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

Jan 09, 2014

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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Do you think The Danny just said "Get me Gruden, I don't care what it takes!" and the staff took the path of least resistance? Oh, and Happy New Year to all the gang from TBHitW.

It kind of sounds that way, doesn't it? London Fletcher is saying so, as is Cooley.

Happy New Year to all of you. Sorry for the long hiatus. The 19th was just a mess; my dad had surgery that day and I had to try to get some back problems fixed (that didn't happen). My dad's surgery didn't turn out as hoped, so I spent the next week in Kansas trying to get him on his feet, and failing. He's doing okay and it's a long story with which I won't bore you further.

However, I do need to tell you all that this is my last chat. This is NOT a Post decision. I have returned to editing and I just can't devote the hour-plus every week to the chat. You can't control when news happens. For instance, we're pretty slammed today with some Gruden story -- you might have heard about it. So I thought hard about it and decided that it was time. I can still hold a "special" chat if conditions warrant, I'm still available on email and I can still write an occasional column if I feel the urge. But my main gig now is editing the Nats and Caps. This is like returning home to me; I'm very comfortable with the move and although I'm just getting started, I'm enjoying it already. Except for Kilgore, but I'll get him in line.

So let's get started on our swan song.

If Gruden = Gibbs I, does Allen = Beathard? Or even Casserly?

If Gruden in fact = Gibbs 1, then Allen will = Beathard. I just think it's too early to do the math.

I'm vaguely following the Wizards, but we have college teams in town as well. I have no college interests (NYU, my alma mater bailed after a point-shaving scandal in the '50s). 


Good Team

Cheap tickets

Accessible via mass transit

I want someone to root for in the March tournament that I've seen beforehand.

Section 405

I would recommend GW. The Colonials are having a great season, they are Metro-friendly and I'm sure tickets are available.

This extensive story was from back on December 28, before the last game of the season. The writers obviously spent a huge amount of time putting it together. But I almost spit out my coffee when I read, "This story is based on interviews with nearly 20 people inside the Redskins organization or close to it, who insisted on anonymity". As a reader of a story with almost 20 anonymous sources, I don't know if the story deserves a Pulitzer or is a Jayson Blair work of fiction. Sports radio hosts like to spout rumors by saying "some people say ..." This doesn't seem much better. As a former editor, do you cringe when you see 20 anonymous sources? Please know that I have always loved the Post, have been a subscriber for 24 years, but I just needed to rant about this a little. Thanks.

Of course it does. However, if you read the story, you can understand why no one wants to go on the record: fear. And where Maske is concerned, I have zero trouble believing he has every source he says he has. That's from 20 years of experience working with the guy. Babb has a similarly great reputation although I haven't been his editor, yet. There are reporters who can't do it, and there are topics about which this would not fly, but in this case, I'm not sure what the option was except not to publish.

Any predictions on the Nationals next season?

Well, let's see, Kurkjian predicted Harper would win the Triple Crown. I'm not sure I'd go that far. I think they will do better than last year. Will they win the division? Nats fans do not want me to say that, given my jinx, so I'm not going any further.

Hello! Submitting a week early so I don't forget. My MU tigers are playing in the Cotton Bowl tomorrow, this AM on the local news they had a detailed list of the Swag Bag the players receive, including an Ipad and additional (expensive) goodies. How is that legal? I thought college players couldn't receive gifts?

Exception because of the unholy relationship between bowls and the NCAA. Here's more on this topic. Amazing.

I'm sure I speak for Rico, 405, Pitt Wife, Husker, and all us regulars at Tracee's Most Hospitable Roundtable: we're gonna miss you. TBHitW

Thanks to those mentioned, and you TBHitW, and all the regulars who perhaps aren't on today. You can always email me. I'm easy to find!

Hi, Tracee. I'm on a cruise. The weather hasn't been good enough to go ashore yet, but hope to do so in Key West tomorrow. Anyway, Pitt is 14-1 and 2-0 in the ACC, and yet they are not ranked. They are 26th in Coaches' and 30th in AP. Their only loss was by 1 point to Cincinnati. Why aren't they ranked higher? What do they need to do to get the attention they deserve?

