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

Apr 18, 2013

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

Follow @TraceeHamilton on Twitter

RIP Pat Summerall. If not the greatest, then one of the best commentators there ever was!

One of my favorites. Not a screamer, and he and Madden together were a joy to listen to.

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

I'm the guy who posted the message titled "Big-10 Hater" a couple of weeks ago. The title referred to the original poster who bragged that he bet $500 that not a single BiG-10 team would even make it to the 3rd round. The reason for my post was to question why you didn't nail this guy for such a ridiculous bet (the 1st or 2nd best conference in the NCAA that has 7 teams in the tournament won't get even one team past the 2nd round?). You then went on to refer to me as an idiot - kind of read like one of the people in the comments section on a political topic. Given the sorry state of business for newspapers, calling your readers (and a deadwood edition subscriber for 15 years) an idiot might not be the best idea.

Okay, I'll start with an apology, because you are right, I shouldn't have called you an idiot. Regular readers of this chat will tell you I don't usually indulge in name calling.

But your first post said I didn't call the original poster on his ludicrous bet (and you repeat that claim again) -- yet I did -- and you claimed *I* said the Big Ten was not the best conference in the country -- I didn't. In short, I was pissed. I think I had good reason to be pissed. It's like you didn't read the my first answer OR the followup.

This post reads like the full story, but it's not, and you know it and I know it and regular readers know it. I'm not going to dig up the old answer yet again.

So I'm sorry I called you an idiot. I am sure you will jump right in with an apology for being wrong in accusing me not once, but twice, of something (well, two somethings, really) I simply did not say.

I guess all the "fans" that were calling for Stras to be traded and Zim to go to first base NOW after the drubbing by the Fish are again looking forward to the WS after yesterday's 6-1 win. Amazing how quickly people panic or celebrate. 162 games people. 1-6-2. This team still has to gel ... yes, believe it or not, last year was last year, this is a new year, the beginning of the season, and they still have to gel. Wait and watch. Expectations will be surpassed.

Were fans really calling for Stras to be traded? Huh. Zim to first base is going to have to happen someday if his shoulder doesn't come back but November surgery/back in April is pretty impressive (says the woman who still can't lift her arm all the way over her head after 10 months). Thank God I'm not playing the hot corner.

The only thing I'll say in defense of the panic folks is that the Nats did NOT look good against Atlanta, a team in their division. Well, poor Detwiler looked good. Someone said on the radio this morning that Detwiler "couldn't beat Atlanta." Well, HE could. The rest of 'em couldn't. I was happy for him to get a win even if it's just beating up on the poor Marlins.

I wrote about this at the beginning of the season -- expectations make people crazy. It's easier to follow a team that has no shot of going anywhere. I have a lot of experience with this.

Hi Tracee, I find it funny that every single time you said the Caps are out of it, then all of a sudden they go on a hot streak. Then when you applaud them they take a step backwards. Anywho, let's make it 9 in a row tonight vs OTT.

As I freely acknowledged in Tuesday's paper. (Although I was hardly alone in those feelings.) They've been playing very well, and they are fun to watch again. Tonight is big.

I think a lot of people had the same reaction. Not one of shock but one of sadness. Bostonians are resiliant people and will get through this. I really hope they catch the scums that did this and throw the key out. Or heck, feed em to the sharks!

I was thinking about proper punishment. How about turning the guy or guys loose amongst the Southies and see what happens? I am seldom for vigilante justice, but there are a few exceptions.

Feeling a bit testy in the wake of the NBA draft declarations?

No, why? You mean McLemore?

My family is a regular consumer of minor-league, college and high school sports (average total price for the fam: $25). Our kids follow the Caps feverishly, but $50 a (nosebleed) ticket is just too much for us to pay, even for a very special night. On a lark, I checked the secondary market for tix to Tuesday's game with the Leafs. Four tickets, $25 each. This we could do, and we did. A great time was had by all (except for the Leafs, who appeared totally uninterested in playing a hockey game that night). I remember "Royals Nights" on Mondays and Thursdays (half-off upper deck seats, so I think they cost my parents $3 or $4 apiece back in the 70s), and while I knew better, sometimes I thought the only time the Royals played at home were on those days of the week. I guess the coupon-clipper sports fanatic genes have been passed on to another generation. Anyway, for those who watch their sports $$ the way we do, there are deals. And there's nothing like live hockey.

