Dec 15, 2010

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

So when you get to Kansas are you going to put up the aluminum pole (like Frank Costanza I find tinsel distracting), air any grievences you have with your family during dinner, and pin the head of the household at the end of the meal? (Well, actually you might be chased out of the house if you did those things......)

No way I can pin my dad, but we've had the airing of grievances for many years and I'm sure that tradition will continue!

And good morning to all. I didn't get the list of my replacements but I know Sheinin, Kilgore and Miss Liz signed up, and probably some others. Hope so!

Note to Nats fans: Be sure to ask Sheinin about his latest visit to see the Harpers in Vegas. Trust me.

Hi Tracee, It's some form of tragedy that Brett Favre was incapable of saying goodbye to the game when the situation was right for it. At the end of last season he could have announced his retirement and departed to a fanfare to rival a Roman triumph. Once he was no longer playing, even any revelations about his Jets-era photography hobby would mostly have been a minor side story. But he just couldn't stay away and instead of a massive celebratory send-off, his end is marked by a three-minute tribute at the halftime report of an unexciting Monday Night Football broadcast and the lasting image is Favre sidelined, physically and metaphorically. His streak was awe inspiring, but sometimes maybe playing the extra games just isn't worth it.

Yes, that was the risk he took in coming back. It is a shame because last year was so great. I'm not a huge Favre fan and even I enjoyed that. Now that's been overshadowed, and he retires even more beat up than he was.

Just let us know when that slacker punk is sitting in for you on vacation and we will take him to task for his bad manners and not returning your emails!!!!! He needs to pay homage to our fearless leader!!! BTW - when is the FTF happy hour? We haven't had to many beverage conversations lately, so that could lubricate the chat!!!

I know; I have let you all down with my failure to schedule said Happy Hour. I am going to study the Wiz and Caps schedules, among others, and try to figure out something we could do near Verizon. I promise. I will also confess that I'm hoping to be free of the gluten free thing by then so I can have a freaking Guinness! That's one reason I've been dragging my feet.

Have a great trip Tracee and don't freeze out in the plains. As for my "obligatory" question, did you find the chocolate bark or will you be importing more?

Thanks so much -- I know I will (have a great trip, not freeze). I failed to go to Harris Teeter but it is available online, so I bookmarked it for next year and decided the cooking had to stop.

Tracee, you have theknack of disagreeing without being disagreeable. Would that your chatters did the same. There's no right answer tp this question, but it can lead to fascinating discussions if everyone keeps their cool. I'm an Orioles fan, so I say Ripken. Among other th ings, he was a 6' 4" shortstop,when this was unheard of. While his streak may have tied his managers' hands at times, I don't think it ever hurt his team too badly, in contrast to Farve's soap opera of the last few seasons. If you count character/off-field behavior, Ripken wins hands down. But I'm open to other points of view.

I think this is one that is more personal preference than right and wrong answer. Favre's streak is very impressive, no doubt, and I'm not trying to denigrate it when I choose Ripken. Of the two, I think neither is going to be beat any time soon but I think Ripken's has a chance of standing longer.

Before you go scootin' off to the Plains for your well-earned vacation, it's worth saying that most mornings find myself and my youngest daughter (year and a half) sitting down, eating breakfast, and reading along with First Things First. It's a truly happy part of our day, and for that I thank you (and all the great chatters!). We hope you have a great holiday and a happy new year, Tracee. And go Caps!

Aw, thanks! That's great to hear. You have a great holiday as well!

T-Ham, would you not buy a "hoodie" (as the kids say) or a jersey with something like "Kansas City Rutting Wildebeests," or "Washington Horrified, Misanthropic Antelopes," or "Chicago Angry Crickets," or even "Denver Screaming Camels" embroidered on them? I know I would!

Yes, I think I would. Some of the old-time names were better, especially for minor league baseball teams. I've ordered a few from Ebbetts Field (T-shirts, not jerseys) with some great slogans.