I don't know; their RPI is good as well. I would say another week without a loss and they'll be in. But remember -- being ranked in January is largely overrated. Fly under that radar for awhile.

I may be a little slow on the uptake, but I was recently in a hospital with limited TV channels for 3 weeks starting the day before Thanksgiving. So I watched a lot of football, including 2RG3 games. While I realize he was drafted as a scrambling QB, virtually every NFL QB and even some college QBs do a much better job than he does of reading defenses, e.g., throwing to a secondary receiver when the primary one is covered; dumping off short passes when a play disintegrates, throwing the ball out of bounds rather than risking an interception. I hope he'll improve wth hard work and experience, but I was still somewhat dismayed. I hope he spends at least a portion of the off-season waching Peyton Manning tapes.

Yes, he's been criticized for all of these things. I think he came back from injury too soon and I am also not sure he was coached well/took coaching well. I believe he'll return to something approaching his 2012 status in 2014 but that remains to be seen. And yes, watching Peyton Manning tapes would be helpful. I think I suggested that in a column last year. :)

I'm actually disappointed that the team was able to secure Gruden so quickly. I was hoping to see coaches across the NFL refuse to work for a meddlesome owner like Snyder. Or else see the team settle for a young, inexperienced coach who Snyder can control. Is this owner capable of learning that he simply needs to hire the right people and let them do their jobs?

Well, given the way the Shanahan Experiment ended, I'm guessing the answer is no.

Billy Gardner was my first "favorite" baseball player when he played for the O's in the late 1950's. I got a little rubber figure with his # on it in a Crackerjack box so that's how it started.. He must be in his 80s if he's still around. But I was happy to read the article about Billy Jr. and hope things go well for him at Syracuse.

He's alive and 86 years old.

I don't completely approve of Dan Le Batard's Hall of Fame protest but I appreciate his point. The HOF will eventually have to settle this issue, particularly if an admitted or convicted steroid user gets enough votes. The Tour de France stripped Lance Armstrong of his titles. Perhaps MLB could do something similar, such as reducing the stats for steroid players by a given percentage, and asking HOF voters to use those numbers only. If we penalize Barry Bonds by, say, 25 percent, his 762 homers would go down to 572.

Le Batard was wrong to use his ballot in this way. Having fans vote on their own ballot is one thing, but having that ballot count is another. Either fans should have the vote, or they shouldn't. I don't like the duplicity.

I will definitely miss your columns and your chats, best of luck with your return to editing!


Happy New Year to everyone! I've missed the chance to hear from Tracee and everyone these last three weeks. One blessing from the hiatus is that we've been spared an overwhelming crush of posts about the coaching status of the Washington Ethnic Slurs. I don't know how you go about firing an owner (something Baltimore baseball fans would like to know about), but I don't think they'll achieve success until they ditch both the owner and the racist name. Section 406

I will never understand how anyone expects "them" to ditch THE OWNER. The guy owns the team. He's going to ditch himself? Who is "they"? He's made it clear he will never change the name, either. So as far as I'm concerned, this is a non-starter. Fans have a choice: If you don't like the owner or the name, don't buy the product. Don't buy the products being sold by the product. That's the only recourse. Wishing Snyder would go away is not going to get it done.

I've been reading/writing since you had the daily First Things First chats. Bummed you're quitting, but I understand your reasons.

First Things First! That seems so long ago... Thanks so much for writing.

Can't we all agree to just ignore him? That way the only person he would embarrass would be himself.

I was ignoring him until you sent this post! Truly, what an idiot.

Rather than cut chatting out completely could you go the Weingarten way? He chats once per month and gives weekly updates. Chatting with you once a month would be far better than none at all.

I considered a lot of options but I think it's best for me to pull off the Band-Aid.

How often will Dan Snyder call Jay Gruden, Jon Gruden?

He won't be the only one.

Less than a week after KU punted the home court winning streak title over to MU, the Tigers promptly lost at home to the #242 team in the RPI. I guess the basketball gods were looking out for your finale!

I wish the basketball gods would figure out what's the deal with Andrew Wiggins. I'm still waiting for that "No. 1 draft pick potential" to show. I am liking the look of Joel Imbiid more -- when I can watch.

