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

Apr 05, 2012

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

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Tracee: Like you, I picked Kansas (and in fact it was you who compelled me to do so, and my friends looked at me like I was crazy, and for a couple of minutes Monday night I thought I'd have an I-told-you-so moment), but unlike you, I watched the championship game. I'm sometimes (read: almost always) a curse to teams I like in this way, so you can blame me for the loss if you like. That said, Kentucky was just ridiculous, and that Kansas fought their way back the way they did - enough to visibly unsettle Calipari - speaks volumes about the talent they have as well. Nothing but pride for the Jayhawks this year, I'd say.

We'll get the KU stuff out of the way early. If you read Wednesday's paper, you'll know that I was satisfied with the way things turned out. Kentucky was quite good this year. Self did a fantastic job. It would have been wonderful to win it all, but runner-up ain't bad. Lots of teams would like to be runner-up. Lots of teams weren't. I will not name those teams. :)

I also got my vertigo "fixed" on Monday -- so incredibly happy I can't tell you. A few more days of being careful and then I'll really feel back to normal. Whatever that is.

And let's get started. I know I promised predictions today but forgot all about it. I think I'll just predict the Nats' finish. Let's face it, no one is waiting on these things to go to Vegas.

Although I did hear from a fellow named Bill who used my Post bracket to win his office pool. So hopefully the mocking will subside.


I lasted about ten minutes. Between the National Anthem and the early vibe, I couldn't bear to watch it all. My condolences. ~Pats Fan

You beat me by 10 minutes. :)

I watched both National Championships for the 1st time, and they were totally different games. I really appreciated the movement and passing of the women's game, maybe because these teams are good at it?

Normally ball movement is a KU strength; says something about Kentucky that Kansas' rhythm was disrupted.

You wrote, "But let a woman's voice drop an octave and the gloves come off. Why does that give anyone the right to attack Griner?" The "right to attack" Griner, at least verbally, comes from the 1st amendment. What you think only those in the press have the right to broadcast his or her opinion? Usually I'm with you, but you lost me here.

Attack with some facts, then. What this is, is bullying.  And mean and cruel. Sure, it's protected. I didn't advocate locking these idiots up. That doesn't make it acceptable in a decent society. But then, we no longer live in a decent society, I fear.

I have a question for TOBCOTWP: what is the ideal beverage for watching Opening Day, and does the answer change depending on whether one is in the stands, at a sports bar, or in the comfort of one's den?

I think the answer changes because of temperature fluctuations. There have been Opening Days that have been too cold for anything stronger than perhaps an Irish coffee. Indoors, the options are not as limited. You know me: I'm a one-drink woman. But we'll see what our other beverage-lovers think.

I guess I'm just naive, but just because a few complete idiots ask about a woman's gender doesn't mean you need to respond to the small vocal minority. Obviously, Brittney Griner is a fantastic woman who deserves to be admired for all she has done, but I think that your column just brings more debate to a ridiculous issue that shouldn't be debated. Again, maybe I'm just naive.

It was predominant enough for Mulkey to mention in her post-game news conference. It was predominant enough that McGraw's innocuous comment led her to issue an apology late  Tuesday night. I don't see that I'm dragging it into the limelight and making it an issue. It was there.

I see that the only Capital to not take a morning skate this morning was Alexander Semin. You've got to be kidding me. It's the biggest game of the season! Shouldn't the whole team be out there?!

Hello, preacher, meet the choir.

As a graduate of Baylor Class of 1990, Thank you for your column on Brittany Griner. As someone who has suffered the embarassement that has been Baylor Athletics (Men's BB Team murder) and Waco Tx (Branch Davidian) for the last two decades, the Lady Bears have been the one good thing about our school (and the past few years we have had RGIII). Kim Mulkey has made us proud to wear our Baylor gear. Sic Em Bears! - Ashburn Fan

It says a lot about RGIII that he's a big fan of the team as well. Good for him.

