Tracee Hamilton Live: Skins, Nats, Wiz, Caps, the NCAA tournament and whatever else you want to talk about.

Mar 29, 2012

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news and the start of the NCAA tournament.

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Well Ms. H, KU vs OSU is getting about 5% of the publicity, since Kentucky and Lou-a-ville is the biggest thing since Mitt and Newt slugged it out on camera (don't we wish). If I had to rate the Final 4 teams, I'd give a big edge to Kentucky, with Louisville, KU and OSU even. So no doubt Kentucky will lose to Louisville. It seems like months since KU edged Purdue and Mizzou (heh-heh-heh) blew it against Norfolk State. Since I had Florida State and North Carolina in the Final 4, among other brilliant choices, my bracket is dead. When do the Skins trade the rights to RGIII for a shot at Tebow? AHG

KU vs OSU? No idea what you mean. I will say that my bracket was mocked, but I do have three of the  Final Four teams. The mess that came before, however...

Laughing at the Tebow thing. With them, who knows? I can't decide if the Colts are really interested in RGIII or if Irsayis doing this to mess with Snyder's head. No reason not to be interested in RGIII but I do wonder.

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

I just caught up with some of the previous chats. There are probably only a couple of us here, but I would love to hear your story about riding with Ricky Rudd. When you are starting out as a NASCAR fan, you have to pick someone to cheer for and Ricky Rudd was such a cool name that I picked him.

Years ago, NASCAR was trying to build media interest and fan interest (you can just imagine how long ago this was; I think 1984) I went on a media tour of NASCAR shops and tracks. It was a ball. We finished up in Charlotte and we could ride in a car if we wanted. Of course, I wanted. It was a race-ready car, no seat, no seatbelt, so I had to sign a waiver or something. I ended up in Ricky's car. We're going at a good clip but nothing like race speed. It's bizarre in the car because on the curves, you look like you're going straight into the wall. Takes a bit to adjust to that. Anyway, I'm just starting to love it, and  Ricky starts laughing and gesturing behind us. I turn around, and Buddy Baker is drafting us. My eyes pop out of my head and I must have started screaming, which made Rudd laugh even harder. Baker's about doubled over, and there they are, two inches apart and I'm freaking out. Then I started laughing too. It was just something to experience. I got out of the car and Buddy came right over and gave me a hug and made sure I was okay. Can't have been a coincidence that I was one of maybe two women on that tour and they decided to pull that on me. I don't think NASCAR officials were thrilled but it was pretty cool -- once I got over the shock. It was like he was in the backseat. The worst tailgater in the world -- it was closer than that. Ricky remembered that and when I'd see him he'd always start laughing. Such a nice man. He was driving a yellow and blue Wrangler car then.

What's red, white, and blue and plays golf in May? The Washington Capitals. Do you see any chance that they won't be playing golf in a week and a half?

After Tuesday night, I don't. I'd be happy to be surprised.

How are you feeling? You're writing great columns and a fair number of them, but is that just you being a trouper? Section 405

I'd sure like to be rid of this vertigo, that's certain. I was at a doctor this week for something else and I told him I had vertigo before I got up on the table. When it was time to get down, I nearly fell off. "Oh, you really do have vertigo." Well, yes. Why the hell would I make THAT up?

how much cap space do the redskins have available for this year?

They started free agency with about $17 million, but remember, that is a moving target. They adjust contracts to free up more space. What they have right now, this minute, I do not know.

O goddess of the Plains and Knower of all things great and small Legal issues today: Interesting to see that Mark Rypien's class action concussion suit does NOT include one former Redskin -- Gus Ferrotte ! I guess 'self-inflicted " is a disqualifier. Also, how will NCAA Office Bracket managers deal with a Kentucky win Monday night and subsequent disqualification/revocationof the title? Is there a statute of limitations for 'winners" to have to pay back the office pool money ?

Ouch! I see that remark a lot about Kentucky. But they have to win it, and then they have to be found guilty of wrong-doing. I'm guessing by the time all that happens, the pool winners will be safe.

So, I assume you're going to continue to expect the worst for the Jayhawks, even when they're cutting down the nets on Monday night? Just to avoid messing with the mojo?

No idea what you are talking about. Shush.

Why is Opening Day such a secret? I'd heard hardly anything about it, until I was greeted on my news portal that they snuck over to Tokyo to play the official first of 162.

It really was a surprise this year. I don't like having it overseas but doing it as part of a tsunami commemoration made me shut up about it ... this year.

Kansas making it to the Final Four or Kansas winning in St. Louis?