Do you think any of Sally's sources attacking RG3 were not related to Mike Shanahan?

My guess is that she talked to more than one person, although I know where you're going with this and I'm guessing that relative -- third cousin once removed? -- was a source. But I haven't talked to Sally since I got back -- she's been ill. (So have I, come to think of it. I had to wear a surgical mask for a week while with my dad in the hospital. I love bronchitis because it's the only time I don't sound squeaky.)

How is he doing? Out of the hospital getting better?

See above. No, and not really. He will have to go to rehab when he finally is able. He went in ambulatory and is certainly not now.

Where do they finish this year? What teams look like Big 12 title contenders?

Oh boy, I don't know where the begin on the Jayhawks. Okie State and Iowa State are both good, K-State will show up, especially Saturday -- I am not sure we add to the string this year, no. If they gel in March, great. But I am not liking this experiment thus far.

Does he have the almighty powers to fix all that ails the local FB franchise?

I think it's more of a question of whether Allen does. If Snyder really has given Allen the reins, that's where the pressure will be highest. If Gruden and his staff can find a way to put Griffin in a position to succeed, if Griffin is happier now, if Haslett considers abandoning the 3-4 ... blah blah blah. It's way too early to start predicting things even before the news conference (4 p.m.).

Are you at all uncomfortable with how common the usage of 'anonymous sources' has been throughout the whole RG3 vs Shanahan drama? Frankly, the latest column from Sally Jenkins is offensive to readers in that it is so clearly a Mike Shanahan produced hit piece. At some point, shouldn't the Washington Post just stop printing whatever these anonymous sources say, when it is so clearly at odds with reality? Thanks.

See answer above. Readers clamor for coverage (and I mean clamor) but don't like the sourcing. Don't blame you. But this team has become like Fort Knox, but with tighter security. You have to trust the people who work for you. And while I might not agree with everything Sally writes, she has the right to her opinion.

Big big thanks for the chats over the years. Your chat taught me that even with my most obvious sarcasm, some chatter out there some where wouldn't understand my wonderful wit and respond with a tirade. I still don't know how you writers ever attempt humor or sarcasm in a column without a certain percentage taking offense and writing letters to the editor. Good luck going back to editing. Are editors like umpires, you only notice them when they mess up? Take care.

Editors and umpires -- some similarities there. I think our writers notice a good editor, just as a pitcher is going to notice an umpire with a fair and consistent strike zone. I hope so, anyway. And yes, being misunderstood was one part of the columnist's gig that I didn't enjoy.

So sad for us, your loyal chat fans, that you are leaving it. I looked forward to your mix of down-to-earth attitude, sports knowledge, and humor each week. I know it's your choice, but it adds to the slow drip, drip of my enthusiasm for the Post draining away. I'm still a loyal home subscriber, but I loved taking a quick break from work to read chats and articles online. I will NEVER watch videos at work, which seems to be much of what the Post is adding as it subtracts what I like.

Believe me, I considered this. There is a core group of readers who do not like video, or can't see it at work, and who like chat transcripts. I happen to be one of those people, frankly. I really am sorry to abandon it. Maybe at some point, as I get more comfortable in the new job, I could see bringing it back, but I don't know. Right now, I know how to do my job (26 years of experience) but I can use none of the tools with which to do it, which is wildly frustrating. So I have a steep learning curve.

I will be writing a bit during the Olympics, then I'll be gone a spell for thumb surgery. That's another reason. I couldn't chat during the Olympics, couldn't chat in March (and maybe some of April; no idea how recovery will be; gone in May a couple of weeks) so that was a factor too.

While I respect your decision, I am totally bummed that we are losing yet another excellent woman chatter--particularly the only one in the sports section. The Reliable Source duo both bailed, Jen Cheney is gone, and now you are leaving us, too. Wishing you all the best, and you will be missed.

Thanks. I will miss all of the regulars and all of the lurkers and those who just read the transcripts and then emailed me their thoughts (or recipes, or music suggestions). I really have enjoyed this group.

I've followed these chats since "First Things First", and it's been a real pleasure. I'm going to miss the weekly interaction, but on the bright side, I'm thrilled that the sports section regains a strong editor. 

