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

Sep 19, 2013

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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Oh Goddess of the Plains, etc., etc., I'm submitting this question early in hopes you can find the answer, assuming you don't already know: On days when the Nats play a day/night double-header, what do they do in the hours between games? Go home? Go out for a meal? Stay in the locker room playing poker and/or watching TV? Curious minds want to know. Thanks.

They stay in the locker room. They have massage, a kitchen, meals prepared, couches and TVs ... it's nicer than my house.

And sorry I'm late getting started. Work got in the way, darn it. Here we go.

What do you think the odds are that Cal Ripken's name has come up in discussions with the administration of the Nats?

This has been bandied about before. I don't think it's necessarily what Ripken wants. But it would certainly be interesting.

I know I keep harping on this. But, IF the Nats make the PLAYOFFS, games will Start about 8:30 and end about 1130-Midnight. Navy Yard Station is only open till 11:20. How can the NATS ask their season ticket holders (many like me who take Metro to games); to invest a NONREFUNDABLE SUM of nearly 2 Grand! without having a reliable way home? Unless we leave mid game. What's the sense in that? I suggest, since Leonsis has his Playoff tickets already, that he put down a deposit for Metro to stay open late on a weeknight. Ted Lerner can pay him back by paying for it for the same number of Caps games. This way Mr. Lerner isn't settinig a precedent with the other owners not paying for their metro systems. How about it. Get the subject out there!!!!!!

Oy. I've already written about this, saying the Nats should pay. I am not going to write about it every time it comes up. Harping is where the word "harpy" originated. (At least I think so.)

Tracee - I certainly respect Mike Wise's decision to stop using the name Redskins in his columns (and no, chatters, I am not trying to open that can of worms today). But when they put the word "Redskins" in the headline time and time again, it kind of undermines his whole intent. I know you don't write your own headlines, but doesn't someone who has earned a COLUMN have any input? Can't he just say "please don't use Redskins in my headline?"

It's hard to write headlines without using the word sometimes. I think the bigger problem has been having it inserted into his column in the editing process. Do we have a say in our headlines? Not at the current time. Could we ask? Yes. I try to respect the copy desk since that is from whence I came.

There were 2 Braves fans in Sec 133, Row E, who tried to start the tomahawk chop in the 9th inning when Soriano put runners on. They were quickly drowned out by "Lets go Nats!" That is the 2nd best way to handle it. Of course winning the game is the best way.

Both are excellent responses, mature and non-violent. :)

I can't sleep, I can't eat, every time I think I am out they suck me back in. The Royals should be out of the wild card by now. First off its after August 1st. Second our manager is giving away a game a week. (Until the last month I never understood how the Brewers could fire a manager in the last month of the season and improve ... I do now.) They have ten games left to play and they still have a legitament chance (ESPN says 9.9%) of making the post season. They should have ran themselves out of an inning last night, but after watching the reply 1,985 times, I still don't know how the cleveland catcher missed the tag. Royals Fever ... it's going to kill me. Let's Go Royals!

I know. They are hovering just close enough to make you crazy without making you feel like it can happen. But it COULD happen, so you can't turn away. But it probably WON'T happen, so you should turn away. But what if it does happen? See, I have one of those brains too. It's why I take sleeping pills.

We aren't mathematically eliminated yet, even though last night's loss hurt. The one thing I fear is that, if we make the playoffs, it will be at the expense of my beloved Pittsburgh, not the hated Reds. Pittsburgh, like us, has lost games they should have won, while the Reds are snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat like last night. Tracee, do you see that as a possible scenario--we win and the Bucs lose? And please go to the locker room and recite the St. Crispin's Day speech every night. And do it in Arizona and St. Louis too!

I'm saving my speech for the Royals and Tigers. Not taking sides in the National League. It certainly is exciting, though, isn't it?

