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

Jun 06, 2013

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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You know, I've been following baseball since my Daddy took me to Connie Mack Stadium in the late 50's. So I know that a 1 run nail-biter can follow a 10 run bashing but they each count as only one win or one loss. So, had I not picked up a paper, checked the net, or listened to radio and TV yesterday, last night's result would have been just one loss. Unfortunately, everyone with an opinion said that Tuesday night's walk off was THE turning point, THE catalyst, THE game which was going to turn the team -- and the season --around. No question. Just [SIGH]. PS Loved Trouble with the Curve. I think baseball is a great sport for Dads to bring their little girls to watch. I believe you and I share that memory.

This is the topic of my column, which is for Saturday this week, not Friday, for whatever reason. The idea that that sac fly was the turning point was kind of crazy.

(I haven't seen "Trouble with the Curve" -- the reviews were so bad I didn't bother!)

And good morning to all! A couple of housecleaning items. I will be chatting next week but then Barry Svrluga will be taking over on June 20 and Dave Sheinin on the 27th. I'll be back the following week and will try to chat on July 3, although I'm guessing it'll be pretty light. But I knew I couldn't go three weeks without saying hi. If no one joins me I'll say hi and sign off.

Also got this via email from a regular chatter (I didn't ask if I could use his name so I won't). Er, never mind, I'm not cutting and pasting that because I seem to recall doing that once and the entire chat blowing up. So to paraphrase, he doesn't think Don Sutton is anti-Nats and that he's heard him on XM specifically say "not the gnats". "On the occasions when we get the Braves feed  on XM when the Nats play I've always felt Sutton expressed an affinity for the Nats and his time in DC," quoth he. 

Let's get started.


So, last time you were here the Royals were playing pretty well and you were headed to Kansas. Do you have an update for us?

I am not at all sure they won a game while I was home. If they did, I was not privileged to see it. So Let's Go Royals had better brace himself, because I'm going back for two weeks.

I have a question about the roster moves - not about the baseball merits, but purely technical. Recently, Anthony Rendon was "recalled" from Syracuse, while Ian Krol was "selected" from Harrisburg. Jeff Kobernius was "selected" from Syracuse earlier, so "recalled" vs. "selected" doesn't seem to be about AAA vs AA. In the agate transactions section I've also seen team x "purchased the contract of" a player I thought they already owned. Can you shed some light on this?

Well, Rendon was "recalled" because he'd been called up before. "Selected" is a way of saying "called up" but no compensation is involved. I don't think major league teams have to purchase contracts anymore.

With all this angst over the offensive nature of the name for the Washington football team, why isn't there the same level of concern about the tomahawk chop, which is at a minimum, equivalent to a throat slashing gesture, which has been banned in most sports.

The chop has always been viewed as more acceptable than Redskins just as Indians has been viewed as more acceptable. Redskins describes a group of people based on the color of their skin (or a fictionalized idea of same). That would be unacceptable with another group. I think that's why Redskins is in a class of its own in terms of the list of offensive names, gestures, etc.

I know it is old news now, but can you imagine the headline "Notre Dame QB Golson suspended over poor academic judgment" ever appearing with a SEC team like Alabama or LSU? It was nice to finally see a university actually suspend a great player at a very important position (QB) for a whole semester (season). Instead of making ND look bad, I think this actually makes them look good.

Yes, it's nice to see, but let's not canonize the program that sent the kid up in the faulty tower to die, either. Good things and bad things happen at schools from all sorts of conferences.

We certainly aren't playing well, injuries are disrupting things, and the team is now in a below .500 hole in 3rd place in the NL East. Our minor league call ups involve AA players who look a bit rattled (with a few exceptions). We have a first and second baseman looking lost in left field and a young, injury prone, third baseman playing second. The AAA pitcher who may be called up for Stras has pretty terrible stats over the past few seasons. Man, could we use some luck and a win streak! The depth of talent in this organization wasn't supposed to look like this!

There are reasons to worry. You've listed a lot of them.

Blocks a shot by Malkin, breaks his leg, keeps killing the penalty.

Hockey players are tough, no doubt.

Is there any hope for things to improve? This team just can't establish any consistency. One night they come from behind to win in the 9th for the first time this season, the next they get blown out by the lousy METS!! They constantly take strikes and swing at balls!! They drive me crazy!!

