Sports talk with Tracee Hamilton

Apr 07, 2011

Tracee Hamilton goes weekly with her chat about sports, life and everything else.

I AM a great little catcher, that's true. Every time I see one of those I just die. My old pal Neil Rubin, at it again.

And good morning, everyone. And let's welcome Steve Goff to the chat as well! He's our soccer expert but I'm sure he can handle beverage questions as well... Let's get started.

Hi Tracee: Thank goodness we have sports to divert our attention away from the clowns in Congress trying to hash out a budget so that I can continue to shelter and feed my family....what a joke. So, how 'bout them Caps, huh? Couldn't be prouder of the boys, pulling themselves out of a mess in December, winning the winter classic, completely changing the way they play and now sooooo close to winning the conference. Playoff hockey time! Nothing like it in all of sports. Go CAPS!

It's pretty amazing when you think of the gloom and doom of just a couple of months ago. But of course, it all depends on the playoffs.

In your observations, T-Ham, is he kinder? Gentler? More accessable? More cuddly? Or is he the expectorating, robotic fellow we've come to know?

I have not been around him personally, so you may have to ask Boz that one on Monday, after the Masters. My impression is that not a lot has changed but that's second-hand. Maybe Barry can be on next week and we can ask him!

There'd be too much to live up to if he was my dad, certainly. But having an "Uncle Ted" would ROCK! What a mentor he'd be. He could score you tickets, advise you on life, girls, and would, no doubt, get you out of a jam, with only a lecture about it being a life-changing lesson. Snyder? As an uncle, he would just get Vinny Cerrato to publicly embarrass you.

Ted would be a good uncle, you're right. Snyder, I think, is the uncle who'd make you go get him a sandwich or a beer and yell at you when you blocked the TV.

Boy, we can't catch a break since the move to Thursdays. Goff is here and answering questions but for some reason they aren't publishing. So Goff fans, please stay tuned and I'll keep going in the meantime and try to figure out what's wrong.

Tracee, it's widely-known you answer to no one. But if someone in a position of authority at WAPO decreed that you HAD to take a long road trip, and you could select only one companion from the following choices, whom would you select? And your potential road-dogs would be: Drew Storen, Hinrich, a somehow-reanimated Elvis, Jacques Vaughn, Sally, or Wilbon.

Tempting to choose Storen, but I'd take Sally. She's more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Top of the morning to you and your flock, Tracee! I'm not being defiant or anything, but to hell with their record! Methinks the Bullets are building the team right way. And I totally agree with Ted's mandate of building with youth, growing together, whilst creating cap space. (Sorry, HAD to break out a "whilst" ). They basicaly play hard. It's refreshing to see in these parts. And I don't care if it takes 3-4 years for them to be any good. Who's with me?

Anyone? Anyone?

They do  seem to be be playing harder now. We shall see...

When do you expect we'll finally hear more about DCU's stadium quest? How long do you feel they're willing to stay at RFK. Could this be the finals season before team either moves or suspends operations?

The club won't discuss the search publicly, but the primary target seems to be Buzzards Point in D.C. Hopefully we'll learn more soon. Baltimore is an option, but the club doesn't want to leave the immediate Washington area. As far as I know, suspending operations is not on the table.

After watching the ugliest championship game since 2002, I'm wondering if you might reconsider -- even a little bit -- that the tournament is just fine because it is exciting. Kansas was the only team in the Southeast or Southwest regions that had the talent necessary to win a title. But a match-up with a classic Cinderella they went down in a Self-inflected wound. It was memorable for sure, but it left no one on that side to provide a good championship game. Now I don't think we should re-seed or anything crazy, but I do think we need a serious look at how the committee does the seeding. How do Duke, Texas, and Arizona, and UConn all end up in the same region? And how do you reconcile Florida at 2 (2!) against the weakest 1 seed in an otherwise empty region? Good for Butler for their run, but UConn was the first championship talent team they played, and it didn't go well. (And don't talk to me about Pitt. They'll count as a Final Four team just as soon as they reach one.) OK. Rant over. The committee did a terrible job. That is all.

I don't know; I really blame Kansas for losing to VCU, not the committee. I think a lot of people would like to have seen OSU and KU play for the title, but that system is called ... the BCS. Sadly, those of us who are against the BCS can't now jump on the bandwagon. I can't be that big of a hypocrite! It's too bad the final game was perhaps the worst of the tournament, but that's the chance we take with a tournament. I must be getting really old, because I'm way more easy going about this than I should be.

