better showing than they did against the Braves.

Excellent plan. Our friend Bill from Columbia (he was at our last gathering) just went and he also recommends visiting the new WWI memorial/museum.

I know there are a lot of major injuries every training camp, but why does it always seem to be my team that loses someone really important? Still happy that the season is getting close.

I feel like we were having the same discussion the last two or three Augusts -- look at all the bad injuries! I'm not sure if it's that different than years past. I do think that the NFL really needs to shorten the exhibition season and give some of that extra time to a slow rollout to training camp. Maybe that would help.

Wasn't it nice to hearken back to a time when baseball's only 'roids problem was the one Brett had in the '80 World Series?

Hey!

He'll be fine. His throwing errors are becoming fewer and people seem to forget he had major surgery on his shoulder and because he's a professional athlete he didn't have the luxury of the same recovery time most people would. He does sail the ball on occasion but the throws themselves don't look nearly as ugly as they did in April, May and June. He'll be all right next season, I think, and his ability to get to balls is peerless. I think he'll work on the offseason and get straightened out (and play deeper, where he belongs). I could be wrong but the Nats need to wait until next year to see what they really have in him.

He can certainly play another year at third, and I agree with you about his play at third. And I REALLY agree about the shoulder surgery issue. I thought he rushed back and they rushed him back. He's an athlete and they heal faster, but the shoulder is a tricky thing. Eric Fehr said it took him 18 months for his to be back to full strength. (He had both done at once and was trying to make me feel better about my left.)

remind me of the 2011 team - an outfit I thoroughly enjoyed. Remember - WE HAVE BASEBALL IN WASHINGTON! Doesn't *anyone* remember what it was like before '05? Count your blessings, and enjoy baseball....

I can always count on 405 to remind us of this... Summers here used to be pretty long.

RGIII comes out in one month!

The player or the book? Dave?

Bryce is old school tough, which is why we like him so much. But "old school tough" also requires a plunking if you stop and admire your own home run. If Bryce is so proud of playing baseball the old school way, then he doesn't get to whine when others play that way also.

Yeah, in the immortal words of Crash Davis: Run, dummy!

Magid was definitely a shooter (too bad it was before the 3 pointer). He did not play much because he had no "D" or inside game. Just a straight up shooter. But if the 3 pointer had been around, he definitely would have gotten more minutes.

Another Magid fan.

Are you surprised how quiet the Caps have been in the off season? I am sure GMGM is working hard behind the scenes, but if there aren't some roster changes, I don't like their chances in their newly formed, much more talented "Metropolitan" division. What is your take?

They've been too quiet for too long.

Are you a Breaking Bad fan? If so, how do you think the series will end? I have a bet with my lovely wife that Bryan Cranston is put into the witness protection program as Malcolm in the Middle's dad.

That would be an awesome ending. I watched the first season and found the show too intense for me so I haven't watched it, although I know the performances are brilliant. My guess, without knowing much about what's going on, is that he is killed, but I base that on nothing.

Why is there even an NFL preseason when VA Tech and Alabama can get ready for an extremely meaningful game without any preseason games at all?

Because the pro game is so complicated, so cerebral, with so many nuances ... ah, heck, beats me. It's just too much.

I have never seen a team where: 1. two major players were sent down to AAA 2. Third baseman cannot make throws to first and being a Gold Glove several years ago 3. ALR loses 25 pounds and can't hit 4. our pitchers can't hold runners (what do they do in Viera?)

Fungo? It has been a strange yet. I do think Zim's throwing is getting better, and that November to February is a ridiculously short time to recover from shoulder surgery -- and I have some expertise in this area. I can't argue with your other points.

That's also on the agenda.

Great! Anyone looking for a different place to visit, KC has a lot going on. The downtown area has a great art museum, the WWI museum, the ballparks (Arrowhead is right next door), great brewpubs ... and you can always make a jaunt to Lawrence and take in the beauty of campus. Do not take in the beauty of the football team. Ah, well, maybe they'll surprise me.

And that's it for today. Sorry the page wasn't ready when it should have been -- thank goodness for 405, who keeps me on my toes. It's slow in August but we'll keep plugging away. Let's chat 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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