The controversy about the Redskins' name isn't dying down nearly as quickly in this iteration as in previous cycles, so I may as well throw in my own experience regarding this whole thing. I was about five years old and living ironically very close to where Fedex Field now stands. One night my mother was driving myself and my siblings home. I don't recall the weather exactly, but it must've been a warm enough night to drive with the windows down. A white motorist in a passing car yelled, "N-word!" to us. I didn't know what the word meant; it was the first time I'd ever heard it. My mother explained when we got home that it's a word some white people call us because they don't like that our skin color is different from theirs and that the motorist was being mean to us. I think that next Sunday my father had the Redskins game on and the person depicted on the Redskins' helmet had skin practically the exact shade of brown as mine. After what had happened the previous night I thought, "Wow, this team really stands up for black people. They like us enough to let us represent their team." At that moment I became a diehard Redskins fan. I was so upset by the incident with the racist motorist that my mother couldn't bring herself to tell me about the Redskins' racist history (last team to integrate, etc.) until I was several years older. Had she told me immediately I probably would have hated the team, but by then I had loved them for too long. And I didn't know "Redskin" was a slur until the night before the Redskins played the Bills in the Super Bowl. I was watching Saturday Night Live and comedian Chris Rock, who was a cast member at the time, made a very interesting observation. He said, "Washington Redskins, that's a slur. That's like having a team called the New York [N-words]." I'll wrap this up by saying that if calling a native American a Redskin makes him feel anything like I do when I'm called the n-word, how can the organization not even consider a name change?

How sad you ever had to learn that lesson. I grew up in a homogenous area but amazingly didn't know much of anything about racial or ethnic slurs until I got out in the "real" world. Wouldn't it be great if these words just went away? No idea how that will ever happen.

The organization will never consider a name change under Dan Snyder, I think. I don't know what there is to be done about it.

Referring to Coach Mike S- I am uncomfortable with the fact that I am sympathizing with him. Is Griffin supposed to wait until pre-season 2014 before playing a snap to make sure there is absolutely no rust and he has a pre-season? If AlMo got hurt in pre-season he would be an idiot for playing him more than he did? If Griffin should be benched b/c he is not "himself" should Cofield also be benched b/c he is not "himself" with that cast? In addition, I thought his response to the reporter who tried to shiled himself from the question (other pundits think Griffin dhould be benched) was great. If you have a question, ask it and I will answer it. What was your take as someone that works in the industry? If we want Shanny to own the answers, the asker should own the question.

I didn't see the Shanny Q&A to which you are referring but I am having the same trouble. If they want him to come back from his injury, he has to play. Running and lifting weights for a year is not going to do him any good. On the other hand, would they be better off with Cousins? Then if Cousins wins, how do they hand the keys back to RGIII. I don't always think coaches and GMs have an easy job.

(I wrote last Saturday that I didn't envy Washington its decision regarding Brandon Meriweather. I no longer feel that way. I think it's easy.)

Not related at all. Harp (v) derives from the phrase "to harp upon one string", and has a Dutch / German origin, 15th century or so. "Harpy" comes from Greek mythology, and is related to a Greek word meaning "that which snatches". "Harpy" predates "to harp" by a good 1600 years. - space cadet

Thanks, space cadet. I do remember some Greek connection, now that you mention it. In any case, I don't want to harp on an issue I've already harped on, even if that would only make my annoying but not a harpy. :) Thanks for the research, as always. I'm very behind this morning and the long questions pasted in from Word require a LOT of editing.

I can't get Jim Mora's voice out of my head. Playoffs? Playoffs? Trust me, this is not going to be an issue.

Well, again, I said that in July and I don't want to harp on it, but I don't think so either. I also don't like to borrow trouble.

He might be a great choice to even out the Nats' inconsistency. If nothing else, at least you know they'll show up every day. TBHitW

Ha! Well, at least he'd show up every day. I wonder if his presence would make guys with small boo-boos and ouchies feel guilted into playing? Who wants to work with the guy who never takes a sick day?

If there was ever a time to shut down Stasburg for the year, now would be it. He has pitched more innings this season than he has ever in his life. He has repeatedly had "stiffness" issues. I'm pretty sure if a competitor like Strasburg tells his coaches he has stiffness, it isn't a little bit of stiffness. Let him take a week off and I'm pretty sure this magical wild card comeback will turn into a pumpkin. Let's not turn it in to a disaster with Strasburg going down.

I'd shut him down but I don't think they want to signal that they are giving up. What does anyone else think?

Against my better judgment, I tuned in to see if Olbermann's new show would feature political insufferability or self-deprecating humor. I was pleasantly surprised to find that he's found his sports groove again. Perhaps Keith's more entertaining when his over-the-top personality is focused on meaningless things like sports instead of polarizing topics like politics. So my question is: how long until he blows this one up?

Well, I thought attacking the Nats and MLB for not wearing Navy caps might have been a little over the top but I don't watch the guy, sports or not, so I'm going on what I've read. I don't want any politics whatsoever, as you know, and I have never been interested in him. Not sure why.

