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

Apr 19, 2012

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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All I can say was said by Dylan Thomas: 

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The *best* damn college basketball coach of all time - men or women both. Plus, *every* player she had that exhausted her eligiblity graduated. No other coach can say this.

Sometimes life sucks. Section 405

Yes, it does. And Pat will rage, heaven knows. I don't think she's done yet. News conference today at 1:30, for those who can watch.

And good morning, everyone! Thought I'd start with Pat; we've got a lot of ground to cover. Let's go.

Can you imagine how good this team will be when the start hitting!!!!

I like the optimism of "when." Good for you!

but how's the family in KS after Sunday?

Fine, thankfully. It's hard to believe there were 100 tornadoes in Kansas on Saturday and no loss of life. But this was a once-in-a-lifetime storm situation, a wedge of storms that is hard to describe but for once, everyone knew it was coming. They were able to clear trailer parks and other vulnerable sites. Thank goodness. My folks spent the night in the closet in the basement, the entire night, and that seldom happens. My mom has lived in Kansas for 78 years and said it was the most scared she's ever been, so that's saying something.

O goddess of the Plains and Knower of all things Great and small I was watching the FIRST PLACE Nats on MASN the other evening and in the second row of the "Lexus/Presidents " Seats behind home plate, amongst all the red shirted fans was a guy in a blue t-shirt emblazoned with white letting promoting a particular mattress company. It was pretty easy to read every time the camera showed the "behind the pitcher " shot of home plate. Even at $ 300-400 per seat ( $300 if you bought all 82 games ) that is pretty cheap advertising for how many "views" the mattress company got. So, I bet if we got a bunch of Jayhawk blue T shirts printed up with something like "Tracee Hamilton Thursdays @ 11" we could drive your numbers through the roof. You think WaPo will pop for the tickets ? Total of $25K with shirts for the whole season ! The Stlye Invitational has its own T shirts and they're for LOSERS

Well, that's certainly an idea. I don't think the Post will bite, though. I have noticed that at certain games those seats have at least been more occupied than usual, so that's good. Seeing them empty is so annoying.

Go, you amazing Nationals! I'm so thrilled. Anyway, Tracee, I read on MSNBC that Lidge has been suffering from vertigo. Any good advice for him (aside from staying away from mysterious blondes & San Francisco towers, that is!)?

Well, my advice would be not to listen to anyone who says just give it time and it will go away. At least try the treatment I had. I should never have waited five weeks. I will say I still get a little dizzy when I bend down or reach up, but nothing like what it was. I can live with it. Just won't leave out of the press box tonight at the Caps.

After three games plus an exhibition game, all I can say is "wow!" Ian Desmond has somehow turned into a really, really good shortstop instead of "Dr. Strangeglove" (apologies to Dick Stuart fans), which, having seen him play all year in 2010 and 2011 is something I'd never expected to see. Also, he's hitting like crazy. 

I think that, as a DC sports fan, I've heard so much about the potential of the up-and-coming Redskins/Wizards/Caps that I've come to dismiss it as background noise. Now we've got a team chock full of up-and-coming young players like Desmond, and they're for real, and it's taken me a little while to believe. Now I do.

Section 405

PS - The pitching's pretty good, too.

I try to be quick to admit when I'm wrong, so I'll say this: I tried to tell the anti-Ians that he would be fine if we just gave him some time. Eh, even a broken clock is right twice a day, 405. :)

The Royals are a lot like the Nats. Great farm system, good young arms, good young hitters, etc. The Nats are off to a good start, the Royals look like they want to go home already. What gives?

No official diagnosis until May, when I'll get to see them for many, many nights in a row in the basement.

How did you pass your vertigo to Lidge? Where are WP's gossip girls when you need them!!!! You two make a cute couple! When is the wedding? Congrats.

Ha! It's not contagious. If I was contagious, they'd never let me near the locker room. Two torn rotator cuffs in three years. Maybe the NATS are contagious?