Yes, it's gotta be tough to be a fan of this team. And the crazy thing is, they could go on a great hot streak ... or hover near .500 the rest of the way. They are not an easy team on which to get a handle.

I really don't feel like listening to Nats worrying about there team today (and I have a meeting ...) At least The Royals are no longer 0-June. When is the season opener for football again? Let's Go Royals

Assume you mean Nats FANS worrying about their team. And you certainly don't have to listen. Although in fairness they listen to you worry about the Royals!

Hey, that Krol kid looked pretty impressive last night....

There you go!

Tracee, How will the Washington Post pay-wall effect those of us who log on to participate in live chats, like this one? Will this count as one of my 20 free visits, and will more than one question or comment count as two visits? Thanks!

The chat will count as a "click". Whether refreshes and multiple questions and answers will count as well is something I will have to find out. If refreshing chats and questions count as clicks, then I'm guessing that will be the end of the chat. I know some of you have a home subscription, so you won't have to pay digitally, but a lot of you don't. So I have fired off a question to a guy who should know. I'll try to get an answer by the end of the show.

More and more it's looking like the Nats messed up by not going "all-in" last year with Stras in the playoffs and making that last push to win it all. You never know what may happen in sports (and life, for that matter), but when you have the chance to catch lightning in a bottle, you need to go for it. There are no guarantees that you will get that chance again. Maybe the Nats turn this season around, there's still plenty of time, but the injuries are worrisome and the lack of production from some of the guys that were being counted on doesn't look good.

I still don't agree, nor am I convinced they would have gone much further, but it's certainly a topic for debate. Everyone, feel free to chime in!

Tracee - simple question. Do you agree that the NHL Playoffs are the most dramatic postseason of the four major sports? Of course, if you disagree, I will lose all respect for you. 8<D

Hmmmmm. I don't think it's that simple. In some years the NBA Finals have been terrific. (Not so much recently.) In some years the baseball postseason is terrific. The NFL is hard to compare because the games are bunched together and a week apart. It's apples and oranges and peaches and pears, to me. Consistently, the hockey playoffs are exciting but there is still a large segment of the population who doesn't know they are happening. I don't know, like I said, I am not sure I can give you the answer you want, but not sure I disagree. I do dislike trying to put "most" or "best" labels on things. What's most dramatic to you might be the biggest bore to someone else. And that's the way it should be.

Even in '10 and '11 when the Nats were still losing, at least they were entertaining to watch. We could be sure of a few great come from behind wins interspersed between wincing losses. But now...sigh. We are more likely to lose a game in the 9th than win one. What in the world happened??

The bullpen chemistry is messed up, I think, with the addition of Soriano (and that's not a knock on him; he isn't the problem; it's just chemistry). It would also help if the team could score runs. Then they wouldn't have to worry about the ninth inning.

I find the whole "controversy" over the Redskins name nothing more than the liberal sports media trying to push a social agenda. The polls all side with keeping the name, but the PC media won't let the issue die.

It's hardly an issue created by the "PC media." I also think consistently labeling the media as "liberal" is hilarious. You'd be surprised. But you are not going to believe that, and I'm not going to waste my time trying to convince you. You have your opinion about the Redskins name. Other people's differ. Why is that such a bad thing? And why are you moaning to me about it? I have yet to write a  word on the subject, despite my liberal media agenda.

Quite a year for K-State: football team picked 6th in the conference, finishes tied for 1st; basketball team picked 5th, finishes tied for 1st; baseball team picked 9th, finishes 1st. All three coaches named Coach of the Year. The 'Cats are big underdogs in Corvalis this weekend, but don't count them out! - K-Stater

Would I ever? I saw a lot of "Cardiac Cats" T-shirts floating around Kansas when I was home. Very impressive.

Hey, it's me, the OP on that topic. I didn't get it in in time, but I tried to point out that it may have been the play-by-play guy and not Sutton who said that. So maybe we should redirect our (you?) I'm not a Gnats fan...) at the other guy? Or maybe this is the perfect internet argument: somebody alleges somebody else said something, and some other somebodies are upset...TBHitW

Yes, except that neither party seems upset and the discourage has been civil. That means it is not the perfect internet argument -- no name calling and hysterical generalizations! Come on!

When people tell me that the name of the NFL team in Washington is not racist but it's honoring (or something like that), I ask them if they were face-to-face with a Native American would they call them "redskin"? If they say no (100% response), I ask why since it's not a racist term in their opinion. They have no response.

