Oct 21, 2010

Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

Tracee You haven't updated us lately on your healing (hopefully) wing. We care about you , dear. Don't want you out on the rugby field too soon.

My arm is much better, thanks. I can finally do some things with it. I probably have two more months of therapy, however, so I'm not there yet. But a lot of improvement, finally.

And good morning, everyone! Let's get started.

Oh, and don't forget Boz is chatting this morning as well.

You nailed it, T-Ham; on Monday's chat you predicted Tom Boswell would undoubtedly mention the 1950's musical "Damn Yankees", which is about the rivalry between the old Washington Senators and the New York Yankees. Well, in his column about the Rangers/Yankees playoff series Wednesday morning Boz tossed in not one, not two, but THREE "Damn Yankees" references in a single paragraph. Dang, you're good.

Well, I was the man's editor for 16 years, so I ought to be able to predict him. I know Mr. October is taken, but that really ought to be Boz's nickname. He sets a pace the rest of us can't hope to match.

Hi, Tracee! The difference between collisions in the NFL now as opposed to the 1960s and 1970s is huge! But, that's because these athletes are so much larger and faster than those that came before them! There must be some secret NFL diet that produces such imposing physical specimens!

It is very true that everyone on both sides of the ball are faster and stronger than they used to be. One hopes it can be attributed to an "NFL diet."

Good morning Tracee! What a beautiful day! The sun is shinning, the birds are chirping, and the Giants won one of the best games of the year last night, beating the Phils in the 9th. Please tell me that you watched the final at-bat. Oswalt vs. Uribe was amazing!

Well, my day yesterday began at 2:30 a.m. (not by choice) so no way I stayed up for the final at-bat. Very sorry I missed it, though!

I went to bed last night at the end of the 7th inning with the Giants up 5-4. Woke up this morning, turned on Sportscenter to find out how it ended up. The "headline" was that the Giants had a "walk-off" sacrifice fly to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. Is it just me, or does this seem to be an incorrect usage of the term "walk-off"? My understanding is that a walk-off can ONLY occur if it's a home-run, in which case all of the base runners could -- if they choose -- WALK around the bases and then off the field. On the Giants' sac fly, the runner on third still had to RUN home to make sure he beat the throw from the outfield. Even if there wasn't much chance of getting thrown out, there was no walking home from third. I was glad to see that the AP story in the Post described it as a "ninth-inning run", which seems to me to be a more accurate description of what happened. What say ye, Tracee and fellow chatters?

Hmmmm. The mlb.com scribe also describes it as a "walk-off" sac fly. I sort of feel the way you do. Anyone else?

If Shanahan Jr. calls the plays (poorly, I might add), what exactly does Shanahan Sr. do?

Throws in his two cents. Supervises. Decides who's playing. I believe he has said that he can countermand the play calling but doesn't often.

Hi, Tracee. You look fine to me; one of my pet peeves is that women sports reporters are expected to look like fashion models and that men, well, aren't. But no one can disagree that you have a very pleasant speaking voice. And you know what you 're talking about, too. Good combo!

Well, thanks!

I believe the "walk off" refers to the pitcher walking off the field when knocked out of the game by winning hit. Of course, I only do my research on the internet...

One walk-off thought ...

I say it merely means that, since the game is over, the players walk off the field after the run scores. I, guess, in theory, you could have a walk-off strike out in the bottom of the ninth, too, we just don't call it that.

Another one...

Morning T! Courtesy of the Boz chat from last week is this side by each photo set of astounding resonance. Twin sons of different mothers.

Thanks, I meant to post this yesterday but computer woes prevented me. Awesome. Amazing.

Looking at the size of us these days, I believe we're all on the NFL diet.:-)

True!

I heard the kid held his own last night in his first game in Arizona. Glad there will be some new hype next year to fill the hole left by Strasburg's injury. And unlike Strasburg, Harper seems to give you media guys some fun quotes.

You know, he talks, and for me that's enough. They can't all be poets but give us something! Maybe I should have gone to AZ this year, but Kilgore really wanted to. I need to have him on as a guest so we can talk AFL and Harper. I'll set that up.