Seriously, no idea what you're talking about.

I love ping pong and am anxiously waiting for its time in the Olympics. Do you know how many teams will participate, who's the favorite, and what's the US ranking?

Well, remember, in the Olympics, it's table tennis, never ping pong. Qualifying is done individually and in pairs, not by country, and depends on world rankings, so no one is "in" yet. Who is the favorite? China, China, China. Always China. The U.S. will get a few athletes in but it's hard sledding to win a medal in this sport.

For the first time that I can remember, I'm actively tracking the health of key players for the Nats: Morse's lat, LaRoche's foot, Storen's elbow. Because these injuries might actually keep this team from accomplishing something good this year. In the past, stuff like this didn't really matter, when they were going to finish last, no matter what. I'm still getting used to this added burden of expectations. Kinda like it, though.

The burden of being good (or respectable) is this. For example, I haven't worried about KU football for years. Fall is very relaxing.

Did Nene have a Denver history of back spasms or is his body rejecting the Wizard experience?

I can't find the answer quickly and I don't have time to stop and do the research but it seems to me he has had this problem before. But don't quote me. Maybe someone on the chat will know. Someone always does.

Two thoughts on the NFL bounty "scandal." 1) A large percentage of us watch the NFL because we like to see people get hurt. It's our modern day gladiator games. Once the NFL becomes flag football with a 5 mippippippi rush, it won't be as popular. 2) The actual cash amounts for the bounties seem to be almost insultingly small. $1000 for a cart-off injury? The league minimum salary for 4 years of experience was $685K last year. So in normal person terms, that would be like your employer give you a $10 bonus for contributing to an excellent week. If these bounties worked, it was because the players wanted to be recognized for excellent performance, not for the actual monetary amount.

Do you really watch the NFL to see people get hurt? And do you really believe large numbers of people also do? That really surprises me. And saddens me.

What motivates athletes as a whole? Victory? Money? Self-satisfaction? I'm asking this open-ended question because I am pleased to see Magic Johnson buy the Dodgers, and not pleased to see Mr. Hunter not motivate the Capitals to improved play. Furthermore, there are the Olympics and Paralympics coming, and I am sure that an an archer doesn't have the same specific motivators as a women's 4 x 400 meter relay team. By the way, the flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la, are choking me when I leave the Cubicle.

I think there are as many motivational formulas as their are athletes. None of them has ever returned his paycheck. But they certainly all don't play just for the money. A lot of them want to win. A lot of them are doing what a lot of people do -- whatever it is they do best, that's how they make their living. There just isn't a simple answer. When they are very young, you might be able to give a room full of them an inspirational speech and it might work, but the Gipper was dying. You can't have a dying guy every night. Some people do not have the motivational gene. And some people can't be motivated by a speech. I watched how Chuck Daly worked the Pistons and he used something different with all of them. He treated them individually. Of course, that's easy with a smaller roster.

Sorry about the allergies. This longer spring is tough on people. The sneezing and snorting I'm hearing is epic this year.

Watched him conducting a "tour" of the Viera facility on MLB the other night. He cracks me up. He tries to give off this cool guy vibe and last year he tried a beard. And no matter what he does, he still looks like he just started shaving last month. He has no chance of projecting that nasty, Mad Hungarian, Rich Gossage Fu Manchu image as a closer. He'll just have to use his pitches. That might work out okay.

He does look like a child. I feel bad about his elbow problem and hope he's up soon. But you're right, he has no shot of being intimidating. He's very slight and that doesn't help either. But a great guy.

Why do they insist on making NFL (don't get me started about college) overtime so complicated? Why not just have one overtime quarter, 15 mins, two time outs, and the team that is leading at the end of those 15 mins (barring a tie, when it would end as a tie) wins the game?

There is so much about the NFL I don't get right now, this is just another thing. Every turnover will be reviewed? Great for advertisers, not so great for momentum and length of games. IMO.

Magic Johnson just bought the LA Dodgers (with a group, but he's not just a front man). That now adds to Michael Jordan, Nolan Ryan, Mario Lemieux, and recently, Wayne Gretzky. There are rumors that Cal Ripken is seeking to buy the O's.

I can't think of another time when ex-athletes became owners, except at the dawn of pro sports leagues -- Connie Mack and Charles Comiskey were ballplayers, George Halas played for the Decater Staleys (forerunner of the Chicago Bears ), and, for you trivia fans out there, also played 12 games as an outfielder for the 1919 New York Yankees. I don't know about hockey.