Steve, in your estimation, does DC United have more groin / hamstring issues than any other club on the planet, or about the same? ("Less" doesn't even make the list of choices)

I haven't completed an MLS medical survey, but I'm guessing if DCU fans paid as close attention to other teams as their own, they would discover that such injuries are common around the league and the world.

What's up with Debbie Yow complaining (that's my nice word) about Gary Williams? Seems to make her look even smaller than before. Spring is close in the midwest. Did have a nice round of golf last weekend although the wind was at 30+ mph. Keep hoping for good news from our favorite basketball teams but this was not a good week for Kansas or Illinois.

I'm sure if coaches called Gary for an opinion on Debbie it wouldn't be a good one, but I'm also sure most people would know that before making the call. I'm sure that annoys the heck out of Debbie but she should never have complained about it, especially in that setting. To borrow a phrase from Seinfeld, Gary's now got "hand."

As for good news, well, Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson are coming back to KU, so that's something. I wish Selby luck with the NBA. That would be a tremendous mistake but one I fully expect him to make.

Spring is here in Virginia one day and gone the next but I see some warm days coming up.

I'm not a coach so maybe I just don't know, but having played under coaches, watched a lot of sports movies, and just generally having followed sports for a long time now, I would have to say this quote is the last thing a coach should ever be saying to his team: “Our coach pretty much said even our B team is going to be the best team we are going to play,” Gale Agbossoumonde said after training on Monday afternoon. They clearly thought they were going to walk through the quarterfinals, and Rongen didn't prepare them for playing against the host nation.

Ouch. If accurate, it doesn't reflect well on Rongen.

I'm getting tired of the "sometimes you believe in the stats, sometimes you believe in the player" commercial I keep hearing on the radio. Are they trying to convince me a batting average of .219 is good?

I got a very nasty email on Monday wondering how I could attack the Nats three games into the season. Well, because the game Sunday was dreadful. And nothing that's happened since has been much better. I don't think it's a matter of belief at this point.

It kind of freaked me out for some reason. Do you have a least favorite episode? I think that would be mine.

I wasn't crazy about that one either.

If the Capitals keep the #1 overall seed, should anything less than an appearance in the Stanley Cup be considered underachieving? Or should we just be happy with one series win before typically the Pittsburgh or Montreal's goalie gets hot and bounces us out?

I've said all along that the need to win at least two rounds this year and I still think so, if only to get out of their own heads.

Wayne Rooney, the soccer star who plays for Manchester United, was fined by the Football Association for swearing at the camera on live TV following a goal. He's angry about the punishment. It could have been worse and better. "Hi, I'm Wayne Rooney. When the FA tells on me and my mum washes my mouth out with soap for swearing, I prefer Zest for its smooth flavour!" -- The Airless Cubicle

Well played.....

Goff, Why am I unable to view the Soccer Insider on my droid since the Post changed their website? Kind of annoying. Thanks

You're asking the wrong dude. I'm lucky if I'm able to access our new operating system. Hopefully someone will see this!

They're doing a new campaign slogan called "Expect It." Ian Desmond booted grounder, "expect it." Adam LaRoche not hitting like Dunn, "expect it." Blown leads against the Marlins, "expect it." New reliever balks home a run, "expect it." Beer prices increased by .50 cents, "expect it." Double switch in the seventh inning, "expect it." Last place in the NL East, "expect it."

Ouch. But true.

Poor coaching? Unprepared kids (which is a subset of poor coaching)? Bad luck in having to face the hosts in a single elimination game? Or, the totally ridiculous qualifying format (4 groups of 3, top 2 teams from each group go to a single elimination game)? That format is totally designed to let a minnow squeak by, I don't see why the USSF puts up with it. Why not just have 2 hexagonal groups play a round robin, and the top two teams from each group qualify? They're kids, each team is bound to have a howler, and that would make sure the actual best teams get through. It's qualifying, there's no need to have a championship game at the end of it.

A bit of everything you mentioned, perhaps, but the bottom line: With so many pros on the roster, the USA should NEVER fail to qualify in CONCACAF. Huge disappointment, which may cost Rongen his job.