There is something so visceral about a team's name. I understand the affection and even obsession with it. I really do. I can also understand why people are actively trying to change it. I also know that it is NEVER going to happen unless court-ordered, and I sure don't see that happening right away. Right now, it seems like an issue going nowhere.

Here are the two problems with all the umbrage (and I'm the furthest thing from an OSU fan you'll find outside Ann Arbor): (1) He was joking with boosters, and (2) he spoke the truth. Most SEC'ers *are* illiterate. TBHitW

Ouch! I am not a Gordon Gee fan after his remarks re Tressel, which I found more offensive (and me a Catholic!).

I think it has to do with status on the 40 man roster.

Yes, you are probably right. I tried to look up a quick answer and couldn't find one. There are also limits to the number of times you can be sent up and down, and a million other things. We need a primer.

A NEW RECORD! (I would not annouce yourself in the airport ...) :^) Let's Go Royals!

Yeah, no worries. With Brett on the bench again, everything should be fine. :)

"that he's heard him on XM specifically say "not the gnats"." Um, if he's on radio, how would a listen discern that he said "gnats" (the insects) instead of "Nats" (the baseball team)?

He could tell via the context of the discussion. Obviously you can't tell the difference when the two words are said, but clearly they were discussing Nats vs. Gnats.

I've been reading the Post for more than 50 years. I've subscribed for many of those years, although since I now live in Stafford Co. I don't, as the bulldog edition doesn't cover the late night sports. I use the Post regularly as a source of information and entertainment. I'm working a retirement gig as a substitute teacher (for entertainment and give back purposes not financial). Do I get free on-line as a sub? I can find another web site to get all the things I get from the Post. I'm only guessing, but I suspect the readership of the web page is going to plummet drastically which will affect the advertising business more than the Post will recoup in user fees. I see this as a big mistake. There is so much free content on the internet I don't see this as working out well for the Post. Just my 2 cents.

Well, the money made on advertising on the internet is not even close to what people assume. A lot of the smartest people in this business have been trying for years to figure out a way to monetize their web content and this is the best we have done. Right now, the content of the paper feeds the web. When the paper is gone, so is the income -- and thus so is the Post. And while yes, you can find a lot of content that the Post provides, remember that you are not going to find reporting on government and other things that newspapers do and not many others do, or not as well. I don't like the state of things one bit, but I don't have any better idea and I know better than anyone here the financial realities of what is happening.

" discourage has been civil." Actually, that's pretty hilarious, if you think about it...

Oh, did I write that? Instead of discourse? Well, if that's the worst thing I do today I will have had a pretty good day.

Was your family safe during the recent spate of killer tornadoes?

Yes, for the most part. There was a terrible one between where my folks used to live and where they live now (near Tescott and Bennington, for the Kansans in the crowd). It was a mile wide and was on the ground about 45 minutes. Mercifully it missed both towns (because both would be completely wiped out by a tornado of that size) and didn't kill anyone. But a lot of livestock loss. My cousin's ranch was hit and all the cattle were found in a ravine, wrapped in barbed wire. Their cattle as well as cattle from far away. I'm sure they lost some outbuildings as well as he has a big operation. My folks spent some time in the basement but Salina was spared.

What all the folks who keep on about Strasburg's shutdown last year seem to have forgotten was that, in August/September last year, he was absolutely awful. He'd never pitched that many innings before in his life, and was just washed up for the year. The result of letting him pitch when he was worn out would not have been good, either immediately or long term.

Yes, this is why I'm not sold on the argument. He was wearing down and it showed.

While we will never know what difference it would have made to have Strasburg for the playoffs last year, I think it would not have really made a difference. He looked pretty worn out his last couple of starts and I think he would have been ineffective in the playoffs. He has never pitched that many innings in a season and coming off major surgery just compounds the difficulty of building up the strength to do that. I agreed with the decision then and will not go revisionist on it. I'd rather have 5-10 years of him with chances to win every year than risk making him Mark Prior II last year. -Handle Pending

Another voice...

Still thinking the Nats are better than the Orioles?

Trying to remember when I ever said they were? Maybe I did.

"Redskins describes a group of people based on the color of their skin .. That would be unacceptable with another group." Unlike the terms "black" and "white," which appear regularly in this paper? But in this culture, neither of the other groups is associated with ferocity and physical prowess like the Indian nations were in the lore and literature of the eastern U.S.

