Jan 11, 2011

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

HEY TRACEE! Any news from NATS PARK about a fanfest or anything? Some baseball player when asked what he does in the offseason. 'I look out the window and wait until Spring'!

Rogers Hornsby, I think, but if I'm wrong someone here will let me know. And no, I haven't gotten the annual email about the Nats caravan yet. I'd ask Kilgore but he'd just ignore me. When I get it I'll pass it on.

UPDATE: No caravan, but a Fanfest right before the opener at Nats Park. Stay tuned for details. The business conference is streaming live, by the way, and will be available for viewing later if you're interested. The first 45 minutes or so were interesting to me.

And I'm having a few technical difficulties, which is unusual but should pass...



I guess the terriers will be the referees and umpire and will tear the balls up along with the flags.

Shouldn't the terriers be the return men? I picture BB as a little Jack Russell.

And good morning, everyone! I'm late but with a note from my dad, er, boss. The owners of our professional sports franchises are in the building today for a business-type breakfast so I was downstairs, absorbing some knowledge.

During the Ravens/Chiefs game it looked like pushing and maybe a few punches were tolerated by the refs after a down was over. Has the NFL tolerance gotten more relaxed this season?

I think it relaxes a bit in the playoffs, personally. Let 'em play, and all that. I was surprised by the pushing and shoving; these were not exactly bitter rivals.

They couldn't get enough Phillies players to commit to attract the fans the franchise is going after?


Good morning, Tracee! Last comment on the Prisbell chat. I think most of the chatters who come here every day and pepper you with questions or thoughts on Kansas, beverages, peppermint bark, and now and then sports (smile) feel a bit of community with you as our host and fellow participants as our unseen but cordial network of like-minded friends. That's why the tone of Friday's session and the rather argumentative slings shot at the hosts was so disappointing. I don't think the vast majority of us visit FTF every day to be disagreeable, even when we disagree. Granted, I don't know all the questions or comments you get that are negative, though I hope it is very few. But I also hope, in your absence, the sense of civility and fun you cultivate lives on with any host. Best regards :) ~ Pats Fan

Well put. I didn't think Prisbell would answer questions about cats and bark, but I thought he'd get questions about the local basketball scene, stuff like that. Sounds like it was lopsided. Pity for all concerned. I do try to keep the group civil. There are tons of outlet for uncivil discourse. Tons.

My dadis a truck triver whose cat Pickles has been his traveling companion for many years. She has her own bed and litter box in the truck and, when she's home, seems anxious to get back on the road. As you can imagine, she gets a lot of attention out there! But she's not the only one. Cat Fancy did a piece a few years ago on other truckers who travel with cats. Obviously not for everyone, or all cats, but it can be done.

Oh, for a trucker, I can see the advantages. When I was asked about road trips, I thought the poster meant road trips to cover games. If I made my living driving, I'd have a dog or cat with me, absolutely. A cat would be easier because you wouldn't have to pull over at inconvenient moments for pit stops.

Tracee, one place FTF does not and should not go is politics, but anyone who doesn't like the tenor of your responses, or Prisbell's, or anyone else's should skim yesterday's chat with USNA Prof. Bruce Fleming. He wrote the article in Sunday's Outlook in support of the homophobic, sexist etc. etc. navy videos. Pretty offensive to a lot of people, but then, rather than engaging in a dialogue, he blew off anyone who disagreed in by giving incredibly arrogant and condescending answers. Sort of a primer on how not to conduct a chat. You guys have it all over him in terms of both knowledge and civility. Keep up the good work.

Thank you. That's a pity. I do not understand inviting people to talk with you then insulting them when they do. Rude!

Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who shares our "Midwest Ethics," has an excellent column entitled "It's getting harder for college football to ignore its seamy side." While he doesn't have Sally's national audience, he is a well-respected writer. Let's hope they are joined by many more so that something may actually come of it. I'm so fed up with college football that I didn't even watch last night's game. Maybe that in and of itself will lead to some changes.

I am eager to see the ratings. The game was too late on the calendar and too late on the clock, if you get my drift. I am tired of hearing myself say this, but I sure wish the starting times of these things could be a little more reasonable.

My husband is from Ohio, where Ohio State can do no wrong. My neighbor is from Oklahoma - ditto. And Randy Shannon gets fired at Miami after graduating the 3d highest percentage of students in the country, behind only Army and Navy. I know you don't have kids (cats don't count for this purpose), but if you did, how on earth would you raise them with decent morals and a sense of fair play, given all this nonsense. Ours are only 2 and 3, but I'm already starting to dread this. Sadly, I think it can only get worse before it gets better.

