Nov 17, 2010

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

T-ham: on Turner Classic Movies last night on cable, "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken". A few weeks late, but a classic nonetheless...are you as surprised as me that Don Knotts didn't win an Oscar for that one???

He was brilliant in his terror, and terrible in his brilliance. A performance for the ages. And of course the movie is a savage satire of the newspaper industry as well. A tour de force!

And good morning, everyone! I have a feeling we might have a Wednesday morning lag, what with all that venting yesterday and the impressive storm of last night. I was awakened by it, which almost never happens, especially when I've gone down with two shots of Nyquil. But let's get started...

Oh, and someone wrote in yesterday to rag me about last week's picks. Yes, they were terrible, thanks. I picked the Bills in all those close games they played, moved off them last weekend, and sure enough ... I picked the Chiefs for obvious reasons ... etc. I picked the Giants. I picked the Skins. Oops.  I never said I was a great prognosticator. In fact, careful readers of the chat will know that I've said quite the opposite. I tend to go with heart over head, which doesn't help. In other words, if you're looking for gambling help, go with Lavar. I've never wagered on a sporting event in my life and that, to me, is the only reason to MAKE picks.

And one more thing: For those who were decrying the McNabb deal yesterday, does the new info ($3.5 million guaranteed, out clause for Skins) change your mind about it now?

NOW let's get started.

I do not know how to pass on this information other than this forum. The 11/7/2010 version of the post magazine (accessing through print edition and prior editions) links to a 2009 post magazine. This link (for the post magazine) often links to the wrong date. Could it be fixed (now and somehow establish procedures so it is corect for the future)? thanks

Well, if I don't post this, my producer won't see it, so I'll give it a try.

Just wanted to say that the people who accuse the Post columnists and reporters of giving McNabb a pass after dumping on Campbell obviously haven't been reading Post coverage. The Post staff got hammered by commenters for allegedly making excuses for Campbell--lots of new coordinators and systems, no running game, no receivers, no line, etc. It was all true for Campbell, and the Post writers said so. It's all true for McNabb, and the Post writers say so.

Well, thanks. I do get a little weary of being told by others what I actually thought and said about things.

Tracee Watching last night's storm was a bit like Philly's first quarter against the Redcoats, er,.. Skins. All I could think of was 'WOW!" as it rolled through. (And "Please don't take the roof off my shed!") Did you happen to catch Les Boulez last night. Efficient. Excellent effort. Toronto looked thoroughly whipped by the 4th quarter. All without that Strasburg guy, oh, I mean that Wall guy. Gilbert and your old buddy Kirk still got some gas in the tank after all and the bench of Arnold Horschak's (Ooh, ooh, Flip! Put me in!) played great. Please don't tell me that by the 2nd quarter against the Celtics tonight will I be shocked back to reality.

I won't tell you, then, but probably. The Raptors are pretty bad. But the Wizards DID play well, and I thought Kirk looked pretty good. The storm was midwestern in flavor, which is high praise for a storm around here.

T-Ham - after the debacle that was Monday night's "game," I emailed the Redskins and told them that I could no longer support the team with my time or money. I decided to do this because I no longer believe that the decisions made by management will ever bring a successful football team to DC, and it is a waste of time to obsess about the daily minutia that occurs with this team. What I mean by "no longer support" is that I am not going to watch games for the rest of the year (I live in Philly so most games aren't on TV here, and I've been watching a lot of games via pirated internet signals) and I'm not going to read about the team anymore (sorry, Redskins Insider). It's just a waste of time. I was all set to throw in the towel last year after that mess, but was lured back with the promise of a competent GM and coach. I don't think either of them are doing a competent job at this point, and I'm not going to stress myself out anymore about how bad the team is. I'm not saying that I will never root for the Skins again, because I'm not canceling my allegiance to the team, I'm just taking a break this year (probably from the entire NFL, too) because it's just not worth it. I know my little rebellion probably won't have any affect on anything, but it will make me feel better about wasting my entire life vainly supporting one of the worst teams in the NFL.