This week's (and last weeks, too) reads: "This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news and the start of the NCAA tournament. " You should probably have a checklist for this kind of stuff since you get zero support from the paper. Section 405

Argh. I wish I knew who was adding this stuff. Argh.

Do you have some sort of problem with people who have a tattoo on their face?

Nope. That was a choice by Tyson. None of the things Griner is being attacked for was a choice: her height, size, voice, nothing. That was the point I was trying to make and I think I made it poorly. As a tattoo wearer myself, I have no problem with the art form.

Do you feel comfortable with Neuvi in net the last 2 games and possible playoffs?

Yes, but I've always been in the tank for Neuvi. I think he's a little fragile and I agree with Tarik's piece earlier in the week: Pick and stick.

This guy needs to let the women have their day in the sun. There is a fine line between support and just jumping on the bandwagon to get on TV.

I didn't take it that way. They called him into their team photo. He and Griner are pals. And I mean no disrespect, but does he really need the women's team to get on TV? He won the Heisman. There are Baylor fans among us: Griffin a bandwagon jumper or true fan? My impression was the team wanted him included.

Tracee, are you in Chicago for the opening game? I hope so. Sorry about Kansas, btw. I had hoped they'd win for your sake. Were you surprised Lannan was sent down to Syracuse? I'm assuming they will call him back up if he's needed. Congratulations to the Baylor women; 40-0 is quite an accomplishment, but it pales in comparison to the UConn women's winning streak. Were there undefeated men's teams in a season?

Not in Chicago, no. I turned it down because I was afraid to fly because of the vertigo. So J-Reid is there. I was surprised and feel for Lannan, who is clearly upset. Yes, the most recent undefeated men's team was the 1976 Indiana team coached by Bob Knight.

Man, what a great ride this season was. I am not even disappointed in the outcome - sure, I would have loved to have won on Monday - but I feel nothing but pride for the team and Coach Self for what they accomplished this season. Rock Chalk!

Yes, it's safe to talk, and I agree with all of it!

Since I'll be on a client conference call (the nerve!) during the chat and the opener is still a few hours away, let me be the first to say that Rizzo and Johnson should be fired, FIRED I SAY, for: not winning enough in the spring, spending too much money on unnecessary free agents, not spending enough on the free agents we really needed, sending Lannan down at the last minute, not trading Lannan two months ago, sending Harper down, putting Harper on the major league roster in the first place, pitching Strasburg now, and losing today's game. On the other hand, if they win today, disregard these comments and buy four World Series tickets. I'll pay you back later.

One word: Decaf.

It's not just that the first and last names are always used together. In Tidewater, his full name is, "LocalDriverRickyRudd," for each and every occurrence.

I love that. I will always have a soft spot for Ricky. If I can ever find that photo of me climbing out of that car, I'll post it. A box of my stuff was lost in our most recent move (at the Post), and it hasn't turned up.

Everything I read says that the Nationals are poised to be high achievers this season. As a longtime DC sports fan, to me this means that disaster must be just around the corner. What's it going to be? Injury? Sex scandal? Drugs in the clubhouse? Guns on the mound? Overeating? Alien invasion?

Well, the end of the world doesn't come until just before Christmas, so I'm going to go with alien invasion.

Went to the exhibition game Tuesday and witnessed a miracle --- Nats Park was the only place in the Metro area where the cherry trees were still in bloom! Got several photos of the scoreboard framed in cherry blossom-laden branches. Is this an omen? If so, does it mean the team will be late bloomers, only reaching fruition in '13? 

BTW, having followed your chats and columns long enough, and in the spirit of your "why I didn't watch Kansas this year" column, please, please, please don't predict the Nats will do anything good this year. We know about you and predictions... Section 405

Oh, so you'll take predictions from a damn tree, but not from me, 405? :) My sister happened to be here on the day before all the blooms came off at the Basin. For all the time she's spent here, she's never seen the blossoms, so she was happy. Plus she got to see the MLK memorial. She is far more versed in  Washington attractions than am I.