Can anything be better than this? To eagerly await the game and then revel in a win--almost on a daily basis? I can't believe how just plain HAPPY this season has made me. Please don't let it end.

I will use all the powers at my disposal to see that it never ends.

Hi Tracee, Do you feel that tonight's game is a must win for the Caps? If they drop this game Boston wins this series.

Well, if they lose, they are in a tough spot, so yes, I guess that makes it a must win.

So I was at the Nats game last night -- third game in seven days, all wins! Tiiiiiny crowd on a chilly April where most people (myself included) thought it was going to be washed out. I had to convince myself three different times to make the trip in from Fairfax. Amazing how they keep finding ways to win -- almost as amazing as how little support Zimmermann gets; 16 of 36 starts with zero or one run? Ouch! I was talking to an usher last night, and he was lamenting the low crowds even with the hot start. His exact words: "Every team hits a losing streak, and this one is no different. I'd hate to see the crowds then." I know it's April and it's cold, but ... why so low crowds?

Fair and good question. April's always tough, school nights, weather, etc. But boy, folks are missing out. And as for Zimmermann -- it's almost like he's cursed. Do we need to make an offering to Jobu? Because something's weird about how they just can't give that guy a lead to save their lives.

Is it time for woman's basketball to go back to the same size ball as men or to change the size of the hoop? I think the skill level and size of the players is so much higher than it was when the change was made, that it's time to play with the same ball or change the hoop for women. I enjoy watching the passing in the women's game but sometimes I think the smaller ball has made shooting too easy.

The skill level has certainly increased, but I wonder if changing the ball size is necessary. Women's hands are, on average, still smaller than men's, which was the reason for the smaller ball.

If a change were made, it would have to be gradual or it would be a mess, I think. Anyone else?

Wait, how did you get the Royals into your basement? :-)

First, get 100 tornadoes ...

Do you know where the parade will be held when the Nationals win the World Series? Is it like always down Penn. Ave. like the Inauguration? Should they try to sweep the Series or should they try to make it a 7 game nail biter that would be more exciting for the fans?

They will sweep the Series and the parade will be down South Cap. (Beats me; can't parade down Pennsylvania any more now that it's closed, right? Independence? Are we really discussing this? Just in fun, of course...)

Pat Summitt is not just going to go home and wait for the end, which could be years from now - did she take a different job at UT?

I don't think she's going to go home and wait for anything; not her style. We'll find out more today. I'm sure she wants to spend time with her son and other family and friends, while she's able to interract. Maybe she'll write another book. I'm guessing she'll keep herself busy for as long as she can because she doesn't know any other way.

Late last year I asked if my Packers could go undefeated and repeat as SB champs AND if Ryan Braun might beat his suspension. You answered there was a chance of the first and NO CHANCE of the latter. Please tell me that the Bucks have NO CHANCE of squeaking into the 8 seed. You are truly their only hope. They cannot do it on their own.

There, a perfect example of a chance to admit when I'm wrong -- thank you! Although that Braun business is weird. The Bucks have no chance of squeaking into the No. 8 seed. There. But I don't want my feet held to the fire on that one; that was a mercy prediction.

Oh Tracee knower of all things sports, tell me the Nationals are for real and this isn't some mirage. 10-3 start, Atlanta-esque type pitching rotation, LaRoche actually hitting the ball and Jason Werth back to his old self. I should just go ahead and buy my world series tickets, right?

There appears to be a lot of room on the bandwagon, if crowds are any indication. Hop on. They are vastly improved, their rotation is smoking, LaRoche is back from labrum surgery (big deal, labrum surgery!) and Werth is hitting, although they really need more power there, still. However, I would go ahead and buy your Series tickets because it's not my money you're spending.

I believe it starts on Theodore Roosevelt Island. Wait, what?

Embarrassing admission: Always wanted to go there, never been. Worth it?

Can they fly across the city on the back of the Space Shuttle? Someone tell the Smithsonian not to lock that shuttle down - Washington might need it!

