Feb 15, 2011

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

Tracee, I'm really sorry about Kansas' loss last night, and I feel bad for you about its magnitude. What happened? Also what's up with the Caps? Maybe Ovie really IS a Russian spy!

It's okay, PW. Knew all along we'd lose that one. Once we were made No. 1, it was a sure thing. There were a lot of years in which K-State's only highlight was beating us at home. And of course this time, this gets them into the tournament. So be it.

Re the Caps: I give up trying to figure them out. Thinking about ignoring them till the playoffs, assuming of course they make the playoffs.

And good morning, everyone. Let's get started.

At least you still have the rest of the week to be number 1. Who does it hurt to lose more to? K-State, your in-state rival (or more accurately, in-state little brother who is occasionally able to get a wedgie on you), or Missouri, whom you've fought wars against?

No. 1 means absolutely zip to me. Didn't want to be No. 1 and would be happy if they'd take it away this morning. (Not a new position; I've said this for ages and mean it.) Worse to lose to Missouri, although K-State would like to believe it's worse to lose to them. Although for people IN Kansas, this is probably worse, because they have to listen to K-Staters crow. I am not a crower. We've won, what, 42 of 45, so if you want to brag about that one, go ahead. But then I'm not in Kansas having to listen to it. :)

Is T-Ham better in Latin? I ran your latest column through a translator: "Lavatio Veneficus have denique won a via venatus , quod iam unus question somes : Iustus quam nocens es Cleveland Cavaliers? ..."

Damn, I sound smart that way!

Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm,Zimm, Zimm,Zimm, Zimm,Zimm, Zimm,Zimm, Zimm,Zimm, Zimm,Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm, Zimm... Can you guess who I have a crush on!

You and PW will have to duke it out.

Dave is the best! That article about the Phillies pitching staff was sublime. Can you get him for a chat? I realize Kilgore thinks he is too good for us FTFr's, but Dave is great and would love to chat with him again!

Good idea. I'll get on getting Liz and Dave this week.

Good morning Tracee Nice, if depressing, column today. Unfortunately, you're probably right. Still I love how the team seems to gel when Josh Howard is in the lineup. If they could ever get Howard on the floor with Lewis, Heinrich, Wall, and Blatche they might actually be respectable. In a Wizard's kind of way.

Yes, Josh Howard's return could perk them up, one reason for my uncontained optimism -- 12 wins.

My elderly Mom and her equally elder cat, Caesar, both spend lots of time sleeping. In earlier times Mom would feed him when she got up in the morning, though he pretty much had food and treats all day. Now that she's sleeping more, and he sleeps almost all the time, whenever she gets up, he wants food. She had to cut back a bit when she noticed he was getting chubby. It's going to be very hard on the one who's left when the inevitable happens.

Thank goodness they have each other. I got my grandma a cat as a surprise, and it was the best gift I ever gave. She had a tiny saucepan that I think went with a child's set of dishes. She heated his food every morning with a bit of milk thrown in. That was one spoiled cat. When she went to a nursing home, I took him in. We had a rough first year; I don't think he came near me once. He was pretty darn angry. But I kept him about 12 years and he ended being just a great, loving, fun cat. Still miss you, Tiger Lee.

Is the husband still banned from watching Pitt?

I'm sure the answer is yes, but I'll throw it out...

After be annointed the No. 1 college basketball team in the country, you KU Jayhawks get blasted by K-State. How can you not show up for a game against your in-state rival? Makes me wonder how far to pick them in my brackets.

Yes, thanks for pointing it out. Pick 'em to lose in the first round if you want.

Ms. H: I sure didn't see this coming - maybe a close K-State win, but a blowout? One thing for sure, there's no dominant team in the NCAA this year - take the top 10 or even 15, and any one could end up winning the tournament. But the BIG NEWS, as reported in the Omaha World-Herald - a live Cupiennius chiapanesis (that's a "wandering" spider - they get up to three inches in length) was found in a Tecumseh grocery store in a shipment of bananas from Guatemala. The spider is now a celebrity, being exhibited at a high school basketball game, examined at the U of N - Lincoln, and now living happily at Johnson County Central High School, getting a healthy diet of cockroaches. It's the feel good story of the month!! AHG

Ah, Nebraska. (Just kidding.)

I hate that Texas will win the regular season title after our streak, but other than that, I'll get over it. Maybe it's because I've done this for 27 years but I don't let my highs get too high or my lows get too low.