That's great that you were able to find tickets at that price. I agree, hockey is more fun in person. Although from my press box seat I'm too short to see the ice anyway, so I end up watching the big screen. Nuts.

Not so much a question but more of a comment, I guess. As a runner (and one who just signed up for a fall marathon), the boston bombing isn't going to deter me from running. However, it does give me significant pause in encouraging family and friends to come and watch/enjoy the day. No matter what new security measures are put into place for athletic events open to the public, someone intent on doing damage will find a way. Sad day all around.

You are right; we go through our days with the illusion of security. And every now and then that illusion is shattered and we have to start building it again.

What a tough kid. Still feeling ill and goes out and has a great game. If he surrounds himself with the right people, and stays injury free, he will be a HOF!

Oh, no question. Only an upside to that guy. He's amazing.

Adam Oates is a great coach! He has made Ovechkin a better all around player. The 2 coaches before Oatsie failed in accomplishing this. As much as I'm not a big fan of GMGM, I must say that the hire was a great one!

Tell it to the folks who wanted to fire him 10 games in. :) Ovechkin seems happier than he has in awhile (and that's based on observations only). I think Oates is a good coach as well. Hunter didn't want to be here; that's not who you want as coach.

Hi Tracee, This is more of a comment because I'm not sure you'll agree or disagree with me. I'm a Pens fan living in DC. I read that Oates thinks Ovi should be MVP. Putting aside the stats of Crosby, I couldn't believe what I read. What Oates said is indicative of the Caps and their fans. There isn't consistency, especially from their captain. They finally show up for work and win games in a division of mostly bottom feeding teams. Sports writers have noticed this too. I'm not trash talking here. I'd actually support Ovi for MVP if he actually deserved it, actually put in a full season of work instead of limping and then waking up. He did this last year. I'm surprised Oates did say to hand out the Hart and the Stanley Cup for such a great end-of-the season effort. Happy Pens Fan

I think you're wrong, not in your conclusion, though. If a COLUMNIST wrote that, it would be puffery. A coach saying it is a way to communicate to this guy that he believes in him, a way to motivate a guy who's not the easiest guy to motivate. That's all Oates was doing. Coaches do that all the time. I don't think it's at all a slight to Oates. He has a reason for anything and everything he says publicly, as do most coaches. Ovechkin has turned his season around in an amazing fashion, but no one with his start should be MVP and I think Oates knows that perfectly well.

And yes, it was hideous. We judged a classic family squabble over inheritance, and awarded $350K to the plaintiffs because the idiot husband of one of the defendants thought he was the smartest guy in the room and could hose 4/7 of the heirs out of their shares. Here's what we learned: just because you're the smartest guy in the room, that doesn't mean that no one else in the room is smart. Oh, and take snacks, because courthouse concessions are closer to ballpark prices than you think. TBHitW

I KNEW you'd be the foreman. And I think your standard of judgment is used more often than we think. I wonder if there are studies showing that juries tend to side with lawyers who aren't, say, uh, I'm trying to think of a word I can use.

The one civil case I sat on, I was an alternate who got kicked into the jury and right up to foreman. It was a younger woman trying to claim sexual harassment against a codger (and that's a kind term) she had worked for. Her lawyer wanted men on the jury; the codger's lawyer wanted working women. Smart move. Working women know sexual harassment vs. gold-digging. Wasn't even close. But what an eye-opener. And what an unbelievable bore.

Good you have you back amongst us.

What can you say? Hope he can keep this up.

Talent rewarded, finally.

Yes Ms. H: The Nats were swept by Atlanta, they're just in 2nd place in the division, and "Stras" has a losing record. It's all over, so we better start talking (and talking and talking and talking) about RGIII's knee. All I can add is: IT'S APRIL PEOPLE!! LIGHTEN UP!!! AHG

It's always Redskins season; you know that, AHG. :) The Nats will be fine, I think, but there are some worries there. Dan Haren is one of them. I think I mentioned the others.