Tracee, Can't say I'm surprised The Danny and most of the other owners are forcing season ticket holders to pay up, despite the fact there might not be a season, or if there is it might be truncated. Could fans sue or at least get their money back if there isn't a season? The players aren't on strike - they're locked out. The men selling the tickets are preventing the players from playing, and if there's no season it will be a case of them deliberately preventing the events from taking place. Sounds like fraud. At the very least it's stupid marketing on the owners' part (though they seem to inhabit an alternate reality where they don't understand that those of us who live off of paychecks don't hold them in the same regard they clearly hold themselves). Stuff like this is why I didn't renew my 'Skins tickets after '09.

My assumption is that your money would transfer to tickets for the following season; I'd be stunned if they gave refunds and if they just kept the money there'd be a huge lawsuit and I can't think what their defense would be.  I don't know what I'd do if I was in this situation, actually, but I don't think I'd renew.

Hi Tracee, During the women's NCAA tournament, not only did the sideline reporters interview the coaches at halftime (as they do for men's games), they also interviewed one player from each team at halftime. And they interviewed each coach during at least one timeout during the game. Any idea how the coaches and/or players feel about this? I would NOT want to be interviewed in the middle of doing my job - Maya Moore and Skylar Diggins gave great answers when I saw them interviewed, so maybe it didn't bother them, but they were also struggling to catch their breath while talking - they had just stepped off the court. Seems excessive, don't you think? Does ESPN have some arrangement with the NCAA to make them do this?

Oh, yes, no question those were required or they'd never happen. And no, I don't like any of this, the players OR coaches being interviewed during games. The NBA does this too. I think it's an imposition. It's not like these interviews ever reveal anything really insightful.

Goff, I am surprised no columnists have written about Charlie Davies torrid return to MLS. Given the inspirational (and local) nature of the story, what's the rational for ignoring such a story? An indictment of the post columnists or will soccer never get major coverage by "traditional sports" reporters?

Charlie Davies is an amazing human interest story. We've covered the legal (accident) and team (dcu) angles, but haven't explored the emotional aspects of his remarkable comeback. It's a natural for a columnist.

There has definitely been a change in Tiger: He's playing much, much worse. He should probably consider firing his latest training guru, because what he is teaching certainly isn't working.

Yes, that change doesn't require inside knowledge. He's not the player he was. He may find that to be a better father he's going to be a worse golfer. That would be interesting.

Do you think NC State fans realize that Debbie Yow is a complete disaster yet or will it take a failed football coaching search before they come to that realization?

I'm guessing the news conference raised a LOT of eyebrows, all on its own. That's not the kind of PR you want your AD to bring you. Kind of like if your AD accepts free exercise equipment and misses widespread fraud in the ticket office.

Thanks for inviting Steve. He'll fit right in here because he routinely informs us, on his blog, about the good food and wine that he encounters on his trips to cover DC United and the US national team (oops, was I not supposed to mention that in case the accountants are reading?). My question is: will the Post send Steve, Paul, or anyone else to cover the WWC in Germany?

We'll rely on the wire services and perhaps a freelancer. There are several reasons why I've recommended that we do not send a staff writer to Germany. Among them: It's expensive to have someone in Europe for about a month, and frankly, interest in women's soccer in the States is at its lowest point since before the 1999 World Cup (WUSA failure, WPS failing, tiny turnouts for U.S. friendlies, no buzz about this team, etc.). I went to China in 2007, spent a lot of money, and the coverage attracted very few readers in print and online ... until Hope Solo's meltdown. It's not that we won't cover the WWC; it's just that we'll rely on outside sources to provide material. That said, I will provide stories and updates on the Soccer Insider. There's one pre-Cup feature that I'm very eager to pursue.

First of all, I am SO happy that you did not jinx UCONN last week! SO excited that I was able to actually see one of "my" teams play and win a championship in person (despite the caliber of the game). Never thought that it would happen to me. My fear is that I have used a lot of my sports karma and I now fear for what I may have inadvertantly done to the Caps. However, I am thinking that maybe it was payback for the Snyder era, that sometimes brings me to tears. Now if only they would stop having the Final Four where only football games should be played... While I am a UCONN fan, I am also an A&M fan. I am so excited that A&M won the women's championship. I would have loved to have seen Maya Moore get her third in a row, but I think A&M's win does more for college basketball. And Blair, the coach, just seems like such a good guy.

