First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton on the latest sports

Jun 29, 2010

Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

Send Starsbburg down to single A. He is washed up. Time to fire Riggleman and Kasten and blow up the team. The Nats should be able to get some pretty decent prospects for WIllingham from the Red Sox. Zimmernann should also bring something but who knows since he can't hit anything now. Red Sox may also be interested in Morgan. Sign and trade Dunn to the Yankees. Sned Desmond down to an instructional league. Shame Pudge is with these losers. Current streak is all Strasburgs fault! Get rid of him. Nats were playing .500 ball before he arrived. He is bad for the clubhouse despite what the media hears.

Are you on crack? I'm hoping this is facetious but have a bad, bad feeling it's not. I've never seen so many wrong statements in a single, poorly spelled paragraph in my life.

Good morning, everyone else. Am I too harsh on this person? Maybe. Starting to stew about Thursday. Let's talk about last night's, er, game.

Follow up to yesterday's discussion. Tracee, Stephen Strasburg is the face of the franchise, not to mention MLB. TheOrioles sold 42,000 tix to last Friday 's game, half again as many as they sold for Saturday's 1970 World Series reunion ame, on the mere suspicion he might pitch. The Braves sold 22,000 tix to last night's game over the past few days. President Obama came to see him pitch. The MLB channel breaks away to show nearly every out of all of his games. The Post has special on-line chats during his, and only his, games. Bottom line, if he wants to redo the clubhouse in paisley or ride an elephant to and from games, the Nationals are going to let him do what he wants. Period.

Strange you should say this, because he DOES want to redo the clubhouse in paisley.

I don't disagree with anything you're saying. I think giving in to his Greta Garbo act is a mistake that will hurt HIM in the long run, not the team. But they've clearly decided to do it, so ... so be it.

I hope Strasburg is as steady and grounded as they say because he's going to need to be. One run in support in three starts and the worst defense in Creation. Ack. This is starting to look like a Greek tragedy, except the fans don't have the benefit of having their eyes gouged out.

I don't know, it felt a little like my eyes were gouged out last night, just watching that atrocity.

He is steady and grounded, or so I am told by people I trust. He's also human. No way that Desmond error doesn't get to him.

If management doesn't bench Desmond, and makes excuses for him, don't you think that will cause the few decent players (and the fans) to lose all respect for the manager and front office?

This is the risk they assumed when they decided to make him the everyday shortstop. He's only going to get better by playing. Should he be getting better at Triple A? I was in favor of this experiment and thought it was bold and brave, but even I'm beginning to wonder.

What's the deal with umpires suddenly fessing up to blowing calls -- first the play at first base in the almost-perfect game, and now a ball-strike call, again involving the Tigers? This is baseball. Safe/out, ball/strike and everything else are determined by one set of eyes. That's how it's supposed to be. The ball was inside? Doesn't matter -- it matters if the UMPIRE thought the ball was inside. Over the long run, all of these errors in immediate perception will even out -- you'll get good calls and you'll get bad calls. And umpires who are prone to making more than their share of errors like this generally won't even make it to the majors. So, enough of these mea culpas. You called the guy out. He's out. That's the end of it.

Disagree and agree. Jim Joyce did the right thing in saying he was wrong. However, no ump should apologize for a ball/strike call. Yes, they're going to get some wrong. But until they perfect an electronic strike zone -- and I saw somewhere that someone is close to doing this -- the ump is the final word, and you are right: Balls and strikes should stand.

... but I find my index finger, of its own volition, stabbing in the general direction of Desmond and Morgan and, occasionally, Guzman. When do we concede that Morgan isn't a major league CF? How long do we give a young, weak-hitting, poor-fielding shortstop before we give up on him? I think I give Guzman a pass because he has been a real trouper in a tough situation, and he's not the long-term solution to anything. But it's time to change something.

I've discussed Desmond. Morgan ... I admit I drank the Kool-Aid on Morgan last season. Still think he's good for the clubhouse, from my limited observations. But right now he's terrible in the field and at the plate and he's beginning to get that look in his eye like he's just spinning completely out of control. I think they need to do something about him. I was against benching him because with his personality I'm not sure how that would work -- they're all different, obviously. But now I'm not so sure they shouldn't sit him and figure out someone who can get through to him about the mistakes. He had two ridiculous gaffes last night (and that was before I fell asleep). I kind of agree with you about Guzman; mistakes for him are not the norm. They are becoming the norm for Morgan and Desmond.

