Feb 17, 2011

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

Sorry to hear that "Uncle Leo"passed away, hope he doesn't have the hideous fake eyebrows at his viewing.

Goobye!!!! to Uncle Leo, one of the great Seinfeld characters. I think about him every time I'm in a book store.

And good morning, everyone. I need to stop at 10 so let's get going.

Oh, and a programming note: Dave Sheinin will be here tomorrow. Some of you know him as the Opera Guy.

Boz is not chatting today, but he is chatting tomorrow. Sorry I misled you about his first spring training column. That'll be in tomorrow's paper. My bad.

So yesterday you posed the question: How much goodwill does a national championship buy? Curious as to what you think is the answer. I think Gary is just about out of goodwill, and I'm a guy who, in a more fervent era of Maryland fanship, would have run into a house fire for him. A national title will do that. Following that title up with exactly one trip past the first weekend of the NCAA tournament (and that was the year after the championship) and making regular NIT appearances just sucks the devotion out of you. Especially because Gary is quick to blame others (Debbie Yow, Jim Calhoun, The Post, his players) but never seems to think it might actually be him. It saddens me to say it, but I think it might be time for Gary to gracefully step down, though I'm not sure he'll be at all graceful when he goes.

As you point out, it's not that he hasn't won another title, it's the lack of even middling success since that is the problem.

Why must it be collusion just because St. Louis thought that Stan Musial - sorry, Albert Pujols, wasn't worth $30 million or more a year, let alone $30 million a year for 10 years? Why would it be collusion if NO baseball team thought he was worth $30 million or more a year, let along $30 million a year for 10 years. Maybe, just maybe, they individually believe that no player isn't worth that kind of money. For argument's sake, would it be collusion if the Washington Post thought that Tracee Hamilton - or Bob Woodward - was not worth what his/her agent thought he/she was worth? And would it it be collusion if no newspaper thought that either Tracee Hamilton, or Bob Woodward was worth the money being asked for? Would it be collusion if no newspaper thought Red Smith, or Jim Murray, or Jimmy Cannon, or Jimmy Breslin, or a John Steinbeck or Norman Mailer or H.L. Menchen (all former journalists) was worth the money being asked for? Then why should a baseball team - any baseball team - have to pay what's being asked for, just because "salaries always go up" or "he's very good" (or even if he's great)?

I'm saying they would be accused of collusion, because that's always what happens in these situations. I don't really believe in collusion because if baseball teams are anything like journalists, you can't get a room full of them to agree on anything. But that is always the accusation.

I have no problem with his MC'ing of Jeopardy, but that term life insurance company he fronts for should be shut down by the FCC. Their ads show elderly women saying how they used the money from one of these policies to pay their loved one's final expenses, and Alex assures you this can be done for "about the price of a postage stamp a day." Well, I sent for one of their brochures, and for $15/month a 50 year old can buy a $1000 term policy. Of course, if he or she lives to be 80, s/he will have paid $5000 for a $1000 policy. I'm 62, and if I want a $10,000 policy, my premium would be $150/month, or $1800/year. So if I live 10 years, I will already have paid $18,000 for a $10,000 policy. They also say your individual rate can never be raised, which is true However, your GROUP rate can be. There's more, but you get the general idea. Alex and everyone else involved with this operation should be ashamed.

Yeesh. That's a better reason to dislike him than my reason, but I'll add it to my list.

Hi Tracee: Those crazy kids today call their swim trunks 'board shorts'. You know, the kind that surfers wear. Down to their knees, crazy colors, etc. I think they're a bit much, but much better than a speedo.

Thank you. I knew there had to be a name for them and I knew they weren't wearing Speedos. I hope "Hear ye! Hear ye!" can get his street cred back with this knowledge.

With all respect to you, T-Ham, I think Sally is my favorite Post sports columnist not named Boswell. She absolutely nailed it this morning, doing the best job - by far - of explaining how utterly ridiculous the owners are being. Cheers to Sally for getting word out. I hope more of her peers at other papers around the country do the same. I parted with my Resdkins season tickets already because I was tired of being raped from the moment I drove into the parking lot until I departed FedEx, but if this lockout happens perhaps many more will do the same across the NFL.

Hey, I love Sally to pieces and she is a tremendous writer. You'll get no argument from me!