Granted it would be awesome if the Nats made the wild-card, but there is a one game playoff then that they very easily could lose. Don't get me wrong... I'd absolutely love it. But I say lets enjoy the awesomeness of their great play right now, even if they end up not making the one game wild card playoff game. BTW, I'm giving myself a pat on the back as a write this, because I think this a sort of mature baseball sentiment not relevant to virtually any other pro sports. I'm the man!

You're the greatest!

I understand the other sides view, but it is a vocal minority that is making it an issue, with help from a sympathetic media. The last poll I saw said 70% wanted the name to stay. The name is not changing because of Snyder, it's not changing because most like the tradition of the name, and don't find it offensive.

That is true, public opinion is also in favor of keeping the name. What I'm saying, re Snyder, is that if he wants it changed, it changes, and if he doesn't, it doesn't. He has control. I'm not speaking for anyone but myself when I say I don't like it.

2-1 in preaseason, Looks like Brooks Laich is out again, they should have resigned Ribeiro. GMGM might regret this dicision this season. But then again the man thinks he knows everything: really is time for Ted to give him the boot, but that won't happen...

I thought they should have re-signed Ribs but it was not to be. And no, Leonsis is not getting rid of GMGM any time soon.

Robert Griffin is the face of Washington football. He is not going to be benched. It would be like benching Ovechkin when he was in a slump. The coaches have to figure out a way for the team to play to Griffin's strengths. He is a scrambling, running, option-ing quarterback. He is not a drop back and stay in the pocket player. Forcing him to do such would be like forcing Payton Manning to run the ball 20 times a game. You could do it, but the results would not be what you want.

Yes, this is the issue. I touched on this in my Tuesday column.

"if calling a native American a Redskin makes him feel anything like I do when I'm called the n-word" brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your experience and why you're in support of a name change. I'm 100% for changing our team's name, for exactly what you just described. The world is tough as it is - our recreational activities should bring us together as community, not as reminders that the world can be a mean-spirited place.

The Native American lobby is not strong, not like the African American or Hispanic lobby. I don't mean just politically, but really as a voice in our national discussions as well. That is one reason, I think, that some in the media ARE sympathetic.

Your colleague Chris Cillizza appears to have some doubt that the NFL will survive in the future, due to concerns about concussions and other long-term injuries to players. Do you share his concerns, or are you confident that the sport will adapt to the times and retain its popularity? Thanks

I think the NFL is too popular to go down. (Michael Wilbon had similar thoughts at one time and I assume they haven't changed.) I think the league will make adjustments and continue to thrive, and if they continue to settle these lawsuits, we may look back at the concussion issue as a blip on the radar. The rule changes, however, don't seem to be preventing the hits in question.

Change is coming, he just doesn't know it yet. Sometimes we think that nothing is changeable until it finally changes (Berlin Wall, Apartheid, etc.) Right now Snyder is still in denial. Some things you just can't justify, no matter how much you try. I still can't understand why someone who is justifiably sensitive to how people portray his heritage can be so tone deaf on this issue.

I don't know. He certainly is, though.

I know Maryland fans are all giddy about their first 3-0 start since Ralph's first season, but let's wait and see what happens on Saturday against a team that actually has some talent. The Terps have beaten FIU (probably the worst team in FBS), ODU (which is transitioning from FCS to FBS and simply can't compete on that level yet) and U-Conn. (a team that got pantsed by Towson, and a team Maryland could never put away).

I think Maryland fans are excited about the improved play as well as the record. Last season was tough, with the quarterbacks dropping like flies. But yes, they haven't hit the tough part of the schedule, like all the other 3-0 teams out there. We'll see how they look against tougher competition.

Wondered if you had an opinion on his 2 year old venting session on Nebraska fans coming out now? I would just say if I had a nickel for every time I vented about a coworker or boss, I'd be rich, I say everyone should cut the guy some slack.

Yeah, I am writing about it tomorrow but not really a rip of Pelini. I just can't believe a Nebraska coach can complain about Nebraska fans. Yeesh. I, too, vent and use bad language, but I don't do it anywhere near a microphone, whether I think it's on or not. Bad judgment. Should he be fired for it? Nah.

Not to make this a political discussion but it used to be a vocal minority felt slavery was wrong, a vocal minority felt segregation was wrong, and a vocal minority felt same-sex marriage is a right. Just because it's a vocal minority doesn't mean it's wrong. I predict history will one day show Snyder was wrong.

Yes, thanks, I meant to get into the vocal minority part. It is going to take a vocal minority because the people in question are not the majority. And someday, hopefully, we won't need vocal minorities or majorities. Wouldn't that be something?

