First Things First - Tracee Hamilton on the latest sports news

Jun 17, 2010

I know, I know, Barry never failed to chat. Dan never failed to chat. Only Tracee failed to chat. I feel bad about the Tuesday glitch, whatever it was, but we'll be back on track Wednesday morning.

And with so much to talk about.

I have a feeling we'll have some Albert leftovers this morning -- and there's a great joke there but no, I will not go there -- but let's also talk Nats. I felt they came off the rails after I left town but exhaustive research shows me they were 20-20 the morning I left town, five games back and in third in the NL East.

The day I returned to D.C., they were 31-33 -- and last in the NL East. So they go from .500 to .484 -- that's not exactly a dramatic dive. I think, my friends, that the onus lies with those of you who remained in D.C. So tell me what's wrong, vent, whatever. I'm here to help.

Has anyone physically seen him and if so, what condition is he in?

Good morning, all. I think this is as good a place to start as any.

No one has seen him and I think this is the next step -- we've gotta see what shape he's in.

The one person we have not heard from during this Albert spectacle is Bruce Allen. I get a feeling he is sitting back smiling with a few tricks up his sleeve & I don't believe they will be massages or aroma candles.

I feel the same way. I think it's going to be really interesting. I don't think the new regime is going to take this all lightly. That was not a light feeling yesterday at the Park.

Is Fat Albert willing and prepared to return the prorated portion of his signing bonus? If not,tell him to get in camp and get to work.

If he wants out of here badly enough, he'll have to do just that. Whether he's prepared to do so or not is anyone's guess at this moment. The Redskins took their shot yesterday, revealing the April 1 agreement. I expect the Haynesworth camp to fire back soon. If he comes to camp, he shouldn't expect a warm welcome, except maybe from D. Hall.

Tracee, There are certain words I'd like to use to describe my thoughts about Haynesworth, but decorum and WaPo's editorial standards rule their usage out. Your column this morning did a nice job of doing the job for me without the expetives. I realize recouping bonus money wil be difficult considering the CBA, but on principle the fact that he took money on April 1 but demands a trade on June 16 he should pay that money back. Frankly I've never understood the whole concept of holdouts anyway. In any other line of work, when you sign a contract to do a job you and your employer must honor the terms of the contract - you can't decide after a fraction of it's completed that you don't like the terms and refuse to work any more. Imagine a building contractor, halfway done remodeling your kitchen, showing up one morning and telling you, "I decided you should pay me more because I'm doing a hell of a job on those counters and I'm not showing up again until you do." Do you think the 'Skins have a chance to recoup any money? If they cannot, do you think he should just ride the pine all season? It might be tough because that would be the most exercise he's ever gotten in a Redskin uniform. Thanks.

Thanks for the compliment and for restraining yourself. I know it's hard. I am quite sure the Redskins have a plan to 1) recoup the money or 2) make his life unpleasant.

The argument I always here is that being a professional athlete is not like being a (fill in the blank). I get that. But the disregard for your teammates/colleagues, your bosses, and the work itself -- even if the work is playing football -- is foreign to me and to you and to a lot of other people. How many of us have taken a job only to find that the duties, etc., have changed? My guess would be just about all of us.

Hey Tracee - I have Nats tickets to the Wednesday, June 23rd game against KC. Can you tell me is Strasburg is on track to start?

So far, yes, on track. I haven't glanced at the weather to see what's coming but rain would obviously alter that. Otherwise, you should be good to go.

I wish he would face Hochevar, another No. 1 pick.

So, the team is fond of suing its fans for all sorts of petty stuff. Why can't they sure Albert for breach of contract and get their money back?

I'm sure this will be discussed. It depends on the language in his contract and the CBA and all kinds of factors. But I'd bet the house they are exploring all their options.

Good morning Tracee, thanks for visiting with us in the mornings.

My pleasure!

Like Bill Murray in "Stripes," were the Celtics just "pacing" themselves in Game 6 to get ready for Game 7, or did they genuinely get thumped? Can they turn it on again for just one night. or are they toast?

They have been so odd in the finals. Pierce has had some bad games and some great games. Allen had that one unbelievable night followed by a simply dreadful night. They are a tough one to predict. If Pierce and KG are hot, I believe they have a chance. But they have to play out of their minds.

I am shocked - SHOCKED - by his current behavior. It is especially stunning because there were no questions about his character or work ethic before his signing with the Redskins. I'm assuming that most people are upset with Albert because he was such a lunch-pail-and-hard-hat kind of team player before.

Yes, it's hard to believe coming from such a great guy, the Cal Ripken of the NFL, as some call him.


Rumor has it that Al's agent disagreed with his decision to sit out mini-camp. True? Has Albert gone rogue?

