Jan 14, 2011

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

As I was driving home from work yesterday listening to WTOP, the sportscaster predicted that the Wizards would get their first road win because they were playing the 9-30 Timberwolves. Well, guess what!!!!!

I watched some of that game and I thought it was pretty clear almost from the start that the Wiz didn't have it going on, as the kids say, or used to say. I'm woefully behind on the current slang. Anyway, the Wiz are now 0-19 on the road. I wonder if any NBA team has gone an entire season without a road win? If I had Littles, like Mr. Tony, I'd ask them to check.

And good morning, everyone. Happy Friday! Heading to Nats Park today to meet Monsieur LaRoche. Let's get started.

I watched the 4th quarter of the last 2 Wizards games. I don't think the Wizards personel are anywhere near as bad as their record would indicate. During the home game this week it became clear that the Wiz don't even know how to inbound the ball in the backcourt or call a time out to get it into the front court has a serious problem. On the sideline. I watched Ted Leonsis' face as he sat courtside in the really expensive seats next to the Wizards bench. (Obviously nobody would spend big bucks to sit there and watch this farcical mess.) He did not look amused. I think Flip will be gone by March.

Dear SiMV, I'm with you until the part about March. I don't think it serves any purpose to fire Flip before the end of the season. Unless it's to send a message. I think both Flip and Ernie are on "tryout" and Ernie managed the Gil trade, so he may be "safe." So I'm not sure Flip will survive but I don't think he'll go early. (Thus ensuring he's fired Monday when I'm at the game.)

Your 1953-54 Baltimore Bullets, 0-20 on the road. Hat tip to Wikipedia.

Thank you.

Is there a book called "football for dummies?" You'd think I could find this on the internet, but no. While I have a vague idea of the difference between a 3-4 and a 4-3 defense, I'd like to know more. (Boz talks about playing the old 5-2, which is also called the winged T.) The Skins are having trouble adjusting to the 3-4, while the Browns have hired a new coach who is going to switch from the 3-4 back to the 4-3, I wish I had a better idea of what they are talking about. Thanks.,

Go to Amazon.com and type in "Football for Dummies" -- there certainly is such a thing. Let us know if the old 5-2 is in there, would you?

For the Caps and the fans: What you should takeaway from last year is that how you perform in the regular season is somewhat unimportant. What is important for the regular season is that you make the playoffs, that you're playing well at the end and you have played well against the better teams. So the only thing I'd be worried about is whether Tampa has their number. And how will the goalies stand up in the post season. Sincerely, A hockey fan for 49 years and counting.

Very true. I said before the season that the President's Trophy was meaningless and got lambasted for it, but I do believe it's true.

So the speak. Couldn't join in the last couple of days - may I address a couple of topics from earlier in the week? First, with regard to relegation as it applies to baseball, one thing I didn't see discussed is the fact that professional baseball is hierarchical. Unlike English soccer, teams aren't independent at the various levels. A player drafted by the Nats, for example, (generally) starts at something like Hagerstown then work up to Potomac, Harrisburg, Syracuse then finally Washington (assuming they make it that far). Another consideration is stadium size. The Columbus Clippers, AAA champions, play in the new 10,100-seat Huntington Park. That won't generate the revenue required to pay MLB salaries. All in all baseball is a completely different system/tradition than European soccer. Not saying relegation couldn't happen, just pointing out that it's a lot more complicated than it looks at first blush. Second topic is St. Louis. I've been to roughly 1/3 of major league stadia and several dozen minor league ones I have to say St. Louis has the most knowledgeable, baseball-intelligent, loyal fans I've ever seen. Not only that but they're incredibly polite and proud of their city in general. As someone who isn't a Cards fan but just a baseball fan, it really is, as Boz would say, a baseball pleasure. Thanks for letting me participate belatedly and have a great weekend!

Happy to oblige.

Spotted in San Francisco the other day: a POS Honda Civic (red) with license plates CHZBOY1. Could this be a sign of franchise expansion?

Could there be more than one? The mind boggles.

Is "Flip" a nickname for Philip, or is there some other derivation?

Phillip with two l's, according to Wikipedia, so I'm sure its accurate.

I did that at Google and it took me to the Danny's home page...


How about Wikipedia for Dummies? :)

There you go.

Just go to Wikipedia and type in 3-4 defense. You'll find an explanation and a DIAGRAM!

Or this...

Also, Wikipedia is turning 10 years old on Saturday. So make it a birthday hat.

We've certainly given Wikipedia its due today.

I assume you don't like them, either? I've lived in Kansas (Hutchinson), St. Louis, Oklahoma, Atlanta and now in DC and there's not a lot to choose between any of them. I'd love to summer in New England and winter in Capri, but know that's not going to happen

I find Kansas hotter than most places but the humidity isn't usually so dreadful. I'm not crazy about heat but I purely hate humidity. Detroit summers were delightful ... all three days of them.

Hi Tracee, sorry for the delay in response from yesterday (I get these chats later). To HP from yesterday concerning the Caps regular season vs. playoff performance: I agree, but I think the difference is that this year, the Caps are trying a style that fits a successful playoff performance (more conscious defense, less fast paced) whereas last year they stuck with a system that works well in the regular season and not as well in the playoffs. So, it is worrisome that they are losing in this new system, because even in the regular season they're losing. That's not to say they won't get it together (I think they will) but its just to say they have a lot of improvement to do, and these last couple of performances are worrying. Thoughts? --New Delhi Fan

My thoughts are here.

Hi Tracee. In a few weeks, you see, I have to visit the dentist for a routine visit. I'm 42. It's not that I'm scared, per se-- it's just that it's the-- dentist. On the way out, would it be disturbing if I asked the receptionist for a balloon or a toy for enduring the appointment?

Yes, I think it would be disturbing. Self-reward. Think of something you want to eat or do or read or whatever, and you can only have it if you sit through that appointment without crying like a baby. Then reward yourself. If you walk into a waiting room full of people holding a balloon, sans child, I think the shame will be overwhelming.

I realize, T-Ham and esteemed chatters, that this is a deeply Seinfeldian question, but, really, what the hell is the deal with parades? Does anyone really enjoy them? It's absolutely possible that they are universally loved, and that I'm the giant-headed freak, and I'm willing to accept this, but perchance could someone enlighten me? Has anyone else here ever said to oneself, "what the hell's the deal with parades?"

I have never enjoyed a parade because I am short. I have enjoyed being IN parades, but not watching them. I like televised parades because I neither have to twirl a baton or look at the back of someone's head for several hours. But if you think about what a parade is, really ponder it, yes, it's kind of stupid.

The movie has the town right-Lawrence, I mis-quoted. Second, someone said on NJ that the NATS would win 70 games this year. I responded with 79 games subject to revision after ST but before Opening Day. Do you have a prediction yet. Lets Go NATS!! Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Not ready to predict yet -- pre-spring training for sure. And I'm glad they at least had the name of the town right; that would hurt.

Good morning Tracee! So I was the chatter who wrote in yesterday about the one-year aged beer that I was planning to finally drink. Perhaps I made my point too subtly (or not enough). What I was trying to do was highlight our tendency as sports fans to get caught up in the "win NOW" mentality, when perhaps the real idea should be to enjoy the process for what it is. Sure, losing is painful, but only as painful (and for only as long) as we allow it to be. I'm a Nats fan, and to be honest I've got no real hopes for a winning team anytime soon. However, I'm still going to watch the games. Why? Because one day we WILL have a winning team, and on that day I'm going to enjoy it like a well-aged beer.

Good attitude. And there is a followup...

Oh, and by the way, the Black Tot was spoiled. It's the gamble you take when you cellar beer. Bummer, but oh well.

This is a bad example of patience not being rewarded.

Not being a gambler, when picking games I always pick the team I want to win. My mom was a Jets fan and I used to live in Seattle thus I'm predicting a Seahawks v Jets Super Bowl. The Hawks win their first 23-21. Who you got in the Big Game?

I still like the Pats and Falcons, thus ensuring a Jets-Seahawks Super Bowl.

Ernie is my hero. I told everyone that trading Gilbert was impossible. I was so glad to be proved wrong. Keep up the great work. I'm serious.

He earned a chance to stick around and fix this mess, just by that move.

I like Flip, and his coaching resume is stellar. But is this mess of a season partially on him, in thy opinion, T-Ham? Also, do you remember Mr. Peterman excitedly exclaiming, "George, we dine!" after Jerry and Elaine bailed on them?

Lately I keep thinking, "These pretzels are making me thirsty!" which is weird because I can't eat pretzels. Yes, this mess is partially on him. As a group, these are not very good players or very experienced players. You need only watch any other NBA game on television to realize just how far away this team is.

I used to park in an apartment complex where for years I was blissfully unaware of any small leaks from my car. Now I bought a house with a clean garage floor, and I now see any small leaks which make me worry all the time. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the old days when I was so naive. And how about those Jayhawks?

I often wish I could go back to the days when I didn't have to worry about car leaks at all, because I didn't own a car, and my dad would just take care of it. Sigh. Our town was so small, the garage would come and get the car, fix it and bring it back. Those were the days.

And the Jayhawks ... well, they make me nervous a good deal of the time. They are very talented and often play like dopes.

First, let me say thanks for doing the discussions every day. Despite the fact that you are a KU fanatic (I'm a Mizzou grad), I really enjoy following FTF. I know this is completely unrelated to the Caps, or sports in general, but could you please tell the powers that be to bring back some of the other (non-video) discussions? This is the Washington Post, at the very least there needs to be a politics chat. Thanks again for entertaining us every day. And the next time you head to Kansas, try to find a bottle of Boulevard Dark Truth Stout.

That sounds tasty, thanks! And here is your comment for the powers that be.

For a time I was the only girl in my office, and the guys forbid me from talking football until I knew the difference between a 3-4 and 4-3. So I had my brother explain it to me over dinner, using the peanuts provided by Logan's Roadhouse as the players. It's stuck with me.

Good for you. In our office, back when I worked every day, the women tried to ban food talk and recipe swaps BY THE MEN. We worked with a bunch of men who talked about food and cooking incessantly. And they thought women would ruin the sports department. Ha!

Hi Tracee! Far be from me to speak on behalf of the far wiser Hindus, but I'm relatively certain that the notion of karma doesn't include the Cleveland Cavaliers getting their comeuppance for not doing enough to keep LeBron James there. Am I nuts?

You are NOT nuts.

I think the 3-4 defense would work better for the Wizards. The league should allow the Wizards to have 7 players on the count just to make it fair.

Seven Wizards, or could they borrow two from someone else?

Conditioner is necessary if you spend a lot of time in the pool like I do. --Michael P., Baltimore, MD (Go Ravens!!)

We have to have at least one hair care post a day -- new rule.

While far from perfect, the BCS isn't THAT bad of a system, even in it's currently flawed form, which could be corrected without a playoff. If you want to make the case that TCU got jobbed slightly because they went undefeated, I suppose you could stretch to make that argument. But that doesn't make it a "faux championship" as everyone keeps saying. It's not like Auburn and Oregon were the names drawn out of a hat. They were teams that went undefeated through major conferences and did it mostly by streamrolling opposing teams. There is very rarely (TCU this year and Auburn in '03 being exceptions) a team that has a legitimate beef to say they should have been given a shot at the natty. And I don't think there has ever been a team been given a shot in the national title game that hadn't earned through a remarkable regular season run. I for one don't support a system that keep teams alive who hadn't been elite all season and give them a shot if they "got hot at the right time" the way college basketball and most other sports do. Reasonable minds can disagree, and while the majority will still want (and probably get eventually) a college football playoff, there are still those of us who wish to see games in early September that have playoff intensity, something that will mostly be lost, I fear, once a playoff comes to town.

Nicely argued. Your point about early season games is a good one.

He's not quite as laid back and approachable as Pete Carroll to say the least.....Hey I think one of the WaPost editors volunteer Steinberg to have his phone go off during a presser! He can post the response on his Sports Bog!

We don't call him Ol' Laser Eyes for nothing. Total destruction. I don't think we can risk Steinberg that way.

At what point does this Flip Saunders era end? Seems that these young guys are regressing under him. His in-game coaching is not very good, and they always seem to be out of place. The game Saunders missed was one of their better efforts and I don't think that's just by luck.

Flip's getting hammered today.

My cat, Joey, has extra digits on each front paw, including claws, so it can be painful when he "plays." But he isn't playing when he sees & attacks my wristwatch. He seems to feel it's a cyclops ready to strike which must be defeated at all costs! Why is this? (I've asked him, but he aint talkin'.) Do your cats attack your watch? What sets your cats off?

I wonder if it's the ticking? That's odd. My cats go nuts for flashlights, which is fun as a game but really difficult when the power goes out.

Tracee - I guess my Buffaloes (and to your K-State poster yesterday: my dictionary shows more than one correct plural spelling) must be actually starting to show signs of relevance if KU and KSU folks feel the need to start taking shots. Anyway, I'll know we're getting somewhere when we can beat your Jayhawks before "taking our odd ways" to the Pac-10. All in fun.......enjoy the chats from NC A CU Buff Alum

You know we kid because we love. I have a soft spot for the original Big Eight and always will.

Tracee, I awoke this morning and saw the uber-sweet Alison Starling wearing purple on the early news. That has to be a sign from above that the Ravens will win tomorrow. Sorry Pittsburgh wife.

Pittsburgh Wife is busy making a chore list for Pittsburgh husband. Or maybe renting him a nice DVD to watch instead.

I can't imagine having to be a reporter for a Redskins presser. Since we know they will not answer questions about the secret recipe, why have them? Wouldn't it be better to just release a written statement each day? All that I got out of Allen's presser is: Redskins Park may be moved or improved; 5 and 92 status may or may not change; And the sun might rise in the east and set in the west today, won't confirm until evaluations are complete sometime in May.

Well, they have to watch a lot of film of sunrises and sunsets before they can fully determine their status. I mean, you think this job is easy? Do you, punk?:)

They don't say much; this is very, very true. Redskins Park will be moved or improved. Facilities-wise, they are behind a lot of other teams and that's not the Redskins Way.

Tracee: I am a Carolina Hurricanes fan. I have to say, I see the Caps situation far differently than you do. This appears to be a team that is now focusing on defense, rather than Ovechkin's goals. The Hurricanes road this philosophy into the Conference finals 3 times this decade, including one Stanley Cup. Early results, believe it or not, appear to be very positive for the Caps, in that they are well within the playoff boundaries (5th place out of 8), and Varlamov is in the top 4 in the league in GAA and save percentage. As a reminder, the Hurricanes were 5th two years ago, and went to the conference finals. The caps were 1st last year, and have won the division 3 years in a row, but got bounced from the playoffs early. To put it another way: why are you so concerned that the Caps are NOT playing like the team that lost in the first round last year?

I'm not concerned, per se, because I'm not a Caps fan -- I'm a columnist. I do think the lack of scoring is bizarre, especially from Ovechkin and Backstrom. If I were a Caps fan, I'd be concerned about that. And so I wrote about that, and the new system, and what the players are saying about it.

Maybe he likes shiny things. When my cat and I lived with my folks, a bunch of jewelry and a watch went missing. One day we found it all in a pile under my dad's nightstand. The cat was stashing it away.

Amy Shipley had a cat that hoarded spoons. Cats are definitely fun.

How about Kilgore?

Good idea.

Heh. You should also have told them not to give interviews to the Washingtonian saying they'd rather be a food critic than a Nats beat writer.

In fairness, Chico was not a part of any of those discussions. Those were all editors. And in fairness, all of them are better cooks than me.

I have been in agony for weeks and have paid over $5000 on the root canal from hell, with more of both to come. Not only should they give me toys and balloons, they should let me stay for a week for free in the oceanfront condo I'm helping them buy.

Well, see, that's a different scenario.

Ha. Years ago my husband said something about Cris Carter and I said who's that? He gave me a look and said he would NOT sit next to me at the Superbowl party if I knew so little about football that I didn't know who Cris Carter was. His friends gave him crap for that. He took pity on me, we watched football together and he started using dimes and nickles to illustrate what was happening on the field. I'm proud to announce that this year I not only won several weeks of the office football pool, I was also the overall winner for the season.

Atta girl!

Ask the dentist for a little Percocet and say hello to Klaus. That's a much more lasting treat.

Ah, yes, if they had a big bowl of Percocet a lot of things would be easier...

Pittsburgh wife is taking Pittsburgh husband shopping for maternity clothes for Georgetown daughter (not a sports fan).

And not watching the game? Really?

here's what I would picture: Cheese Boy tinkering with a barber's chair that he assembled from walnut shells, J-Reid feverishly knocking out a column, B-Svrl complaining about how "all these youths from across the street" keep sitting on his car, T-Ham with a fedora and an unlit cigar haning from her mouth, pecking away on a typewriter, barking orders at a petrified A-Kil and S-Ya, while Bos is busy crunching numbers, blissfully unaware of it all. How close am I?

If you could get all those people in the office at the same time, I promise we'd do just that. It would be a miracle.

No! This plan will surely backfire. Don't you remember the Seinfeld where the author visiting from Russia took Elaine's beeping organizer and threw it out the window, injuring someone?

It might hit Svrluga in the head. That would be bad.

On Monday, I took the day off for my birthday (the big 30), and my boss and coworkers knew my birthday was the reason I was taking the day off. On Tuesday, when I returned to work, nobody said happy birthday to me, including my boss. Am I wrong for being upset about this? Should I start looking for a new job?

I wonder if Hax would answer this differently? This smells like a set-up but what the heck. Yes, you are wrong, and no, you shouldn't start looking for a new job. Adult birthdays are just not important to other adults, close friends and family excepted, and sometimes not even them. Same with wedding anniversaries. I remember my parents' anniversary and that's it. I'm the Queen of Hallmark but there's my line in the sand.

Monday is an optional skate, chat-wise, but I'll be here with bells on. Have a good weekend, 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 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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