It's a long season. I'm concerned that the Nats haven't figured out yet why Zim is booting the throws from third, that the bullpen isn't yet in midseason form, that Gio of 2013 isn't Gio of 2012 yet. "Yet" - that's the key word. I have some degree of confidence that these problems will be solved at some point. Why do I feel differently about Haren? Both of his starts have been worthy of the 2009 Nats staff - sheer misery to endure. There have been no flashes of goodness to relieve the gloom. Is it too early to give up on Haren?

And 405 agrees with me! I don't think it's too early, not yet, but he had nothing on the ball in his last start.

O goddess of the Plains and Knower of all things Great and small Maybe just an observation today. Within hours of the Boston Marathon bomb blasts, the NFL announced that it was putting extra security measures in place for its DRAFT show. Hubris? Self-centeredness? Outrageous? Inability to have some other sports event move the NFL off the front page-- for ANY reason ? I have a different word, sickening. I know they are trying to be a year round, year long entity/fixture on the sports scene , but this is WAY over the top.

Why announce it? Why not just do it? I don't blame them for wanting more security, and if the league was going to institute, say, metal detectors at all stadiums, that's announcement-worthy because that affects hundreds of thousands of fans. The draft show, as near as I can tell, hosts primarily drunken Jets fans (or so it seems from the cheering and booing, mostly booing). If they really wanted to improve that show, they'd tighten it up, have someone interesting make the announcements (we've discussed this before) and keep the drunks out. Moving it to Thursday night just added to the alcohol factor, much like moving games to Thursday nights. And yes, they can't stand not to be in the news. And they seldom aren't, so I'm not sure why they can't relax a little.

Hi Trac! Hope you are doing well today. First, a tip of the fedora to Pat Summerall. I grew up listening to him work with Tom Brookshier, when he was a lot looser and a lot of fun; later, when he worked with John Madden, he was the perfect pro and a great complement to Madden's explosive style. Second, although I really liked your Glenn Close reference, I am just enjoying the Caps' late run. It seems that they are recovering from the lack of camp and getting the new system in place. I still think they have zero shot at the conference finals, let alone the Cup, but it's good fun while it lasts, and it augurs well for next year. Rico

Yes, Tom Brookshier; he was a great partner to Summerall as well. And I agree about the Caps' chances, although sometimes it's teams like this that sort of come out of nowhere who surprise you. However, they are dependent on power play goals and there are far fewer penalties called in the playoffs so that may hurt them.

Looks like the Capitals have found their mojo!

Looks like. The short season is playing in their favor now.

Nats are tanking, Caps are soaring. Are we on a teeter-totter?

Feels like it. Oh, and the Wiz are over.

Did he earlier broadcast with Tom Brookshier? Yet I haven't seen any mention of Tom in the Pat Summerall obits.

Rico's all over it...

Is this the last year they're in the lottery? I think so, but there have been too many "they've turned the corner" moments over the last 20 years for a shellshocked DC sports fan to be sure. Do you think the Wizards make the playoffs next year?

I think so. They were close this year with a lot of games lost to injury.

Tracee, I'm pretty confident Zimmerman will get it together but at this point it has to be mental. He makes spectacular, off balance throws that are right on the money. Give him a second to plant and think about it and it's anybody's guess where it's gonna go. He's my favorite player but I'm afraid he's becoming a head case. I really hope he figures it out.

You may be right.

Bom dia, Tracee -- Hoje, você está em Português! TBHitW

The cut-and-paste option doesn't help the Portuguese. :)

I have guilt. Wilson Ramos is a great guy and awesome player who seems snake bit and I like him fine but ... I really like Kurt Suzuki and enjoy seeing him play every day. Is that wrong?

Nope. Embarrassment of riches.

Is it just me, or has the rise in technology actually made the game-watching experience worse? I mean, on the one hand we have these great giant HDTV's that can show you the letters in the player's ink and the cool yellow first-down line. On the other hand, there's so much junk on the screen, so much screaming by the attention-hound announcers, and so much extraneous Cleatusy junk that I find myself less and less likely to watch.

I find the in-game experience still tolerable but the pregame is tough to take. I used to enjoy it  but not anymore. I usually just skip it.

If not for some letdowns by his teammates, he would be 3-0. And if not for a very poor call at the plate he would have a ludicrous 0.45 ERA (instead of a ridiculous 0.90 ERA).