I can't answer that -- and sadly I'm not at the Park today, so J. Reid is not handy -- but I'd be very surprised if it's not true. It makes it so much harder for the agent to sell other teams on Albert when he does stuff like this.

The Celtics' hopes do NOT ride on KG. Have you seen him at all these entire playoffs? Rather the team lost its pacing in Game 6. They need to loosen up Rondo and get Pierce in stride. Losing Perkins is also not as big a deal as you think since Big Baby seems to come through in the clutch. While KG has floundered the rest of the Celtics (minus of course the even worse Shelden Williams) have stepped up.

Well, now, I think a hot KG would make a difference. I agree about Big Baby -- I am loving the Big Baby-Nate combo. I guess I would say that Pierce and SOMEONE ELSE need to get hot. Maybe you're right and that someone is Rondo. But Pierce is the key. They don't always lose when he's off his game, but they often do.

About Albert being Albert? Is this really a surprise, given his play last year, and history before that? Shouldn't the fans ire be directed at the true root cause of the problem, which was bringing him here and signing him to that contract in the first place? He was the "cherry" on Dan Snyder's "Fantasy Football" Sundae he's been building that last 10+ years. It is not Shanahan's or Allen's fault, but now it is their problem to solve. Think about the position the Redskins would have been in if they brought in some offensive lineman last year instead of overpaying for a poor addition to what was already a decent defense.

Of course, signing him to that contract was a huge mistake. No question. But I feel like that's a dead horse we've beaten almost back to life again. Albert's a dead horse that we've beaten but not quite as much. Soon, another dead horse will come along. That's the beauty of sports in America. Lots of dead horses to beat.

And Go Lakers!

Now, now...

I'm not a Skins fan so I view this somewhat impartially, but Fat Albert's sitout is the best thing that could happen to them. I almost suspect a conspiracy (almost). This gives Shanahan a great opportunity to show that there's a new sheriff in town and if certain players aren't happy (cough-cough-Clinton-cough-cough) they need to suck it up and show up. Now they just need to find a place to dump Albert. The Raiders would be great but I just don't Al Davis will be taking calls from Bruce Allen or Mike Shanahan, do you?

I do think Haynesworth could end up being the single greatest unifying factor for Redskins nation. We'll see, however, what comes next. But you are right; there was a strong "rally 'round the flag" feeling in Ashburn yesterday from Shanahan and most of the players.

Yeah if he got hot it would matter, but fact is he hasn't and won't so lets think of something more realistic. Who thought that Rasheed Wallace would be more important to the Celtics' title hopes before the playoffs began?

Wow, not a KG fan. Fair enough.

Will Rasheed manage to avoid that final technical foul one more night? I think the answer is yes.

It's also possible that Haynesworth has figured out that he can live just fine on $20MM and doesn't care if he ever plays again. If you know that you never have to think about money again and might not be a cripple by 50, what the H?

It's possible but I don't think your average NFL player looks at $20 million the way we do. Especially not when there are so many more millions in his contract.

First; Welcome Back! We missed you terribly. Second, loved the article this a.m. Spot on, as usual. Keep up the great work.

I have hundreds of questions just like this one but I'll only post this one, out of fairness. ;) Thanks much.

Enough with the "is Strasburg on track to pitch on X day?" questions. Either you are a fan of the TEAM or you aren''t. Buy your tickets when you think he might pitch if you want, but if he turns out to not be pitching that night, enjoy a great, family-friendly night at the Ballpark. There are worse ways to spend an evening in the District. Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love Strasburg, but the Nationals are made up of more than this phenom. Support the young stars, Zimmerman, Storen and the wily vets like Pudge and Livan. Besides, if we want to be able to afford Strasburg in six years, we need to do our part in filling up Nats Park for all games, not just every fifth game.

All true, but if Strasburg is the reason some folks come to a game for the first time, then that's a good thing. As opposed to those who might otherwise never darken the door of Nats Park? Sometimes a player can make you a fan of a team, and of a sport. The Nats need to hope Strasburg is one of those players.

It's interesting to see a fair amount of online grumbling about the Nats' tough stretch of late. In reality, they're still on course to win 76 games which would be a huge advance from last year. They have more pitching help on the way in about a month (Detwiler, Olson, Marquis), which could solve their biggest need. I think this might be a sign that people aren't just paying attention to this team, they're starting to adopt it. Your thoughts, oh Sage of the Plains? (I just make that up, kind of like it)

I love Sage of the Plains and plan to use it on new business cards.

I do think that grumbling about a team is a good sign. My goodness, look at all the grumbling about the Redskins, and you can't say they don't have a strong fan base. So yes, a little grumbling never hurt anyone. It's process. Raise the level of play, raise expectations. Rinse and repeat until you're in the Series. Oh my. Boz, how did you get in here!