I guess I'd use all this nonsense as a teaching moment. You can't shield kids from anything in today's world, and that's only going to get more pronounced. When I think of how sheltered I was compared to today's kids, I just shake my head. Those days are gone, even in the smallest of small towns. Your kids are going to take their moral cues from you, if you send them out often enough. You're halfway there because you are not one of those people who think any sports team (or player) is infallible. That attitude will convey itself if you let it.

On a side note, I don't know how anyone can think "his" (or her) school is infallible. I love KU to death, but I sure don't have blinders on to its flaws, in athletics and elsewhere.

Anyidea what the over/under was? I have a feeling it was a lot higher than 41.

I think Danny Sheridan had it at 74 or 75.

I've heard a lot of people pointing out that because Seattle won, it vindicates the current NFL playoff seeding system. "See, they belong," is what people say. But does anyone other than a diehard Seattle fan think the game would have even been close if the game was played at New Orleans? Seattle's fans are crazy and willed them to that victory. Without them, it would have been a blowout. The Saints won more than 50% more games than the Seahawks and the SAINTS have to travel? Absurd. The win proved how nuts the system is, not how correct it is!

I will respectfully disagree in that the Saints did not look good, especially defensively, against the Seahawks and I don't think the crowd was the only reason.

The wild-card games call into question the use of divisions -- except I'm still in favor of the current system. Here's an opposing POV.

This was touched upon yesterday but NFL really needs to review the seeding for the postseason. I believe this is the way it should happen. In each conference, the 6 teams are determined as currently done - 4 division winners and two best records of non-division winners. Yes, the Seahawks did deserve a spot in the playoffs as they won the NFC Worst..um..West. Then, the seeding should be set based on record alone. Winning the division would not guarantee a home game. You would have to have one of the best 4 records to guarantee a home game. Yes, this means 1 and 2 seed could come from the same division but if a wild-card team has the second highest record in the conference, don't they deserve it? Had that been done this year, the NFC would be: 1) Falcons, 2) Saints, 3) Bears, 4) Packers, 5) Eagles, 6) Seahawks. AFC would be: 1) Pats, 2) Steelers, 3) Ravens, 4) Jets, 5) Colts, 6) Chiefs

Interesting option, but it diminished the importance of winning the division. That would be a sea change for the NFL.

Do you think Oregon or TCU should be number 2 now?

Hmmmmm. Because of the close score in the championship game, I think you have to go with Oregon.

Hi, Tracee. Okay, nothing at all personal against the chap (why did I go all British just now?), but Rex keeps saying stuff like "My reputation as a turnover machine is just a rumor," and "I can play at a pro bowl level," and the like. Is this good? Maybe an athlete needs this type of confidence? Or is he delusional? And have you ever unwitingly "gone all British" like I just did?

If he's inflated, he's not SELF-inflated. He's had help. And yes, I have gone all British. Rode a ferry from England to France as a teenager and by the end of the overnight journey, I had a dreadful British accent, and I COULDN'T STOP DOING IT. It was weird. I was 17; hopefully that won't happen at the Olympics, assuming I get to go. I went to London in my early 30s and managed not to make an a** of myself.

I kinda knew that was coming, seeing how I hadn't heard anything about it yet and time was getting closer. But, but, but...I look forward to this every year! I plan around the last Sunday in January so that I am free to go down to the park in the cold (and sometimes snow) to see some players, see my fellow fans, see my ballpark and remember that Spring is Coming. I'm a little heartbroken (and concerned that I might now miss the event due to scheduling).

Well, the one positive is that if it's right before the opener, there will be more players there. The phrase "maybe some minor leaguers" was mentioned, and I know there is one minor leaguer you would all like to see.

During one of the 24-7 episodes, Bruce was filmed at Tysons attempting to get Hagan Das ice cream at like 10 in the morning. Am I the only one who finds this hilarious? Thanks.

No, I mentioned it in my review as being a favorite moment. He was stunned his kids weren't interested.

For a number of reasons, I rooted for Oregon last night. Chief among them is my belief that, in fewer than 5 years, Auburn will have to forfeit the championship and all of its wins. The fact that Cam Newton was allowed to play after the revelations about his father's dealings at MSU came to light is unbelievable (actually, given the NCAA's rulings regarding T. Pryor and OSU, maybe it's not so unbelievable). It strains credulity to believe that if Mr. Newton sought $180,000 from Mississippi State that he would have done so nowhere else. It's not that investigators haven't found anything...it's that they haven't found anything yet. I don't like being pessimistic, but I see no other response here. - RHG

RHG: It's the main reason I wasn't more interested in this game. I do think Oregon picked up some non-partisan rooters for this exact reason. The NCAA's decisions this season have been inconsistent and just odd. It's turning off a lot of fans.