OMG, that's perfect. Except for Lidge. With vertigo, that would be unpleasant. Unless he just stares at a fixed point on the horizon.

You really have to let that number sink in a little. A 10-3 record by a Nats team! To put it into perspective, here's the date on which previous Nationals teams won their 10th game:

2005: April 24

2006: May 5

2007: May 11

2008: April 29

2009: May 8

2010: April 25

2011: April 24

At some point, the pressure will kick in, the pitching won't continue to be amazing, and the offensive problems will pull them back down. But they're already building up a cushion against some of that by winning so many of these close games, and help is on the way (Morse, Wang, Storen, Harper). This team is going to be in a pennant race this year.

There will be some bad days, but I think they can be in a pennant or wild card race, absolutely. If they can do this without Morse and Storen ...

Tracee, Do you watch the Caps games or any hockey games in general?

Um, yes.

Indy is going with Luck! It's official, RGIII to DC!

Anyone who ever thought otherwise was kidding himself. Of course Indy is taking Luck. That was all just gab.

There is a Theodore Roosevelt Island? Is it covered in big game and other manly pursuits? Do you need to start a war in order to enjoy it?

I hear the ride there is really rough.

Tracee - I am happy to report that I can now retire "Greetings from Bagram" as I am on my way back to the States. Just in time to catch some winning baseball from the Nats, it seems. Two things - one, did you see that Ivan Rodriquez officially retired? I'm sorry to see him go but it says a lot about the Nats that they can't find a place for him. Two - have you seen Boz lately? Is he bouncing off the walls with excitement over the Nats' start or is he being more cautious and reserved with his enthusiasm? Thanks!

Sorry to see Pudge retire but not surprised. And the last time I saw Boz, opening day, he was very excited. Then he pulled a hammy and he was excited but limping badly. Boz is a wonder.

We'll be glad to have you back. We need to schedule the Virginia get-together after surgery, when I'm up to it, and before the Olympics. Not a huge window. Start thinking, people!

Hi Tracee, Glad to hear you got over your case, but why did you have to give it to Brad Lidge?? Wouldn't Kilgore be a more suitable recipient?

Believe me, I wouldn't give it to anyone. Well, maybe Trebek.

As a Capitals fan, I am still taking issue with Tim Thomas delivering a blow to Backy's head, especially after reading that it should be an automatic 1 game suspension. How does that get ignored? Also, any chance Shanahan makes it past this season?

They're never going to get them all right. That said, I think Shanahan blew the Zetterberg hit early and may be overcompensating now.

and that was not in anyway a jab at you. It was entirely a jab at the Bucks, who have squandered any chance and must now rely on me asking my favorite WP sports columnist to predict them into the playoffs with a reverse double jinx.

Oh, I didn't take it as a jab; it was funny! I meant the Braun predication, though, so I have to own that one. Ownage!

Not a huge women's b-ball fan by any means, but respect must be paid. Here's how I judge her. When she started coaching women's basketball in the 70's, the sport had minimal credibility. The game had barely moved past the days where "ladies" had to stay on one half of the court and many viewed it as political do-goodism through Title IX. By the time she left, beyond all of the other advancements in the game, you could bring up the idea of Pat Summitt coaching a men's team without being laughed at or accused of promoting a gimmick. She leaves a remarkable legacy.

Nicely said.

PH was tied up in the basement last night (no television or radio there). I tied him up myself!

Frightening glimpse into the world of PH. Please tell me you untied him.

I saw the Pens-Flyers score and was confused. I was under the impression those were hockey teams, but that looked like a football score to me.

I wasn't sure that series was hockey OR football.

On my way into work this morning, at a little after 7:00, I turn to both Sports radio stations and neither is talking about the Nationals, the team with the best record in the National League today! Instead, they are talking about something a former Redskins QB said yesterday and this QB hasn't played for the Redskins in over a year. Give me a break! Can we forget about the Redskins for just a little bit and talk about the best team in the National League right now? Geesh.