"The Nats seem to have signed a long-term lease on the NL East cellar." Seems to me that they just spent $126M for Werth, have Strasburg and Harper in the mix, got Pudge for another year; Zim's better than ever, Willingham is gonna be back and Boz is on board. My friend's mom will take 1st base if she has to - so lay off already. Go beat up on the Redskins or kick a puppy or something. We may be down but we ain't out.

I hope next year is the year they climb out. I thought it would be this year and predicted it as well. So I'm trying the old reverse psychology now. We'll see how it works.

One more nominee for great sitcoms... SOAP. Don't know if you remember it, was on in the late 70's. Absolutely hilarious, had Billy Crystal as the first openly gay character on TV. MM

Great, weird and ahead of its time.

I never make it to your chat live as I'm west coast, darn it all. I have to disagree with my fellow Pats fan yesterday--as far as I'm concerned Sal Alosi is fortunate not to have been fired outright and banned from football. And the Dolphins owner and coach have every right to want the book thrown at him. Football players are multi-million dollar investments for a team and it's bad enough when they get injured on the field of play. Carroll WAS hurt, albeit not badly, but he did sit out a few series before returning--not to mention he has broken his right leg twice while playing football so blindsiding him from the sideline could have been season-ending disastrous. I don't know how many cornerbacks the Dolphins have, but they are certainly a vital commodity. Alosi's punishment only seems harsh in comparison with others who got off too easy. Have a great vacation from a T who spells it with a Y!

Tracy, I was really surprised that some people didn't take this seriously. Tony and Mike were laughing about it on PTI and I was yelling at the TV. Such a dumb thing to do and for what? There is zero chance you don't get caught.

Hi Tracee - Tried Tequila Grande last weekend - wore my K-State shirt and looked around to see if you were there. I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed. Back to Anita's for me! No harm though - always nice to try new things. Speaking of which, if you're sad about the end of the Brickskeller, I highly recommend the Lost Dog in Arlington. Great food and atmosphere and a HUGE selection of fine beers from around the world. Enjoy your holidays in Kansas and best wishes for the new year - I hope the Jayhawks go 14-2 in the conference! -K-Stater

Sorry I missed you and that you were underwhelmed. You like Anita's, I like TG, you pull for K-State, I pull for KU, and yet we can get along. Ain't it a funny old world. And I hope the Wildcats go 14-2 as well. :) I THINK I am going to get to go to the Jan. 29 meeting and am very, very psyched.

Hi Tracee, Katie Carrera's article and your column on the Caps skid hit on all the right points, Some of Boudreau's statements were interesting . He doesn't think teams have discovered a formula to beat the Caps and it is just bad luck! I hope he was just protecting his team from the pressure. I am not a hockey coach, but it sure appears to me that some teams have found something.

He's definitely trying to upbeat approach with the team right now. You can always tell what the coach is saying because the players parrot it; pretty funny. Skins do it too.

It seems the one o'clock games this weekend are loaded with some good bouts, but the only halfway decent four o'clock game is the Steelers. Why not bump the Colts or Giants to the later game? Or maybe even the Ravens game? I thought that was the purpose of allowing that flexibility.

So did I. I will never quite understand the NFL schedulers. I'm just happy I'll be in Kansas so I have half a chance to see the Chiefs, finally. We have a birthday dinner for my mom first, but I'll make everyone eat fast.

(For the Kansans out there, we're going to Smolan.)

Happy Wednesday, T-Ham! First off, please let me say how much I enjoyed Boswell's column explaining and illustrating how everyone making baseball predictions is more ignoramus than Nostradamus. After the chat is over everybody should click over there immediately. But I want to repeat a question I asked Monday, which I suspect got swamped by an overload of Redskins angst. My alma mater the University of South Carolina is playing New Year's Eve in the Chic-Fil-A Bowl yet I find it hard to become excited. Instead, it just seems...wrong. Please tell us if you agree that having a team nicknamed "the Fighting Gamecocks" playing in a football game named for a chicken sandwich is an awkward juxtaposition? Finally, a beverage tip after a trip to Nelson County, Virginia (it's SW of Charlottesville) last week. If you haven't been yet, they've really amped up the beverage options in the area. Along with the well-known and quite good wineries there are three award-winning brewpubs, a hard cider maker and a single-malt whiskey distillery. Get the Jayhawks to play the Cavaliers then take a couple extra days down there after you file your copy.