Great line -- Is that yours, or did you read it on a plaque at the airport?

Ha! "To further your illusion of security, please form two lines and remove your shoes."

Reminds of the time Michael Jordan was flu-ridden, puking on the bench and scoring 50 points in the game. Some people just have it. Like people of Boston.

Harper's that guy. He's just got it. I hope everyone in town gets a chance to see him in person because he's one of those guys about whom you'll want to say, "I saw him in person" one day. I don't feel that way about very many athletes.

Someone just turned on water in my house somewhere, which is odd in that I live alone. So if the chat suddenly stops and I don't sign off, someone please call the sports department. Thanks.

My son wants to be a reporter, just like his mom (God help him). When he saw the press box at Verizon, he changed his mind and decided he'd rather be a mascot because that way he could see more of the game. Five-year-olds can be brilliant sometimes.

I am seriously considering bringing a phone book to sit on, except for the part about having to carry a phone book. It's a very nice box but it's not conducive to the media. That's not a whine, by the way. I don't believe in whining about accommodations. It's my fault for being short. On the other hand, covering practices at Kettler -- the best practice setup for reporters in town. The work room is abominable but the access is great.

I was out of town last week, so that's why you didn't get any mention of Tyler Clippard (well, that's done!). I really missed you and the chat a lot. BTW thank you to your KC Royals for shutting out the Braves! I have a question--why do most baseball players wear those necklaces? And a comment--The Fan Cave has put out a list of the 10 best baseball movies. One nobody seems to remember that I enjoyed when I was very young is Fear Strikes Out, but I was half in love with Tony Perkins. He was great (and he died way too young).

Fear Strikes Out -- that's the Jim Piersall story? The necklaces we've discussed -- I keep meaning to ask Drew why he does it. He's smart enough to know better. But they are clearly sold on the power of those things. Clip looked like Clip last night, didn't ya think?

I think the Detroit Tigers just slept in the clubhouse last night.

Lotta bench guys getting a chance... although they'll be tired too.

I've complete Marine Corps Marathon in 2011 and 2012; Rock and Roll Washington DC 2012, and now Paris 2013. Four in two years. I'd resigned myself to taking the summer off but feeling solidarity with the Boston runners that didn't get to finish. Maybe Amsterdam in September. Talk me out of it!

I think marathons will be safer in the next few months than they've ever been or will be. So if you want to go, go. Remember how we felt about flying right after 9-11? I drove out to Kansas that October and everyone thought it was because I was afraid to fly, but I was giving my car to my nephew. Just weird how it worked out.

Playing .600 ball. That's 97 wins. I'll take it.

Yup. Playing .600 ball with a lot of hiccups, too. Gio isn't always going to look like he looked in his last start. At least one should assume so. Haren is either going to find it or be gone. And so forth...

So my fastball tops out at 68, but I've got a brutal 65 mph change. Oh, and my curve goes from 2 to 3. The Nats are desperate, so I'm a lock to get some starts in July, right?

I know *I* couldn't hit off you! But that's probably not the standard we're looking for. Stay by the phone. McCatty may be in touch.

It's all over! World Series, here we come! We just ... amazing the difference an 8-6 record looks in different contexts.

Yup. It all depends on your perspective.

Tracee-- any opinion on the bball coaching skills of Joe Dooley, who is on his way from Kansas to FGCU?

You read my mind -- I was just looking at Gary Bedore's piece on this. Dooley's been an assistant at KU forever. He's learned from one of the best. I think it's great for him, not so great for us.

Concussions/injuries will be the end of football as we know it. The league knows it, and they are very afraid. Expect near term actions by the NFL to be designed for maximizing exposure now, because there isn't a long term future they can see yet.

When people first started predicting this, I scoffed, but I'm not so skeptical any more.

Isn't it "jell"?

Yes. However, I don't like to turn this into an episode of "The Grammar Police," the only show turned down by every major and cable network.


Does that include the hideous Fox animated football robots? I hate them with a passion.

I think that is the reference; I think that thing is named Cleatus. Or Cleetus. I don't know how to spell it, and man, do I not care.