Yes, Ms. H, NU won its first Big 12 road game of the year (because the OU player who hit the "tying 3-pointer" made a teeny error - one foot touched the 3-point line) All we need to do now is win home games against Texas, KSU and the legions of darkness from Columbia, while beating CU and ISU on the road, and it's on to the NCAAs! Now, back to reality. Can you see, monumental upsets aside, anyone but Texas or Kansas winning the Big 12 Tournament? AHG

It depends of KU and Texas want to win the tournament. Sometimes, I think teams don't really care about it. They'd rather rest before the tournament. But I'd  like another crack at Texas. That first game was just odd. We played great in the first half and terrible in the second half, and Texas was vice versa. And it was the day after Thomas' mother died. I'd like to see another matchup just to get a better idea about Texas.

Despite the way Dan Snyder treated him, he still seems to care deeply about the Redskins (or at least he writes like he does - thoughts?). His piece on Haynesworth was spot on. Hanyesworth should have been shown the door long ago and his behavior of late has not exactly changed that assessment.

LaVar writes from his heart and when he says he still cares about the Redskins I have absolutely no reason to doubt him.

Anything the Post could have done differently in reporting "a superficial wound" on Sunday's article about Banks? Where did the journalism break down, other than just blindly believing an agent, who is no more than a paid spinner? Your team at the Post might want to start just ignoring what the agents say and actually find two sources who aren't paid to lie. Like when ESPN reported that McNabb's contract extension had all those guaranteed years, when actually none of them were. Again, in that case, it was the player's agent who was just spinning the story to make his client look good. But the Washington Post has a reputation to keep, ESPN does not.

Not sure what could have been done. If you read the articles, you saw that the father refused to answer questions about Brandon and then stopped answering calls altogether. The Redskins didn't know anything. The agent, it turns out, WAS NOT IN WASHINGTON. We can't just walk into the hospital and grab the man's chart. I know from talking to Mike just how hard he was working to get someone to talk. It seemed perfect obvious to me when he wasn't released Monday that he was more seriously hurt than announced. Who gets kept in the hospital for 48 hours? Anyway, I'm writing about this in tomorrow's paper. And remember, there are always, always things that can't get reported because people won't talk on the record.

So much for that theory...he wrecked his car and now has to start from the back of the pack. Whoops. Go Caps.

Doesn't mean it wasn't rigged. One doesn't have anything to do with the other. He didn't have to go out on the track and he lost the pole, fair and square. I'm not saying it was rigged to a certainty, but it wouldn't surprise me. Sorry.

OK, I was reading the transcript and saw the "trunks" question, so I asked my XX-something swim coach daughter who says they just call them "suits," "swim suits" if it is ambiguous. Young swimmers call the knee length ones "jammers" and the now-banned full body suits were "cat suits" as in CatWoman. The skimpy ones seem to just be "Speedos" even though they are not all made by that company. But, those things worn by my almost LX year old husband are still "trunks" in my lexicon. Enjoy your chats Tracee, even if I only get to them as transcripts.

More on the trunks question. I am being educated. What my dad would wear would still be trunks. What my nephew would wear would not. It's a crazy old world.

Hi Tracee, Yesterday LaVar asked 'Why is Albert Haynesworth still on the Redskins' roster?' I think the answer is so they can get whatever they can for him in trade...even if it is a 7th round pick. What do you think?

I do not know. I don't get it either. But I would guess the latest legal charges, whether they end up being true or not, just cut his trade value from "almost nothing" to "nada." I'd cut him right now.

So I saw that Earnhardt wrecked his car and will have to start at the back. Was that the pro quo following the quid to give him the pole in the first place? It seemed awfully convenient that after people voiced suspicions that they rigged qualifying to give Dale Jr. the pole, boom he goes and loses it in an "accident."

I'll have to ask Liz this question. I think they put him on the pole but it was his responsibility to stay there.

What the heck was that last night? The Caps abandoned defensive play, Semin got a hattie, Erksine got in a fight...was like the Caps of old! What does it all mean?

Seriously, I can't wait till April. I no longer understand anything about the Caps except that they are up and down, up and down. Did you see the Ovie goal? Sweet! But can they sustain this? They'd had "old school" wins before and then reverted.