Yes, your question did get swamped, although I had a good laugh, so thanks! Maybe they can get your mascot to hold up a sign saying "Eat More Cows"? The irony is great.

Thanks for the beverage tip. I haven't been down to U-Va. -- maybe I'll make a swing that way in the New Year.

Ms. T, I know the MLB Channel has to fill time in the off-season, but this was just ridiculous. I usually don't watch these kinds of programs, because they are so subjective ("Fargo" among the top 100 movies of all time? Ugh) but I was trapped at my in-laws so had to make he best of it. We all know # 1, but after that it's a crap shoot. # 2 was by Jim Edmonds, and I personally saw him make several plays that I feel were superior to the one that was chosen. How can you choose the best play by Brooks, or Ozzie, or Griffey, Jr.? You can't. But I guess you have to fill the airtime somehow since things have been so slow for baseball this off-season. Have a great time in Kansas!

Why do I have a feeling I'll be watching this with my dad in the basement? Along with the dreadful stuff on the Golf Channel that he likes. And poker. I don't mind the poker so much, because I get to see Norman.

I just got around to reading Boswell's Redskins "karma" column from Monday. As someone who came to the DC area 20 years ago, I wanted to find a reason to finally start cheering for the Redskins, now that they become the underdogs. But then Boswell reminds me of why I hate this owner, that when someone botches a snap, they get the silent treatment, even if they are dying of cancer less than one year later.

Do you think you can find a way to separate the players from the owner? That's the question. Some people can and some can't. And I get that.

Tracee: Your readers want more supporting info on why Ripken's streek surpasses Favre's. Great! Ripken's streak of 2,630 games is 24% longer than the player in second place (2,130 games), and more than 100% longer than the player in third place (1,307 games)- i.e., MORE THAN TWICE AS LONG. In other words, with a single exception (itself a record most thought would never be broken), not one of Ripken's peers got within shouting distance. He literally lapped the field. Favre's streak is also amazing, but comparing his achievement to others in his sport - his peers - he's only slightly more durable. His streak (297 games) is less than 10% more than the second longest (271), and is only 24% longer than the third longest (240). He is the best, yes, but by a relatively small amount. Ripken's is far and away the more impressive record for longevity. As with the many thousands of other baseball players, it's not even close. Go Orange-- Beat KSU!

Boz, is that you? No, because Boz wouldn't know what "KSU" stood for. :) Thanks for this.

Although, if it was an a.m. coffeehouse gathering, you wouldn't have to worry about gluten-free bevies. I'm just saying... Of course, that would put a hitch in the idea of a pastry accompaniment (and, if you're not having a pastry with your cuppa, why bother?). I second the earlier poster in the thanks for these chats. Don't know how any substitute could possibly bring what you do to these chats, but will try to muddle through somehow until Jan. 3. Have a great time in KS!

I will warn the subs to be prepared for anything! And think of all we'll have to talk about in January!

Just want to say thanks for doing these chats! As someone mentioned, it IS part of our day. Hope it's not getting tedious for you. If it is, perhaps Coach Laser Eyes could fill in, and anwer every question with something about "needing to see the film first," or "I' just told you I'm not gonna answer that for obvious reasons." Oh, since 1993 I've been saying "DON'T BOSS ME!" a la Puddy.

Puddy really was great; what a delivery on that line!

I have been tempted to answer every Redskins question some random day with "I won't know until I see the film." The really bad thing is, the players have started to do that as well this year. Makes you want to scream.

The chat doesn't get me down. I get a lot of laughs pretty much every day. How great is that!?

Ah, Kilgore. The very name evokes the lyrical pastoral game that is baseball. (Well, it actually is evocative of Apocalypse Now and napalm in the morning, but never mind). Can't wait to get in all of my many Phase Two Nationals questions. (I'm talking about you Matt Stairs).

