Aug 04, 2010

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

Just wanted to say that I was kind of messed up after surgery also, so your issues could certainly be caused by it. After gall bladder surgery 2 years ago it was a full 2 weeks before I was back to normal. I hope I never have to have it again.

So it's not just me. Good to know! I can always count on this chat.

Sorry I didn't set a topic for the chat last night -- my interweb at home appears to be on the fritz. But maybe we don't need topics? It seems you guys send in whatever you want to talk about regardless of the topics. Maybe that's a waste of time. Tell me what you think...

If Strasburg is going to be limited to the number of innings pitched, and the Nationals will close him down both this year and next year (they've already said that), wouldn't it make more sense to use him as a relief pitcher than for him to possibly take a vacation for the final third of the season? Not being sarcastic but after all, if he's not going to pitch, what's the value of him being with the team, sitting on the bench? Cheering encouragement to those players who have to put out the effort to win? From a fellow-player's perspective I would just as soon he not be there.

I've heard this more often in the past few weeks, about making him a reliever. I think it's an intriguing idea in some ways, but the team is very committed to making him a starter. The preparation, the mental work, everything would have to change for him, and then he'd have to change back. I don't think they want to derail his learning curve in that way. I also think he wants to be around the team. He may not be a joy for the media to deal with, but he's apparently a really good teammate. And I'm sure the Nats want him around for the schooling he gets watching guys work, both teammates and the opposition.

And back to the relieving ... I don't have the stats in front of me (and on my Mesozoic laptop I'll never be able to call them up) but hasn't he struggled more in the first inning than any other? He seems to get stronger as he goes; that kind of pitching doesn't work for a reliever. And that's kind of what I mean when I say it would be a big change for him.

Ms. H: I'm sure you saw the story in the Post - a three-foot long caiman caught in the Patapsco River close to here. If there's one, there's more. To stop them before they invade Rock Creek and the Potomac we need, -ASAP - to set up a "croc and gator" gigging contest. If we time it right - after the end of the NHL and NBA seasons, and before NFL training camps open - the organizers can make some big bucks! Can you start the ball rolling? (I have a broken rake in the garage I can convert into a harpoon)

This is something all my years in the Midwest hasn't prepared me for, but I'll take your word for it. Gotta be a released pet, right? Right?

Sally makes a lot of sense in her column today, and I think she puts the discussion where it should be. Albert, and this guy in Pittsburgh with the hamstring, whose name escapes me now, have put training camp on the table as an issue itself.

Obviously rookies and non-contract players need camp to demonstrate their ability, but veterans don't really need that. We all know that the issue isn't Albert's physical condition but his attitude and approach.

Is it enough for him to help out younger players and be good in meetings? Is it important for him to demonstrate that he's not above Shanahan's rules? Training camp is about building the group. I think that there should be multiple opportunities for players to show their commitment to the group.

I like the fact that the conditioning test is one alternative to making regular workouts during the offseason. Certainly some veterans serve as models by doing the workouts, just like everyone else, but I don't see a problem if other veterans serve different functions, acting as coaches or drill leaders or skull session leaders. I think it's important for Albert to show his commitment to the group, but I also think it's important for Shanny to show some flexibility.

I think what should happen now is that they should sit down and work out a way for Albert to demonstrate his commitment, and then Shanny should announce that Albert's knee is not going to allow the drill but instead he is going to do these other things.

I liked Sally's column as well. The drill is clearly symbolic now. Some resolution will eventually be reached if Shanahan wants to stop talking about this, and he clearly does. However, he won't do anything that makes it seem like he's capitulating. Meanwhile, Albert is having the easiest training camp of anyone (physically, anyway). What a mess.

Tracee, Mr. Tony gave you a hard time on the radio yesterday for daring to right about something other than Haynesworth. Care to respond?

Tony just gave me a hard time to my face for not writing Haynesworth. I've written Haynesworth before, and I'll write him again. I thought something different was in order, and I was struck by Galloway. However, Haynesworth is the elephant in the room so probably I'll go tomorrow -- what a way to spend my birthday -- and probably I'll have to mention the big guy.

To be clear, Tony is not my hero, but he wrote a column in this town for a lot of years and did it well. I listen to his advice. I'm not going to follow it all the time, but I do listen.

Per Goff....Ben is the new "interim" head coach of our DC United. Shocking.

Well, for reporters and bloggers and editors, this is a dream come true. Olsen is very smart, very accessible, very popular with the media. I assume he'll be just as popular with the players. Will that translate to coaching smarts? We'll see.

Tracee, have you considered retiring during training camp then unretiring right before the season as a ploy to get more attention for your column?

Yes, I thought about it, but my old friend Rachel Nichols refused to come stand outside my house waiting for my decision. That spoiled it for me.

It says here you discuss the "most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports." Well, I am outraged -- but not amazed -- that the Favre Dance is starting up again... if it ever really stopped. He texts his pals that he doesn't want to come back, and now all the medias are saying the Vikes should beg him to come back for three months or whatever. I do think they'd be a better team with him, but with or without him we need to end our long national nightmare.

Could not agree more. Also we need to end Rachel's long national nightmare.

Hi T-Ham! We, your readers, gotta know: what's your all-time favorite De Niro line? For me, it's two: "I got nipples, Greg. Could you milk me?" and also, of course, "Hey, from now on, I want an equal amount of blueberries in each muffin. Got that? An equal amount of blueberries in each muffin!" Thanks!

I'm sorry to admit I don't think I have one. I'm not a huge DeNiro fan. I mean, he's tremendous but I just don't follow him as much. I love the blueberries line and I should know the movie. What is it?