Also, K-State was ranked No. 3 in the country in the preseason. They played like they were supposed to play the first three months of the season. Again, just not surprised by this. But I've got 50 years of KU-K-State observation under my belt. :)

Good morning Miss Hamilton. Between Nats P's and C's reporting today (along with associated coverage), this chat, and Ken Jennings coming up at 11, I've got a full plate of excuses for avoiding work throughout the entire morning. Huzzah!

I saw Ken Jennings. When does the match against the computer commence?

Boy did they look listless and casual and just not interested in winning. You know what Tracee, I'm not sure that, as a fan, I wouldn't prefer the swashbuckling, high scoring style they displayed last season to this because the way they're playing it's unlikely that they'll get past the first round of the playoffs this year too. We've all been saying to ourselves, "it's OK that they're not scoring and winning as much this year. Just get in to the playoffs and make a deep run." Will they get into the playoffs? Will they make a deep run? Maybe I'm pushing the panic button too soon but something has got to change if Monsieur Boudreau wants to keep his job. It seemed impossible we'd be discussing his future here even a few months ago but this team has just fallen flat and needs someone to pump them back up! Your thoughts?

I've said all along he'll be gone if they don't do significantly better in the postseason. Until then, I think he's safe. I don't find this year's style of hockey nearly as much fun as last year's, but maybe it will work in April. If it doesn't, we'll be bidding Monsieur Boudreau adieu.

I mean, I basically tolerate my job, and I'm grateful to have it, but it's a terrible inconvenience when I'm trying to participate in First Things First! Don't they KNOW? Who's with me??

Just because they give you a paycheck, do they think they OWN you? For the love of God!

Means nothing until April. I already have the fever for March Madness.

This is my feeling. Hope we're both right.

T-Ham, shouldn't that Cleveland column read "denique won a via venatii" to be grammatically correct?

Ummmm... Let's be clear. I went to the lone high school in a small town in Kansas. Latin was not on the bill. So if you say so, I'll believe it.

I'm confused here. Isn't spitting the natural response to nasal drainage (assuming everyone doesn't walk around with a hanky). I'd be far more grossed out knowing that golfers are swallowing.

Remember that they are barely allowed to WALK on the greens, so sacred are they. No one wants to pick up a ball that's run through someone else's loogie (sp?), nor putt through someone else's loogie. It's an obstruction. I have no problem with him spitting (well, I do, but I'm hopelessly old-fashioned in this regard), but he knows not to do it on the green. Bad form. He's apologized, so hopefully we can all move on from this great tragedy.

What is, "it started last night"?

Ah, I DVR Jeopardy so I didn't realize. Thanks.

(I don't know if I've shared this before, but remember how Mary Hart's voice made Kramer go nuts? This is what Alex Trebek does to me. I purely loathe Alex Trebek. No idea why. So I have to DVR it and eliminate all of his talking except the reading of the questions. And I mean literally. No one other word escapes the TV. Can't. Stand. Him.)

(aka K-State ...) I think I saw Pittsburgh's wife's husband in attendence ... You need to keep him locked in the closet please. Let's Go Royals.

Actually, Allen Field House West is Colorado's arena. However, with a KU alum coaching the Buffs, maybe that will change. Although come to think of it, it won't matter. They will have moved on.

Hamiltime, I suggest you try the chocolate milkshake at Amphora. It's truly divine. Regarding the Caps, Tarik El-Bashir had a good point in his article today: the stars on this team are playing sluggish, uninspired hockey. I would think that Bruce Boudreau's profanity laced tirades are no longer working. Is he smart enough to adjust? I don't get the sense he is a good tactician from watching the HBO series. And if his motivational powers are no longer effective, you'd have to think that change might be necessary.

Yes, Tarik is right, as usual. And hockey coaches don't traditionally have a long shelf life anyway. But everything about this team really starts to matter in the playoffs. We've got, what, maybe seven more weeks of uneven play to put up with? Ugh.

Kansas State has had a roller-coaster season this year- usually more down than up, so last night's victory was sweet and eased the sense of doom, despair and agony that feared has invaded the team's psyche. No crowing from me, just a welcome deep breath. But seeing Bill Self's post-game comments made me a fan - he was gracious but not overtly in a self-flagellation sort of way. I understand why you "heart" him.

Bill's a terrific guy and he and Frank Martin have become pretty good friends. He's not going to gloat and he's not going to whine. I certainly understand the K-State happiness after the mess that has been this season, with players getting suspended, players quitting. They've had a lot of problems.