Ah yes, Matt Stairs. Nearly as old as me. Yikes.

Trac, I don't really have any sports stuff to say: just have a great trip and enjoyable holidays and don't let the fam get you down. Thanks for all! Hoist a gluten-free beverage on me -- Rico

Thanks, Rico! Christmas is a marathon, not a sprint. :)

Apparently the new president of the National Press Club is an Associated Press reporter who is from, yes! Kansas. The theme of his inauguratiion is "We're Not in Kansas Anymore" and he plans to have a Kansas-themed dinner. Does that mean attendees will feast on wheat, corn and a soyban souflee?

Um... Well, happy for him, but man do I hate that stinkin' phrase. And if you're so happy you're not in Kansas, why have a Kansas-themed dinner? Oh my, so many questions. He's a radio guy, so I don't know him. I'll have to explore since he IS a Jayhawk.

By the way, for the Jayhawks out there, the Wizards are having a KU night on March 14 when Okla. City comes to town, for obvious reasons. I'm going to be there with my folks; if you're interested ... oh, I lost the link. Google Washington Wizards Jayhawks and you should be able to find it.

T-Ham, for your travels, I offer you and fellow chatters THIS: Kramer, clad only in his underwear, sauntering into that ad executive's studio, where someone remarks, "His buttocks are sublime!" , as he inevitably trips and falls over sideways.

Ah, yes, tremendous scene.

We'll all miss you, Tracee. You have a wonderful time with your family. Whoever fills in, it just won't be the same.

Good luck with all things Pittsburgh, and have a great holiday, PW.

You can't go on vacation without one last prediction for the Pats - GB game. Your prognostication skills have been gold in your Pats predictions this year so if you have it in your heart to continue I'd be grateful. Thanks in advance. And Tom's hair has grown on me this season. Winning does tend to cause one to overlook the most egregious styling tendencies.

Oh, I can't pick against the Pats right now. They're crazy hot.

Tracee... You touched on this a little in this morning's column, but could you talk a little more about the team's mood? How's the chemistry in the locker room? See any friction? Thanks and happy holidays!

One player said to me recently that he hoped the HBO series didn't end up being the Sid and Ovie show (he didn't use those words but that's what he meant) so I'm eager to see Part 1. Other than that, no, everything seems much the same. Although again, we don't see the real room. Apparently the swearing is epic in Part 1; we don't get that, for instance. Oh, and Matt Hendricks' eye is wicked; he says he doesn't feel a thing. Like that guy a lot.

Should have cut Guano (spelling intended). Hunter the punter has been a reliable member of the team.

I have to admit, I thought so too.  But maybe they could find another punter and not another kicker and they still wanted to make a point.

Tell me that potato salad isn't intrinsically funny. Or pudding. Pudding is funny! What foods do YOU find hilarious?

Gosh, it's late, I don't have time to think of funny foods, but I want to throw this out there. I think any salad with marshmellows in it is funny. That's just so wrong and so Midwestern, too.

Yes! LOVE Fargo!

I love it too, but I'm not sure it's top 100 on my list. Favorite Coen brothers movie, by far: Miller's Crossing. I've seen that eleventy-seven times.

Belongs to the Pittsburgh Innocents of the late 19th century. Given the reputationof most baseball players of that era, the queston has to be asked, Innocent of what? I know I owuld wear one of their t-shirts if any are ever reproduced.

That's a great one. And check Ebbetts Field. You never know.

To follow up on Favre vs. Ripken. The one thing that impresses me about Cal's streak is that there are few off days in baseball. Obviously, Favre took some amazing shots, and it's remarkable it took 20 years for him to get injured like this. But he did get a week to recover before his next game. he could miss practice and heal. Cal had to be ready to play the next day, every day. And over the course of 162 games, you get strains, sprains and bruises. But he came out and played through them all.

More on the Cal-Brett question...