Pets? Yeti? Mitch McConnell? My sump pump died yesterday (bad) so I am very paranoid about water today.

I don't know. I don't want to leave the computer to find out. The cat didn't do it; he's too skinny. It sounded like the fawcet on my porch. I guess I should be worried.

Good coverage here from last night's Bruins-Sabres game and the tributes from both fans and the teams.

There have been a lot of nice moments, like major league parks playing "Sweet Caroline." Tragedy brings out the best in us. If we could figure out a way to bring out the best without the tragedy part, wouldn't life be great?

Jeez people, if you really believe this about a team that's 9-6 in mid-April, please stop watching baseball until Labor Day Thanks!

I don't think anyone here seriously believes that. Lot of joshing.

I remember Andre Agassi in a major tennis match running off the court to vomit into a decorative urn on the sidelines and then coming back & winning! As a sidelight, I'm glad he & Steffi Graf found happiness together.

Agassi always threw up when he played here and Sampras hit a potted plant one time, too, I think. I nearly threw up COVERING the Legg Mason.

Uninvited visitor? Plumbing leak? Cat playing with faucet? Don't keep us in suspense!

The answer is ... Orkin! Do you think they can stop the cicadas? Just kidding; I know nothing can.

I received an e-mail this morning that referred to a "complexicating situation." I'd applaud the creativity involved, but I'm not sure there was any.

You'd hope it was deliberate but you know it wasn't.

How much longer can Davey make excuses for Danny? His numbers have been and continue to be horrid. Sure he's a +Defense player but the strikeouts and plate discipline leave a lot to be desired.

I don't honestly know. I think they feel like he's so close but he just never turns the corner. Defensively he's not the best second baseman I've ever seen but he's quite good. I don't know when the Nats give up on him.

Show of hands: How many think Tiger Woods reasonably thought that dropping the ball two yards away was within the ambit of the rule? How many think Tiger figured he wouldn't get caught?

I don't think Woods is a cheater on the golf course. I think he has great respect for the game. I think he confused or melded two of the rules and just screwed up. If he was trying to cheat, why in the world would he have described his cheating in three separate interviews? I also think he should have been DQ'd and failing that, I think he should have withdrawn. But I know that's not a popluar opinion. That rule was never intended to save a golfer in that situation.

I'm apparently one of those bandwagon fans because I didn't start following the Nats until 2011, but even I know that April is waaaaay too early to worry about the rest of the season. Every sport is the same, whether it's baseball, football, hockey, auto racing - the team that gets hot at the right time is the one who wins it all. Still not feeling Haren, though.

I think there is worry about some of the parts, but not the sum of the parts, if you will.

Just kidding - I'm no young whippersnapper.

Maybe I could steal one out of a pay phone booth. Oh, wait...

Go pop a tag at your nearest thrift shop: get one of those old-school hardside attache cases for a few bucks. You can sit on that, see the game, and sneak home some high-end press box food. TBHitW

Not a bad idea. Except I wouldn't bring that food into my home. Nothing up there I can eat anyway. Grrrr.

He did because he got a much-needed clip. His hair had been blowing in the wind last few times he pitched.

Yes, that's it.

We live with a whole host of dangers, many of them unknown. Please do not let one or a few deranged individuals affect the way you live.

Marathons also safer than grain elevators. Safer than driving on I-66.

I had the flu once when I was 22 and I felt half dead. And you don't normally puke with the flu. You puke with a stomach virus. Either way, the dude is amazing.

You wrote in about this before, didn't you? This is the gel/jell of illnesses. I'm quite sure you are right, I just think it's funny that I remember this. Have you ever read the book on the beginning of the influenza epidemic in America? Chilling. Once you read that, you'll know that you've never really had the flu. However, flu is a huge catchall phrase.

I'd get up and check. One Sunday morning I heard water running and thought my visiting sister-in-law was taking a shower. Then I heard my wife and SIL talking in the living room. The running water was due to the bottom falling out of the hot water heater. Small lake in basement before I could get to the cut-off valve.

Good gravy. Luckily, I'm three feet from the water heater so I know that's not it. Need a new one of those. Dreading that.