This has been a familiar lament every year -- that the Nats can't get a lot of time on talk radio in this town. Not sure why that is but I am POSITIVE that that will change with a consistent winning team and a playoff run. Then the lament will be how little some of the talk radio folks know about the Nats. :) Patience.

I've got the fever and the Natitude. However, only 14,000 or so similarly inflicted showed up last night to witness another pitching gem and come from behind victory. What will it take to make a Nats game a hot ticket in DC?

Natitude apparently is not as contagious as vertigo. It'll take time. Nats are still going to be hurt by the lack of any real amenities near the ballpark but it is getting better.

I just wanted you to know that Boswell is on Twitter right now quoting Milton to demonstrate "what Twitter could be." Milton. Seriously.

Milton Bradley?

Now he's quoting John Ruskin on Twitter and I don't even know who he plays for...

Me neither. Boz is deep, I'm telling you. If anyone can revolutionize -- or kill -- Twitter, it's Boz.

Why do I get the bad feeling that Holtby is just going to collapse tonight and it's gonna be like Pittsburgh-Philly last night? Worst thing is ... there's really no one to pull him for, is there? Part of me thinks the reason he's been playing so well is that he KNOWS that -- he isn't looking over his shoulder about getting pulled because both possible replacements are injured. But I wonder if Monday's game is the crack in his mental armor.

You're borrowing trouble. The Caps don't see Holtby as delicate or breakable at all.

The Dick Stuart reference made me think of one of my favorite baseball lines. It was in reference to Sam Horn, the former Red Sox and Orioles player who, let's just say, was born to be a DH. I don't remember the original speaker but someone was asked about Sam's fielding ability and they said, "We're not even sure he can play catch."

Ha! I remember Sam Horn. He was perhaps the reason the DH was created. Or at least a good argument for it!

April -- Guinness Stout

May -- Shiner Bock

June -- New Belgium Somersault

July -- Narragansett Lager

August -- Anchor Summer Beer

September -- Guinness Black Lager

October -- Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza


I read that Pat Summitt's son is graduating from UT -- and taking a job at Marquette University! So who will be taking care of Pat at home, when she has bad spells?

Don't worry; Pat has many friends and will be well looked after. She isn't incapable of being alone, not yet, and when she is, they'll cross that bridge.

I'm 5'5" as a guy(yes, I'm short), play in a weekly basketball game can't imagine not playing with the standard basketball...but women use a different ball? Doesn't make sense to me.

It's about an inch smaller in circumference (I hope that's the right way to describe it). Again, the AVERAGE SIZE of a woman's hand is smaller than the AVERAGE SIZE of a a man's hand. Griner's hand is probably bigger than yours. We can't custom tailor basketballs to everyone.

I predict that Teddy will win the Presidents Race on the day when JZimm gets six runs scored for him by the Nats. In one game.

That would be funny. And by now, everyone would "get it."

Either he is spot on or is a whining homer.It is hard to tell with hockey as everybody believes their team is being screwed by refs.

This is true. Everyone believes that the calls are going against them, and that is true in hockey more than other sports, because a lot of the judgments on these hits are, by nature, subjective.

We are feasting on crappy teams (HOU/CUBS/METS) and beat a team that is supposed to be in contention (CIN). I really think the the next month will be more telling when we play Miami, AZ, Philly, and LA. Although Philly is really looking OLD!

Of course. You can go back and forth. The Nats are beating bad teams. The Nats are without their closer. The Nats can't keep up this ridiculous pitching. The Nats are without their best hitter. Etc. etc. That's why I like to see them play the games.

The Pack's Donald Driver sure looks like he could win the NFL another "Dancing with the Stars" mirror-ball trophy this season. Your thoughts on why pro football players are so successful in dancing competition? (Accustomed to weekly prep and to taking coaching instructions?)

Really? Don't watch this show so I'm out of the loop. I don't know, football players, especially receivers, are athletic AND acrobatic. They certainly are used to working long hours. The good ones can take coaching, yes. Beyond that, I have no idea. I do not pretend to be an expert on the TV dancing shows.