I'm happy whenever I manage not to jinx someone's favorite team. I, too, am happy for the Aggies. My pal and former Postie Richard Justice followed them this season and really loved that team and the coach and I trust his judgment.

HI Tracee, First, the once a week fix is not working. We need Hamilltime daily, especially for those of us likely to be furloughed next week. Second, while it was exciting to see VCU in the Final Four, after the debacle of the final (reminding me why I've given up on college hoops), I just want to say Go CAPS! Who do you see as the injured player the Caps most need to get back -- and stay healthy -- to make a deep playoff run? For me it's Wideman (and who'd a thunk that at the trade deadline). I'm pretty much lighting candles for his speedy recovery.

Wideman needs to get healthy and Green needs to stay healthy. Oh, and whatever virus the goalies keep passing around needs to be eliminated.

T-Ham, have you caught that "Ghost Adventures" show, featuring the terminally goofy "Zak"? He's the guy who seems to like to taunt (or flirt with) the ghosts, which seems undeniably wrong. In any case, have you seen them use that device that supposedly has the ability to capture actual words the ghosts say? What do you make of this? For me, it's profoundly freaky.

No, I haven't heard these. I've heard recordings of voices on "Ghost Hunters" but those were just using recorders. I'm a little freaked out by the name "ghost voice machines."

How much of his decision to play for Honduras is based on the ability to gain a work permit to move to England quicker?

None at all. He decided to play for Honduras because he is Honduran. He would've had to wait years for U.S. citizenship, and even after receiving it, he would've faced stiff competition for playing time/roster spots. With Honduras, which has a smaller player pool, he can play for the senior national team right away.

It looks like I will have some free time away from my federal job next week. Do you need an intern?

Ugh. I'm sorry for all the federal workers having this hanging over your heads.

Apparently I need help with the chat every Thursday these days, so keep me posted. :) At least we've got Goff up and running.

Goff, what the heck happened to my Gunners? They look completely lost right now. Does Arsene Wenger get canned?

Wenger? Gone? Never!

Good to know I'm not the only weisenheimer out there, as I was making similar comments to my husband during last night's game (Example: picture of Pudge. Me: Grounding into a double play. Expect it. Heh.)

Another good one! It's awful to feel this way in April.

NC State has not be relevant in college basketball for over 20 years and yet their fans still think it's the mid-80s. So they get rejected by coach after coach and end up with about their tenth choice after choosing Mark Gottfried who's been sitting on the sidelines for over 2 years. Then at the press conference, Debbie Yow feels it necessary to call out Gary Williams for her coaching search failure. Could the day have gone any worse for NC State?

Only if Gottfried had stood up, said, "I changed my mind," and left.

Tracee/Steve: What are the Post's plans for coverage of the Women's World Cup? It has been reported that a sellout crowd of 74,000 for the Germany-Canada game in Berlin on June 26 is a real possibility, so this tournament may turn into a phenomenon reminiscent of the 1999 WWC in this country.

The Women's World Cup will be a very big deal in Germany. Not so much here, unless the USA reaches the final. ESPN will provide coverage of every match in the tournament, but that's more a reflection of their business ties to soccer than to actual public demand.

If the Nationals aren't in the middle of a playoff race in August (highly unlikely), what possible good can come from Strasburg returning anytime earlier than 2012? I don't understand why the Nationals may want to replicate Jordan Zimmermann's highly risky return, other than selling a few more tickets.

I wouldn't do it EXCEPT that if he could get in even a few innings, it's something to build on in 2012. Remember, he's going to be on a graduated innings regimen and always was, even before the injury. So if he gets NO innings in 2011, that puts him behind. That's the only reason, to me, to throw him out there this year.

Unless they're in a playoff race. ;)

Lots of soccer teams have stars above their crests, and I'm curious about how it is decided when stars are added. The crest for Brazil's national team shows 5 stars, one for each World Cup title. Similarly, the crest for DC United shows 4 stars, for each MLS Cup title. Then, there's AC Milan, with just one star for a team that has been around longer than both those other squads. Does each team have its own rules about adding bling to their logo?

Club by club basis. Milan has a lot of championships.