Ms. H: Things to ponder as you head for Kansas (just south of the greatest state in the US). When Mizzou plays Iowa in the Insight Bowl, how will we be able to tell the fans apart, since all will be wearing black and gold? (NU will have the same problem when we visit Wisconsin next year). If a KSU fan says his hoops team is better than KU in the forest, and no one hears, is it still wrong? Enjoy Xmas in the heartland - I'll drink a couple of Grain Belt beers in your honor (if it's still brewed and if I can find any) AHG (Now that I think about it, the way that stuff tasted, I'm not sure it was brewed)

Thanks, AHG, and good luck in your bowl game! I'll say hello to the Great Plains for you.

I can't separate the team, the logo, from the owner. The individual players, sure. But we're rooting for a team, and that team is owned by someone I cannot stand.

Then you're going to have to find a different team. I sure don't see the other situation changing any time soon.

Is it safe to assume we'll only see Cheese Boy on this chat if a sharp object or weapon is involved? Liz & Co are far too pleasant and don't have nearly the bitter/crumudgen factor that Dan S has.... I have to know--when you take these breaks (aka the summer geneology tour) do you still catch yourself checking up on FTF to see what is being said? Have a great trip!

I don't know if Dan volunteered or not. And yes, I'm guessing I'll check in on the transcripts, at least. And maybe even fire off an occasional missive from the basement. Such as "Help me, I'm trapped in the basement watching 'Hondo' for the 900th time."

Whew, glad I didn't use that phrase in an earlier submission as I was inclined to do (couldn't quite figure out how to work it in). You must get a lot of that. :-)

In a word, yes. When I heard Carrie saying it in the "Sex and the City 2" clips, I just about lost it. Like she ever was. It's just overused.

An ESPN blogger said that the blame for the Redskins' loss rides on the coach, for not going for two points to win, rather than one point to tie, since the kickeer had shown weakness already and the team's running game was going well. The blogger said that the coach just wanted to be able to blame his players. Your take?

I wondered at the time if they should have gone for 2 there and I wouldn't have quibbled with that decision but do I think Shanahan did it so he could blame his players? No.

HI Tracee! Good morning to you from frigid Indiana! Should the Nats try to get Greinke or Garza? I can see the "Well they just got Lee, so we need to up the ante" logic, but to me, it doesn't make sense this year. Next year with Strasburg and Harper on his way, then I might do it. But I'd like to see another year out of Desmond or Espinoza before trading one of them. Your thoughts?

Short answer: I'd like them to go for Greinke, certainly. I know some fans wouldn't mind if they gave up Desmond but I'm not ready to give up on him. And Espinoza is a talent.

This last year for Favre will ruin his "legacy" like it did for Unitas in San Diego and Namath as a Ram. Not so much.

It doesn't ruin his legacy, but I still think it overshadows last season's brillance.

Not a question, but just a chatter wishing you a safe, happy voyage to the great plaines! We will welcome Cheese Fellow, or whomever attempts to fill thy shoes (why did I go Middle English just now?), but it won't be the same!

Soon I'll be going to "Middle America English." It's almost the same thing. Thanks much!

So Hunter the Punter is axed for his botching a snap on an extra point. Good. I think all of the chatters here knew that the Redskins had every piece in place to make a run this year except one: punter/holder. Now that the Redskins have decided to cut deadweight Hunter and sign a journeyman punter, we can start booking our tickets to the Super Bowl!

Yes, that was the key to all their problems. It's clear sailing from here!

Hi T-Ham! Whilst in Kansas, will you be seeking the company of any ghosts? If so, kindly report upon your experiences when you return, if you would be so kind! Happy trails, and happy holidays!

I plan to visit cemeteries. If I run into any ghosts, you all will be the first to know!

Looks like Vanderbilt may have hired Maryland's offensive coordinator, James Franklin. Is there any chance this guy can win in the SEC at a private school with academic standards?

I think there's a chance. We really don't know what he can do in charge of his own program. We do know he's a great recruiter. Maryland will have to fill that void.

Best Old/Weird Sitcom: Fernwood Tonight with Martin Mull and Fred Willard. As for beer in Arlington, Lost Dog is great, but try Rustico in Ballston. Even more beers than the Dog.