This is an interesting idea, taking a break from a sports team. You're not changing sides, you're just going to take a step back from the relationship and see how you feel. I wonder how hard this will be (a little easier for you living in Philly, of course; in DC this would be tougher). You will have to let me know in a few weeks how this experiment is going.

Tracee - Odds that someone not named Haslett is the Defensive Coordinator for the Skins next year?

This is where things get interesting, isn't it? Because if they give up on Haslett and the 3-4, they have to start over again. If they keep Haslett, they will have to make some changes to the defense, and I think bigger changes than they were anticipating. There are only so many free agents and draft picks to go around, and they have need almost everywhere, so they will have to pick and choose their spots.

If they get rid of Haslett and revert to the old defense -- the one with awesome stats, a 4-12 record and no turnovers -- their personnel on defense fits, but at what price? Plus that goes against the entire strategy of getting the schemes in place and sticking with them.

Then throw in the fact that both units are wretched right now, but one is coached by the coach's son and the other isn't ... and they are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

My two cents is that they ride it out with Haslett. Which means he'll be fired next Monday.

(Also, what I've just used here is logic, which is probably quite foolish.)

Whoa ... I'm actually at work early enough to submit to this! Whoda thunk it? So, umm ... gee, guess I should have a question! How much of yesterday's "24 hours of basketball" did you watch? And what's your take on the marketing aspect: brilliant or overkill? I feel sorry for the kids that played at 4am.

I, too, feel for the schools who need the exposure so badly they'd play at those times, but I think it was a nice "start" to the season. It's too bad it couldn't be over a period when people didn't, I don't know, have to work, but the programming seems to be aimed at college kids, so that works, I guess. Although surely some of THEM have to work?

I watched some of the Baylor-U-Conn. women's game and some of the K-State-Tech game, and then just score watched a bit from there.

actually, my vitriol yesterday was not aimed at you or the post coverage in general, but the fan base. sorry if it came off the other way.

It probably didn't. Don't worry about it! It's Hamiltime, a place to be you and me.

Tracee, how long do you think their winning streak will last? It's absolutely amazing that they haven't lost in years. You go, girls!

That may be the closest they are challenged the rest of the way, at least until the tournament. And Baylor couldn't quite do it. I watched a freshman girl just pour in buckets (sorry I missed her name) for U-Conn., which like Duke just reloads year after year. They could keep this up awhile.

It's obvious that the Redskins were all high on Four Loko during the game. Someone should think about banning that drink.

Or pass it around to the media and fans. Fair's fair.

According to Chris Cilizza, field hockey is the second-most popular sport in the world. Is he nuts, or is he really that henpecked?

Hmmmmm. Well, by participation, maybe? It is huge overseas, men's and women's, and is still in the Olympics, of course.

On the other hand, what is Cilizza doing messing in my turf? You don't hear me talking about politics! (Nor will you.) ;)

is he serious with his column on gruden? first skins fans cried that aikman was biased against them and now gruden? here's a tip: stop making the players on the other team look like supermen and maybe the rhetoric will tone down. any skins fans want to blame the refs too while we are at it. sheesh....

I was just reading it and I don't think Len's point was that Gruden was anti-Skins; I think it was Gruden's over-hype of EVERYTHING. If the Skins had done what the Eagles had done, Gruden would have used the same hyperbole in describing them. At least that's how I read it.

Is there a middle ground? They keep him, but revert to the 4-3? Or is the 3-4 all he knows and all he can coach? Seems I always hear about good coaches adapting to the tools they have ...

I don't know if the 3-4 is all he knows but it's all he wants and it seems to be what Shanny wants, too. Does the 4-3 get the yardage down but tamp down on the turnovers?

Just the Raptors, a win's a win or good job Wizards? Or a little of each? I don't know how good the Raptors are but I'm willing to be happy with wins against any team.

Little of each. And these are the games that the Wizards have to win this year; last year, they didn't always win these games. So in that light, and without Wall, I think it was a positive.