I'm talking about a team called the "Black Skins" or the "yellow skins" etc. That is a far cry from identifying someone as black. But by all means, blur those lines.

At least our image is a noble warrior; the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo is an offensive cartoon! Make them change first. And don't just drop the tomahawk chop but the music that they "sing" along with it!

So someone -- the PC police, I assume -- is going to rank these things by offensiveness and then enforce them? Because a team can change its logo but it's pretty hard to force fans NOT to do a tomahawk chop. I'm not sure at all how that would work.

Of course the Nats have the ability to get better. Werth just got back, and Rendon should be an improvement on Espinosa. The team is coming off an 8-11 stretch during a time when the Braves went 15-9; those stretches can reverse themselves. You never are as bad as you look when you are losing. And you never are as good as you look when you are winning. Or, as Nate Silver wrote, baseball results track luck in the near term and skill in the long term. Or, as Earl Weaver said, "This ain't a football game. We do this every day." -- Rico

Again, I've already written a column, so I'm not going to repeat it here, but ... what you said. Or it can all stay in the crapper. I don't think the Nats are a very predictable team right now.

I am a gun toting, SUV driving, who cares about global warming Ronald Reagan Republican and from the time I was 6yo back in 1965 could never understand how folks allowed the name Redskins the name of an NFL team. Now my ethnic heritage is half Polish and half Irish so that may explain things. Name needs to go and would be as bad as a tema named the Micks or Polacks. Call me a Polack and I'd be doing 10 to life but you will be zipped up in a body bag.

You just think you are all those things. You are really part of the liberal agenda; you just don't know it.

When did we start believing that this country was made up of two groups of people with two distinct sets of thoughts and ideas and opinions and then start shoving everyone into one of those? Makes me sad.

I know that this is way outside your scope of interest, but are you and/or your co-workers at all worried (excited?) that creating a pay wall for the web version of the newspaper might eventually lead to the Post ceasing its print edition? I'm just asking your personal opinion; I know that you're not speaking for management.

There is little doubt in my mind that someday the print edition will disappear. I do not think it's in our immediate future because while the print circulation is declining, it's still worth serviing those readers. But will there be a print edition of the Post in 20 years? I'd be surprised.

Tracee, this is not sports related but I wanted to say that I find it amazing how many people are going insane about the Post deciding to put up a paywalll for the content THEY create. I have been, and likely will always be, a 7 day a week subscriber. I could probably have stopped that a while back and gone to online only, but I value the work that is done by the members of the paper and I want it to continue. To expect to get Washington Post quality for free is just silly. You can't get Dana Priest reporting on Walter Reed, Gene Weingarten writing about Joshua Bell in the Metro, Tom Bowsell writing about baseball like no one else out there, and all the other great work put out on a daily basis for nothing. Everyone got used to getting it for free and now they are reacting like it will cost hundreds of dollars a week. It costs next to nothing compared to all the things we throw money at these days. I hope it all works out and the paper is able to find a sustainable model so we can all benefit from the next Woodwards & Bernsteins in the future. I also hope we can keep chats like yours going, it is an amazing service for which we currently pay nothing. -Handle Pending

Well, that's the point. Right now we charge one group of people (paper subscribers who pay money) to subsidize another group of subscribers (online readers who don't). It's the damndest business model I've ever seen.

In case you didn't know it, the baseball season is 162 games long and does not end in early June. So anyone taunting at this point in the season is in serious danger of a bad karmic rebound.

That is true.

Shouldn't that be Kardiac Kats, especially for baseball?

Maybe it was; I wasn't exactly rushing out to buy them. :)

Which is why we're here with you instead of reading TBHitW

I get the impulse -- people love reading lists of things. And it does inspire debate, no question. I find myself rebeling against things that try to make us devalue other people's opinions. It's usually a small thing when it comes to sports, but it's also clearly a problem in our country -- many people no longer respect anyone's right to have any opinion on anything that doesn't match EXACTLY their own. I find that fatiguing.

An excellent movie--I saw it twice and my daughter saw it three times. I thought Bandersnatch Cumberbund (our local name for Benedict Cumberbatch thanks to the Reliable Source and Lisa De Moraes) was excellent as the villain. My favorite is Karl Urban as Dr. McCoy, who has it spot on!

I have zero interest in the Star Trek franchise but lots of interest in Cumberbund, so I may have to break down.