Wait, like, in person? Really? Could you feel his brain pulsing with trivia from across the room? The match against Watson started last night and continues through the next two.

Sorry, I meant, I saw Ken Jennings among the chat listings today and wondered. :)

Tracee , As a cat lover do you refrain from watching the Westmeinster Dog show? If so, who at the Post can give me the point(er) spread on the beagle vs the field? Also, you named your grandmother's cat after your arch rival Missouri? What'sup with that ?

Well, when my mom was a girl, they had a cat named Tiger Lee. So when I gave Grandma a cat who looked just like the original, she named him Tiger Lee. Her choice. I have a cat who looks like a fat Tiger Lee and named him ... Phog  Allen.

Wow It's a good thing baseball players don't play golf. I can understand--slightly --the spitting when it was tobacco they were chewing , but now ?

MVMd, I'm going to show my age and biases, but I grew up in a farming community where men worked in dirt and dust and wheat dust and every other thing, and I never saw a man spit on a sidewalk. In DC, I see it EVERY DAY. I don't get it. In China, I saw it, but the pollution is so bad I can kind of understand it. But in the city, I find it gross. But my nephew told me everyone in NY does it too. I just want to say "ugh."

Down here, we use "Wheel! OF! FORTUNE!" to tell time when walking past the condos...at 7:00, you can hear it coming out of every snowbird's window.

Ha! Yes, my dad is a Wheel nut. We watch together when I'm home and compete to see who gets it first. I can hold my own but he kicks my a** at "The Price is Right." :)

Ostertag

HA! Do you really have a cat named Ostertag? Because that is so great!

I was a student at UCLA back when they routinely won the NCAA tournament nearly every year. I went to one game. Saw Lew Alcindor (when he was Lew Alcindor) play. They played arch-rival USC. It also happened to be the very first game they lost at Pauley Pavilion. I never went back, though did once ride in an elevator in the student union building with Bill Walton.

Was he annoyingly pontificating about something? Not my favorite announcer. That's amazing that you went to school with the greatest teams of all time and saw them lose at home.

From an Ohio State fan... Which is more aggravating: the loss by your team to an in-state rival or Ohio State's twice-in-the-same-academic-year losses to Wisconsin (football and basketbal) to end undefeated runs and lose the top ranking?

I would say Ohio State would have more reason to be annoyed. Don't you think so?

And he doesn't bother me at all. She had given up on Jeopardy for a while but the DVR brought her back. She will be so excited when I tell her someone else feels the same way. She is also from Pittsburgh (hi Pittsburgh wife!), though has lived in Alabama for the last 47 years.

Tell your mom I feel her pain. My nephew just dies when we watch it together, because I make the rudest comments about Trebek all the way through. I keep praying he'll retire and they'll replace him with someone else. But no. Oh, and the categories which feature HIM reading the answers? I FF through those as well. My loathing is real and painful.

Didn't you hear that George Mason is going to win it all? Folks are clamoring for them to get the #8 seed (which is possible but not too likely), which means that they could knock off the #1 seed in the second round and then just have clear sailing to the Final Four and then the Championship! Of course, they have to make the tournament first...

Well, Mason fans are excited right now but I don't blame them. And they will make the tournament, I think, with no problem. My god, it's 68 teams now. An 8 seed might be high, but there will be some mid-majors with better seeds than usual given the decline in the ACC this year, I think.

When a player has recurring knee problems, do they ever get solved by actually playing basketball? It just seems that if we learned anything from Arenas, is that you should shut players down for the season when they have knee problems. Or do the Wizards not care about his long term health because he is a free agent at the end of the season?

Well, he's been out a long time. I think they probably want to see if he can play so they can make a decision about him.

but I became a frustrated Jazz fan via my Utahlicious wife. She loves the Mailman (until he opens his mouth) and Stockton's hot pants. I'm also now a fan of the Utes and the Aggies (she transferred) and the kind of filling, heartwarmingly bland food that makes me want to continue working to be TBHitW.

You go, TBHitW.

I have to admit it-- Alan May scares me for some reason. I can just picture him beating me to a pulp for little or no reason.

None I've met so far, although I don't know Alan. He always has a game face on, though.

What was up with the sports page this morning? It had this irritating half-page with classified ads. The half page made it virtually impossible to fold as I made my way through it this morning on the elliptical. Please tell the powers that be that I hate half pages because they are hard to fold.

Consider it done.

Loved that line the couple said about "The Kramer" painting.

Yes, I feel that way about sporting events sometimes.