Hi Tracee, on Monday you had somebody ask about the guys on the sidelines of NFL Games with a "K" on their vest. Those are the ball boys who hold the footballs used for kicking plays in NFL Games. A number of years ago the NFL decided that they were going to use brand-new footballs for the kicking plays (kickoffs, punts, extra points/field goals) because brand-new footballs are harder after being kicked) than a football that has been broken in. The change was made because a harder football doesn't travel as a far as a softer, broken in football does after it has been kicked. This is has cut down on the number of touchbacks on kickoffs creating more kickoff returns and longer field goals harder to make, leading to less "boring" field goals.

And the answer to the "K" question ... thanks! My chatters are the best chatters ever! Just like I told Mr. Tony.

Tracee, I'm the guy who said chicks dig guys in collared shirts and shorts. I literally laughed out loud last night when I checked the Post's sports section on line and there was an article on the women's rugby team at Maryland. I think it was (inadvertently) the perfect rebuttal to pie hole's assertion that men play rugby and little girls play football. Between college, military and club teams, I think it's safe to say more girls play rugby than play football. And play it well, I have to say!

Yes, I loved the timing of that, too. I don't like using "little girls" as a pejorative anyway. Some of the toughest "little girls" I've ever seen are gymnasts. Yikes. Nothing but sinew and grit.

Tracee, I love your sense of humor. I have watched every game twice this season. Although I don't have access to every stat it has been my observation that Donovan has had more difficulty throwing a catch-able ball to Joey than any other receiver. Please tell me if: 1. I am mistaken 2. Donovan has a mental block in throwing to Joey. 3. Joey is not creating the space necessary to get open.

Well, he hasn't thrown much at Joey, and his throws this season, in general, have been high (mostly to Cooley, oddly enough, at least that's my impression) or low (mostly those to Armstrong, again my impression). I think in this case it's a little of both -- McNabb has been less accurate, and Galloway hasn't compensated. Armstrong has compensated for some low balls; a good receiver can try to make something out of nothing. He's really coming along nicely.

London is not a dirty player in my book, but he's knocked out at least two guys that I know of...one being Brian Westbrook, and another being Addai. Is this nice guy image the reason why he's not considered a dirty player?

Good question, O/OP. (Yes, your daily headline has not gone unnoticed.) I don't think of London as a dirty player, you're right, but he is a hard hitter. I am sure it's true that we in the media play favorites -- some of it unconsciously, some not. Being truly objective is just a near impossibility; you do the best you can. But I will say I've never seen London make tackles resembling those three from Sunday that drew the fines.

I always assumed they were the NFL's subtle way of calling for Tony's return to the broadcast booth.

Ha! Good one.

I am just listening to the podcast of the Mr. Tony show from yesterday (stupid interior office with no AM reception) and I realized that I need to come up with a distinctive "handle" to use on all my posts to your chat. You have posted many of my questions, but you have no way of knowing that they are all from me. I did like your spirited defense of us chatters!

A handle is entirely up to you. I do like recognizing the regulars, certainly.

I was shocked at the support for Haynesworth. Fans thinking nothing about his nauseating level of professional discourtesy. Now I'm hearing fans, probably the same ones, protesting that it's no big deal that a man in his 40s, a grandfather at that, sends photos of his manhood to a girl almost half his age, all this while still married. Is this naive fan worship? Is it a generational thing? When did I blink and see a country I barely recognize anymore? Am I the only one in finding all of this a bit discouraging, if not outright appalling?

No, I'm right there with you. But I think we're becoming the stuffy minority.

I kvell at the thought - By late Friday night both the Phillies and the Yankees could be making reservations for tee times. The two most arrogant fanbases in baseball facing a long, cold winter wondering what happened to their sense of entitlement. Schadenfreude at its best enjoyed by this beaten down Nats fan.

Yes, I know Fox and MLB would be unhappy but I frankly don't care. Other cities deserve some fun. Dare I say, even this one?

