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

Jul 11, 2013

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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Hi Tracee, Great article on Matt Hendricks. I for one am sure going to miss him. He was a no nonsense type of guy. Never hid away from admitting a mistake on the ice, and was always a leader in the locker room. I wish Matt nothing but the best in Nashville!

Ditto. I had two favorite D.C. athletes and now I have one. I've tried hard to have zero but failed. We've discussed this so I won't belabor it. But I will miss Matt.

And good morning to you all! Let's get started.

In soccer, is the rule 'no hands' or 'feet and head only'? I am training a beaver to play and want to know if he can use his tail.

Would beaver soccer feature more or less scoring? I guess the "tail rule" would impact the answer. I think the rule is "no hands" because of course there have been controversies about hands in the past. And you can use your chest, your stomach, your rear end, I assume ... Where is Steve Goff when I need him?

I like Drew Storen and think the acquisition of Soriano was handled badly, but I don't fault the Nats for trying to improve the team. Established top otc closers are a rarity and I don't fault the Nats for signing him.

No, I don't either. Drew has tried so hard to downplay any aftereffects of the playoffs and the signing ... sometimes I think he tries too hard to convince us (himself?) that everything is okay.

Tracee, So, the Capitals let Rebeiro walk. GMGM feels confident that Laich can serve as a solid 2 line Center. Big mistake IMHO. Rebeiro would have stayed for a 2 maybe 3 year deal. What do you think? Thanks.

Yes, it's funny that Laich is suddenly a No. 2. Well, not funny ha-ha. However, I don't think Ribs would have stayed for anything less than four years (and he wanted five). His wife wanted to be settled and as became clear, his wife was going to have a huge impact on the decision.

Are we really foolish enough to believe that the Nats' recent success against the dismal Padres is really the "turn around" that they and their MASN shills been promising all season. As Boswell aptly said "Fool us once, shame on you, fool us 17 times, shame on ...." I still see a team lacking the situational hitting and clutch performances needed to reach the top level and all the line up changes haven't changed the essential medicrity of the position players.

I hope not. I do think the move of Desmond to No. 2 has made the lineup more ... interesting, for lack of a better word. The bats have come alive a bit since then. But of course beating the Padres is not like beating the Phillies, or the Braves. Then again, losing all three of those games would have been dreadful. Let's put it this way -- they were certainly watchable this past weekend.

"Kirk Gibson hit the most dramatic post-season walk-off home run in history" ??!? Maybe if you're a Dodger fan but Maz? Bobby Thompson? Get a grip, Mike.

I might have qualified that one a bit, yes. Gibby's injury is what made it dramatic, to me, but Thomson and Maz ... those were iconic.

Like eating chocolate every single day, do you ever get tired of watching sports because of your job? When you're on vacation, do you watch sports with a relief that you can just enjoy the game and not worry about your next column? Or do you just avoid sports altogether? Thanks for the chats. Have a great day.

Depends on the time of the year and the sport. Sometimes I get tired of it, a little -- the stretch between Wimbledon and exhibition football can get long if the baseball team stinks. But the Nats are fun to watch now, most of the time.

On vacation -- I don't watch anything except what I'm forced to watch by being in proximity to my dad. So I saw some Royals and a lot of golf on my last vacation. If I had control of the remote, I wouldn't have. It is like a busman's holiday. I will also say that not all sports writers feel the same. That's just me. Thanks for coming to the chat! You have a good day, too.

I get the impression that you enjoy covering hockey more than the other major sports - Tuesday's column about Matt Hendricks really conveyed that . True?

Ah, I do like covering the Caps a lot. Best PR people, which makes the job more enjoyable, easiest locker room ... I don't know, I do like it. Hendricks being gone will put a damper on that.

But I am not sure I really have a favorite. Used to be baseball, easily. But if they don't find a way to speed up the game, I'm going to go nuts.