Don't know where else to comment on this, but I turned on my TV to watch the Nats on Tuesday and saw that ESPN had a 3 hour show on the NFL schedule release. Does anyone watch this? How could this possibly take 3 hours? The Nats game was over before the schedule show was, even thought the both started at the same time. I guess this is when I realize that I am no longer the demographic ESPN seeks. And get off my lawn!

Maybe the most ridiculous programming on ESPN other than the LeBron announcement show. I also can't imagine sitting through it but I also am not their demographic. I'm not sure I'm anyone's demographic!

Smooth ride via bike path along the Potomac. Nice bit of wilderness in the middle of the city. Even has a memorial. Bring your dog.

Let's pretend I'll be in a sling -- so no bike  -- and don't own a dog. Plan B?

While kayaking in the Potomac I stopped on Roosevelt Island to pee. A++! Would pee again!

Ah, Plan P! Thanks!

Totally worth it to visit the island. For large portions of the walking trails, you can forget for a moment that you're still in the middle of a big city. Plus, it's impossible not to visit the memorial in the middle and not be inspired to go fight a bear with your bare hands after reading Teddy's quotes and admiring the vaguely Soviet-looking statue of Teddy looming over the forest.

Well, I've already fought a bear but I'd sure like to see that. Okay, I've got to get out there.

I hear it has oysters in its bay. And a hill named San Juan. But watch out for the arsenic in the old ladies' elderberry wine!

Gotcha! ;)

Oh, before I forget, a very nice chatter, Steve, wrote last week to tell me I was wrong about the FOIA as it pertains to Congress. Congress wrote the FOIA law and it does not apply to Congress. So apologies for that.

And apologies again  for the stop and go and stop and go and stop nature of last week. Never again live from Nats Park. The wireless is not adequate.

I was disappointed to note that you're not listed among the DC Power Players on this weekend's taping of "Jeopardy!" in town.

Me too! I'd like an explanation! I'm sure Trebek's just afraid of me. As well he should be!

Tracee, can you believe how badly the NHL is managing itself here in the playoffs? The level of inconsistency in penalties (both in game and suspensions) is unreal. If you look at the number of times the Bruins have gone after Backstrom's head after the whistle or in an illegal manner, without ANYTHING being called, you begin to understand how he lost his cool and committed a foul (which he did do, no arguing about that). So he ends up with a game suspension, while Shea Weber gets a paltry fine for slamming a players head deliberately into the boards TWICE after the game ended. Seriously? And it is red letter law that a goalie using his blocker to hit a player in the head gets a match penalty, but I guess that doesn't apply to Tim Thomas. I wonder if the NHL will ever allow itself to become a real major league. I know that right now I'm having a hard time watching it without getting angry, the unfairness of it is not appealing. I guess you need to be either a Canadian team or an Original Six like Boston to get away with crap. -Handle Pending

HP -- I believe the league is listening to the criticism and that is one reason for Backstrom's suspension. Trouble is, he's one of the cleanest players in the league and was the victim of head abuse himself this season. However, he admits he did it, says it was stupid ... everyone loses his temper and Backstrom is no exception. It's a mess and the league definitely has a PR problem because everyone is complaining.

TR Island: haven't been there either, truth be told PH in basement: unless maybe he likes it (not that there's anything wrong with that) VA gathering: I'm so there. Something near a Metro stop, I would think. Pentagon City area would be great for me but perhaps not for others? Also, welcome home, Bagram, um, Dubai, um, what do we call you now? :-)

Must be a Metro stop, as driving will be impossible for me, especially with 66 in the state it's in. Pentagon City, Crystal City?

should have warned you that initmate relations can transmit vertigo in very rare cases. Head of ENT University of Virginia Hospital Charlottesville, VA

Dear God.

I can tell you why I don't go: Metro. Too crowded and too slow (what with all the track work). Maybe when they stop single tracking after 10 pm. I bet there are lots of DC activities that would get more of a crowd if the week night slog home afterward was not so annoying.