Could it be that the dawn of free agency represented a "new foundation" of pro sports? The first wave of baseball player-owners acquired their franchises at just about the same elapsed timeframe from the beginning of pro ball as the current guys have from the beginning of free agency/big salaries. Section 405

Oh, certainly, we've finally reached the stage where the beneficiaries of free agency are old enough to buy teams. There were some smart players in between Connie Mack and Nolan Ryan but they didn't make enough money to do it. I'm guessing we'll see more of that now. And of course there are former players who should NOT be doing this. We'll see that, too. Money isn't all it takes.

Good for Danny O'Brien on his transfer to Wisconsin- as a Terps fan I wish him the best of luck. But what does it say about Randy Edsall as head coach? Friedgen came in and won right off the bat with Vanderlinden's guys. Edsall has come in and lost with Fridge's guys and a whole bunch of them are leaving the program- I think we're up to 10 transfers now.

Oh, I think we know what it says. He'll have his guys this fall; we'll see what he does with them. I'm guessing if he does well a lot will be forgiven. One thing about his recruits -- they have to know what they're getting into.

I just wanted to give a shout out to the students athletes at the true college programs- places like VCU, Norfolk State, Loyola-MD... these kids showed up and played great on the national stage and then went back to class. None of them are going pro, yet we hear so little about them. Instead we have to have a slime fest between Kentucky-Louisville and wait until we hear about the next batch of one-and-done jocks who are just doing their mandatory waiting period before they can be drafted, overpaid, and fail due to a complete lack of basketball fundamentals.

I think Anthony Davis will not be a failure as a one-and-done, but he may be the exception to the rule. Too many guys come out too early. Some of the three-and-dones are making mistakes. :) But you are right to salute all the kids who have no chance to get drafted and for whom the tournament is the pinacle.

I've never watched a men's basketball game and thought "This is a great game, I can tell by how many dunks there have been," or "This game is terrible, where are all the dunks." I just like entertaining games that have a good flow, some drama, and are generally well-played. Women are capable of that just as well as men (see the UMD-A&M game on Sunday). So I found all the hooplah surrounding Griner dunking a couple of times odd. It's an impressive and rare feat, for sure, but emphasizing it only serves to highlight the one area where women will be unable to compete with men, i.e. sheer, raw athleticism. I think the women's game would be better to emphasize the areas they CAN compete with men, i.e. entertainment, fundamentals, whatever.

I noticed that as well. I think it was emphasized on ESPN because ESPN is trying to drum up viewers and the women's tournament has had some very lopsided games (U-Conn beats K-State 72-26?) and has been pretty chalk. Just a theory.

Tracee, as an editor, did you give a pass to the phrase, "they control their destiny?" I know language evolves and that this is used in a sports context all the time to mean that a team has control over its future (unlike the Caps), but it still grates on me. Destiny is preordained. You cannot control it. OK, rant over.

Well, I don't think I saw it in copy except in quotes, where of course I can't control its destiny. Hee hee. Yes, it's one of those grating phrases, I agree. Rants are okay.

Don't chase mysterious blondes up towers. . .

Don't worry, I won't!

Well, in case you were wondering, I'm okay with Frank Martin leaving. It always hurts to be spurned, of course, but I was seriously beginning to wonder just how good a coach he was. There are several examples of players who did not get better under him and, of course, the number of defections was way beyond what you would normally expect. He had good records and beat some great teams, but never established consistency. I thank him for raising the level of the program - and for paying homage to our great history while doing so - but I think we're going to be okay. Besides, when you run to South Carolina like that - South Carolina? Really? Last tournament win in 1973?? - you can't help but suspect that he's leaving some dirty laundry behind that was about to be discovered. I will be interested to watch and see how he does there, but even more interested to see who the next K-State coach is going to be. You know people - what are you hearing?? -K-Stater

I WAS wondering, actually. They were so crazily inconsistent this year. But I'm with you -- South Carolina? Of course the dirty laundry theory is going around, and that's what I'm hearing -- he got while the getting was good. Believe it or not, I hope that's not the case. I liked the friendly by-play between him and what's his name at the other place. As for a new coach, I haven't heard anything but I haven't poked around yet. Trying to focus on a column that just will not come.

Between Ted Leonsis and Lindsay Czarniak, some of the allegations made in the Post's article about Ovechkin have been, if not rebutted, at least answered. Yes, Ovie loves his parents, and they don't meddle in Caps' business (but other business?). No, he does not live in a gated community. But I have not seen any rebuttal to the charge that there is one standard of conduct for Ovie and another for the rest of the team re curfews and other prohibitions that should apply to all players. If true, is this unique to the Caps or are there different rules for the superstars on all hockey teams. Thank you.