Hello Tracee, Long time reader of your chats. Actually, one of the originals in your FTF group. Love your work and your interaction with your readers via this chat. My wife and I have had a subscription to the Sunday post for many years. A few weeks ago I called to renew our subscription. Since the price they provided me over the phone was a bit lower than what they offered me in the letter they sent me, I asked for them so send me a paper bill in the mail. It's been over two weeks and I received nothing. I've followed up with 2 calls, both time the rep insuring me that I will receive the paper bill. Still nothing. I varified the address that they have on file, and they have the correct address. I'm asking for your assistance. Do you have a go to person that I can contact regarding this issue. We don't want any interruption in our delivery service, but it seems that it will happen. Thank you.

My days of having a friend in circulation are long past -- too much turnover -- but email me at the Post and I will call upstairs and see what I can do!


Tracee, Thanks to all the folks who were able to bring John Keim to the W Post. His Redskin articles/analysis is the best.

I was so excited to see Keim's name online. I wish someone had told me he was coming. He's always been a really enjoyable colleague at Redskins Park and I'm really happy he's landed here.

While I think Scott Hairston may be an excellent addition to the team, why did they send Tyler Too down to Syracuse instead of getting rid of Chad Tracy? I know Tracy's a good guy & everybody likes him, but Tyler Too can play infield and outfield and is almost 7 years younger. Tyler Too is the future, or at least the present, and Tracy is the past. Does he know where bodies are buried? My quote for the day: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air." Kudos to the one who knows where this is from.

Good quote; I don't know it. Anyone? I have a feeling the answer to your question is that Tracy is a lefty. They like him, but they like Moore, too, so far as I can tell.

With that windup, it'd be a natural. I kinda want to wear black & white filters over my eyeglasses when he pitches..... Section 405

I'm kind of surprised you don't, 405 ... missed you last week.

Tracee, here's what I'm thinking. If Giancarlo Stanton goes to arbitration this winter or next, even if he loses, he breaks eight figures. I realize that there's a possibility that Selig might invoke "In The Best Interests Of Baseball", but given all that he has done, there is no way that Loria is going to pay ANYONE $12 million per. Given that the Marlins moved Nolasco to the Dodgers last week, I've thought that the Giants--in need of a bat--would have a package of prospects and an expiring contract (Zito) that might get Loria to bite. Is that feasible??!?

I think that would be one nice package; I think other teams would try as well. There's a point at which even Bud Selig can't keep a guy from earning what the market will bear. Or there should be.



I'm going with Macbeth, on a hunch. Or Ogden Nash. TBHitW

Macbeth is always a good guess. I love Nash, however.


There you go. Good going, you literary types.

Should they try to tank? Supposedly, the '14 draft is going to be something special. The NBA, more than any other major American league, punishes those who are just good enough to stay out of the lottery but never advance past round 1.

We discussed this last week a bit. I posited that they can't afford another season out of the playoffs, but others felt that it wouldn't make much of a difference. I would like to see them if Porter, Beal and Wall are all healthy.  That might be fun.

I know you stopped reading the comments appended to your columns, and I can understand why. I was just reading the comments appended to Mike Wise's column about Drew Storen, (which I happen to agree with on the whole - the Nats Done Him Wrong, and he'll be good for another team). While he doesn't get the sexist crap you do, there's a lot of "you are an idiot" "have you ever seen a baseball game" and so on. A lot of these people are deficient in reading comprehension -- they claim the column says things that just aren't there...

It's a shame that the Post doesn't incorporate a moderation system similar to that used by the techno-geek site Every so often, regular contributors are given 5 "moderation points". They can be used to rate individual comments up (for characteristics like "Interesting", "Insightful", "Informative" or even "Funny") or down (for things like "Troll", "Offtopic" and other sins). You can filter out comments that have been moderated down.

Section 405 (who has a 5-digit slashdot UID)

That would be one way to go. I still get at least an email a week from someone upset about the comments under my column. I just thank God my parents can't use the internet worth a darn. And yes, reading comprehension apparently is no longer taught in schools. I am often shocked by people's inability to understand a column. I get disagreement; that's fine. But to completely misinterpret what's written, that's sad. 

Based on nothing much more than the view from Section 405, I'm feeling much better about the team than I was in June. The opening day lineup is back (well, except Rendon -> Espinosa, and that's an improvement), the team is suddenly dangerous at the plate down to the #8 slot, and having a Hairston around is always a good thing. If they could get the back end of the rotation settled, that'd be a good thing. Maybe we can get Matt Garza from the Cubs (for Storen, Espinosa and some prospects?). Anyway, it's enjoyable to go to the park and watch a ballgame (or is everyone forgetting pre-2005?).