So if Michael Vick wins the MVP this season, should he send a case of champagne to the Redskins? If this were college, methinks we'd be calling that game his "Heisman moment."

Pretty amazing story, no question. And whether or not Andy Reid is the greatest QB coach ever or not, he's got something going on.

And I hope you all saw the Andy Reid impersonator during the game. Best one of those I've seen, I think.

When discussing whether McNabb got too much money, the elephant in the room is Albert Haynesworth (as it is whenever he's in any room). How can anyone get that upset over how much money McNabb is getting after what they paid for 350 pounds of nothing? It's brilliant. Now nothing looks so bad. They could have given McNabb an ownership stake and he still wouldn't be overpaid compared to Jabba the Schmuck.

Maybe that was their secret plan in giving AH the contract. What the $3.5 million says to me, frankly, is that Allen and/or Shanny did the deal, not Snyder.

Bruce Allen is the GM, by the way. :) Remember him?

...how about a little dap for the still-haven't-lost-in-two-plus-years UConn (no dash, no period) Husky women! No way they go undefeated again this year without a true center, but still fun to watch.

I just gave them two doses of dap! But here's another.

How often do editors ask reporters to spend the night in a haunted house and write about it? Clearly not much, because I've never seen such a story. What are the editors waiting for?

I would do it in a heartbeat. In fact, if I could guest on one TV show, it would be "Ghost Hunters." Jason and Grant rule!

Now, if I saw bloody keys and the organ began playing itself, I'd probably freak. But still, it would be fun.

We. don't. care. This is the same tiresome assertion made about soccer by guys like the one who sat in for you during the World Cup. Hunger and oppression are common around the world, too, but that doesn't mean we "have" to embrace them.

Well, maybe comparing field hockey to oppression is a little over the top, but I get your point. :)

It's just not working out between us. Our old chemistry is gone. It's not you, it's me. I think we should see other Eagles ... I mean people. Best of luck, The Fans

Ha! Although really, it's them, not you.

I was lucky enough to attend this event at Kettler last night and it was a BLAST. Peter Bondra tried to teach me how to shoot. Marcus Johansson shot toy pucks at me. (I flinched. Twice.) And Bruce was, you know, BRUUUUUCE. Braden Holtby, Karl Alzner and John Carlson also participated. Really of them to take time for this in the midst of a week with several games. Thanks, Caps!

Alzner was talking this up in the locker room yesterday. He would have gone to the Raptors game if not for this event, he said. He had been feeding the homeless the day before. Seems like a very civic-minded guy. What a joy to go into that locker room.

You watched the K-State game? Are you a schaedenfreude fan?

Parts of it. I wanted to see Tech, too. I can't watch too much Bramlage; the air in that place is positively purple.

Tracee, it's funny you were remarking yesterday how small Brandon Banks is. You couldn't be more right! In fact, as I was searching behind the couch for the remote, what do I see, but Brandon Banks himself (along with an old hairbrush)!

Please send him home in his Liddle Kiddle car to his Liddle Kiddle house where I will tuck him in his Liddle Kiddle bed with his Liddle Kiddle comforter.

The sad thing is that I have all those things, somewhere.

www.mostpopularsports.net says field hockey is third behind soccer and cricket. Another site had it as 6th and yet another at third. None say it's the second most popular sport. This is what happens when you stop hiring fact checkers.

Ha! Yes, this is the greatest danger of not hiring fact checkers.

If I read the stats correctly, the two most popular sports in the world are soccer and cricket. followed by track and field. The Airless Cubicle.

Everyone is showing off his Google button today. Thanks, TAC. Why don't Cilizza's chatters have the skills of my chatters!?

I've been seeing Dan Snyder and a beautiful blonde advertising female NFL jerseys. Please say that isnt his wife? If so, life is so unfair (except having him fail as an NFL owner helps mute the pain)

That is, in fact, Tanya Snyder.

Hi Tracee! Not that this would ever happen to you, but if you were being beaten badly in a column, would you ever, in mid-paragraph, simply lie down on the floor for 8 seconds before getting back up to type?