I don't think it's unique to the Caps. I think the degree it's gotten to on the Caps, and with a player who wears the C, is maybe a bit unique.

A really, really good guy (and a Virginian; maybe not a coincidence). BTW, in official NASCAR fan parlance, his name is pronounced as one word, all crammed together. Something like, "Rickehrudd." No one ever, ever called him by just his first or last name.

Exactly! One of those two name names. Never Ricky. Never Rudd. Never Mr. Rudd. Rickyrudd. I can't do it southern-style; I'd sound like a dope.

Impressive. Just think how much years of training led to that conclusion. Do you also take your cats to this person?

In fairness, he is not a vertigo dr. or in any way connected to that part of the anatomy. I am sure it is pretty funny when I sit up and then start thrashing back and forth -- but not to me. :) Monday I see a dr. about the vertigo so I'm hoping for a solution soon.

So, The Voice or Dancing With The Stars? Cause I know there's no way you're watching the NCAA final.

Sleep. Never got into  The Voice and don't like dancing shoes. I mean shows. Well, shoes works, too.

Just one week until Opening Day! Have you had a chance to catch up with noted Kansan Adam LaRoche lately?

No, I am not sure when I'll get to the locker room. Since he got hurt last year, I'll probably have to go through the whole "Kansas" thing all over again. I really want to ask him if he'll let me come and hunt with him next fall. I'll have to take some lessons this summer. Also cure the vertigo. And the shoulder will have to heal. Ah, let's face it, not going to happen.

Let us not forget the worst of the worst; ASU students chanting "PLO" and "Where's Your Dad" at Steve Kerr a year or so after his father was assassinated by the PLO in Beirut. Doesn't get much lower than that....

Think that was mentioned last week, but if not, yes, that's pretty awful.

Just contact Calipari directly. He reportedly has millions left over from this year's salary cap.


When I got the chicken pox, my doctor saw me in the waiting room and laughed at me.

As Mike Tyson said in "Hangover," "Niiiiiice."

Please give this Caps fan some comfort by saying they will get their act together and make the playoffs...

Can they? Sure.  But I didn't see much Tuesday to indicate they will. Tonight is another night, however. Anything can happen. They control their own destiny. ;)

What article is this? I don't see it on the Caps sports page?

So I'm torn: I have Kansas going to the championship but I live in Buckeye Country. So should I root for the home team, or root for me to win money? I have to say, the image of you as Baby Jay has me leaning toward the Jayhawks...

Huh? What?

I recently read your piece for AARP mag on your found quilt and the research you did to determine its background. Lovely story, lovely writing but more important for you: what a wonderful experience. Life is very strange. Did you ever find out what happened to the school teacher?

Thank you! She moved away from Lincoln and got married. I have an obituary for her somewhere; I can't remember if she had kids but I think so. I need to dig it out and contact a family member sometime. Never enough time.

Actually, doesn't "ping pong" sound kinda racist? It's like the sound Rosie O'Donnell makes describing her dry cleaner.

Naw, ping pong is what you play in your basement, table tennis is what they play at the Olympics.

Since we haven't mentioned beverages today, I hoist an imaginary Guinness in your direction.

Bless you!

That regular season games are being played over in Japan while everyone else is still playing spring training games? Maybe I'm just getting old (GET OFF MY LAWN!) but it doesn't seem right and is slightly confusing when seeing the MLB box scores and trying to remember that some are real and some are practice.

I don't like it, except if it raised money for the tsunami victims, then okay. It's also not the first time they've done it. It doesn't make sense to me, but gosh, so little makes sense to me anymore it's hard to keep up the list.

So it seems inevitable that Bryce Harper is going to be called up (barring injury) probably June or so. Given that Jesus Flores is probably the best bat the Nats have on the bench it makes sense that he'll be used to pinch hit on days he doesn't play. That means that the Nats will be one foul tip away from their emergency catcher. Is it possible that they'll use Harper as a #3 catcher? It certainly would open up some double switch opportunities, but are they too afraid of him getting injured to take the risk?

I don't believe I've seen that scenario addressed. Surely even the Nats won't expect the kid to play three positions in four months. Then again ... never mind. They might. If I ever see my arch nemesis I'll ask him. He was in the other day and we traded blows.

Why Nene? What is the point? This Wizards team is not a piece or two away from anything, why take on this big contract for a veteran? Is this a trade chip for next season? Maybe a consolation prize for the teams that don't snag Howard when he becomes available? I'm just confused.