The track work right now is pretty bad. But it's not every weekend on every line. Just check wmata; the schedule is there. I use that to determine if I'll come down to volunteer on Saturdays. Single tracking = yes. Busing between stations = no. I agree Metro can be tough after games, but I still have yet to find it's worse than driving (with whatever Saturday is closest to March 17 being the exception).

If the person with Nats Fever was at the game ... there definitely weren't 14K there! I'd say no more than 7-8K were chilly along with me. Still a great time at the ballpark, though! By the way, can I say that I *love* the Natitude ad campaign? Great idea!

Natitude contagious! My ENT didn't tell me that, either.

I went to many empty Capital Centre and Phone Booth hockey games. Once the team was good, the fans started to come. Now you can't get a ticket for the Capitals and everyone wears red. Patience, with the Nats, it will happen. Best to enjoy sitting anywhere in the ball park for 10 bucks now, because it won't be that way for long.

Exactly. I look forward to the day when Nats fans are complaining about the stadium being too crowded to whoever replaces me on TOBCOFWP.

So, last night I had a dream. It was 2015 and the Nats had just won the World Series (after losing in 6 games the previous year). We were at the parade, and it seemed almost over, when all of the sudden a large vehicle looking suspiciously like a burgundy and gold bandwagon came around the corner, driven at top speed by RGIII. On the side it read "8-2, and Superbowl Bound." True vision or fantasy?

Fantasy. RGIII never speeds.

The run the Nats are on is incredible. Even when the pitching comes back down to earth a bit, it is still going to be amazing. Even with Morse returning at some point, and Harper adding his bat, do you think the Nats are still one impact batter away from seriously competing? How great would it have been if we'd actually gotten Fielder?

Fielder would be a really big help right now but not at the price, sadly. Or rather, the years. However, LaRoche is doing his part on the field and at the plate.

I notice that now the "cool thing" to do for some chatters is to mock the fact that the Nationals are doing well and that we are all planning our victory parade. This is the inevitable backlash to the preseason talk about how improved they would be and the first 13 games which show how improved they are. I'm just enjoying watching it, I'm not planning any victory parade or anything. But everyone should realize that when you have this much great pitching, you are in almost every game, you almost always have a CHANCE to win. Doesn't mean you will and with the offensive shortcomings of this team I don't know if they can win 95 games, but they should be in the 85-90 win range and that does put you in the playoff chase. Mock all you want chatters, I'm just going to sit back and savor being a relevant baseball team. -Handle Pending

I didn't take it as mocking as much as just having fun. And you shouldn't care anyway. Enjoy! It's fun! I once saw a 35-5 start and it was nothing but giggles and kittens.

Why is there a "women's ball" any more? And is it anatomically accurate? Seriously. If my 12 year old nephew plays with a regulation men's basketball then certainly college age women can. For pete's sake, if I can use a men's ball, so can Griner.

Again, let's remember that not all women have hands like Griner's. Your nephew's hands are probably bigger than mine. The ball was made smaller many years ago because yes, anatomically, women's hands, ON AVERAGE, are smaller than men's. Could the women switch? Sure. But it would have to be done gradually. You can't just implement it in one year. Talk about an asterisk in the books.


Again ... post-surgery. Arm in a sling. That doesn't strike me as a great idea. So I guess what I'm hearing is, wait till the shoulder heals and then get a dog and THEN go to TR Island. Well, autumn will be prettier anyway.


Has a parking lot of moderate size on GW Parkway. I like to arrive early in day. Surrounded by trees, with views of Kennedy Center, bridges, aquatic birds. Board walk over swamp. Maps available after you cross bridge.

THERE we go! Maybe a nice early Sunday morning, no traffic. I can walk over a bridge -- as long as the vertigo doesn't come back.

Okay, thanks for the TR advice and parade route planning and everything else. Big night in D.C. tonight; enjoy whatever game you're watching and let's talk next week.

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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