I don't follow Nascar very closely but I heard that Junior Earnhardt lost the pole because he crashed during a practice lap (after Nascar worked so hard to fix the qualifying). Why doesn't Nascar consider the driver as the qualifier and not the car he drove? Do most pole position drivers run these type of practice laps, knowing they could lose their starting position??

They do run practice laps, some of them, but they don't have to. But you qualify with a certain car and that's the rules. They all know it. The crash sounded kind of silly, really; there is no reason to have practice crashes.

I don't suppose you stayed up to watch the game last night/this morning? I tried to turn it off several times, but just couldn't. I'd feel differently if we'd lost, but man, that was fun.

No, I'm back in insomnia and early morning mode, so there was no chance I'd be able to stay awake. Saw some highlights but not the whole game. Wish I had.

I check into the Caps game and find that they are up 2-1 but then *boom*, they are down 3-2. I go do other stuff and come back later to find them tied at 4-4 but then they are suddenly down 5-4. I decide to go to bed. Wake up this morning--Caps win 7-6. It's me, isn't it? I feel like this happens with my other teams too. Do I need to be locked up like Pittsburgh Husband?

Yes. Pittsburgh Wife, we have another patient for you.

I missed your chat yesterday. Did anyone continue the Patriot love? They are definitely the best team in the region. Georgetown is a contender but their loss must put GMU at the top of the heap. Roll on George Mason!

Yes, plenty of Mason love here.

I have a great loathing for Trebek as well, so much so that I don't watch the show. I believe it's the smugness he has. Cut it out to have one less annoyance in my day.

Well, you know I agree but I like my trivia fix. Have you tried using the DVR? He still gets annoying but you can elminate all this blather and his conversation with the contestants and really you can cut out about 90 percent of his Trebekness. I'm glad to know it's not just me.

You know Seinfeld is a phenomenon when the death of the actor who played a minor, but memorable, character is reported a decade after the show ended.

Yup. We've discussed Seinfeld to death, but a day doesn't go by without Seinfeld references. The Tiger spitting episode led my old boss to email me about the Keith Hernandez episode, which led us to Roger McDowell.

I am left to assume that the Lakers utterly and completely disregarded Cleveland and played as if merely showing up would guarantee a win. Reminds me of the Redskins on a few occasions over the past few years. This type of attitude reveals that a team does not take its job seriously and does not take its commitment to their fans seriously. The Lakers will recover because they are a very good team with deep talent. Teams of questionable pedigree like the Redskins have no business mailing it in. . .ever. Your thoughts?

It's not an uncommon occurance in the NBA. It's a long season, too long in my opinion, and there are nights when teams mail it in. They admit it, the league admits it. It happens. In the NFL, it should never happen because they play once a week and the season is a lot shorter.

Tracee, In the long history of hatred between KU and Mizzou, do you know of any incident which approaches the apparent destruction of Toomer's Corner in Opelika, AL? That the guy then called into a national radio show to brag about makes me think we might be dealing with mental illness here.

No, the Mizzou shenanigans are things like calling coaches and players in the middle of the night. When Steve Stipanovich shot himself in the arm, everyone in Allen Field House was armed with pop guns the next time they played. I will never forget that game and the sounds of all the guns going off every time he touched the ball.

But vandalism? Not often. I would hope never, from KU fans. Unacceptable.

You people that think it was rigged are nuts. This isn't WWE. Every bit of testing on every car is done in public and anyone can watch. Just how do you think the rigging took place? I suppose you thnk the NBA refs rig games too. Oh, wait...

Okay, fair enough.

Down here where the Germans vacation, we call swim trunks "a blessing" -- particularly when the alternative is Baron von Nutsack in his Eurothongage.


If an Alabama fan can get so upset over Auburn's title that he poisons Auburn's oak trees, then Cam Newton might need to get a food taster. There's a point where loyalty to a university ends and insanity goes too far. Dolores Kearne Goodwin's "Wait Unitl Next Year" tells of her childish hate for the Cardinals, her desire for them to be hurt, and then her priest's response when she confesses this: "Do you think it would be fair if the Dodgers won that way?" Well, Mr. Al from Alabama, do you think it was fair to poison trees and the groundwater in Alabama? If so, why? What did those trees do to you? - The Airless Cubicle.

Agreed. I hate Mizzou but I'd never poison so much as a dandelion to express it. That's crazy behavior. I hope some Alabama fans get together and help Auburn fix the damage. Show some sportsmanship. It'd be a nice story.