I think it was a way to get rid of two of his three biggest problems. I don't envy Ted Leonsis his summer. No beach time for Ted. He's got some wood to chop. He's got a tough row to hoe. I can't think of a third good cliche but you get my drift.

Tracee, do you ever notice that when Shanny talks about the suspension situation with F. Davis and T. Williams, he consistently and frequently reiterates that Fred is on the right path, he's learned from his mistakes, etc, etc, etc. He never once has said anything like that about Trent. I wonder if it is some type of subtle challenge or if he just thinks Trent may be a lost cause of sorts....

I had not noticed that but I'll pay attention now. That is interesting. I wonder if they didn't have doubts about Williams before the suspension, re his injuries. Maybe it is a subtle challenge, although if it is, it's old school. Then again, it's Shanny.

I was all gung ho about RGIII -- so much so that I was afraid the Colts might snatch him first and we'd be "stuck" with Luck. Then I saw a list of all the Heisman Trophy-winning QBs. It is an astoundingly cringe-inducing list of failures. Excluding Newton and Bradford (too soon to judge), the best member of that list in the past 30 years was Vinny Testaverde. The last Heisman-winning QB to win a Super Bowl was Jim Plunkett in 1981, and it took him 11 years to get there. And there is only one Heisman QB in the Hall of Fame -- Roger Staubach. I know none of this has anything to do with RGIII's talent or character, but this list scares the daylights out of me. Can you make me feel better please? Thank you.

The Redskins are in a win-win situation. They will get RGIII or Luck. I still think it will be RGIII. I still think RGIII will be a breath of fresh air in this town.

(Personal note: already sick of the Kiper-McShay sniping.)

The NFL Bounties commenter missed the fundamental point. It's not that your employer offered you the equivalent of $10 "for contributing to an excellent week." It's that your employer offered you $10 to trip your competitor while he or she is walking down the stairs. An excellent week at the office shouldn't come from intentionally hurting people who also work there.

Thanks; I didn't get that far into the post, but you are correct. I really am surprised that I keep hearing that people watch the NFL for the violence. Because that plays exactly zero percent of my decision to watch it.

is no Luis Tiant.

Hmmmm. Oh, because he has to intimidate with his arm? No, of course he isn't. More joking that he can't intimidate with his width, breadth or facial hair. But the kid is a pretty good closer.

He had a bad knee injury in the opener of the 2005 season that wiped out the entire year. He missed almost 2 seasons in the '04-'07 timeframe (knee, thumb, testicular cancer!). My intensive reading of his Wikipedia entry plus search results shows no back issues. Section 405 - your crack research department

Thank you, 405. I'm thinking of someone else, and I appreciate your crack research!

Can you believe it? Final Four! Are you going to New Orleans? Do you think we can beat Ohio State? Apparently none of the "experts" do, but I think that just motivates our guys even more.

I'm so confused. What is this language you're speaking?

In the interest of maintaining continuity in this chat: I have a few questions: --What type of beer should we drink while watching ping pong? (Tsing Tao? Or is this not PC?) --What about lunch meat in our ping pong-watching sandwich? --Does Kansas have any candidates for the Olympic team? If so, does that mean we have to stop talking about it? Here to help.

Tsing Tao while watching is acceptable, but the cheapest you can find if you're playing beer pong. Olive loaf for the sandwich. I don't know if Kansas has a candidate for any Olympic team -- I assume so -- but we'll deal with that when the time comes. I can only handle so much neuroses at a time. My own, I mean.

I think you're right about ESPN: as a loyal Husky alum, I watch Geno's Kids every time they're on, and the color commentary is very promotional. The reality is that every women's tourney is pretty chalky and will be for a few more years. The game has its own appeal--passing & picks as opposed to skywalking--but ESPN exists to create SportsCenter clips and advertising dollars. TBHitW

I enjoyed the women's games I covered last year but they were very close. I can't imagine having to sit through blowouts at the tournament level. Yes, you are right abotu ESPN -- it exists to create Top Ten Plays. Which I also enjoy, I admit.

How does one say his name? Is it nuh-nay?

I say Nay-Nay, which I'm sure is wrong, but I like saying it. It soothes me.

Perhaps he was the inspiration for Ricky Bobby? Or Rickybobby.

Ha! Maybe in name only, but in nothing else.

No, no--the grammatically correct usage is "they control their OWN destiny"

Of course. How could I?

Okay, I've got to try to figure out what the heck I'm writing.  Next Thursday it's time for Nats predictions for the 2012 season. Oh boy. I know you're all eagerly awaiting that! Have a lovely 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 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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