I wonder if the best thing to do would be for everyone to not think of Fat Albert again. No more stories, columns, blogs. IGNORE him. Maybe this chat could become a "Haynesworth -free zone".

I actually pondered this idea. Unfortunately, for the Redskins guys, it's not an option and I do think that he makes for good discussions. I think I CAN promise that we won't talk about him again until someone does something -- i.e. he gets traded, released, or sued. Would that work?

Has you friend lost it? Love him, but he was on 980 yesterday actually defending and applauding (his word, not mine) Albert. I realize the Wilbon has been accused of being a bit, shall we say, cozy with athletes, but really??? If there is one bad guy that we can all coalesce around, it is Mr. Hayesworth, right? What am I missing here?

I was surprised myself at Michael's reaction. I can assure you he's not cozy with Haynesworth; Wilbon rarely covers the Skins any more, by choice, so that's not it. Truthfully, I have no idea how anyone can defend Albert but I'll be eager to see Wilbon one of these days and ask him. He'll have some free time after tonight.

Did you really think that the best way to make your points about Fat Albert was to bring a mass murderer and a tragic death into the discussion? Oh, and a Memorial Day grave desecration, that helped too.

Whoa, pardner. I hardly think a child running around a cemetery is a grave desecration. Hell, people used to picnic in cemeteries. I think it's a good thing for children to go to cemeteries; I know too many people who are freaked out by them. She's 3, for heaven's sake. If she's 13, it's a little different. I bow to no one in my love for and knowledge of cemeteries, and I think you're overreacting.

As for the Manson reference, you didn't like it, fine. I didn't compare the man to Charles Manson. I don't think Charles Manson would do well on eHarmony. That's all.

I'm a little worried about you, seriously. What's really going on here?


Tracee: It's probably a good move for my Huskers to go to the Big 10 (now 12), but I hate to see KU and others in the north reduced to offering $$ to keep Texa$ in the Big 12 and generally having to kiss Texa$'$ lower 40. In football, KU and NU have played for 104 straight years (longer than KU/MU - the 1918 flu epidemic stopped that series for a year) and it will be sad to see that end, not to mention KU missing two nearly-guaranteed basketball wins every year.

Yup, I will miss playing Nebraska for the tradition and I will also miss those 3-4 guaranteed wins for the basketball team from Colorado and Nebraska every season. Not trying to sound nasty, it's just the truth.

I hate to see the separate of the Big Eight but it's done. I don't think the new "Big 12" will last all that long but Texas really holds all the cards. It's all a shame. I've heard from a lot of Huskers fans who feel the same. There was never bad blood between NU and KU and I hope there won't be now.


Wilbon supported Albert skipping minicamp because he thinks the whole minicamp excercise is stupid. He didn't really say anything about supporting him sitting out for a trade demand which is the actual reason Fat Al is doing what hes doing. Once again, Wilbon misses the real point.

Well, if we could skip everything in life that was stupid ... oh my. Wouldn't that be super fantastic?

Tracee, Wilbon wasn't defending Albert so much as applauding the situation Albert has now created, so that he (Wilbon) can make his main point: which is that the off season for NFL players doesn't really exist as it does for other professional athletes with all the so-called "voluntary" team activities. His point was not to praise Fat Albert's behavior, which he explicitly criticized, but to criticize the way the NFL attempts to control player's lives during the off season. So please don't think Wilbon was "defending" Albert. He wasn't. Albert's only defender seems to be DeAngelo Hall.

Here we go, from another informed source. I was at the Park, obviously, and missed Wilbon on the TK show.

I asked simply out of curiousity about Strasburg. I wouldn't give up my tickets if he wasn't pitching. I've been to a ton of Nats games and I want to see him pitch in one. That is all and Tracee, thanks for answering the question for me!

In defense of the Nats' fan from earlier.


He was just following the example of greed set by his hero Danny Boy Snyder. Redskins knew who they were dealing with. they failed to due diligence. Its not Fat Albert's fault. He took advantage of the system just like the owners take advantage of the players. Good for him.

Ugh. This logic I find repulsive. So we only have to behave as well as the lowest common denominator? Really? Bull. Come on, you're better than that.

Hi T-Ham. You're likely to sign off soon, so here's a quick, probably nonsensical question: Which TV Food Network star would you like to cook for you for 1 month, free of charge? Thanks very much!

Now I'm going to disappoint you believe I don't know any of them. I know, what a loser, right?

Okay, that seems like a good place to stop for today. Let's talk tomorrow when I promise, Albert will not be mentioned (unless, of course, he shows up at mini-camp today;  wouldn't that be hilarious?).

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 subway etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

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