I agree that that is the big change now -- they are more fun to watch. They have to get good pitching and good hitting on the same nights. The errors have dropped off, and that's been good. Ramos has been crazy on fire since he came back. There's a lot of good there. But they can't get that record to bump up. There's time, and as I wrote last week, Rizzo is not worried, but there's not a LOT of time.

I suspect that the reason they sent Moore down is that they can. He still has options, while they'd have to put a veteran like Tracy through waivers. This way, both players can try to get themselves straightened out. There's also the possibility that Moore might play more often in Syracuse, and repetition should help him. Tracy's past the point where everyday ABs are going to help.

Good points, thanks!

Are you familiar with this sport? As the parent of a teen-aged boy who plays, I absolutely endorse it. It is self-officiated, so the players have to work it out on the field when there is a dispute. Parents who try to interject themselves into the conversation are quickly hushed by their own children. It constantly reminds the players to respect their opponents. Check it out. DC has a huge community at called WAFC.

Yes, I think so. I have a friend back home who is quite good at this, although he is a grownup, and I have no idea how they officiate. However, I love the idea of the kids solving disputes and telling parents to butt out. Hello, Little League! I go to a few games in the summer and I'm amazed.

It's either Macbeth, or Vin Scully, except that he probably would have said "smog" and not "fog."


I've been a patient Caps fan including with GMGM, but i think the league/game has passed him by. I'm sorry that he doesn't like the NHL's current free agency rules, but this is the environment in which all the teams operate and he must compete. If he is unwilling to participate, then Leonsis needs to find a GM that will.

I think Leonsis would disagree with you about GMGM, which is why he's still employed, and has been for a long time.

The article about Drew Storen's woes drew 189 comments; the article on Tyler Clippard's consistency drew 4 (one of which was mine--naturally). Drew got a decent picture, but the two pictures of Clippard made him look like a poster for Revenge of the Zombie Pitcher. I realize they are action pictures, but still. . .And by the way Clippard was also affected by the acquisition of Soriano. He went from set-up to 7th inning, but he seems to have earned his way back to set-up.

Think about it -- one article was "negative," for lack of a better term, and one was "positive." I'm not surprised by the feedback. As for the photos ... I wouldn't read too much into it. No one sits around looking for bad photos of players, because no one has the time anymore. And yes, Clip handled Soriano's arrival well. Again, that's not a headline to stir commentary.

I wonder how many of the 189 were worthwhile. I won't look, but I wonder.

For the person who guessed Ogden Nash, here's a little tribute to a new NBA franchise from him. "A curious bird is the pelican. His beak holds more than his belly can."

Sweet! I've got to get a Nash book. I need to expand my poetic horizons.

Did you hear that a Canadian curler (an alternate) was caught using steroids? I'm trying to comprehend why a curler would need steroids.... What next? a doping scandal next in the World Series of Poker? The National Spelling Bee?

The old "I was just taking a supplement" excuse. If you are an athlete subject to drug testing, and you take ANY KIND OF SUPPLEMENT not approved by your team, then you are an idiot who deserves to be suspended. Talk about reading comprehension. Aren't these people paying attention? And if you're a curler, you should be taking beer as a supplement. That's how they did it in the good old days. :)

One word, er, initialism: DVR. You're welcome. And maybe it's just me, but I could never get tired of eating chocolate every day. At least, I haven't yet. Oh, and welcome back. Missed you. Oh, and what do you think of Harper in the Home Run Derby? I may even watch/DVR, some of it. Not that I dig the long ball or anything. Because small ball is awesome, too. But it's a Nat. In the Home Run Derby. That is all. I think. natsfan1a

Yes, I know the DVR is an answer, but for some reason I just don't like sports on the DVR. However, given the home run derby could take 8 hours, that one will be on there, no doubt.

I have a feeling Harper won't win the HRD but the kid is constantly surprising so who knows?

I can't eat chocolate, so that point is moot. Haven't had sugar in, let's see, 10 months. No wedding cake, even. I hate my life.