Do you have any general sense how much cap room DCU still has in their "salary budget"? Have you heard anything about intentions regarding the summer transfer window? And, in a related vein, is it just me, or does DCU have the worst international scouting.recruitment in MLS? Since Luci first came in, they've brought in a two undewhelming DPs and a very small number of minnows who either weren't good enough to make the roster on a lousy team, or didn't make the team any better. Meanwhile, I read every week about foreigners signing with other teams.

The salary budget/cap is not made public, so it's impossible to accurately assess a club's financial flexibility. DCU has had good and bad international signings over the years. The same can be said for most other MLS clubs. Houston and Dallas had major busts. The Seattle signing of Nkufo flopped. Real Salt Lake has done well. Were Beckham and Henry worth the money? For marketing purposes, yes, but .....

Steven - I really enjoy the Soccer Insider. There are rumors that DC United has money problems. Truth or fiction? Do you think that DC will spend the money to get a top flight DP?

If by money problems you mean the team isn't able to maximize game-day revenue while stuck at RFK, yes, you are correct. Don't count on a top-flight DP anytime soon. Most MLS clubs can't afford a Beckham or Henry.

The Nationals, 298 losses over the last 3 seasons.... "Expect It."

We've got a lot of potential "Mad Men" on this chat today.

I usually agree with Sally 110%, but I thought her column arguing that colleges should not be criticized for focusing on preparing athletes for professional careers was, well, off-base. Every other profession she mentioned, e.g., dentist, businessperson, teacher,, requires academic credentials that can only be learned in college. Since only a tiny percentage of college athletes make the pros, those who are not true student/athletes (I cringe whenever I hear announcers use that term) are left up a creek without paddle. I kknow whereof I speak; my brother moved from a high-powered athletic institution to a smaller, more academically focused one after he got tired of being required to teach watered-down classes of the "rocks for jocks" and "introduction to barkeeping" sort -- at least the latter can lead to a career! These kids get a free education; too bad they don't hve the wherewithal, or the guidance or support, to take advantage of it.

I think it's the program's responsibility to make sure these kids leave school with some ability to handle life; that's part of the college experience that's really the intangible. Time management, juggling responsibilities -- these are life lessons, not college lessons. I'd like to see all of these kids leave with degrees but it's never going to happen. But if they left with some common sense and coping mechanisms, I'd feel better about it. I look at a situation like Dez Bryant's and think, what did they teach him down there? I learned to balance a checkbook at home, because my dad was a banker, but if you've got kids in college who can't do this, because maybe they weren't as lucky in their home life as some of us were, offer it as a damn class if you have to. But they've got to leave school with something useful.

I froze my butt off at the park last Thursday, and particularly last Saturday, but I saw a team that looked a heck of a lot better than anything I saw last year. Then, starting Sunday, it was like a bad zombie movie -- the body's the same, what's inhabiting it is not. What happened?

Also, who decided to start the season in a northern city in March? We'll be celebrating Jackie Robinson's anniversary *two weeks into the season*.

Yes, the timing this year was ridiculous. I really do feel the season is too long. I have no great solution for shortening it without causing great havoc but it's too long. March to November -- too much.

Why did the St. Louis reporters pick at Tony after yesterday's game? Do they want him to try and intimidate more umpires to get calls to go the Cards way?

I love to see LaRussa's "poor me" act. No one does it better.

Hi, Tracee -- I won't be here because of an important and potentially lucrative meeting, but I'd like to take a moment to say WooHoo Huskies! Sports is pretty much over for me until CFB in September, since I only follow semi-pros,but I'll check in here as needed.

Please do!

Steve, why does the U.S. seem to produce some of the best goalies in the world in ratio to the # of world class U.S. field players playing in the EPL?

Many theories, but no clear answer. America has produced many top-flight keepers (Keller, Friedel, Howard, etc) but over the last 15 years, it has also sent quality field players overseas (Reyna, Dempsey, Bradley, Edu, McBride, Bocanegra, Beasley, Cherundolo, Onyewu, Holden, Donovan on loan, etc)

Last week you asked about the origin of the term "don't know beans from siccum." I believe the term you're looking for is "don't know sit from sick 'em." The reference would be to a dog that is so dumb he doesn't know if you're telling it to 'sit' or to 'sick 'em.' My uncle says this all the time and get this: he's from Kansas, too! -K-Stater

Hi, K-Stater! That one I've never heard. Maybe my mom mangled two colloqualisms, because she definitely says "beans." She also calls ornery children "honyocks" (and that's spelled phonetically and always used to say, "you look like the Wreck of the Hesperus!" I finally figured that one out; thanks, mom! (She was probably right.) Does your uncle use anything similar to "honyocks"?