As much as we FTFers dislike his lack of response to you, ya gotta admit he's been posting his brains out.

Yes. There is one thing I will never criticize Kilgore for -- his work ethic. Kid's got one. And truthfully I love Kilgore. I just want him to answer his damn emails.

Maybe Dale Jr. heard all the hubbub about his winning the pole position and decided to take it off the table by crashing and heading to the back row.


Hammer-time: Some mild internet kerfuffle going on about how Mr. Tony has NOT discussed the Danny Snyder - City Paper issue on his radio show. Now, the Danny owns the station, but other hosts on that same station have discussed the issue. Now, John "Junior" Feinstein, on his blog, has disclosed that Mr. Tony asked him not to bring the issue up when Junior's on the Tony show, because Tony likes Dan Snyder. Don't you find something a little sad about that? Mr. Tony has never been shy of opinions, until now. You could almost understand "Can't criticize the boss," but this ain't it -- this is, "I like him, so not a discouraging word shall be heard." Your thoughts?

Tony has told me in the past that Snyder has never, ever tried to control anything he says, and I believe him. Now, is the same thing true with the lawsuit? I don't know. I haven't seen Tony in ages. I have heard Tony mention the suit in conversation with various people so I don't think it's verbotten. It's possible that Tony is staying out of it because he's never been a fan of McKenna. I don't know and I don't like to speculate about his reasoning. I don't like it when people put thoughts in my head or words in my mouth and I try to have the same regard for others.

Quick question: would you spend an evening (a romantic evening) with Trebeck in exchange for one million bucks in cash, season tix to Kansas basketball (floor seats), AND have Emeril Lagasse serve as your personal chef for one year?


I know the Lakers schedule has been burtal. I know they were looking forward to the All-Star break. I know it is a game played with a bouncing ball. But how in the world do they lose to Cleveland? Let's Go Royals

See above.

I wish they'd cut those silly contestant stories. They're usually not funny and the people don't tell them well. They should all stick to trivia.


Ok, with all the Jeopardy talk over the past few days, I just had to chime in. First off, I've got no problems with Alex Trebec. In fact, I like him. I know that he grates on folks' nerves by acting like he knows all the answers when really he's just got them written down in front of him, but c'mon. What, you'd rather he acted surprised by every answer? He's the host of the show, he's supposed to know the answers! That being said, I have a horrible confession to make. I don't like Seinfeld. In fact, I can't stand the show. It's a self-obsessed, grating, New York worshiping waste of time. I thought the final scene in the final episode just summed up the whole series. Here they are, stuck in jail, and they're still arguing over "nothing." Pointlessness and its most pointless. So, do I still get to hang with y'all in the mornings?

See, I have no problem with the fact that you don't like Seinfeld, and I will make zero attempts to try to persuade you otherwise ... if you'll extend me the same courtesy re Jeopardy.

It's his pronunciation of foreign words that kills me. I half expect a situation where the question is "the capital of France" and the contestant says, "What is Pair-is" and Alex says, "Oooh, I'm sorry. We were looking for Pair-ee. Pair-ee. Next category..."

Yes! Another fair example.

Please Wes Unseld did it all the time no big deal. And both Mr Tony and Wilbon should have mentioned this on PTI since both saw Unseld play in person. Shame on both these kunckleheads. And I take Unseld over either Wade as Lebron any day as a player on my team.

They did downplay the historical significance of the pass, in fairness. I didn't see Wes play so I can't comment but take your word for it.

And if he did, what were the circumstances? I imaging he did NOT say, "May I have this dance, T-Ham?"; but rather, something along the lines of, "Okay, dance with me, Tracee before I decide to ask another lady."

I can't decide which of us would be more uncomfortable with that, me or Svrluga. Probably a tie.

...but Georgetown is a program. good luck to GMU, but, fans, don;t puff your chests out to far or you may fall the way GW did not too long ago...

I don't think the two programs are comparable, truthfully.

So he's shut down negotiation with the Cardinals until after the season. . .does that mean he's not entertaining offers from any other teams? Please explain.

He's not a free agent until after the season, when he will negotiate with, presumably, the Cardinals and everyone else with a checkbook. But during the season, no.