Maybe his girlfriend cursed his glove. Maybe we need a life chicken. Or a bucket of chicken.

Why don't the Nats bench Nyjer? He's killing the team with bad baserunning, no hitting and horrible decisions in the field. My wife calls him "Gozzlehead" because he reminds her of Mickey Rivers.

Mickey Rivers ... man, was he funny. He is sort of like Mickey Rivers; your wife is right.

I don't even want to think about the Nats right now (Riggleman has to pinch hit for Strasburg in the 7th right?), so how about a World Cup question. In addition to instant replay, how about an anti-flopping rule that requires a player to sit out for X minutes if play is stopped for an alleged injury?

A nice little sorbet to break up the Nats angst.

I wish they'd do something about the flopping. The officials can call that, as I understand it, so why don't they? I'm not impressed with these officials.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled Nats rant.

Seems to me that we'll look back on this game five years from now, when Strasburg has departed for the Yankees or Dodgers or Mets or Red Sawx, and say that this game was when Strasburg first starting planning his departure. Pitching as well as Stras has for five games, with little to nothing to show for it because he's on the Bad News Bears, wears on a pitcher just as much as throwing every five days does. Don't you think Scott Boras has already begun plotting the exit strategy for his prime meal ticket from this abysmal team? And can Harper's exit plan be far behind?

Well, I completely disagree, because I think he can't leave for six years. Otherwise, you are possibly quite right.

However, I may be nuts, I may be dipping into the painkillers a few days early, but I don't think this team will be this bad in five years. I think a lot of these players will be gone, and they'll have better ones. And guys like Desmond, assuming he doesn't run off and join the circus, will be quite good and we'll be laughing, or chuckling, or smiling, or maybe not, but we'll look back on all his errors without wanting to choke the life out of him.

Tracee: It's obvious, we need to trade Strasburg right now, before other teams figure out the obvious - the disastrous effect he has on his team's ability to score runs. If he has, say, 8 more starts this year, I calculate total Nats runs scored in those games as 2.765554. Trade him now while he still has value! I'm sure someone will email to say the Nats need to field better, but why ask for the impossible?

Okay, I'm laughing and assuming you're being funny. Not like that first guy/gal. I really worry about him/her.

Hi Tracee, I have to tell you that I think you have no ear for sarcasm. The past couple chats you've taken seriously what was clearly sarcasm. Maybe Miracle Ear offers a special sarcasm model?

Do you really think that first one was sarcasm? I didn't get that. I've gotten a lot of these this morning and all of them come across right except that one. I think I have a great ear for sarcasm -- and I'm a great practioner -- but until readers verbalize the questions, I have to go with my gut. My gut says No. 1 is out of his/her gourd. I'd be happy to be wrong.


Tracee, how can I send Juboo some fried chicken, whiskey, & cigars so he'll give Zim his mojo back? Heck, I'll even slaughter a chicken if necessary! By the way, that was the spokesman for the company I work for (Allstate's Dennis Haysbert) who was the Juboo worshipper. Pedro, I think his name was.

Yes, Haysbert was the best president "24" ever had -- and he was in "Major League." Great resume.

So, Andy Roddick was beaten yesterday at Wimbledon and the media calls it an upset. I think that a true upset would occur if he somehow wins an event. Thank goodness that America has the Williams Sisters, otherwise there would be nothing in the tennis world for us to pull for. Similar to another international sport in the news today.

Someone's down on Roddick. Unless this is sarcasm and you love him. Oh, if only I had a hearing aid to discern the difference in a written question.

Tangent, sorry. Maybe Roddick will win the Legg this year. Does that count?

It seems that whomever I root for, they lose. Capitals, Celtics, US Soccer, Nationals, Dodgers in Sunday night's game. Yesterday I added Andy Roddick to the list. I would offer to root for opposing teams for hire, but it never works for the Yankees (I held my nose during the World Series and rooted for them to win. Turns out I hate the Phillies more than the Yankees. Who knew?)