Yes, I was given a Pixie Stick earlier in the day. This made me happy. So, later, in a free moment, I began to enjoy the Pixie Stick in my office, when a guy strolled past, saw me eating the Pixie Stick, and simply said in a disapproving tone, "A PIXIE STICK?? I don't approve!" and walked away. Should this have tarnished my enjoyment of the Pixie Stick, or should I have simply continued to eat it? Also, it's fun to say and write "Pixie Stick!"

pixiestickpixiestickpixiestick. Yes, that's fun. No, but you work with a real pixiestick in the mud. "I don't approve!"? Good lord. What flavor, and what color did your tongue turn?

What's going on with the Mouth of the South these days?

You know, Cheese Boy ought to call him up and find out. I never got much out of Fred -- he stopped talking around the time I started out there -- but Dan could get the best stuff.

Yeah, if by "diet" you mean "steroids poured over a bowl of steroids". Fortunately for the NFL, it apparently only matters when baseball players (and maybe cyclists) use PEDs.

Well, that's what I was alluding to. But they ARE tested.

Anyone see the Bonds' introduction before the game the other day? He's, ah, smaller than he used to be.

Don't know if this got to you...got a strange response when I hit send, but I'll try again: Walkoff is a case of language creep. It used to be only homers. Then it was any hit. This summer, the Nats had a walk off walk (absolutely the best.) Now, walkoff SAC fly. BTW, the answer to the NFL head hit problem is easy...go back to leather helmets. Both hitter and hittee will soon discover reality.

I thought I was remembering a walkoff walk. Wonder if there's been a walkoff balk? What a great Seuss book that would be.

Do you think Fox is having a fit about the WS match up of Sf/Tex rather than NYY/ Phil? I really hope that it comes to pass, even though Boz might not like the Texas/Bob short legacy.

Yes, I think Fox will have a fit. Boz will come around quickly because it's the Series. He'll be fine.

The only way I'll watch the World Series if it's Giants v Rangers - and I love baseball, just not when it's NYY and Philly in the post season.

Fox will love you. You know, I think there is a certain segment of fans who will watch for the "new" factor.

I know I'm probably not among the majority, but I loved the way the ninth inning went down last night. The Phillies bring in an ace, the Giants hit a single, then a hard single allowing the runner to get to third, finally a sac fly from a great at-bat to get the runner on third home. The run was built, and I frankly thought is was more satisfying than a home run. Do you think most fans appreciate that kind of baseball or do they want to see the winning ball get crushed to the upper deck?

Oh, I think the majority want to see the bruising homer, but I like to see the strategy moves as well.

I started this week expecting to throw up in my mouth at the thought of another Yankees-Phillies World Series, and now it looks like it just might be Rangers-Giants. Then in my good mood it occured to me that all of the teams I care about seem to have hit their nadir and are now on the way back up (Skins, Wiz, Orioles). Plus the Caps are still the Caps. So the future looks brighter and I'm quite happy!

Excellent! Someone who's happy with their sports lot in life. So rare...

I've got it. Handle Pending. How meta of me. HP for short. I sure hope the person who said "I don't approve" of the Pixie Stick was being facestious. If not, then he should just do us all a favor and get out. Now. Seriously. How can one NOT approve of a Pixie Stick?

Okay, HP, you've got it. And who wants to work with someone who approves or disapproves of your snacks? Ugh.

Yes, it happened to the Nats in 2005. I think it was Stanton's first game w/ us, happened against Mil.

Ha! See! First of all, that it can happen. Second, that it happened to the Nats. Third, that one of the chatters remembers it. Love this group.

I will give you your new handle: Stupid Interior Office Without AM Reception. Or, SIOWAMR for short.

I'd prefer HP just because I'll never remember that one!

Tracee, I write in all the time and only use Hokie Hi as a topic line when my question is about VT, but now that I know you like to recognize the regulars I'll use it as a handle for other things.

I suppose the headline should match the topic but truthfully, I kind of like the guy who constantly writes the Portis headline. I always smile at that. So go for it, Hokie Hi.

The term "Walk off" was originally coined by Dennis Eckersley, so he meant it from the pitcher's perspective: immediately walking off the field after giving up the losing run. Nowadays you usually hear it used from the hitter's perspective, which indeed makes less sense when applied to sac flies, but it's idiomatic, and doesn't need to make full logical sense.

More on the walkoffs...