One thing about you people -- you know where to find beer. I  like that. "Fernwood Tonight" was another of those little gems that deserved better.

I always liked the Winston-Salem Wart Hogs for a name (awesome logo, too, which reminded me of the one for the AFL Javelinas). Now the Winston-Salem team is called the Dash. How lame is that?

Lame! Why would you ever give up the Wart Hogs?

"I THINK I am going to get to go to the Jan. 29 meeting and am very, very psyched." Wow - watching that match-up ON Kansas Day! Very cool!! - K-Stater

Yes, exactly!

No question, just wanted to wish you and yours a Happy Holiday since today is your last day. Actually, I do have a question. Do the kitties believe in santa? Do they hang stockings on Christmas eve?

I've never been the type to hang stockings for my cats and wrap them presents because, you know, they're cats. But I know a lot of people do. They spend every Christmas alone and are bitter as a result, I'm sure.

When Doc was a kitten, I put up a Christmas tree one evening and I hadn't been in bed more than 5 minutes before he brought it down. Bad night. Now I have to wire the tree to my floorboards, window frame and fireplace mantel just to prevent this from occurring. So Doc will never get a Christmas present.

Strikeouts per Standing Umpire?

Good one!

My mom used to make one with marshmallows, jello and nuts. Gross.

Yup, that's popular at the pot lucks. And it's gross.

Oddly, I think I'm afraid of Sally Jenkins. I have this recurring nightmare in which she absolutely eviscerates me in a scathing column that exposes all my faults. And then Shanny suspends me.

I'm not scared of Sally because we're friends, but I would never want her as an enemy, that's for sure. (And if you're reading, Sal, Merry Christmas!) No one can take a person apart better in a column than Sal. Even Laser Eyes wouldn't be as scary.

No question about it, it's that streak by the NFL QB, but not the one by Favre. It's Johnny Unitas' 47 straight games with a TD pass. Nobody's come within a season of it. Because it requires you to do more than just show up and play, you actually have to do something.

Ah, yes, that's impressive.

So, is this parent using this chat to expand her toddler's vocabulary? Jeesh, I'll try to watch my language. It reminds me of a friend of mine, who continued to play his normal record collection with the kids around, until he realized the little darlings were singing along to Lou Reed and the Ramones. I'm sure the grandparents were impressed.

I'm sure the dad censors. Besides, we don't work blue too much on this chat.

Tracee, I assume you like Nielsen's Frozen Custard? And Church Street Pizza? Two of the best things about Vienna, IMHO.

I've never had Church Street Pizza but I will when I can eat good old gluten again. My bad! I'm loving Plaka Grill right now as well.

Remember the episode where Martin Mull announced that leisure suits were found to cause cancer? And then showed the lab mice leisure suits? Classic.

Now I want that show on DVD.

My sister was just put on this too, plus she can't have acid things (citrus, mints, caffeine, alcohol, tomatoes, etc....) Christmas is going to be a blast! But how long did you have to stay GF? Can we hope by next year she can have cheese on bread instaed of just apples? Yes I realize I'm asking you to diagnose her.

Well, it depends on if she tested positive for gluten allergy or celiac. I tested sort of all over the map. One positive, one negative, and the biopsy, which is supposed to answer all questions, was inconclusive. So we're going to do another biopsy and if there is no improvement, I think my gastro guy will take me off. In other words, mine was an experiment. For other people, they know it's permanent. Really hoping mine isn't. I want a piece of flippin' cake.

Our guests would make fun of it so she finally stopped serving it. But she often recalls it fondly. "I loved that salad!"

Oh, yes, I know it's still be served in church basements all over Lincoln County. Tell her to visit sometime!

Hi Tracee, not necessarily a question but just wanted to wish you safe travels & happy Christmas to you & your fam! Cheers!

Thanks so much, and I wish all of you wonderful holidays and a Happy New Year! I'll chat with you on Jan. 3, when we'll have a lot of catching up to do!

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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