Given that a lot of times in the Post, dueling beliefs are given the same amount of space to make their cases - contrasting op/ed, liberal/conservative blog posts, etc - do you think that the Post sports section should have someone write a column about why they want to keep the name Redskins? There isn't anyone making that case right now and even though I think they should change the name, when you have 70% of people disagreeing then their voices should be heard too

When you say "they," who do you mean? The Post? The team? In any case, I think the answer is the same: Columnists can pretty much write what they want. If someone felt strongly that the name should be kept, he or she would write that and I don't see any reason it wouldn't be printed. No one's being gagged that I know of.

Football needs to be safer, but I can't even imagine life without the NFL and College Football... I think there might be small riots in the streets if they went away.

I'd miss both, although think of all that free time on the weekends. Wait, think of all that free time on the weekends! Chores, errands ... bleh.

How weak is the NFC East? Could a team win this division with a 7-9 record?

I think it's possible. Early days yet. Are the Eagles the team that played the Skins or the team that played the Chargers (offensively, I mean)? The winner of the NFC East will not have the best record in football; I feel comfortable saying that. :)

There was a little girl

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There was a little girl,

Who had a little curl,

Right in the middle of her forehead.

When she was good,

She was very good indeed,

But when she was bad she was horrid.

very appropriate!

Hi, Tracee I am a straight woman, so this comment has nothing to do with the comparative size or shape of their various body parts. Carrie Underwood has butchered the SNF theme song. What's with all that moaning at the beginning -- did someone sack her? Faith's version was so much better, and put me in the mood for football. Carrie's version makes me want to watch the Disney channel. Perhaps the problem is that I'm old enough to remember Joan Jett and Carrie was only -- gulp-- five when the original song was a hit!

Love your disclaimer. Yeah, I thought it was a strange choice although she is quite popular. Kelly Clarkson would be closer to Jett's vocals, but she's probably not photogenic enough for the job. :)

Hi Tracee, My father in law is visiting from out of town. I took him to his first Nationals game last night. We had great seats, (ROW A) pretty much on the field. He really enjoyed the ballpark, even though the NATS lost. However, we were a little annoyed with the NATS "cheer team" A cheer team member "Terrance" kept runnning behind us and leading the cheers for more than 5+ innings in the section that we were in. Again, we were in the first row so he was behind us, but for over 5+ innings it just sounded like someone was screaming in our ear. I understand it's the guys job to lead the cheers but couldn't he move from section to section? At the end of the game our ears were ringing. Anyone, else had this problem at NATS park?

I know the team and I may even know the guy you are talking about. I can't believe baseball needs "cheer teams" or whatever you want to call them. That would annoy me, too. But what seats! I always travel with ear plugs; you can buy them in bulk and you never know. Cell phone call on the Metro? Plugs! Screaming baby on a plane? Plugs!

If the Washington NFL team were to change their name, they could presumably sell a ton of new merchandise, jerseys, t-shirts, bumper stickers, and the like. NFL fans eat that stuff up. It seems like a name change would not be a bad thing for Dan Snyder's wallet. He could actually come out ahead and do well by doing good. Have you seen any numbers or other reports as to what happens financially when a team changes their nickname? Most of the time, it involves a move to a different city, although there are a couple examples in the NBA (Charlotte, New Orleans).

No, although I'm sure numbers exist somewhere. If it were purely financial, it would seem like a no-brainer but there would also be backlash. Some are VERY entrenched on this topic. So they might lose some fans. And they might gain some fans.

It's the last real event of the season, who would get your vote for POY, Scott, Phil, or Tiger?

Oh gosh. Scott, I guess.

70% of whom? I don't think it would be Native Americans. I have no issue with names like "Braves", "Indians", "Chiefs", and "Seminoles". But "Redskins" is a slur on its face. No amount of linguistic contortions can turn it into something that honors anyone.

No, not 70% of Native Americans. I can't remember if the  poll was area-wide or national; I think area. There are Native Americans who don't care but I'm sure that number is nowhere near 70%.

By "they" I meant that person writing. Much like how Mike Wise wants to get rid of the name. My point is that clearly none of your columnists feel that the name should be kept or, if any of them do, none of them are writing about it. So do you think that the Post should ask a supporter of keeping the Redskins name - not someone associated with the team but someone else - to write a column so that both viewpoints are mentioned in the paper?

I don't know; we aren't running columns against the name so I'm not sure why we would need to run a piece FOR the name. I'm sure the Op-Ed page or Outlook would consider such a piece though. In sports, we just don't run much outside work anymore, period. But my editors read the chat so they'll see your suggestion.