Can you advocate for someone to conduct a baseball chat, weekly or bi-weekly? If the person who ran it were also amenable to stray comments about lunch meats and home heating systems, that would be great, too.

Section 405

I will test the waters with the Nats guys and see if they are interested. With their schedules, it would be hard to do a regular day/time, but if it were more of a floating chat, promoted on Nationals Journal, perhaps that would work. I could be their producer; I'm my own dang producer as it is.

Can you or other posters suggest another chat or blog where we can go for a similar type freewheeling discussion on (mostly) sports? Someone who's followed the chat since "First Things First"

I don't think there is a chat that covers sports, beverages, recipes and other diverse topics. I've never seen one. So sorry ... Maybe we can work something out with the Nats boys and I can jump in on the beverage question.

Sally's latest column is a disgrace. Why is someone who lives in New York, and never attends Skins games or practices allowed to write this drivel about the team? She clearly is buddy buddy with Shanahan Sr. and has no problem being used as a mouthpiece to air Mike's criticism of Bob. What a joke.

While Sally certainly lives in NY, she does attend games and practices, so that accusation is unfair. If you don't like her stuff, don't read it. I can't understand why anyone reads a writer whose work they don't like. As a columnist, that was another aggravation: I hate your work. Okay, fair enough, but why are you still reading it? That I don't get. That's like ordering kung pao chicken and then complaining to the waiter that you're allergic to peanuts. (That may not be a great analogy but I like kung pao chicken. And now I want lunch.)

You will be missed. I learned a lot about sports from you and this chat while trying to impress a now-ex boyfriend. But now I love sports on their own and obsessively follow the Nats and Caps. Perhaps there can be one last happy hour?

I would love that but not sure how I could fit that in. My hours have changed and I never know when I'm going to be done. Maybe, if I'm well and able in April, we could have a pre-Nats get-together somewhere. Of course, I have no way of getting the word out about that. I guess, if you wanted to be included in a final happy hour, email me. I'll keep a list and if I can figure out a game that works, I'll send out an email.

Your chats and Boswell's chats are the best. And you take more than 4 questions because your answers do not grow encyclopedic (we kid because we love the Boz). But seriously, life is choices and if this makes life easier, congrats. Just keep those writers from using your when they mean you're.

One of my pet peeves. Also its/it's. Also ... never mind, I have a lot of them. I think the writing experience will make me a better editor. Hope so.

How was Le Batard wrong to use his ballot like this? He believes, as does every baseball writer in the country apparently, that there is something wrong with the process and this was the best way to highlight this. Compare that to the person who only voted for Jack Morris because he believes everyone else played in the steroid era, how is Le Batard worse?

If he's a member of the BBWAA, he can campaign for a change in the balloting process. Maybe if it wasn't Le  Batard I wouldn't have such a strong reaction, but I've never been a big fan, so I am biased.

My point was that you only need two sources to put something in a column/story and from what I remember there were two people with the last name Shanahan coaching the Redskins last year...

I'm sorry, I must have misunderstood your original post. Apologies...

You could host a video chat! We could all hook up on some sort of megaSkype and talk live. It would be like the worst, but most logical, culmination of everything ESPN puts on the air.

That was an idea under discussion about a million years ago. The trouble is, a lot of people can't do that at work, and a lot of people hate video. I don't know, there just isn't a great solution. I have been thinking about this for awhile.

Not that they care about about a bunch of folks out in the ether, but it helped us get a picture of you as a person who was interested in so many things in addition to sports.

Oh, kitty talk, another exclusive of this chat. I accidentally shut Doc's tail in the door last night and couldn't see why he was going bonkers. Poor kitty. He ate a whole can of tuna to recover.

First Ripper Street gets canceled, then Manchester United tank, and now you're leaving us! What's a girl to do? Wishing you and your family better health in 2014 and glad you will still be with the Post. Good luck editing some of Boz's longer sentences!

Can't wait to edit my first Boz column. Then I know I'm really back in the saddle.

Wait, Ripper Street WAS CANCELED? How did I not know this? Whitechapel and now this? Despair!