Hi, Trac! My dad used to say that his favorite kinds of football games were the ones where his team jumped out to a 14-0 lead and then gradually pulled away. I think I hoped the Nats season would be like that. Right now the Nats don't look like that kind of dominant team. And yet when I look at them I don't see any reason that they can't look like that again. I guess I am slipping into the same mindset I had about the Caps: they aren't the dominant team I'd hoped for, but if they put together one win at a time they might sneak into the playoffs and then maybe something good can happen. (Then again, that NL Central looks pretty stacked...) Rico

I'm with your dad, Rico. My favorite baseball season was the Tigers' 35-5 start. Talk about no stress! I agree, the Nats can still do it, but they need to get going. Reeling off about 10 straight after the break would be good.

Since you're taking circulation questions, can you do anything about the fact that my carrier throws my paper into the bushes?

Ha! Doubtful. You'd think delivery would be better since there are fewer papers to deliver. Sigh.

" if they don't find a way to speed up the game, I'm going to go nuts." I love baseball. But it is time to stop with the ridiculous between-innings promotions, and the long at-bats where the players step out, get redressed, step back in, step out.... Really, Bill Veeck has much to answer for.

That's one reason I love to watch Jordan Zimmermann -- he doesn't waste time. The constant adjustment of the gloves, the helmet, the pants, then the batter calls time, then the catcher calls time ... dear God, throw the ball. Nine-inning games should not be 3.5 hours.

We've been adopted by a formerly homeless cat who showed up on the doorstep (my sweethearted wife said "just feed him and he'll go away..."). I've given up on winning the battle to keep him out of the house, but: short of repeated tossing, how do you keep him off the keyboard? TBHitW

Bad news, TBHitW. You don't. Why they have to be there I don't know but they do. Remove, repeat. My cat is smart as a whip but hasn't (won't) learn not to do it. Yet if I say "N-O spells no" to him as he commits other atrocities, he'll stop. He's a mystery, as are all cats. Congrats on yours.

That quotation is from Macbeth. The three witches say it at the beginning of the play! So this is not entirely un-sports-related, I have to say I'm glad Desi's goatee is gone but that I'm sad Rendon's mullet is gone. But, it doesn't seem to have affected his playing so I guess I'm ok with it. That is all. Happy weekend!

Although I don't pay as much attention to hair, I agree about Desmond's current choice, and Rendon's.

Howdy - Just back from a long drive to South Dakota, down to Colorado, and back to Virginia via I-70. Great time! While in SD, we saw Mt. Rushmore and, amazingly, met the last surviving carver who actually worked on the project. He's now 93 years old and seems like a great guy. Interestingly - he was hired based on his pitching ability. That's right: the carving crew had their own baseball team that played against other towns and companies. This guy was growing up in the nearest town to Mt. Rushmore and apparently caught the crew's attention as a great high school player. They quickly hired him as an apprentice carver and he stayed with the project - and the team - for three years. Thought you'd like to know. - K-Stater

Awesome! That is so cool. And everyone should see Mount Rushmore, and the Black Hills in general. Amazing country. Now it's time (for you) to get ready for football season. :)

I'm still somewhat involved with the theatre world, and there's a theatre superstition that you can't say the actual title of Shakespeare's play about a usurping king of Scotland (or even quote from it) without bad, bad things happening to whatever project you are involved with. I fear for the Nats, so I will keep with the superstition. The quote in question is by the three witches who are preparing a potion at the beginning of the play. Section 405

Right, right. Well, we've all jinxed ourselves. Very sorry about that.

I'm going to try getting to all three of the Dodgers games after the break - I want to see Puig. I don't care what he's going to do in his whole career - he can turn into Jeff Francoeur for all I care, or Daryl Strawberry. He's amazing NOW, and I want to see him NOW. Section 405

I can't decide how I feel about this guy. He certainly is dynamic right now.

On the topic of an earlier comment - while the Nats will certainly have to have made some clutch plays and performed better in situational hitting to have a better record than they do now, I believe all the evidence suggests that neither "situational hitting" nor "clutch performance" are actually skills that can be learned or natural talents that one can be born with. Maybe it's just because I read "Moneyball" recently, but I don't think that this is exactly the Nats' problem. I think their problem is that they don't score enough runs in enough games, mostly. Whether their lineup has improved enough (or will stay improved enough) to live up to what they think their potential is... well, that's why they play the games, right?