Now that baseball has officially begun, please tell us who will win the World Series in the Fall?

Oh, it's too soon to doom one team to disappointment. Let's do the record predicting and World Series predicting right before Opening Day.

The Caps are cooked, right? They've been flat all year. I don't see how they make any sort of impression if the playoffs even though they will likely qualify. Is the problem that all of those hungry players from years past now have big fat contracts and no motivation? Or did everyone just figure them out and they can't deal with it? It seems weird that they can turn on the power in games like the ones against TB and Pittsburgh but can't be bothered otherwise. Maybe those haters in the Canadian media are right.

Perhaps, but again, I still say the test comes in April. Until then, we're all just theorizing. I agree that this current brand of hockey, however, is dull.

So if the Caps make the playoffs, do they lose in 4 or do they steal a game and lose in 5? This current style does not maximize the talent on this team. I realize they have a lack of a true 2nd line center, but the lack of offensive productivity is unacceptable. They need to shake something up besides shifting the lines every game.

I truly don't know what to expect from this team in the playoffs. I really don't.

Not then, but when the elevator doors opened it looked like the van in a Cheech & Chong movie...

Ha!

Another Mason cynic voices his unsolicited opinion above. 5 years ago when they made their run I got all sorts of grief. One obnoxious fathers at my son's soccer game saw me wearing my Mason sweatshirt and said . . .and I kid you not. . ."did you ever actually wear that in public before now?" Mason is a fine school with a proud reputation and has a basketball team that is making us alums proud!

You go, Mason alum. The guy who made the sweatshirt comment is just obnoxious. How does he know what you wear? Ignore the haters. Enjoy the season.

That reminds me: you going to the Big East tourney this year?

Nope, I think Miss Sally will handle that one.

Any news on the Terrapins and Randy Shannon? It has been a couple of days since a source confirmed that a contract was offered and I haven't read any new reports - Terp Alum Surrounded by Seminoles

Nope. When Prisbell and Yanda know it, you'll know it.

I rarely indulge in envy because it's an ugly and essentially counterproductive emotion. But I really do envy Kilgore right about now.

You should go down there and punch him in the face. Really.

(Just kidding, Kilgore. LYL.)

Nice column, Tracee. A three-year wait makes my stomach churn -- I feel like the entire slew of DC teams are prepared to compete in 2013. Too bad there wasn't a plan in 2008... Always a fun topic: what's the latest on uniform changes, and (hopefully) a return to Bullets. While I assume the latter has a slim-to-none chance, I've brainstormed some alternatives. Me thinks we call them the Washington Justice, incorporating a gavel and supreme-court looking character as the mascot. Thoughts?

Thanks. I am sure there will be a uniform change, much less sure there will be a mascot change, and positive Bullets will never be used again. (Hey, maybe I just guaranteed a return to Les Boulez?)

My money's on B-Svrl. But seriously, Tiger seems to have imploded since November 2009. I mean, EXPECTORATING on the green?? Also, did you catch him throwing his club at his caddy to catch? Is this standard practice?

Naw, Barry's a serious golfer; he'd never break the rules like that. Tiger's behavior on the course has always been an issue; he said he was going to clean it up and he hasn't, at least not completely. Let's hope his other New Year's resolutions are working out better for him.

Nothing good happens to sports figures when they go out to restaurants/bar very late at night and/or very early in the AM (like 3AM). Maybe nightly curfews 24/7/365 should be written into their contracts to protect themselves from the dangers of the world. (G)

Who was supposed to have BB in their pocket this weekend? Somehow, I feel that we failed as a chat to protect BB. Maybe the judge should sentence Haynesworth to travel with BB and engulf him should danger strike. I could get behind that arrangement. Think how exciting the Skins would be WITHOUT BB. Ugh.

Okay. I have to admit.. I have one on Jayson Werth... that beard is mesmorizing! I hope it is powerful enough to bring some more wins to this team! Other crushes: Daniel Craig, Ryne Sandberg (LOVE HIM - it's the cubs fan in me), and one can never go wrong with Derek Jeter! - Ashburn Fan

That's a varied and interesting list. :)

T-Ham and fellow chatters: in a hypothetical "Unlikeable Off," if you will, who would take the gold between LeBron and Tiger (assuming they're the finalists)?

You know, I'd still go with LeBron but the gap is narrowing all the time.

Probably one of us Huskies. We're a pretty loutish bunch.

Well, be nice to our Mason friends. They're a nice bunch and they don't want much, just to have a great team ever now and then. And I love Coach Larranaga. Good people.