It will be significantly different because the development of players will be stymied by the unwillingness of parents to subject their children to the game and the unwillingness of schools, both high school and college, to be responsible for the medical damage they caused in those kids. The BCS will have to justify taking billions of dollars, not paying the players, and causing them permanent physical damage - that's a system that isn't going to last. Once that pipeline begins to dry up, the game will change. Remember, horse racing, smoking, and boxing were once really popular too.

Oh, it will change, no doubt. I think the college game is moving toward some big changes, and not just because of concussions. I also think there are constant improvements in equipment. It will be different but it won't disappear. And I don't think it'll ever reach the level of, say, boxing or horse racing. But I could be wrong. Happily, I doubt I'll be alive by the time that happens because what will replace it? The only new thing to come along is UFC.

Well, closer to home the Bullets became the, uh, gosh, it's on the tip of my tongue...

Of course, but I don't know how much money they made off it and I don't have time to look. Of course there is a bump in merchandise sales. I just can't quantify it. (Look at the changes in the Nats unis in the short time they've been in town.)

I don't really have much of an opinion on whether it should be changed, but I do know, I am not sure I would continue being a loyal Redskins fan if it does. If the name has to change, the logo has change. To me this is no different than if it were an expansion team (but not a crappy one) were to come to the area. Is the fact that its DCs team mean I automatically must like them?

This is what Snyder sees as the danger: with a different name it's not the same team, even though of course it is. I think it would be highly strange and awkward for awhile but then a generation would come along that doesn't remember the name and it would be okay. But yes, fans would be lost, as I acknowledged.

Simply assuming that all Redskins fans would go out and buy all new merchandise is very naive. Fans would just turn to outside vendors and continue to buy gear with the Redskins name as a way of protest.

Some fans would. Others who support the change would not. The former group would probably be larger than the latter.

First, I think that one reason that many fans don't want the team's name changed is because they don't want to have to buy new swag. Second, I lived here when Abe Pollin changed the Bullets' name to Wizards, and lots of people accused Pollin of doing so simply to make a buck off of team swag, with some of them pointing to Pollin's religion as the reason why. It wasn't very pretty.

Yes, I remember that. I think Pollin genuinely was bothered by violence in DC. Imagine that. I do wish they would have chosen a better name than Wizards but I'm not a fan so I have no dog in that hunt.

You just said " we aren't running columns against the name." I must have misread all of Mike Wise's columns then

I don't remember Wise writing about it recently. If I missed something I apologize. But the point remains the same: columnists write what they want. If there is a columnist in favor of the name, he or she can write it.

Please tell him to shave and grow out his hair. He looks awful. I wish Lombo would stay clean shaven too. If I were Paris, a shepherdess, who had a golden apple to give to the fairest (Greek mythology again), and I had to choose between Nats bachelors, I'd give it to Tyler Moore. But he's not the one I'd marry!

Huh. I'm not sure how to respond to that but thought it was a nice break from the name discussion.

First the Bullets were the Baltimore Bullets, then the Capital Bullets, then the Washington Bullets, before jettisoning the Bullets name entirely. Perhaps a column tracing this path would be forthcoming in the Post?

That seems like such old news to me. But maybe not...

Actually, the fact that my team is in the playoff hunt for the first time in decades is awesome, even if there's almost no chance of making it. Having a winning record at this time of year means I have a slightly better than even chance of approaching my SO with a smile at bedtime...I guess there really is something special about September!

You have the happy ability to revel without worry. I wish I had that. It's a good thing I don't follow more teams.

This issue is old and it should have been solved so, so long ago - but I have to say I can't stand it when people cite opinion polls to justify not changing the name. Decisions like this should be made on what is right - not on what the polls say. How do you think the issue of school integration polled in the south in the 1950's? Do you think the Dodgers brought up Jackie Robinson because the polls said it was a good idea? Future generations are going to wonder how this city stood by and tolerated this slur for so long. - K-Stater

Another good point, K-Stater. (Good luck this weekend. Praying we'll get by La. Tech but not sanguine about the chances...)

Back in April when they were both leading their division. I grew up in Kansas and now live in Milwaukee. I hope I only blew it for one team.

I'm carefully not commenting. Jinx averted!

And I'm going to have to quit. Interesting day and interesting to see the strong feelings on the name topic. Thanks to everyone who kept it civil. Let's talk next week, about that or anything else!

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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