Your prediction please? Who will hoist the Stanley Cup this June.

I'd like to, but 405 says I can't.

So which dystopian future sport are you looking forward to seeing? Something akin to Running Man, Deathrace, or Hunger Games. Or should it be old school gladiator to the death matches...

These are my choices? Yikes. I'm looking forward to none of those. Even the previews for Hunger Games turn me off.

Boz just said he is on twitter. Did someone tell him that the limit is 140 paragraphs, not 140 characters?

Yes, Boz is on Twitter, and yes, he knows the rules. How he is doing it I do not know. The Twitterverse may never be the same. Like that would be a bad thing.

To your credit, you have very clearly identified your fandom for the Kansas Jayhawks. However, don't you think as a sports writer and daily columnist that it is your job and duty to watch the biggest sporting events of the year, if not live, at the very least on tape shortly after completion? I understood the point of the column to identify the superstitions of a rabid fan, but don't you think you exposed yourself to a lot of criticism by proclaiming that you deliberately avoided watching the most important college basketball game of the year? Not only that, don't you feel that your whole Rock Chalk Jayhawk shtick is a little over the top in a top 10 media market over 1,000 miles from Lawrence? I don't begrudge your fandom, but sports in this area don't revolve around what goes down in Allen Fieldhouse.

In a word: no. I don't think I hurt the Post by not watching the national championship game. If I were the national college basketball writer, that would be different. If I refused to watch all sporting events, that would be a tad different. This is the first time I've ever NOT watched them play, ever. I can't see ever doing it again. It just worked out that way this season. Since I became a sports columnist, they have appeared in exactly one national championship game, and they might not make it back for a decade. Who knows? So I hardly think I'm burdening the non-Lawrence public. You can always not read it.

Sports, for me, is not what it is to you, because it's my job. The Jayhawks are the exception to that -- it's still pure joy. I have written about them twice this year, once about Thomas Robinson (who is local), because no one else was, and this column. They were the national runner-up. I think they were worthy of that. Last year, unless I'm mistaken, I wrote about them zero times. I honestly don't think I'm cramming them down your throat.

Near the end of an 82 game hockey season, these guys already know how to skate, but their bodies are completely beaten up. If some guy doesn't think his body would benefit by extra time on the ice, he shouldn't be out there. And the choir shouldn't just assume they are lazy. They know their body. We don't.

It's the same guy(s) who sit out, all the time. It's funny how some bodies wear out faster than others over the same 82 games.

To say Griner plays like a guy? I think it's a compliment, unless you want to start insulting men and common sense. Men and women simply are not equal physically. This is very different from saying someone IS a man or looks or acts like a man. And she doesn't remotely look like a man.

No, I never said that.  Two different issues. I thought the attack on McGraw was unwarranted, and why, as you might notice, I never mentioned it in the column. She certainly didn't mean it that way. Of all people, a long-time women's coach who says a women's player is so good she plays like a guy is not trying to say that woman IS a guy. I don't think she looks like a man, either, but I'm getting emails from people who tell me I'm nuts, she does. Whatever.

What and where??

I can't say because I'll be promoting that school I attended, but you can guess. And ankle.

Do either of these states believe in evolution?

Kansas used to. I can't speak for it these days.

Care to tell us the solution? Even generally - .behavioral modification, medication, etc. Understand if you prefer not to.

Have you had the head adjustment done? There's a name for it that I'm forgetting. Basically they lay you down, find the position that makes it the worst, and induce it for a bit (not long). They try to get those crazy crystals back in place. Then you wear a collar for 24 hours to keep your head still and see what happens. An ENT can do it.

Aren't they still bears? Why the need to distinguish that they're ladies? Almost none of the men's teams do that. It's not the Memphis Man Grizzlies or the Charlotte Dude Hornets. Only the Bucks and the Bulls are male-specific mascots.

Some of these teams still hang on to that "Lady" designation. I try not to use it because it seems so out of date.

Are you flying the plane? You know your sense of falling doesn't cross over to the plane.