If you are back to editing, any chance we'll get to hear you again on radio cohosting with Tony?

No, because talk about a chunk out of my day! The commute up and back plus the show would be an entire morning. The way this world works now is very different, with blogging and tweeting and all the various stuff that has to be done in addition to actually reading stories.

I know you got to be good to you. But I'll miss you! Hope you come back and chat now and again. Maybe have a get together during Olympics and/or baseball season to watch and talk sports sometime? Please?

We'll see what we can do. Again, if you want me to include you in a get-together email list (don't worry, I won't spam you) send me your email address and I'll hold on to them and let you all know. I would like that. We've had some nice get-togethers. Ancient Husker Grad isn't here today, apparently; OUMom isn't here, but hopefully not because of last night's game. I'm getting nostalgic.

A few weeks back multiple Skins beat writers acknowledged that Sally had not been seen at a Skins practice or presser all season, so is that comment really unfair?

I can't speak to practice or pressers, although if you mean Shanahan's, those are a huge waste of time. I know she went to multiple games. Look, if you want to bash Sally, that's fine; it's not like I'm deleting the posts. But don't expect me to chime in.

No, I don't exactly admire Le Batard for what he's done, but I don't think it's any worse than any number of cranks who do idiotic things with their ballot (like the moron who voted for Jack Morris and NO ONE ELSE). If Le Batard proves to be the straw that causes the HOF to make long-overdue changes, then we can all give him a pat on the back. What I fear is that the BBWAA will simply strip Le Batard of his ballot and say "There! Fixed!" and overlook all the other problems that Boz pointed out in a great column last week. Which is probably what will happen.

I don't disagree with your conclusions, and there is a lot wrong with the balloting. There will always be morons with a vote. There SHOULD be unanimous selections, but if Cal Ripken isn't one, then no one is, I guess. I don't get that. Voting for only Jack Morris is silly too. But then, being an idiot doesn't preclude people from voting in all kinds of elections, come to think of it. If the voting were turned over to the fans tomorrow, by the second or third year, there would be outcry about someone who was left out or someone who got in. I am not in the BBWAA and I didn't vote when I was, so I don't have a bright idea off the top of my head for improvements. Boz did, though, you are right.

Series Two will still air on BBCA starting Feb 22nd, but, like your chat, it's pip pip cheerio after that!

Bummer. But perfect from me; I'll be home-bound and one-handed. Not a lot to do.

Can you post it? I promise I won't Spam you!

Oh sure, it's all over the place.

Would love to email you for a list! But um...what's your email?

See above. Our email ran at the bottom of all of our stories so I just assumed everyone knew it.

Any thoughts on this colorful character? Your chats and Kansas stories will be missed.

Lots of colorful commentary in the office this morning, which won't be repeated. It's very hard to kill your career in sports; there are always second acts. And third acts...

Who do you like in Nordic Combined?

I don't see the U.S. repeating its Vancouver success but I can't wait to watch anyway.

So sorry that you won't be chatting anymore but I understand the workload issue. I'll miss hearing about your family & your cats as well as your sports insight. I'm not even a "sports" fan - I only know ice hockey - and I enjoyed your comments about baseball, football, etc. Take care & I'll raise a Guinness in your honor.

Please do, since I can't! Thank you...

And the picture I sent you of the Cheeseboy Restaurant near Boston! ;)

Yes, I just cleared that off my computer the other day. Memories...

Tracee, I hate LeBetard as much as anyone. I never watch his show and would turn off PTI when he guest-hosted. But I am actually fine with his ballot. It was actually one of the more intelligent ones, even if I didnt agree with everyone on it. Also, when is the last time he covered baseball? This just shows he shouldnt even have a vote in the first place. If this starts the writer's association to revoke some voting privileges, including his, then this may be a good thing.

There is no question the eligibility issue is problematic. I can think of some other people who are eligible and I know they don't cover baseball and haven't for years. Maybe the BBWAA and the Hall will make some changes; I hope so. I have no problem with fans making decisions (like the all-star game). But I'm a big L&O girl, and to me giving away a ballot is a big no-no. Not that I disagreed with the fan choices; they were as informed as many others', I'm sure.

You keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Sometimes you need to read the people with whom you disagree so you can (maybe) see something from another point of view. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is narrow-minded. However, there's no need to remind the people you read that you don't like them.

There you go. Read me if you hate me with the intensity of a thousand suns, but don't then email me to call me names and tell me I'm wrong. Especially since I try to read and answer all my emails. I could recognize the regulars who just hated me and had gone through the column to find a nit-pick. Exhausting. Or the humor impaired who didn't get what I would think was a pretty obvious joke.

I don't know why you continue to defend Sally. Her track record is proven going back to her defense of Lance Armstrong whom was proven to be a liar. I guess you two are tight but I wish you'd see it for what it is

We weren't talking about Lance; we were talking about Sally not going to games, which was not true. That was my entire defense of her. And yes, I have friends with whom I don't always agree. Sally is, to me, more than her work. I know her as a person, not a columnist, and I'm not going to drop her from my life if I disagree with her.

We can always hope so

I can if I want, and I might, but it will be an occasional thing.

...the HOF would be like the All-Star ballots: big market representation, lots of Yankees, no Tony Gwynns or Robin Younts. TBHitW

I'm guessing that's so. I don't have a good answer to the Hall question.

Tracee, I totally understand this being your last chat, I suspect that editing Kilgore alone is a full time job (by editing I mean locating and getting him to respond to you). Thank you so much for being such a great host, I will miss this weekly chat greatly but at least you will still write your columns. And thanks for letting us know not to blame the Post, given the number of great chats they have gotten rid of that was my default position. Hope your Dad improves! -Handle Pending

Thanks, HP!

Hi Trac! I'll miss the chats, of course, and accept the consolation that you are back making the Sports Section as good as it can be. I've especially appreciated the way that you have reached a group of people who like sports and take it seriously but not exclusively -- that is, people who watch AMC and BBCAmerica as well as ESPN. I hold out hope that you can rally us for an occasional guest chat or get-together. In the meantime, I'll raise a gluten-free beer and/or a Cheerwine to observe the demise of TOBCOTWP. Yours, fondly, always -- Rico

Rico! I will miss you, buddy. Take care and hope to see you at our get-together.

You'll host a beverage chat every September so we can plan the college season...

Hmmmm... a seasonal chat. Perhaps ...

Infections like MRSA and other complications, along with low recovery rates have made many worse off than before surgery. I recently lost a family member due to complications from back surgery.

I am SO sorry. I am not having back surgery; not sure my issue is even surgical. I'm having out-patient thumb surgery and even so I will worry. Hospitals are not the place to be if you can help it.

I'm one of those random people that never really writes questions - I just use my lunch break to gnosh on some food and read your chats. I've disagreed with some of your articles but respect you as writer. Good luck going forward


I take a bit of issue with your comparison. It's not like ordering kung pao when you don't like peanuts -- Sally isn't what subscribers order. The Washington Post is what subscribers order. So reading stuff from Sally is like ordering the combo platter from Famous Dave's and getting a side of fried rice. It just doesn't belong. For the record, though, I tend to believe that Sally (and many other columnists nationally) overstate things just to get a rise out of people. I think she takes the mantle of columnist too far and says "Well I don't have to be truthful since it's OPINION!"

That's a good analogy. I don't agree that Sally is not trying to be truthful, but then I know Sally.

I find it humorous that people write into this chat to bash Sally Jenkins -- like you are supposed to answer for all women.

Ha! That's pretty funny.

We are Birthday Twins, Tracee, and I have been reading you since the First Things First years. Will miss your insight on beverages, lunch meats and especially sports!


can we get another one? I'd be first in line every week if Kilgore got on one of these.

We'll see. Kilgore -- he's a mess.

I'm glad for you that your return to editing is what you want, but sorry for myself and all your other fans who will miss your wise ways on this chat. You have enlightened our Thursday mornings for a long time; I have learned a lot about the teams, the strategies, the management, from these chats. Thanks for the dedication, and all best as you move into a different role.

I will miss you all very much. Thanks for this last chat and best wishes for 2014, everyone!

In This Chat
Tracee Hamilton
Tracee Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinions and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from genealogy to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there were a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor Metro etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

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