I was on Jeopardy (came in 2nd). Alex Trebek was very gracious--every bit a gentleman. I enjoy watching him very much.

Congrats on making the show. I know it's not easy.

What's up with Joe B and Versus? I read that he will not be calling games covered by Versus anymore? Why in heck not? He and Locker are a great team. I was relieved to hear them calling the Caps game last night.

There are a lot of changes at Versus because of the sale of NBC. I don't know why they dropped Joe but it has nothing to do with his calling of the Caps games. Joe was disappointed, I think, about the Versus decision but we won't lose him around here.

Please I was at the race at Daytona the Junior won the year Big E died. I am a former crew chief and have wrenched at Le Mans, the 24hrs of Daytona ands 12 HRs of Sebring. Junior's engine sounded different then all his competitors. He was running a non Daytona and Talledga engine ie no restrictor plate. I crewed for his dad when he ran the 24hrs of Daytona. NASCAR is and always has been about the show like the WWE. Vince's dad and Big Bill France were drinking buddies BTW.

My understanding, which is nowhere as deep as yours, is that they would look the other way during pre-pole inspection if, say, the restrictor plate had a bigger opening or a number of other things. It could be done. NASCAR is more like the WWE than other sports, it's true. Thanks for the back-up.

"The Tiger spitting episode led my old boss to email me about the Keith Hernandez episode" I remember the Keith Hernandex spitting episode but I don't remember the Tiger spitting episode. Do you remember which season?

Ha! You know I meant this weekend when Tiger Woods spit on the green.

There's no doubt that you could handle yourself in this situation (after all, you de-eyed a hyena, legend has it, because the animal made a smart alecky remark about B-Svrl), but who would you want by your side if a punk smarted off to you on the Metro: Bos, J-Reid, or Sally?

Sally, Sally, Sally.

Maybe Junior's wreck was just karma coming home to roost after the pole set up.


But it seems like they dumbed-down the questions about ten years ago. I'm certainly no smarter than I was ten years ago (just ask my wife!), but it's just not as compelling. Cash Cab is more entertaining.

I agree about the questions, and there are categories I'll skip. I really had the categories where they give little demonstrations or visit some factory. Wastes time. I need to find a good bar trivia night. Any suggestions? I love to play trivia.

I love, love, love the chat, but you said you had to sign off at 10... Need a gift of a watch from your legions of fans?

My reason for signing off no longer exists. I need to sign off in a couple of minutes, though, for a dr. appointment. Hopefully the last for a long, long, long time.

Well, to be fair, he is a Canuckistani. Those people mispronounce aboot half their words.

He pronounces them well, just with that overzealous accent that makes my blood boil. Seriously, we may have to declare a Jeopardy moratorium because I get upset.

Kemba Walker did that last night while the Huskies were taking care of Gtown...and he's about a foot shorter than any of those other guys.

Impressive player, very impressive.

I think "swim trunks" was the term used in some parts of the country, "swim suits" in others, just as some places call a soft drink "soda" and others call it "pop".

Yup, maybe trunks are a Midwestern thing. Beats me.

Tracee, Being from Kansas, is The Outlaw Josey Wales one of your favorite movies? I've seen it literally over 100 times and I'll always think of Len Lesser as the Hillbilly who has the draw on Josey Wales, but underestimates his prey.

I do like that movie, and get to see it a lot at my dad's. He's a fan.

Yay! Another person who doesn't like Seinfeld. Thank goodness you spoke up--I thought I was the only one. I really think the whole show was a take off on that nihilist play, No Exit (remember that one from senior year of English?) where the characters are trapped together for eternity, forever bickering. So pointless.

Again, that's fine. I sure don't think we should all agree on everything. How boring would life be then? I just think we should all agree to let each other have our own opinions.

None of my friends will play trivia with me because after 20 years as an editor, I've amassed a ton of trivial facts that somehow stick in my brain. Occupational hazard.

I'd play with you, even if you beat me handily. I think it keeps the brain agile. And my brain needs some agility.

Feinstein races cars?

If he did, he'd talk on his cell phone the entire time. To Tony.

Okay, time for me to head to the red line. Don't forget, tomorrow Dave Sheinin will be here. Bring you opera questions, your Bryce Harper questions, your spring training questions, whatever. I don't know what Sheinin thinks about Jeopardy so maybe we'll give Trebek a break for one day. Till then...

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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