No, I was afraid that the cabin pressure might make it worse. In some kinds of ear problems, it does. With positional vertigo, it doesn't. I didn't know that and wanted to be sure.

Lets get with reality for a moment. If you look at the tv ratings for the regular season, the ticket sales and the money lost on women's programs, the reality is virtually no one cares in relationship to the major mens sports. The number of donors who contribute to women's athletics is extremely minimal. I'm not saying that Women don't deserve to compete, or even get scholarships. However I'm sick of seeing comparisons to mens teams that are not even remotely similar. The fact Baylor played a sport that has 3 other quality teams in it (if that) means its 40-0 record is really not that big an accomplishment. If you put a HS baseball team up against 36 little league teams and 4 other top HS teams, a 40-0 record would not be a big deal. Thats basically what happens in Womens Bball.

Well .... you are entitled to your opinion. I'm not a huge women's basketball fan and I think the sport is hurt when all the No. 1 seeds get through to the final; there is not the parity there is in the men's game. That said, it does have its fans and the question "does anyone care about women's bball?" can be answered with one word: yes. Let's not generalize.

I don't think the previous poster was trying to say that Baylor could beat Kentucky or Kansas. I think the poster was saying that the style of play by Baylor was enjoyable to him or her. That's all.

I think Lannan is an asset to the Nationals and a stand-up guy who provided stability during very frustrating seasons. He now seems to be the odd man out of a greatly enhanced starting rotation. In mixed comments on the move, the predominant complaint against sending him down is "loyalty." Two things: (1) Lannan's response to perceived disloyalty was to immediately request a trade... Not a response that heralds loyalty; (2) Welcome to the Show, kid. Thoughts?

I think he had a reaction that you'd expect from a guy who's been a lynchpin, albeit in some bad years. He's a good guy and I think he'll calm down and then we'll see. That had to have been a huge blow to him. I will give him the benefit of the doubt. If he's still making noises in a week or so, then ... And yes, of course, that's the nature of the game. You are absolutely correct.

I have tix to the game tonight. I am assuming it will be the last game of the season. Unless the Super Caps show up, then they squeeze their way int the playoffs. But if the dopey Caps show up it'll be all over. The dopey Caps turn the puck over in their own zone; don't move their skates; get in offensive zone pass the puck back and forth until they turn it over; have all three forwards behind the red line fighting for the puck; bunch up during penalty killing; and generally show zero aggressiveness. I hope the super Caps show up.

Well, for your sake, I hope so too.

Knowing what I do now I kinda really hate to admit to this but I was wondering what was going on in Ashburn what 2009/10 and really giving Williams the run around about the HC job. It would seem to me that there was more going on (knowing about) than is being let on. Hence the snub of Williams as head coach

Makes you wonder. If any of you haven't seen the clip playing on ESPN of him "coaching up" the Saints before the 49ers game, you should. Yeesh.

Tracee, when I was in Junior High, I remember there was a handbook of Rights and Responsibilities that we were given. It made a point of saying that when you get rights, you also assume responsibility. In modern society it seems like everyone wants to trumpet their rights and eschew any responsibility to exercise them in a reasonable way. Thanks for the column about Brittney Greiner, what a shame that so many people, many of them anonymous cowards, are trying to rain on her well deserved victory parade. -Handle Pending

That's crazy on the face of it, HP. :) I just learned this morning that a boy from back home killed himself because of bullying on Facebook. I didn't know that when I wrote yesterday. Glad I didn't. I just ache for the victims of this kind of abuse.

Will be on Glee Tuesday night--and he'll sing! Actually, Tracee, The Hunger Games was an excellent movie with great performances (Stanley Tucci was my personal favorite). I saw it twice & really enjoyed it. So did PH, which surprised me.

It's not my genre, although I hear it's great. Matt Bomer, now, he's my genre.