I do it during this chat all the time!

You can drink it if you also wear your magnetic necklace to keep your brain waves aligned.

Yes, I need to find that magnetic necklace. It's probably between the couch cushions with Brandon Banks.

I know, and thanks--posted before you had. Last night was my wife's birthday party, so I took the morning off to (a) watch the game on DVR--forty minutes, woohoo--and (b) drink coffee and gatorade and try to recover. Unlike her, at least I remember everyone singing to her...

Well, sounds like it was a great birthday! Congrats to the missus... (although coffee and Gatorade makes me shudder).

About Monday's game: What the hell was THAT???!!!

It's what I'm here for. Have the lambs stopped screaming, Clarice?

No, he wasn't complaining about Gruden being anti-Skins, and he was correct because Gruden is Captain Hyperbole - but so are most sports casters. They can find a superlative for everyone (he's the best fullback in a third and three situation on natural grass as I've ever seen in the AFC South). But to write this column right after the Skins get crushed like that does come across as sour grapes. It's just not good timing.

As for the timing, that's a good point. I will say in fairness that it's got to be hard to come up with more than three hours of blather about that mess. It looks easy, perhaps, but I have it on good authority that it's not.

His wife coaches the Catholic U women's team. Give the guy a break, and maybe a cheer for supporting local and off-beat sports. Plus giving them play in a politics chat. For full disclosure, I went to CUA, but didn't play field hockey, and love hearing the updates from him. Plus, the team is quite good. Should compete for the title this year.

I was joking, of course. Cilizza can write sports all the livelong day; guy can do anything. He still owes me 5 bucks, though.

Well, maybe gruden does overreact. but i get the feeling Shapiro would not have written a column regarding it had the skins won and the praise heaped in them...

Eh, maybe. But Lenny covered the Skins a long time and I don't really see him as a homer. But I'm biased because he's also a friend.

I've never seen anything on that show that looks like a ghost. How can they keep showing episodes of nothing?

Oh, we've seen things, my friend. The IR images, the strange touchings, the camera man being attacked. Man, I love that show. Seriously, I've got to get on that show. They had Meat Loaf as a guest investigator and he was quite good.

Tracee, is there anything scary about him?

At first, he seems like that guy who could go off the rails at any moment, but that passes and he is really just fine. Don't be afraid. If you see him, approach him slowly. Let him sniff your hand to make him more comfortable. Then slowly stroke his pate.

We could also stop relying on random websites for our "facts."

Let's just say it's among the world's most popular sports and leave it at that.

Tracee, what do you drink for breakfast? I drink low sodium hot & spicy V-8 (but well chilled, of course) and a small glass of fat-free milk.

I have an 8-oz Diet Coke (my only caffeine of the day, usually), followed by some decaf green tea (cold), sometimes but not always followed by some diet grape and cranberry juice.

Another fascinating glimpse into my life.

in the middle of the newsroom, would you just lay there for a few minutes, or get up? Haynesworth would just lay there.

If I was sleepy, I'd just lay there.

Why do you keep watching it?

I assume you are asking the chatter than question, and not me. So I won't answer again.

Me too. I've secretly been seeing the Steelers for awhile now on the side. I'm ready to get our relationship out in the open. Sorry Redskins, I didn't want it to end this way.

Sad. Very sad.

I meant to add that he is always upfront about why he supports the team and his bias :) Also, his drink choices (coffee) and where he's chatting from.

As long as he doesn't try to take over as the Official Beverage Chat of the Washington Post, I've got no problems with the man. :)

Six months (or however long) isn't enough to erase a decade of dumbinance by Dan Snyder. Give Shanny some time. It's attitudes like that that ran Marty Schottenheimer out of town before he could truly turn things around.

I think he ought to stick it out for one season, but everyone has his or her own breaking point.

I've been out of town and unable to post for the last few days. Did I miss anything? (I kid because I love.) I'm in favor of the McNabb contract for the same reason I wanted to keep Campbell: QB ain't the problem and the guy gives you a good chance nevertheless. I tell you, I would trade Landry and possibly Orakpo if I'd get two decent O-linemen in return for each of them. Why is it so hard to build a line?