I've revised my negative opinion of "85" after reading about his tryouts with Sporting KC, and seemingly appreciation for the team letting stay on the practice squad for the short-term. He came across as genuine in the press reports. Or maybe he's just a very good actor. Anyway, he's smart for choosing such an unorthodox approach to staying in shape.

To his credit, "85" seemed humbled by the experience. He has soccer in his blood, and both he and the club made the most of a wonderful opportunity. For Sporting KC, you couldn't have asked for a better way to spread your brandname than with an NFL star "joining" your team. Win-win.

Why does the paper always print complaints on Saturday's letters to the editor page, "Free for all" that someone is upset that their kid's chess/math/computer tournament was not covered by the Post, but that there were 10 pages of NFL/NBA/NCAA/NHL coverage? Do these people think that the Post has an obligation to cover events no one cares about, or is the Post supposed to print what the readers are actually interested in?

People always think their kids are the most interesting in the world. It's natural. And it's become so intensified that it kind of worries me, actually. No matter what we cover, it's never enough and everyone has an opinion about how to run a newspaper. And of course if someone doesn't like, say, hockey, that's what we should leave out. We try to include the things the most people care the most about, for lack of a better way of saying it. We're never going to make anyone happy that way, but we try. :)

So the Nats are now 1-4. Sounds like a typical April to me. But one question keeps popping up in my mind, one that just never goes away: will Teddy EVER win in a President's Race at Nationals Park? I feel the novelty of having Teddy the perpetual underdog has worn pretty thin, and it's dragged on for way too long. Your thoughts?

We were talking about this Sunday at the ballpark, Kilgore and I. Yes, Kilgore and I spoke. I know, that's big, right? We both came away with a sunburn from that game, too. And I got to meet F.P. Santangelo. Anyway, I agree about Teddy and I think they ought to plan it for Strasburg's first opening day or something like that and get it done. They're also turning the presidents into prop comics and there's something a little distasteful about it to me.

I have to agree with the coach who voted Ohio State as #1 instead of UCONN. If you are going to have a poll after the season is over, then that poll should take everything into account. Are people really telling me that VCU is better than Duke? Ohio State? Kansas? BYU? George Mason and ODU? They had a good run. A really good run. A bunch of teams have good runs but that doesn't make them good teams. One small difference in the way a ball falls and Butler would have been out in the first or second round.

I get to answer a college hoops question?! Woohoo. (I cover George Mason and the CAA in the winter.) Yes, great run by VCU, but over the course of the season, the Rams had some rough patches, most notably a 20-point loss at home to GMU. In general, with a second team in six seasons reaching the Final Four, the CAA has shown its quality and that it deserves respect (and more coverage) in the regular season as well.

What's a checkbook? Also, my dad was looking for a "first class stamp" yesterday, does such a thing exist?

Oh, you whippersnappers. I do still use stamps and mail people actual cards. I am a dinosaur. But if the post office doesn't start treating me better they're going to lose my business and then let's see how fast they go broke.

Could it have been "you don't know beans from sorghum"? Would seem to make sense--beans (something people eat) vs. sorghum (fodder for livestock). And I can imagine sorghum sounding like "siccum" in what I imagine to be your mom's homespun, good-people Kansas accent.

Nope, although that would make sense. I've got to ask her about this. She'll probably say "I never say that" and I'll have to beat my head against the wall for a time.

Ive been pondering how to shorten the baseball season without cutting the number of games. Its simple; mandate one double header a month. It would shorten the whole season one full week.

Interesting idea. I'm sure there'd be a reason the teams and players would hate it but I like it.

So things are looking up for the Wizards, several recent talented 1st round picks some veterans and D-league guys giving good effort. At least the Wizards were much easier to watch this past week, except for the Indiana game. What do you think they should do in the draft to get better, I like Kanter they need a hard nosed center in the middle mixing it up in my opinion, they could use him at the 4 at times or use him to replace Blatche if he never matures (i.e. stays a finesse player). Sure a wing player would be nice but do you think they should get one with the pick they received from Atlanta? I liked all of things that Grunfeld (and Flip for that matter) have been doing, I think this draft is important for him and the organization, don't you?