Seeing as how I've been trying to find out about the Fanfest forever (note to Nats PR group: you might want to work on fan outreach just a wee bit). Re. dog football, why reinvent the wheel? Two words: puppy bowl.

Well, one is real and one is imaginary, but I get your point. (I just called the puppy bowl "real".)

With the signing of Werth I thought that maybe, just maybe the Lerners had figured out they actually have to spend money, alot of money to operate a MLB franchise. Now I realize that was a bone begrudgingly purchased meant to silence the "Lerners are cheap" crowd and that there will be no real spending to improve, promote and sustain this team. No caravan means they're even too cheap to keep fans engaged over the winter. So sad. They need to sell the team, end of story.

Are you not interested in Fanfest because it's not accessible to you or for some other reason? (Asking informationally.)

Yeah. Long ago, before I could have a dog, I was moving from CT to DC and carrying my sweet cat in the car with me. Brand new litter box for the trip, of course, and as I sat stuck on the GW bridge my eyes began to water. You guessed it. Two hours of feeling like I was riding in Kramer's carriage.

Oh God. That must have been a long trip.

I see BB as a whippet but there definitely need to be some terriers in there. Tenacious and tough the terriers would be linebackers (and maybe Wes Welker and similar receiver types). I see the QBs as poodles - ok now after everyone stops laughing - b/c poodles are smarter and tougher than most people realize (and they look pretty while being so). Go Pats - Local Pat's Fan

I am laughing at the QBs as poodles. And it's true that poodles look silly but are tougher than they look. BB as a whippet? Hmmmmm. He is so short and cut and whippets seem to me to be taller than him, if they were to play football.

I can't believe I just typed that.

Will Cam Newton be taking a pay cut or getting a raise in going to the NFL? The conventional wisdom is that he would be getting a pay raise, but there must have been some performance related bonuses that kick in when you quarterback the National championship team, no?

Yes, I do wonder if his dad is passing the hat as we speak.

Hi Tracee, and fellow chatters. I thought someone with flaxen hair as yourself would surely know: what the hell's the deal with conditoner?? Does it do ANYTHING? Are we better off just using shampoo and being done with it? And,does "cream rinse" still exist? I have a nagging suspicion that when it comes to these products, we're all being duped and laughed at hysterically by hair care execs Thanks!

Ah, yes, this is why I have a reputation for answering no sports questions. I think some conditioner is better than no conditioner. Cream rinse seems to be a thing of the past.

My hair feels softer in Kansas than it does here. I think it's softer water but I have no idea. I loved the movie "The Other Guys" and noticed that VO-5 hot oil got a shout-out. Didn't know they still made it and have no idea whether it works.

So is Les Miles really going to leave SEC land and coach a lame "franchise" in an even lamer league?

Probably. Will he be a "Legend" or  a "Leader"? Can't remember. Michigan is probably a "Legend."

I took issue with one of the last questions in yesterdays chat which stated that the Caps should not be equated on the same level as the Ravens. I don't think the Caps would ever want to be equated on the level of the Ravens. The one, fluky Super Bowl win was 10 plus years ago with players inherited from another city which was ripped unjustly from some of the best fans in the nation. The great part about the Caps is that hard-core fans have watched this team mature from a bunch of 19 year olds to early 20-somethings who when they do win, will not be fluky nor from another franchise. While people dislike Lewis, an overated defensive star, for something he may or may have not gotten away with, Ovechkin is disliked by most of the mainstream hockey media simply because he is not from Canada. If the Caps never win a Cup in the next 10 years, by all means compare away to a team that has languished under the domination of a team from Pittsburgh for the past ten years in relative obscurity outside of their town. The "HBO treatment" and national coverage is not something out of the ordinary for an NFL team; however, for a post-lockout NHL team who's games are played on Versus and not ESPN , it is truly extraordinary. I hope the Ravens enjoyed their win over a KC team this past weekend, but lets not get too big for our britches up there in Charm City; your team has been irrelevant for a decade.

A little leftovers from yesterday ...

I keep seeing people point out how well run the Ravens franchise is. Does it not count against the Ravens that the face of their franchise is a convicted felon and should probably still be in jail because someone was killed because of their "franchise player"?

And a little more...