I think the o-line is a unit that can and should be built  largely through the draft, which of course the Skins haven't done, to put it mildly. I don't think I could bring myself to trade Orakpo, personally, but that's just me.

Ah, we are simpatico. You would be right at home working with the federal government. But I digress... Care to comment on the ire leveled at Bielema/Wisconsin for running up the score versus the fawning over the innovation and precision when Kelly/Oregon do the same?

The BCS, to me, means that running up the score is now almost necessary. I was pretty surprised Nebraska didn't clock us last Saturday, but it was probably a gesture to Turner Gill. I don't like it, I've never liked it, and I'm not going to like it, but we all have to let go of some of the things that make us crazy. I guess I've let this one go.

Should/would the Redskins trade for Kolb?

I don't see how they can. Big reason No. 1 -- do they want to be seen as the team that gets the Eagles' castoffs? They've got to have some pride, right? Plus I think they'll want their own guy. All coaches do, ultimately.

I WANT TO BELIEVE!

There you go. Me too. I've had one encounter in all my cemetery hours that I KNOW was something. I'd like another.

I don't know that the problem is Haslett so much as the team's refusal to play a scheme based on their talent. This is a classic 4-3 team, so why not find ways to attack, blitz, etc. from that system? Haynesworth, Carter, Fletcher, and I would argue Orakpo were all better in the 4-3 than this 3-4. The only player who seems to be doing better is Laron Landry. You have to be kidding me. Play to the strengths of your roster seems like it should be an easy concept to grasp for professional coaches. It just flabbergasts me to watch this defense, which was rock solid last year, struggle tremendously this year.

Yes, I always figured you could switch schemes more easily, but these guys talk about it like it's changing the lens on the Hubble telescope or something. When did football become so darn complicated? (Rhetorical.)

A.Tracee Hamilton writes: If I was sleepy, I'd just lay there. Wouldn't you really just "lie there" instead?

Yes, yes, but I'm a damn hurry. Come on!

When we started pretending these were people with brains not the big dumb jocks they are. Of course they're not going to grasp a complicated system and a 700-page game plan. Reading is what they got out of doing during high school and college, and now they want them to be students of the game. Just give them the ball and yell "Run!" By the way, what's rhetorical mean?

Thanks for the laugh! (Didn't they say Monday night that Vick had 175 plays on his wrist band? Unless that was Gruden hyperbole, that's too many, isn't it?)

Hee hee, I was thinking the same thing too. Along with hearing my mother's voice (which came directly from my Grandmother's) "and did you lay an egg down there?"

Good one. I only had one decent grammar teacher in my first 12 years of school. Wish I had had more.

If I WERE that sleepy, right?

Okay, seriously, I can post one perfect answer a day,  or do this! Argh! That's it! I'm done! :)

Gotta know!!

Oh, long story, but country cemetery, I'm doing my work, and all day I keep thinking I see something moving around out of the corner of my eye. Sort of strange but not scary, just doesn't happen to me. I'm standing by a grave, checking dates, and something screams "OUT!"  right into my right ear. I must have jumped four feet. It was very clear, I was very alone and it's never happened before or since in any cemetery (and I've "walked" 32 cemeteries, each of which involves hours of work).

So not dramatic or anything, but interesting, and for what it's worth, I stayed.

You and the late, great Paul Farhi are the only hosts who can take a joke. Maybe Sizzler sometimes, but not often.

Well bless your heart.

I randomly ran into Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders a couple of weeks ago. They were gracious, kind and spent way more time reminiscing with me than they needed to. They even grabbed a pen and signed autographs for my daughter when they learned she was thinking about converting into a Steeler's fan. Classy guys from the good ol' days.

Ending on a positive note -- what a great concept. Thanks for the nice story. When I was a girl the first sports star I met was Gale Sayers and I still remember it vividly.

And I've run over, so time to quit and go lay lie down. Caps and Wiz tonight, among other games; 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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