This draft is crucial. I think we need to see who is coming out and where their pick ends up, because they have so many needs right now.

Steve, how/why is the WPS failing? Financially? How long does it have to either succeed or have the plug pulled?

We can talk all we want about marketing, quality of play and media coverage, but for me, the bottom line is this: There is a very small appetite for pro women's soccer. Sorry, but the numbers reflect it. The national team has a following, and always will (although its popularity at the moment is low). Pro women's soccer? Not so much. It's too bad, because the players are some of most thoughtful, committed and engaging athletes you will ever meet. Unfortunately, not many people want to see them perform.

Why is she bringing it all back up now? How does this serve her best interests? Someone please explain this to me.

I can't. It certainly sounded like "Gary poisoned all the good people against us, so here's the guy we settled for." I'm sure Gottfried felt terrific. I don't know; I know she and Gary had a bad relationship but this is a "high road" moment if ever there was one.

I'm trying not to panic, but starting the season 0-5 is really worrying me. The Red Sox can pull it together, right?

Well, sure, and even if they can't -- you know you can't be in the hunt every single year, right? Don't be one of THOSE fans.

Tracee, I'm a transplanted DC guy in NYC going to CitiField with my girlfriend tomorrow for my birthday. After last night's domination by the Fish yet again, should I even bother, or should would I be happier with cake and ice cream at home? I've already bought the tickets, but I'm close to puking at work thinking about being razzed by fans of New York's JV team.

Yeah, go, it'll be fun. Seriously, surely Mets fans shouldn't be razzing anyone.

Full disclosure, I'm not a big soccer fan, but seriously, is there any more pretentious or annoying team name than "Sporting Kansas City?" It sounds like a dog show featuring a single group.

Ha! It's forced, no doubt. Just like Real Salt Lake. (I don't have as much problem with FC Dallas and Toronto FC.) Over time, I think fans will embrace it. The culture of soccer continues to grow in the States, and soccer-centric names are part of it.

Have you heard anything about Chang finding any of the additional investment he has said he requires in order to move forward with a stadium project?

One good independent source tells me that DCU is close to adding local investors. A DCU source says the process is continuing but nothing is imminent. We'll see....

Maybe I'm just seeing the downside but the thing that scares me about any of the Caps likely first round opponents is that they have a goalie who can single-handedly steal a series--Cam Ward, Ryan Miller and Henrik L can easily do what the Habs did last year. Now, please, tell me why I shouldn't worry about that.

I can't, not after last season. There are a lot of things you can worry about but I don't recommend starting quite yet. Try to enjoy the weekend.

Steven, I think the problem with U.S. players overseas is still a perception problem. European clubs and fans can accept American keepers because it doesn't require the same ball skills. They have a bias against American field players though. For example, each Fulham Manager has kept Dempsey on the bench at the start of the EPL season. He has had to work his way into the lineup over and over again? I think the bias is slowly going away, but I just dont think American field players have teh instant credibility that our keepers do.

Good point on the perception issue. Americans are still viewed as "gritty, hard-working, committed, dedicated Yanks." It's become tiresome. Have we produced a Messi (or anyone close to his abilities)? Heck, no. But if you look at the number of Americans (non-goalies) in Europe these days compared to 10 years ago, it's a dramatic rise.

My Kansas mom says, "You don't know comeer from sic'em." Which translated is come here from sic'em. It is also an insult suggesting you couldn't even distinguish between two simple dog commands.

My mom definitely means it as an insult, but she doesn't say "come here", although that makes a lot more sense. So if the second part of her phrase is "sic 'em" and not siccum, then what the heck is beans? Well, there's no way to know unless I ask, I guess.

That's it, time to quit. I left a LOT of questions on the table today -- sorry about that. I'm sure by next Thursday the Nats will have won again, the Red Sox will have won, the Caps will be in the playoffs, the government shutdown will be averted, the lockout will be ended, and all will be right with everyone's world. Hey, a girl can dream. Have a great weekend, everyone! And thanks again to Goffer for sitting in.

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.

First Things First Archive
Tracee Hamilton Column Archive
Steven Goff
Steven Goff is a D.C. United and soccer writer for The Washington Post. You can follow him on the Soccer Insider blog and @soccerinsider on Twitter.
Recent Chats
  • Next: