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

Jan 31, 2013

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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Wow, my first click on your chat today brought up the 1/31/ 2011 transcript--A FTF Anniversary edition ? Anyway O goddess of the Plains and Knower of all things Great and small When will the NFL get over the use of "all star " officials for the playoffs and "The Big Game" ? Anyone who has done any kind of officiating knows that you work as a team. You learn where other officials position themselves to get the best angles, etc. Evaluate TEAMS of officials and have them work the playoffs, not a collection of guys --yes, guys only, but that's another story-- who haven't worked together before. Just watch the hesitancy some of the officials showed and the number of Zebra conferences each of the playoff games had .

Not sure how you found the right one, and I have no idea what happened to give us not one but TWO old shows.

I am the one who inadvertantly killed last week's chat. I know how I did it, now, and there is no fixing that mistake.

I am NOT the one who put two incorrect chats on today's schedule and I am currently unable to find anyone to fix that mistake, so this may be the shortest chat in history. At least I'll be on the record.

You know, I agree with you, MVMD, about teams of officials. Makes perfect sense. That's why it'll never happen. Sense! Indeed!

Let's get started, though God knows where we're going.

Tracee, thanks for the column about ticket stubs. I used to stick them in the frame of my bedroom mirror, including Red Sox, Bruins, Boston Patriots, BC football, the Beanpot and the K of C indoor track meet featuring many of the athletes who participated in the '68 Olympics in Mexico City including Marty Liquori v. Jim Ryun in the mile. Memories.

Some good ones. Bonus points for spelling "Ryun" correctly.

Tracee, the O's Fanfest had it all over Natsfest. Twice aslong (8 hours to 4), half the price, free parking, Duquette, Showalter, nearly every player and coach, a slew of prospects, former players, coaching clinics, lots of kids' activities, baseball bingo (you won autographed balls and the like) . . . and, because their Convention Center is right next to the ballpark, free stadium tours as well. However, the ability to give Drew Storen a standing ovation -- PRICELESS.

I don't doubt your assertions re Fanfests but glad to hear Storen got a warm welcome. At least the Nats moved it out of the stadium, which wasn't big enough to hold it anymore. Maybe they can steal some ideas from Baltimore.

Boz has skipped the last two chats. Is something up?

Vacation. Even Benjamin Button needs to unwind.

Yeah, that's where I went too, until I went into the "weekly schedule." Just FYI.

Yes, I'm asking for help on this to get those old transcripts killed. I'm happy you found me though! I would tell people on the chat how to find the chat, except that would seem kind of silly, since they can't find the chat.

Apparently there's some talk in the sports world about the Yankees attempting to void A-Rod's contract in light of the allegations about steroid use. I doubt they'll be able to do it, but in the future could you see teams adding some sort of PED clause or morals clause into contracts to allow them a way out of contracts (or at least give them a way out when a player's performance falls off the cliff)?

They can add morals clauses but I don't see the union going along with adding more stringent drug requirements than MLB has, even for offenders like A-Rod. That union is strong.

Tracee, I don't know if this is your thing or not, but I've been following it for over 30 years and 2 of my daughters competed at the state level. So while I still don't get the skill level andcomplexity of all of the moves, I have a decent understanding of what's going on. So watching the women's champion attempt 6 triple jumps and crash badly on two of them was pretty unsettling. Even she said she won "based on past performances." That's the old bad way that was supposed to have ended some time ago. And the pairs champs! The man stood on the ice for 20 seconds while his partner did her spin. I've never seen that in any level of competition, ever. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm almost dreading how we're going to do at the World Championships. Thank goodnes for our ice dance champs, the only true world class skaters on the entire team.

I'm sorry to say that I no longer follow figure skating the way I once did. I do think a lot of artistry is lost when the value of spins, etc., is increased. And winning based on past performances -- that just wouldn't fly in any other sport. Figure skating can't be taken seriously when its athletes say things like that.

Maybe they can still pull this off. Even if they don't move over here, you still have a standing invite to join me, The Best Wife in the World and The Best Dog in the World for a -- hey, what do you drink these days? -- on Sanibel Island. TBHitW

Boy, that sounds good. I haven't been to Sanibel in 20 years. I'm off the hooch at the moment, so I'd be a very cheap guest!

Putting a link on the sports page would help to 'announce' that you have your live chat on right now.

Yes, another thing I asked for and finally got. It's there now. 

Your ticket stub column generated a lot of conversation at my office as well -- at the Birchmere last night, they took the whole ticket at the entrance but they gave us back a stub when we realized we didn't have anything for Robert Earl Keen to sign. Great concert and he generously signed our stubs.

God, do I love Robert Earl. Wish I had known; I'd have met up with you.

So . . Now that the Braves have added J. Upton, who has the best outfield, Atlanta or Washington?

On paper, I'd give the edge to Atlanta. But paper isn't reality.

I would love for DC to get a minor league hockey team (ECHL or AHL). Have you heard of any discussion to bring in a team?

I have not. I'd be a bit surprised if they put a minor league team where an NHL team played...

You are so right! I've had O's season tickets for 40 years and have boxes of stubs going back to 1964. I have my World Series. Cal 2131, last game at Memorial Stadium and first game at Camden Yards, and so many others framed in my man cave. It was a huge shock when I realized my first Strasburg start (at Altoona) ticket would be a piece of typing paper (there, I'm showing my age). However, a few years ago I ordered tickets at another JMLB park, ran them off, and somehow left them at home. I was a little worried, but when I showed up at the park with my name and ID I got -- actual tickets! Probably too much trouble for the average fan, but it worked for me.

I should have mentioned in the column that I have more credentials than ticket stubs, including all my Olympic credentials. Those aren't as cool as ticket stubs to look at, and they include dreadful photos of yours truly, but they are still cool to me.

I admit I read half of your Jan 31 2011 chat before looking at the dates more closely... But so will there be any new big winner commercials this year? I watched part of the best SB commercial show last night.

I don't like to know in advance what's coming, but if you do, here's a rundown I found that looked interesting.

I have not yet seen this morning's updates on the situation but I will say one thing: This has put a black mark on him for the rest of his life. Like someone suspected of inappropriate behavior with a minor (or an adult), everyone views them as guilty until proven innocent. Even after being proven innocent, many still view them as guilty. I want to believe that he is completely clean. I can see logical evidence that the notes are just musings and not actual orders. We'll see though. One thing that I do hate is everyone talking about how Gio had a "career year" in 2012 and that's evidence of use. How so? Yes, he had a great year in 2012, but who's to say that he won't be able to go out and do the same thing in 2013? If you look at his stats, he has made improvements year to year. 15-6, 3.23 ERA in 2010 (200 IP), 16-12, 3.12 in 2011 (202 IP). 21-8, 2.89 ERA in 2012 (only 199.1 IP). His biggest problem was walks, which he brought down by ~20 this year. He was an All-Star with Oakland, and not as the "we need someone from Oakland". He didn't suddenly come out of nowhere, like Cabrera, to have a fabulous year. Hard work, new teams coaches, and steady improvement were what brought on the 2012 results.

I don't know that this will necessarily haunt Gio. Yes, there is more to come from the investigation, and yes, he'll have to answer questions about it. But if he was getting innocuous medications, that will be reported.  And while some may not choose to believe his innocence, there's nothing to be done about that. There are people who believe you are guilty of something without any hint otherwise. People's minds are funny things. I wouldn't worry about it overly much.

Why is it that Comcast Sportsnet (Ch 642 on DirecTv) blocks most if not all (strictly) Redskins content programming outside the Mid-Atlantic broadcast footprint. I'm talking about Redskins Nation, Redskins Latenight, Redskins Chronicles and other Redskins shows from being received outside that area? Is it the NFL so that we are forced to watch the ESPN networks or the NFL network that very seldom show any shows that are dedicated to the Redskins? Is it because it is infringing on the local sports teams like the Panthers, Buccaneers, Saints or Falcons just to name a few? One answer I was given was it was up to Comcast Sportsnet as to whether they broadcast or not. I would like to know the real reason why it is being blocked. I think every Redskins fan who can not get this programming would like to know. I think every Redskin fan should contact Comcast Sportsnet and ask why.

Good idea. Certainly better than asking me. I have no earthly idea.


I've followed the NBA for 60+ years beginning with the Syracuse Nationals. Many of the current players don't rally seem to know much about the game beyond "oh it's the large round one" and a bit of play ground. Do any of the leaders of the asylum attempted to teach "the game" either offense or defense to these "one and done" kids? I would have thought maybe Tapscott, but apparently not. Who attempts this on other teams?

This is the problem with the "one and done" kids. Lots of raw talent, few fundamentals. That's why I hate to see kids come out early, especially when they aren't ready. A lot of them aren't ready. It seems ridiculous that NBA teams would be teaching fundamentals. I don't blame the coaching staffs for not wanting to do it, and it's particularly hard when you're got one teenager and a bunch of veterans. Hard on the vets to make them go through Hoops 101.

I thought the SNL impression of Ray Lewis was lame until he started up this week. To me, he's making Randy Moss look insightful.

I don't even watch "Weekend Update" anymore so I missed it. There are some characters on there that I love but I keep forgetting. Anyway, yes, I think Mr. Lewis is wearing out his welcome. It'll be over soon.

You're probably not surprised that I attended. I was at the "Anything but Baseball" Q&A, and the look on Bryce Harper's face after an 8 year old kid asked him whether he cut his own hair was worth the price of admission all by itself...

Yes, I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you! Gotta love questions from kids. They will ask anything; no filter. Glad you had a good time.

I know the advancement of medicine has come a long long way in all arenas including sports medicine. But with what happened to Adrian Peterson's knee and Ray Lewis' torn biceps? Come on man! For Peterson to come back in less than a year without using performance enhancing drugs has got to be ridiculous. There is no way that he could do what he did with out using them. Along with the NFL not being able to test for HGH, come on man! As for Ray Lewis, wasn't there someone just recently made denial after denial stating he never used PEDs and used the line "I have never ever tested positive as proof positive that I have never used 'roids! What was his name... um Legstrong, Weakstrong no it was Armstrong I believe. I just do not trust someone who danced around the American legal system and or used it to his advantage and was only charged with some misdemeanor charge(s). Then goes and has a secret payoff to the victims. No I do not trust him one iota when he says he is not a user.

This is what happens when you damage your own reputation. A lot of people have short memories, but many remember plenty, and you are one of them.

First I got January 24, 2011 and then January 31, 2011, so I'm really determined! Something sports-related: I am so over the Notre Dame girlfriend scandal. Not that I was into it much anyway...

I am so fascinated with our culture, where we have a million talk shows that have to be fed, and people like that dope get their air time. And I'm sure think it's cool. I think of it as the Kardashian Syndrome. I don't really care what went on between these two, or three, or four people. I am surprised at the twists the story keeps taking. But  not enough to listen to more than just the headlines.

That's why some actors & actresses win Oscars for the wrong movies; they are actually making up for the one they should have won. Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8, for example.

Yes, good point, and it's bad there, too. There was a recent example and of course I can't remember it. I am incapable of remember names at all. It is starting to worry me. Luckily I have a lot of other things to worry about as well. :) Anyway, you are right and it's wrong!

OK, I've seen stories about the players and about the return of the tv dudes. I haven't seen confirmation yet that Dave and Charlie, the center of my non-ballpark time in the summer, are back. Are Dave and Charlie coming back? Please?

I think there have been no stories because there was no question they were coming back. Nats fans, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that was always a done deal.

The only way I found today's actual chat was coming in through the link in the Paint Colors chat - and this was after I'd read through the other chat transcript going "wait, what? Bears in the NFC championship? huh?" not realizing until the end it was a year old. Sorry, late getting to the coffee this morning. Anyway, back on topic, is there any more news regarding Gio's involvement in the steroids scandal? Obviously no one's saying anything on the record, but am wondering if y'all had ever heard any other rumors before this.

Thanks for going to all that trouble! I was afraid no one would show! No more news on Gio that I've heard, but James Wagner has gone to Florida and he'll do good work.

Then you might want to sample Ike Reilly (a little lighter) and Alejandro Escovedo (a little darker) too. Good stuff to stick in the phone for a surprise shuffle find.

Thanks, always looking for new music. Love Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely too. Fell for Ely when I lived briefly in Dallas; we saw him in a storefront. Richard Justice turned me on to REK and JDG.

There was an ECHL (I think that was the league) team that played at the Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro many years ago. It failed. I have a feeling there's a few more hockey fans in the area but I don't know that they'd be willing to try again. There also used to be AHL hockey in Baltimore (twice) that (twice) failed.

Thanks for that. It would be interesting to see if a team would do better now that hockey has seemingly grown in popularity in the city. But it's a heck of an expensive way to find out, to bring in a team.

I'm old. So I still consider this the golden age of figure skating judging when I don't have to worry about the East German & Soviet Union judges giving the American figure skater 0.0 scores on their routines. The winner was determined by the number of Eastern Bloc vs. Western judges. No kidding.

Oh, the scoring system is more fair, although there is still room for error. I just think it's changed the way skating looks and not for the better. I'm old too; I remember those days. But American skaters were also good enough in those days to overcome a lot of that bias.

The Toronto Marlies play in the same city as the Maple Leafs

Ah, but that's Canada.

I also used to keep my old stubs, some of my favorites were Indianapolis Racers tickets from my days in college, New England Whalers from high school, and of course, my Philadelphia 76ers opening night ticket celebrating Shawn Bradley's first game. I think it was sponsored by Upper Deck. I've also left airline tickets on the dashboard of my car so paperless isn't all bad.

I don't mind the advent of paperless airline tickets, or printed boarding passes that, if you forget, you can reprint at the airport. I don't think I've ever saved an airline ticket, although I should have saved my first flight, maybe.

My first big-time sports tickets were to see the Yankees in the original Yankee stadium, I think 1970. My father bought them at a local department store. We had good box seats, and the section, row, and seat numbers were written on them by hand.

That's pretty cool.

I'd be interesting in hearing whether you think that the NFL must make major overhauls in its rules to better protect players from the long-term effects of concussions, and how those changes would impact the popularity of the game. Thanks.

I think the NFL must make some changes, yes. I think it's too soon to know how they will affect the game's popularity because we don't know what they'll be. If they focus on equipment more than rules, I don't see that as being a big negative with fans. If they change the rules to the point where teams are playing flag football, then yes, that will have an impact. But they've already made rule changes (tackling, kickoff returns) that are supposed to  help with the concussions, and I haven't really seen fans turn away in droves.

I disagree with the notion many people have that all football fans watch because the game is so violent. That has nothing to do with why I watch. But I may be the exception to the rule. I think there are compromises that can be made. I find it hard to believe that the NFL will go from the most powerful and popular league in the country to nothing in two decades.

This situation does exist in at least 3 Canadian cities that have WHL and OHL teams (there's a shock!) and there's quite a bit of minor hockey along with the college kind in Boston and its environs. Can't think of any other NHL cities that have this, but you'll notice that they're in the hockey-mad locations. The minor league teams are marketed much more to families, particularly as a cost-saver over the big leagues. While the Caps are getting more interest I don't think they could support a minor league team at this time.

Exactly; Washington isn't Boston or Toronto. I think hockey fandom is on the rise but not to that level.

Besides Strasburg & Harper, which other DC athletes are Scott Boras clients? Do you watch Necessary Roughness? I've thought I might like it, but I've missed two seasons already. I do love Marc Blucas & Scott Cohen though. . .

Off the top of my head, re Boras, I can't think of others. I'm sure there are some. As for Necessary Roughness, I liked it a lot better when it started. This season -- meh. Marc Blucas and Scott Cohen,  however, are two excellent reasons to watch.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one, Tracee. I was reading the old chat transcript (on the front page of the Discussions section BTW), and it felt even more insider-y than usual- glad to see I didn't miss the joke this time (unless I did, and it's part of some elaborate punking on your part).

Ha! We aren't capable of elaborate punking. We're barely able to stage a chat!

Just curious if the fan who questioned Peterson's and Lewis' return from injury will level the same scrutiny at RGIII if he is back by opening day? Or will he just cheer and praise RGIII for his hard work?

Fair question, but no reason to think he/she wouldn't question it. There are objective, rational people out there. They are sometimes harder to find but they are there.

In last Sunday's Pro Bowl, Russell Wilson led the winning NFC squad with three TDs and orchestrated drives culminating with 31 points (half of the team's record total). Victor Cruz caught a record number of catches, 10, and scored one TD for the NFC. For the losing AFC, A.J. Green scored three TDs. However, notwithstanding their respective superlative efforts, none of these gentlemen were the Pro Bowl MVP. The NFL named Kyle Randolph the MVP, even though he only had five catches and 1 TD. What is wrong with this picture? More importantly, is what is wrong with selecting Randolph over objectively more accomplished candidates the same thing which is wrong with the filling of eight NFL head coaching positions and six GM positions this year without a single person of color being hired?

Well, I don't want to downplay the importance of the NFL's poor hiring performance by comparing it with the pro bowl MVP, only slightly less important than the pro bowl, and that's saying something. I am not positive but I think the pro bowl MVP is voted on by the media. I guess you can make what you want of that.

DFW has the Ft. Worth Brahmas and the Allen Americans in addition to the Stars. But it's a huge geographic market, and nobody from FW goes to D except when family is visiting.

Ha! Yes, I remember the Fort Worth/Dallas divide.

According to the ticker, 116 people managed to find you, so you obviously have some loyal fans. Next time REK comes to town, we will let you know in advance! Even tho the Birchmere isn't the easiest place to get to if you don't have a car. Good to have friends to drive!

Please do! I've driven there before and can probably manage it again. Haven't seen him live in a long time.

I didn't figure out I was reading an old transcript until I saw something about Jack LaLanne dying. Which happened two years ago.

Well, we still miss him.

I'm giving the guy the benefit of the doubt and refusing to implicate him as guilty by association. It doesn't appear that he is linked to any banned substances so it's a shame that these articles are lumping him in with Arod and Melky. Even if he's cleared, I'm sure he's going to be razzed as a cheater in every park he visits; I hope he's able to keep up that fun-loving positive attitude that was so endearing last season.

I don't understand why players take anything that is not handed to them by the team, for any reason. There are a million ways to get into trouble. Baseball makes is incredibly easy -- you just call and they will tell you yes or no. The NFL does the same. So when your name shows up on a list, fair or not, it's going to be news. If he took nothing worse than a weight loss drug of some kind, then yes he'll be teased but he can take it.

I'm glad he got a nice long vacation, but I wish the Post had let his readers know he wouldn't be chatting those two Mondays. We deserved it!

Sorry about that. I'll pass on to the editors that maybe a note on the sports front on Monday wouldn't be amiss. I have no power anymore and no one is afraid of me. It's sad.

A few years ago, I was planning a visit to Austin and checked to see who would be playing in some of Austin's 60 or 70 live music clubs. Ely was scheduled to play at Antone's. I'm used to ordering tickets in advance and paying $25 and up to see Joe Ely at the Birchmere or the Barns, so I called and asked if I could order tickets. They didn't know what I was talking about. "Just show up and pay the $5 cover charge." It was a great night at Antone's.

Sweet! I saw him in, let's see, 1982, so I'm sure we paid a cover and that was it. I saw him again later somewhere with Richard and his wife and that one required a ticket. I don't think it was the Birchmere. Ah, memories. Sorry. I'll stop now.

28-24 Ravens. Last play of the game. Kapernick shakes and bakes for the winning TD while leaving the tiresome Ray Lewis on the ground twitching like he's doing that stupid dance of his. Then after the game, a new witness produces the blood-stained suit and an unimpeachable first-hand account of the murders, and Goodell's boy goes away for life. I can dream, right?

Okay, but wouldn't that be 28-24 Niners? Other than that, enjoy your dream. Everyone should have a dream.

It's simple really. For as long as there are the means to use PEDs athletes will use them. It appears that suspension of the athletes whether it be one game or event to multiple games or a lifetime ban has yet to yield its intended results. Now it is not a guarantee of success but it would involve all of a professional sports team from the owner down to the lowest ranks of the team. You don't stop at suspending the guilty player but on the first offense, the team forfeits its most recent victory. If there is a particular team with multiple offenders then the forfeiture of multiple victories. If one of those victories just happens to be that league's championship game then so be it. Will it totally eradicate PEDs? But I think it would seriously curtail it more than what it has already.

I am sure this would have a chilling effect but I'm equally sure pigs will fly first. Still, it never hurts to think outside the box!

Philadelphia had an AHL team, the Phantoms, playing in the old Spectrum across the street from the new building that hosts the Flyers and the 76ers. When the Spectrum was demolished after the 2009 season they were sold and moved, but not due to lack of support. But Philly is many times more hockey mad than DC, and supporting more than one minor league team in town (rimshot!) probably isn't realistic.

Flyers fan? :) I think a lot of cities could more readily support a minor league team than DC. Detroit is another. They have the Windsor team, which is as close as a lot of suburban DC locations would be.

To me, this is like a list that reads "Tom Jones - murder; Harry White - armed robbery; Joe Smith - overdue library book". I'm not sure I know what to make of his dad's story though.... Section 405

Early days, 405. It would be a shame because Gio seemed to become such a fan favorite. But let it play out.

so 31-28 for the final.

Ah, gotcha, thanks. Now I'm with you!

It is every American defendant's right to use the legal system to his advantage. And a "secret payoff" can be construed as acknowledging moral, if not criminal, responsibility. Requiring the families to get a jury award would have been more cowardly. Lewis can only be proven to be an indirect participant, and the deaths were the result of a fight, meaning the victims have some culpability. Without knowing how much money was involved, you can't assume it was less than what a jury would have awarded. Why not make the settlement public? Because then every deadbeat friend, relative and neighbor comes out of the woodwork asking to "borrow" money from the family.

No question, he was investigated, he made a deal, he served his probation, paid off the families and moved on. That's the legal system.

Some people can forgive and move on, and some people can't. I still haven't come down on one side or the other. I will be glad when this week is over, though. why I love the Ravens!

Case in point. He is very polarizing. That's why I'll be glad when this week is over; tired of hearing about him, period. But then that's typical of Super Bowl week and it's the media's fault and I am part of the media. So I'll be mad at myself, I guess.

I want the Ravens to win the SB. Why? So the Steelers continue to hold the record for most SB wins (6) and so that (at least according to Boz) Pittsburgh is the only city that has two major championships in the same year (SB and Stanley Cup). SF has the World Series, so that's enough for them. If it were anyone else the Ravens were playing, I'd wish them a big fat Nevermore!

This is a perfect example of Fan Reasoning. Makes perfect sense.

I was disappointed that they didn't retire the current presidents and go for Bizarro World Rushmore: Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, Warren G Harding, US Grant (great general, *terrible* president). Section 405

I was in favor of Millard Fillmore just because that's a great name. It will be interesting to see what they do with Taft. Does he become the new Teddy? That would be boring. Does he get his own bathtub? What's his hook? So many things to look forward to.

Right now, I am looking forward to a much smoother chat next Thursday. Thanks, everyone, for your patience and detective work in finding me. I will try not to delete this week's transcript, which is where all my problems began, I think. Have a great weekend, enjoy the Super Bowl if that's your cup of tea, and we'll chat next week!

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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