Are you rooting for the Nats? Because that would explain a LOT.

Have two cameras above each goal area, and an official with two monitors and a way to signal the head official. The eagle eye view will give him the best possible view to determine the two most contentious items this Cup: offsides and goal/no goal decisions. Maybe give him at the most a ten second rewind that he can use once. He then signals the head official his better view determination. That way there's no stopping play for a replay but there's still a way to get a better view of close situations.

That's another idea.

I read in the Irish Times this morning that FIFA has apologized to England and Mexico and has stated that they will look at using replay technology in the future. Wow. . .I honestly thought they'd never eve consider it.

Huh. Well, that would be good, stunning news.

Kid's good, huh? Too bad the JV team behind him stinks. He's gonna take his 25-29 record and 2.20 ERA to the Yankees in a few years.

Ouch. Well, his record will be better than that only because I think he can't go elsewhere for six seasons, or seven. Can't remember but pretty sure it's six.

Did I miss something? To what do you refer my dear? As my 11th grade English teacher also said "define your terms!"

Greta Garbo uttered the famous line "I want to be left alone!" in "Grand Hotel," but the line is often misquoted as "I want to be alone." She also was a famous recluse.

There's your useless information for the day.

So, you want a rookie to learn on the job, but parts of his game are on pace to be historically bad and currently hurting the team. Where is the line drawn? Until things change, he shall be known as E-an Desmond.

Okay, that's funny.

...that there have been as many bad calls in the WC, or the fact that (other than the Americans) so few people seem to be upset by them? I've seen plenty of quotes from international soccer fans that are the equivalent of a shoulder shrug and "well, that's the way it is." Why don't fans of the "beautiful game" see this as a problem?

I wondered about this too and almost went off on a tangent with it in this morning's column. Is it that as Americans we are more accustomed to demanding and receiving "fair play" than other parts of the world, which  have to deal with corruption and "foul play" on a daily basis and therefore aren't surprised by it? I don't know...

He talks to the media after every one of his starts. How much do you guys want? Let him be.

Sigh. I never said he didn't. I don't mean he wants the media to leave him alone. I mean he wants EVERYONE to leave him alone. Hence the comparison. He doesn't have to talk to the media every day. I will say every other player in the locker room does, but that's his choice.

You ask what we want? I'd like the opportunity to TALK WITH HIM. Not sit in a press conference every five days but to have a conversation. Just once. That is never going to happen. I flew to Arizona last fall to interview all the Nats in the AFL and when I walked in the door at the stadium, the first thing anyone said to me was not "hello" or "it's a dry heat." It was "You're not going to get any time with him!" I literally hadn't even asked the question. That's kind of silly, really.

How can someone who doesn't watch soccer all of a sudden come to the table and proclaim the sport needs instant replay? You have on several occasions commented on your disdain for the sport. So instead of complaining about how the sport is officiated, please write about something else.

Completely, totally unfair. You owe me an apology. I have NEVER expressed disdain for the sport. I said I am not a diehard fan. How is that possibly disdain?


"Thank goodness that America has the Williams Sisters, otherwise there would be nothing in the tennis world for us to pull for." Venus just lost to an unranked opponent!

So much for that!

The problem is not that you can't detect sarcasm. If so, you'd never have spent one day as Mr. Tony's editor. The real problem is that you can't detect BAD sarcasm. Post #1 is trying to be funny, but isn't funny enough, and the misspellings suggest that the writer isn't smart enough to be sarcastic. You are fine, Tracee; that #1 poster needs to go over to the Cheese Bog rather than venturing into Hamiltime!

Okay, I'll accept that the first person was being sarcastic, but did it poorly.  Thanks!

And from now on I think I'll treat all submissions like sarcasm. Won't that be fun?

"I don't worry about things I can't control because why worry if you can't control them. And I don't worry about things I can control because if I can control them, why worry about them."

Great way to end the day. Sorry we ran long. I seem to suddenly be getting beaten up for writing about soccer, so it's time to quit. We'll talk tomorrow about something, though heaven knows what.

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 was 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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