Ah time to hear the media wax poetic about how great the SEC is for the next nine months, despite the mediocrity of the conference this year. How do you think TCU-Auburn would have played out? --New Delhi Fan

I would sure like to have seen that game, that's for sure. I think TCU could beat Auburn but you know, the speculation stuff never works. It's like the guy who used to call the Freep office and ask "Who would win in a street fight, Mike  Tyson or Bruce Lee?"

but it also seems that he genuinely likes teaching young players. Maybe it's because he's so likeable, but I, for one, think he is a good fit; it's just that, other than Wall, he has a bunch of D-Leaguers to work with. And hey, Tracee, somehow, I worked a semicolon into this question!

Nice use of the semicolon; I'm a big fan of the semicolon. I am not sure it's fair to judge Flip's teaching ability with this bunch. Blatche alone wrecks the curve.

I am not surprised that the NCG last night did not unfold as the much-hyped score-fest. What gets me - and I had no actual interest in Oregon or Auburn - is when there seems to be a predetermined script or set of storylines pushed by the announcers, notwithstanding the ebb and flow of the game. That game was not what I expected, but provided for some big plays, gutsy decisions, and a few surprises. Cam Newton did not play a particularly remarkable game (and, hey, that's OK), but Musberger and Herbstreit made every effort to remind us how he *could* take over the game at any moment. Oregon was confused and bottled up consistently, but there was plenty of chatter about how the *next* play could be the gamebreaker. I know you are a proponent of muting the announcers, but care to comment on the "scripting" of games?

I have some sympathy; you do have to prepare a certain amount of material in advance, even though you have people talking in your ear all game long as well. However, when you have these all-day run-ups to these big games, all the good "stuff" gets used up. Just comment on the game and move on from there. The big mistake is sticking with the notes when the game moves off script. For night events, I write some of my column in advance; you have to or you'd file something like 5 inches after the game, with the time constraints. But you have to throw that out if it doesn't work. Boz is the master at that.

Word on the streets of Bethesda is that you actually did scratch the eyes out of a tiger after someone said something vaguely disparaging about B-Svrl. And after you did this, you said to the person, "Did you see THAT? I did that to a TIGER. Imagine what would happen to YOU if you mess with B-Svrl again. Got it straight, Bub?" Any truth to this? I've heard this on at least 4 occasions.

It was a cheetah, but otherwise, true story.

How much more exciting would last nights game have been if the two teams had actually played, say 2-3 games in the last month to get there? Scheduling and bowl system of college football is pathetic.

I want a playoff, everyone wants a playoff. Except for the BCS and the bowl people making a fortune off the current system. Grrr.

True. I'm still upset that I didn't wait by the team bus after the Scorpions-Desert Dog game in Phoenix to meet Derek Norris. Lombardozzi seems like a good guy too. :)

Yup, two good options. :) Sheinin is writing Bryce Harper for the magazine, by the way. Looking forward to that. I'll keep you posted on when it is coming out.

Hi Tracee, It is cold outside and I am drinking a diet cherry Pepsi...does this break any sort of rule? Thanks in G-town.

Hi, G-town. No, you are within the rules and guidelines of the OBCOTWP.

Sorry, Tracee, but I still can't believe a team with a loss should be ahead of an undefeated team in the final standings, no matter whom they lost to and how close the game was.

That's the argument for the other side. Truthfully, I'm not that invested in the final rankings. The system is so broken, I don't give a lot of credence to any of it.

Hmmmm.....I remember as a kid taking our family's cat to my grandmother's on a 6 hour car trip. The cat box sloshes all over the place and the cat may get under your feet as you drive. Also, they bolt out of the car it you make a pitstop. I am not a fan of doing this.

Obviously the trucker's cat is well trained. I've had cats that would be great and cats that would make my life a living hell.

Why not? I know this person doesn't have cats so she just wouldn't understand (and kids don't count).

Ha! I have never made the mistake of thinking that cats = kids in the parenting department. I have known people who have made that mistake.

I'm tired of the DC teams playing the role of "stormtrooper" as other teams play the role of Han and Luke. When do we get to start blasting some tie fighter?

Um...next Tuesday? Is tie fighter an actual thing? Oh dear.

Maybe this is just semantics, but Tom Rinaldi was making me heave last night with his references to the "adversity' Cam Newton has been through. I think of adversity as surviving circumstances beyond your control, and since no one besides the NCAA believes that Cam Newton was ignorant of his father's behavior, Cam Newton doesn't qualify as having survived "adversity." More generally, I think Auburn's victory is unfortunate not because I dislike Auburn (I don't) but because it will only encourage the now-completely-craven NCAA to sell its enforcement of its rules to the highest bidder. A sad day for college sports.

Cam Newton's adversity was inflicted by his father, so no, I don't feel sorry for him. And I don't believe he didn't know anything about it, either. I just don't. If he DIDN'T know about it, why isn't he furious with his old man? I would be, if my dad tried to sell me to the highest bidder.