 I have to agree with Deadspin, that this scandal really speaks to how dumb the NCAA rules often are. Now Howard should have known giving a blank check to its student athletes and telling them to spend it on whatever probably broke some rules. However Howard isn't Kentucky. Its not like they were using this to give students an extra 20K a year under the table. I'm starting to wonder at what point the major colleges are going to just say forget this, and create their own governing body. Membership in the NCAA is voluntary, and I can't think of any reason the Big 5/6 conferences couldn't pull out and create their own rules instead of putting up with the NCAA shenanigans.

Can't say I disagree. The rules are ripe for abuses, but at the same time, they are so archaic as to be impossible to follow at times. There has to be a better way.

Sigh. The First Amendment does not mean what people think it means. It does not give one the *right* to say any idiotic thing that pops into their feeble minds. In fact, you may be justifiably punished for what you say "verbally" or in print, if it's libelous, slanderous, causes panic, etc., etc., etc. Eh, why bother.

Well said. I'm not sure if what people say to  Griner rises to slander, but you have put it correctly: you can't just go say any damn thing you want. If only you could...

Wait, so they essentially devolved into creationists? I thought evolution was supposed to go in the other direction. I might have to rethink this whole evolution thing now.

Kansas has always been a conservative state, but it's moved so far right that it's in danger of dropping off the edge of the world. There be dragons...

Vertigo may be bad condition, but it's a great movie. Hitchcock never even considered making a movie called Plantar Fasciitis.

True. Torn Rotator Cuff opened in limited release and isn't out on DVD yet.

Was the women's team known as the Lady Redmen? That would be hilarious.

I don't know the answer, but that would be hilarious. There were some funny "Lady" combinations out there. But of course I will not be able to conjure up any with my feeble brain at noon.

I don't know what Caps fan Kornheiser ran into that ruined his experience, but it seems like he hates them with a passion because he thinks that they think they're "better" than everyone else. Do you feel the same way? If you were a die hard fan who lived in a place where you had to hear about the Redskins 24/7/365, wouldn't you be wary of "bandwagon" fans too?

I don't think Caps fans think they're better than everyone else, no. I enjoy going to Caps games.

I will admit, to this group of dear friends, that I get a tad annoyed with bandwagon Jayhawk fans at times. And I'm ashamed of this, but it's the ones who didn't attend school there but go all "we" at this time of year. Again, very ashamed. Some of these are dear friends and relatives and I'm not proud of this feeling but it's there, in my dark dark heart.

Why does no one want to acknowledge the fact that the quality of play in college basketball has fallen in the past decade. March Madness will always be exciting because of the competition and the emotion involved. But think about in the 80s and 90s when most players stayed four years. Think of all the NBA players now who could still be in college. And people think Kentucky could beat a pro team? Nonsense? They couldn't have beaten that Duke team that got creamed by UNLV in the 90s.

I think a lot of people acknowledge this. The talk of Kentucky being able to beat the Wizards, for instance, was nuts. And I say that with no great respect for the talents of the Wizards.

I would love to see this Kentucky team if all the players stuck around for four years, though. Wouldn't that be something?

You are correct in stating that Tuesday's column was only the second KU column you've written this year (BTW the Thomas Robinson column was probably the best one I've read from you). However, in this chat forum, you drop Jayhawk references like Boswell lays down stats, and while you've only written two KU-centric columns this year, there have been many other columns where you've relied upon Kansas references. There's nothing wrong with being a fan, just remember that you're not in Kansas anymore.

Believe me, I know I'm not in Kansas. It's abundantly clear.

In the chat, I never mention Kansas unless someone brings it up. Someone often brings it up. It has driven some away from the chat. That's the breaks. I don't post remarks; I answer questions. I have a slew of unanswered Kansas questions still in the basket.

And yet, I'm going to stop, because we're out of time and I want to be home for the first pitch of the Nats game. I want a day of Nats-Masters-Caps watching, and by gum I'll have it! General Tso's chicken, maybe, or Kung Pao. What a day!

(Oh, and the Nats will finish 88-74.)

I hope you all have great weekends and great holidays!

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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