I would submit that human cloning cannot get here fast enough, because we needed to clone an in-his-prime Pat Summerall, along with Keith Jackson and The Golden Throat himself, Verne Lundquist. The consummate "Pro's Pro", all three of 'em. Sigh, maybe it won't be too late for the other two!

May we please add Vin Scully? And maybe somebody kept some of Ernie's cells around somewhere.

Is my memory slipping, or after 9/11, didn't all the baseball parks play "New York, New York" too?

I know Boston did and I'm pretty sure the others did, too.

I hate him with a fire-y passion. I seriously consider throwing things at the TV when he comes on. And the Twitter account is even more worthless (if that's possible). Thanks for letting me get that out.

He has a Twitter account? My estimation of Twitter would drop if that were possible.


Sure, he's arrogant. I'm not blind to the man's flaws; I just don't think this is one of them. You'd have to be stupid, and he is not stupid either.

Plus, he's a GWU guy. So he's got that going for him. Which is nice.

Aw, that's a movie quote my editor and I use all the time. One of the greats.

Wait, is this my editor? Rennie, get back to work!

Tracee - We have had a couple of times where some miscreants have turned on our water faucet on the front of our town house, usually in the early morning hours after the local bars close and they stumble to their cars to put everyone at risk. We eventually had to start using the shutoff valve inside the house and just turn off the flow to outside. I hope you aren't getting the same stupid behavior. -Handle Pending

Boy, I hope not either, because I sort of covered up the access to that faucet. Wasn't perhaps thinking clearly. Well, you could still kinda get to it. Naw, it's fine. I'm worrying about nothing. I did have my porch enclosed and I sure love that. I used to get birds every spring, right over my front door. Adorable babies would hatch, the cats would be enthralled ... and then the crapping began. Yikes.

Yeah, I get that every time I open my statement too.


Forget the flu. We should use "diptheria." Anything that inspires a sporting event like the Iditarod ought to be immortalized somehow.

God, what a scourge. (It's diphtheria, by the way, before some spelling bee champ writes in.) It hit my little home town several times in the 1870s and 1880s and wiped out lots of children. One family lost every child, no one could attend the funerals and their house and belongings were burned. No one was sure how else to stop it. I just shudder to think of diphtheria.

O goddess An interview with Pat Summerall recounted how he learned his clipped , just the facts style from the TV voice of the Packers , Ray Scott--well before YOUR time . Starr , Dowler; touchdown . Later Pat would say Simms , Bavaro, touchdown. The friends who intervened for Pat and got him into Betty Ford saved his life and career. RIP

Great minds ....

If you say that he did not intend to cheat, the 2 strokes is sufficient punishment. If he did intend to cheat, DQ him.

I get hung up on the scorecard signing. I know what you're saying; that's just always been one of golf's hallowed rules.

I work in public health and laugh every time an article is written on the flu. Stomach viruses suck. Influenza sucks. But I couldn't even get out of bed with influenza. I was able to with the stomach virus, but it was only to run to the bathroom. Good times!

What about la grippe? How'd you do with that? (I just like the name.)

The great thing about Pat Summerall was he to describe the action and then shut up. You could actually hear the sounds of the game when he did the play by play. Too many play by play and color analysts feel they must fill every second with a comment. As good as Summerall was with Madden he was even better with the former Eagle Tom Brookshier. Brookshier had the best inside football stories.

think alike...

Tyler Moore & Shark Bernadina got to start & got some good playing time. Steve Lombardozzi did really well, too. Most clouds do have silver linings. At least we don't have snow like Colorado!

And Kansas. (Just talked to mom.)

Sure. Any of us could be hit by a bus in any moment, but we have to put that possibility out of our minds or we'd be unable to function. Just because we have to add bombs, assault weapons, hijacked airliners, and drunk Jets fans to the list of terrors doesn't change the fundamental calculus; it just raises the probability from .000001 to .000017. Some folks take that increase in stride while others have a harder time with any increase at all. Patton Oswalt is right: bad things just remind you how good people are. Rico, again.

Patton Oswalt is a seriously funny guy. Okay, you can't tell it from that quote, but still.

And that's a good place to stop. We all pledge to live our lives, stop obsessing about the Nats, and be good and kind citizens without prompting. Right? Well, it's worth a shot.

Have a wonderful 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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