Exactly. You can find positives and negatives, but really, all you can do is watch and wait.

Are you apprehensive about Harp in the HRD? It reminds me of a line from Woody Hayes about the forward pass, that there are 3 outcomes, and two of them are bad. I think that Harp can do OK, mess up his timing/swing, or worse.

I agree a number of things can happen, but I'm not personally invested in any of them, so I'm not apprehensive. But interested, certainly.

Has anyone ever calculated how much time the ball is actually in motion in a baseball game? My hubby told me that in football (which runs to about 3 hours per game) the ball only actually moves for about 15 minutes. I don't know if that's true because I can't watch a football game without going crazy from boredom.

Yes, that's been done, I'll have to look it up. Oddly, I don't mind football on the DVR as much as baseball for some reason. But I'm going to  have to learn to love it because the slowness is getting to me. I don't watch all football on the DVR though, and I don't find it as slow as baseball. Which is what makes the world go 'round -- different opinions.

The follow up chatter hit most of the nails on the head, Moore has options and will get consistent at bats in the minors, which he needs. Another piece is that Davey (and I think most managers) prefer to have veterans on the bench for pinch hitting roles. They are generally able to handle the sitting around and not playing better and are better suited to the high pressure situations. So Davey loves youth in the starting lineup but age on the bench.

Well put.

Hold the cat on your lap. Firmly.

Ha! I'm trying to figure out how I'd type over my cat. I finally brought a chair into the room and set it next to my office chair. I pat it and he knows I mean "sit here, or go away" so he sits there. Mostly. He is incredibly needy now that he's an only cat, and I'm engaged in an intense internal debate about adding cats to the household, something I do not want to do. But you might try the chair trick, TBHitW.

My son-in-law, who has a MA and is dean of students at a North Carolina University, knows nothing about Shakespeare! My 18-year-old granddaughter (his niece) took Shakespeare in high school, loved it, and discusses it wonderfully! I think you should know some Shakespeare to be considered cultured. He went to Fordham, by the way! My best quotes are from Shakespeare, Alice in Wonderland, and the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. "Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink!"

I took a Shakespeare course in college but it was moving to DC and getting season tickets to the Shakespeare theater (which I no longer have) that really got me into it. They do great work. And the writing ... ah, the writing.

Hire Bob Gibson as a pitching coach!


I was in Belgium in 1997 when my Cleveland Indians were in the World Series. Because of the 6 hour time difference, I found myself watching a "compressed" broadcast of the game on NBC Europe or some such thing. The took out most of the time between pitches - and even skipped over a routine 3-up/3-down half inning becasue nothing interesting happened. They got the whole game in under an hour. It was wonderful. I heard about the Game 7 loss midway across the Atlantic on the way home. No surprise there- we ARE talking the Indians .... - space cadet

My God, that sounds WONDERFUL. Think of how many people who would subscribe to THAT service.

I know it truly doesn't matter, and for that reason it doesn't bother me that much, but I find it disturbing that the Braves and Blue Jays are teaming up to vote for each others player in the final player vote for the All Star game. I think it is likely that Freddy Freeman will get the NL nod, when it clearly should be Puig. It is an EXHIBITION game folks, remember Harper making it last year? The Braves do so much to be an unlikeable franchise (tomahawk chop being #1 on my list), this just adds to it. What do you think? -Handle Pending

It's either important, or it's not, and I think that's the problem with the game now. It's kind of a joke, players refuse to play, fake injuries, fans stuff the ballot box, whatever. Yet it decides home field advantage in the Series. So is it a meaningless, fun exhibition, or is it important. That's my problem with it. Climbing off the soapbox now.

Haven't had one in a while. How about at The Bullpen prior to a game? Section 405

I think we're going to have to wait till summer ends. You know of my hatred of summer. It knows no bounds. But I know we need to have one. Maybe we can do a September get-together that includes Nats Park, but not so much humidity.

Okay, thanks, everyone, for joining me today. Enjoy the weekend, the Derby, the AS Game, and life in general. 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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