But that's not the reason. It's all the punishment the Indians get from NY (ok they get it from everyone lately) and the Nats via the Phillies. Sure, if I lived somewhere other than DC I may have different feelings, but I truly can't stand the fan bases. Eagles either, but that's another story. Plus I met Nolan Ryan as a kid, and watching the "Panda" on the Giants run is a thing of...amusement.

All good reasons. A lot of Ryan fans out there will be rooting for the Rangers, including Bonnie Berkowitz the sports graphics guru.

T-Ham: I read the post article today about DeAngelo Hall getting into arguments with the coaching staff about coverage. This after getting burned on a 57 yard TD. I've about had it with this clown. In the offseason he said he was happy about how the team got rid of some "dead weight" by releasing players like Rock Cartwright and Ladell Betts. First of all, I think the Skins could use those two what with the injuries at running back. Second, I seem to remember Jake Delhomme pulling some dead weight six yards down the field last year to salt away a win.

Yes, Betts is particular would have come in pretty handy at times. Banks is a better return guy than Rock, I think, but I was still sorry to see him go. Both Banks and Rock are K-Staters; small world.

Tracee, thanks for the chat. I was watching "Inside the NFL" last night and the guys were talking about the hitting in the NFL. Phil Simms said the NFL needed to teach its players the correct way to hit. Warren Sapp said he was never once coached on tackling in the NFL. My question is , why do we not hear about the head-hunting in college? I think its NFL mentality rather than technique.

Where is Naylor? I should know.

I think the league expects players to know how to tackle by the time they arrive; I don't see a lot of tackling instruction. But perhaps that IS wrong. Baseball players should know how to bunt before they get to the majors, but mlb teams still teach it.

It's very true that college highlights seldom include these vicious type tackles. But NFL highlights, sometimes that's ALL we see.

I'll chime in with loving the way the 9th went last night as well. It's a rare game that can keep me up past 1030 (god, I'm 25. I should not be this prematurely sleepy) but the MLB playoffs this year have been doing it every night.

25? You're a child! I was at a blind pig till 4:30 in the morning when I was your age (granted, I worked nights, but still!) Just kidding.

Original walkoff poster here. First, I'm glad that we've gotten some discussion/debate going. Even better, Tracee feels the same way I do! (at least, "sort of") I agree that it's a case of language creep. A walkoff walk would actually make sense the way I defined walk off - you do get to walk around the bases. If it just refers to people walking off the field because the game is over (whether on a 3rd out or a run scored), doesn't that happen every game?

True. But I think the genie's out of the bottle on this one.

Sounds like the poster is feeling some guilt about eating the Pixie Stick. Otherwise, he would have said "I was SEEN eating a Pixie Stick on my office."

Hmmm, true. Wave your pixie stick freak flag, poster! No shame!

Given that we seem to talk about Boz multiple times a day on this chat, I'm stunned no one has pointed out that he's the one whose hair is actually close to flaxen. (And it still looks like it does when I met him 23 years ago [!], when I was a college kid, and he was signing "Strokes of Genius" but generously and graciously signed my copies of "Why Time Begins On Opening Day" and "How Life Imitates The World Series." Is there a painting in his attic?)

You are right, Boz is the most flaxen of all. Now I will type five paragraphs in his honor. (Just kidding; I won't.)

I love your use of the word facetious. Did you know it's one of two English words that have all five vowels in alphabetical order? The other is abstemious. Of course you can make both of them adverbs (facetiously & abstemiously) and add Y, which is sometimes a vowel. I also love the words ubiquitous & obsequious.

Excellent post, thanks!

Okay. And if someone in the NFL had attempted to coach him on how to tackle I'm going to guess he would have been put off and complained that they were treating like an amateur.

Oh, very true.

Tracee, My three passions (in no particular order) are history, politics and sports. During this election season the cacophony of political output is killing me because I have a hard time not following every bit of it. Your chats, however, offer the perfect respite. I know I get an hour a day of pure joy - thanks!

Glad to hear it. We're in tune on two out of three but I eschew politics in all forms so you're safe here.

Oops, I've run over, as usual. Let's talk tomorrow!

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 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.

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