So, the missus is lying down after a little too much red wine with the Valentine's Day ribeye I grilled for her (nice salad and fresh rolls on the side). I go ahead and start the recording of the Husky women against the always-game Smokin' Hot Sherri Coale Soonerettes. Naturally the game is a blowout, but that's not the problem: they've set up a non-stop isolated camera on Maya Moore that eats up about a quarter of the screen. It's like trying to watch a game on your monitor and a different game on the open laptop right next to your monitor. You can't really follow what's going on, even on a pretty good big HDTV. This is the worst idea ESPN has had since somebody gave Dick Vitale a microphone. And the additional game content caused the DVR to use too much memory (I learned that from Pegoraro), so the DVR didn't record the last ten minutes of "House"--which means that, thanks to ESPN, with a hat tip to Comcast for the tiny memory in their crappy DVR, at least for tonight, I'm no longer TBHitW.

The King is Dead! Long Live the King!

Do you want to know what happened on House? Taub ends up moving in with Foreman after cheating on his test. House gives Wilson 10 days to start dating again and stops trying to kill his cat. He also releases a live mouse in Wilson's apartment and the cat eats it. The patient is diagnosed with an incurable disease called McCloud's, I think, which causes OCD, which is what she suffers from, rather than the freakish memory thing. Slow but fatal disease. Anyway, Chase gives her pills that will take away the OCD symptoms so she can stop remembering all the bad things her sister did to her and at the end, she takes one. I think that was it.

Hang in there, pal. It does get easier. As your weight and blood sugar levels come down, you will start to feel much better, which will encourage you to continue. I'm lucky in that I like both healthy and unhealthy foods, but, while I don't drink beer, weaning myself off regular coke and whole milk was agony. I'd still kill for a Godiva chocolate. You should allow yourself an occasional treat and if you do mess up, which everyone does at one time or another, just get back on track and move on. Good luck with it all and let us know how you're doing!

All good advice, especially the occasional treat and getting back on the horse. It's too easy to spiral after you slip. I second that -- keep us posted and good luck!

Hooray and Huzzah! The Nationals pitchers and catchers are reporting, the weather is warming and in just a few days I'll be starting a month-plus stay in an oceanside condo 15 minutes from the Nats' spring training ballpark. Now that I'm done gloating about that last data point I'll ask my vital question, Ms. T. Which is: what reminder of your great power and the ubiquity of your global reach do you want whispered to Kilgore as he unsuspectingly slurps his conch chowder at Bonefish Willy's? Or is he more of a barbecue at Charlie and Jake's guy?

I think Bonefish Willy's is a big hangout for Kilgore and his ilk. Just lean in and whisper "Tracee says watch your back" and keep walking. That should freak him out.

With the Caps seemingly top notch talent level, their so-so on ice performance (given their talent level), and an obvious lack of spark/effort. One has to question Ovechkin's leadership abilities. Yeah he's a great player and all that but maybe not cut out for the leadership thing (witness...as team Captain and missing an "optional" practice during their playoff loss to Montreal last year). What do you think? MLE from RIC.

I questioned it last year and got widely criticized for it, but a lot more people are coming around to that viewpoint this year. Ovie is a fun guy and his teammates like him, but I don't see a lot of leadership from him. AGAIN, with the caveat that I don't see the players-only locker room. But think back to the HBO series -- I don't think we saw it there, either. That doesn't mean it's not going on, but ... hey, I could be wrong.

In fairness I should add that he was in the building for that optional practice last year but didn't skate. Still, I think he should have skated that day, even for half a practice. But again, I could be wrong. Just my opinion.

I know that I am in the minority (since I am a dog owner), but I LOVE the Westminster Dog Show! And Chad's article is exactly how my dogs would be at that show! - Ashburn fan

Chad's column was priceless. He is one talented dude. I love the dog show as well. Now, I love cats, but I wouldn't watch a cat show. But I'd love Chad to give cats the same treatment. They'd be so much more ... catty.

Technically, I believe it was: He is a loathsome, offensive brute, yet I can't look away. (Yes, I have no life.)

HA. I think you're right; the "hideous" is from his quote about himself after the smoking lounge, I think. I, too, have no life.

I can't wait to get rid of Haynesworth once and for all. Our long national nightmare will soon be over.

You'd think so. It's been a stellar offseason for the Skins thus far, hasn't it?

Okay, time for me to mosey on. Thanks for joining me and 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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