"The Nats -- Nats, not guh-nats -- are ..." Silent g's and k's used to be pronounced in the dialects of Northern Britain. That's why they're in the spelling. William Caxton, the man who introduced the printing press to Britain, was from northern England and tended to hire men from his home region as printers. Typesetting resulted in standardized spelling, thus a lot of English spelling was standardized using northern phonetics, even though southern English pronunciation became dominant.

Yes! No beverage talk today, but at least we got a little word usage in!

Which was the worse no-show for a Game 7? The Caps versus the Rangers earlier this year, or the Pacers forgetting to show up to play against Miami earlier this week? What happens to these competitors that causes such a lackluster and uninspired performance? Seems to me that if they can't find it in themselves to get up for a Game 7, they are in the wrong line of work.

Boy, that's about a draw. The Caps might be a little worse since they were playing on their home ice. But you are right, if you can't play  hard in Game 7 -- just go home.

Well, they get a tangible product delivered by a human being to their door -- the paper, ink and printing/delivery labor are in addition to the content production. Those of us who live outside the WaPo delivery area couldn't subscribe to the dead-tree edition if we wanted to, so we can only get the pixel version that doesn't entail paper, ink, printing or home delivery..

Of course. Not faulting anyone getting the free edition. That wasn't a criticism, just a statement of fact. You and anyone who gets the digital version gets something for nothing. That doesn't indicate you are a thief. (And don't underestimate the labor intensity of putting out the online product. Editors here used to raise their heads from their desks. No more.) The Post wants to get something for something. I'm not saying it's a perfect world and I have no idea the impact it will have, but when the Post is talking about selling it's building, it's not just crying poor for the hell of it.

FYI, gang: if you're watching on your mobile, you want to make sure that your device switches to the wifi network (home, restaurant, whatever). If the feed starts on your 4G service, it won't automatically switch over to wifi and you'll keep using your data plan. I found out when it almost cost me $45 to watch the upstart Huskies terrify Blacksburg last weekend. TBHitW

Good advice, thanks!

I just think $0 to $10 is going to prove to be an overreach. I don't really object to the paywall concept, and for years I said I'd be willing to pay, but now that so much of the site has been given over to the AP, opinion columnists and bloggers -- and now that we readers provide a lot of the proofreading and copyediting, not to mention content in the comments section, I'm no longer willing to pay as much.

You had me until you referred to the comments section as "content." Boy, that is not my idea of content of any kind. Otherwise, you may be right -- but I also think if they did $5 and then tried to raise it in a year there would be a problem. I remember when raising the price of the print single-copy price was a huge issue that was hotly debated around here for months.

Tracy, I have been a Nats 20-game plan holder since they arrived. So far this year, the Nats are 0 - 6 in the games in my plan. They have been outscored by a combined 36 - 8 in those games, which makes for an average losing score of 6 - 1. Including last night's debacle vs the Mets, I have seen the Nats lose by 9 runs TWICE in just 6 games! My question: how do I break this hapless streak? Stop going to games? Stop shaving, like Davey did, until they win? Voo-doo?

Well, first, Mike Rizzo called and he'd like you to stop coming to games asap. Yeesh, that's awful. I am truly sorry. To keep a streak, you change nothing. So to break a streak, you change something. Inside-out shirt? Burn some sage in the stands?

I am torn about the paywall. Obviously I can't subscribe to regular paper edition. (But I do subscribe to two dailies published in state.) I enjoy some of the columns and the chats, but is it worth the money since I live so far away. Would I be able to use the digital access on both my home and work computer, or would I have to register one or the other for the digital subscription?

I seem to recall that you get a sign-in so you can use it anywhere, but again, I'll have to check. I should have been better prepared for your questions today. Sorry about that!

For 405: "Selected" indicates that the player was not previously on the 40-man roster and has been added. "Purchased the contract of" is the old way of saying this. "Recalled" means that the player is already on the 40-man roster. So Erik Davis, who was placed on the 40-man over the winter, was "recalled" for his major league debut. -- Rico

From Rico to 405 -- I love it. Two guys who've actually met! Which reminds me, I guess I'll have to plan a get-together soon. But not till after the wedding. The wedding is kicking my ass. (And I seldom swear on this chat, but the wedding will be the exception that proves the rule. So no wedding talk.)

Okay, time to quit. Thanks, everyone. I will try to get those answers re the chat and the paywall for next week. In the meantime, have a good 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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