Will we be better, worse or the same next year? I say the same or worse. I just don't see how we get better.

Oh, too soon to tell. So much depends on the draft and the offseason. I think they're better next year, but perhaps I'm too optimistic.

1. The play isn't over until the whistle blows. 2. The game isn't over until time runs out. 3.That's a long commerical break. 4. Oregon disproves the "Ugly Uniform Wins Battles" theory. 5. A good big football player usually beats a good small football player. 6. Really long commercial break, isn't it? I'll get a cup of tea. 7. The only way the Redskins should get Cam Newton is if he is an undrafted free agent. He looked confused and flustered under pressure. 8. On the other hand, the Auburn defensive line SHOULD be drafted. 9. Really long commerical break - I just read a chapter of Aristotle's Metaphysics. - The Airless Cubicle.

TAC sums it up nicely.

Believe you'll need 3 asterisks, m'lady... r, s, and e.


Tracee, I guess they're calling for like 2-4 inches of snow, or something. And people are going ape, stocking up on canned goods, panicking about the roads, etc. Are Kansans laughing at us? Also, why do people stock up on bread and milk? I never understood this. I'm sure there are good reasons, but BREAD AND MILK??? Please enlighten me.

Yes, lots of people laugh at us. And the one that gets me is toilet paper. Unless you buy a roll at a time -- which is almost impossible these days -- why is that the thing you're worried about? Do you intend to need toilet paper more while you're snowed in? If so, why? It's very confusing.

Of course I'm interested in the Fanfest but I was also looking forward to the Caravan. The Nats have no interest in catering to fans. They want us to give them our money and be happy with the shabby treatment they show us. You disagree?

I've never been to the caravan. The treatment of fans is an area in which I defer to you, the chatters, because you attend games as fans far more often than I do. I just wondered if you had an objection to the event or the lack of stops or what. Seems yours is a broader complaint.

I think the tone of some comments and responses are becoming a little grating. As an Ohio State fan, I can tell you that many people in Columbus and throughout Ohio were disappointed with the conduct of the (next season!) suspended players and the NCAA/OSU Compliance Staff punt on allowing players to play in the Sugar Bowl. At the same time, there was a flimsy explanation offered, the players played, and they - supposedly - will return to make good on their bad behavior. Ohio State fans are happy with the win and still disappointed with many aspects process and outcome. They're also moving on. So, the "they're corrupt and we're not - we're above that" rhetoric seems inaccurate, disingenuous, and misplaced. Oh - and I can acknowledge, comprehend, and move on past these flaws. I'm a fan - they're my team.

I don't think anyone should take a holier than thou approach in all this -- not ANYONE. Because there are the programs that have gotten caught and those that haven't. And as clean as your athletic department tries to be, they can't control those pesky boosters. And no, you shouldn't abandon your team because it screwed up. I am pretty upset with the KU ticket scam but won't stop supporting them because of a couple of dopes in the ticket office.

Heck, I bet *I* can tell you when Sheinin's Magazine article will run: March 27, the Sunday before the season starts. The Magazine used to do that all the time, run a story on the local teams just before each season opened.

A very good guess, unless they plan it for spring training, since Harper won't be here when the season opens.

I used to go to Blockbuster and stock up on movies. Now we've got Netflix movies waiting for us at home.

Movies make sense. Some snacks make sense. If you have kids, milk makes sense, I guess. For me, Caffeine Free Diet Coke is not optional.

No surprise a pats fan would see a poodle as QB.

HAHAHAHA. Very good.

Yes all us natives buy milk and toilet paper when any snow is forecast, yadda yadda yadda. I sure never have done that but I guess it MUST happen since everyone repeats it ad naseum. By the way, I wonder if that New York representative who made fun of the DC area during last year's huge snowstorm was laughing as NYC failed to deal with massive snow.

Yes, New York definitely dropped the ball. Truthfully, it does happen here because I've seen it. I laugh about it but it's sort of a DC thing. Every city has its own "things" and that's cool. I just know not to go near the grocery store as storms approach. I was there yesterday morning and that was a mistake. And yes, the milk case was nearly empty. I did not check on TP.

Yep, I'm lactose-intolerant, and apparently we're having milktoast for three days.

Oh God, I'm laughing so loud right now. Thanks for that!

Sheinin is standing here, telling me that his Harper piece is running mid-February. So there!

And thanks for joining me this morning. I've got to run to see the ol' arm surgeon. Hopefully he'll cut back on my PT, which would make me SO HAPPY. Let's talk tomorrow.

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

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

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

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