Smoltz was asked this same question and said flat out no. That it was different for a guy like him at his age, but you don't want a young guy going out there and getting messed up by having to get used to the preperation of being a reliever and then having to go back to being a starter. Besides they are increasing his innings by 30% next year and 30% more innings added on to the 150 he is estimated to get this year is 195.

Yeah, I just don't think it works.

Does not care about sports anymore. He likes American Idol and the Grammy's. The last time he made me laugh was about 15 years ago, when he wrote in a column about The Squire re-naming Landover, MD "RalJon" after his two sons Ralph and John, that it was a good thing that his sons weren't named "Peter" and "Enis"

That was a great line. We disagree about Mr. Tony. That's what makes the world go 'round.

First of all, Tracee, I was sad that scoring in the first inning didn't lead to a win, as it usually does. I'm happy that Zimm hit another homer, though. I didn't get to see much of the game (watched White Collar with beautiful Matt Bomer--a really good episode BTW) and then went to bed (I get up EARLY) after watching the bottom of the second. That was a great play by Willingham to throw the runner out at the plate all the way from deep left field. They said he only has one error all season--amazing!

Good report on the game since I, too, missed it. Willingham is quietly a very good player.

Tracee So your interweb is "on the fritz" ! I laughed out loud. Only people like us from the Midwest say "on the fritz". Thanks for the smile.

Is that a Midwestern thing? Cool.

The preparations of a starter are very different from those of a reliever. The regimen of a starter (throwing on the off day, throwing on the side, etc.) is tied to the goal of getting ready to throw 100 pitches every five or six days. Relievers on the other hand prepare for sudden bursts of effort at random times. Also, starters pitch differently because they see the same batters three or more times. A starter may throw a pitch in the first inning to set up a pitch in the seventh. For this reason, on their off days starters "pitch along" from the dugout in order to learn about how to pitch batters and manage a game. They talk about situations and pitch choices with other pitchers and with coaches. (On one of those off days, usually, a starter will keep the pitch chart.) Pitchers, in the words of Yogi, observe a lot by just watching. There is zero reason to alter this pattern of preparation by making Strasburg a reliever. He needs to continue to be a starter, even if it's only five months a year.

In a word, yes.

IMDB says the movie is Casino.


The earlier post raises a good point. If Strasburg is shut down in early August, do they leave him on the roster taking up a space and use him to cheer on the team from the bench? Or do they take him off the roster and how does that affect his team? If he's off the roster he can't be in the dugout? They can't put him on a disabled list because wouldn't be disabled; it would be just the team saying "we don't want him to pitch for us." Kudos to the earlier post for raising the issue. My vote is, if he's not able to contribute all year because they don't want him to pitch a lot, is to change him to a reliever and teach him to work that first inning.

I think he's going to pitch again next week and maybe after. I think they can shut him down in September when the roster expands and keep him around. I think the reliever idea is a non-starter (no pun intended).

You don't need a harpoon to catch a gator. You just need to be able to run really fast for about 100 feet. So anybody but Albert is qualified...

There's a creek behind the practice field in Ashburn, I think. Maybe if a gator was chasing Albert, he'd pass that test. I would.

Were you looking over J. Reid's shoulder when you predicted that Kelly might be a surprise cut? His column this morning is a good read, especially when a WR's third season seems to be a make or break year.

I wasn't but I'm happy to hear we're on the same page. Love J. Reid. He scolded me so bad for forgetting my hat Sunday. He's a mother hen as well as the Mayor.

There's been very little ink spilled discussing our new field general? I know Fat Albert is sucking all the air out of the room but we want to know how Donovan is adjusting to the team and vice versa.

Well, Maese had a long story on McNabb on Sunday that I thought covered a lot. I wrote McNabb during mini-camp and will write him again but boy, it's a long season. McNabb looked pretty good Sunday; I'm eager to see him again tomorrow.

So Kelly and Thomas are quasi-busts, but how about Fred Davis? Would like to think the Skins got at least one decent player out of those 3 2d round picks.

Fred is doing quite well and I think they'll find ways to use both him and Cooley if they're smart, and I believe they are. Fred is also quite funny.

And on the seventh day..............he rested some more!!! It just gets more ludicrous by the second.

Yes, it does.

Climate change has far reaching effects. The warmer it gets around here the more warm weather creatures will move in. Gators, scorpions, giant cockroaches, and monkeys, lots of monkeys. TK will be thrilled, chimps in suits strolling down Connecticut Ave. They're coming to take their planet back!

Tony will be THRILLED. Me, not so much. I don't want the giant cockroaches.

If Albert Haynesworth can't try, not pass but try, the conditioning test twice without his knee swelling so badly that he can't run for 5 days, isn't Mike Shanahan right to keep him out of practice? He clearly isn't in shape.

The knee situation is troubling. If he's got a bad knee, all the weight loss in the world won't help.

I just checked the calendar and it's not LaVar really coming to the Post or did I have a nightmare?

He's really coming. Let's see how it works before we decide it's awful.

Lucky me -- I'm retired and spend much of the summer visiting major and minor league baseball stadiums. Kaufman has long been one of my favorites, but I haven't seen it since its recent makeover. Have you? From watching the Orioles play there last weekend, it looks really spectacular.

I wanted to go on vacation but we didn't make it. Apparently it's stunning. It was always a nice park. And it's so easy to get in and out of compared to a lot of places; another reason to love it.

Tracee, I thought with the firing of Cerrato and the hiring of Shanahan and Bruce Allen that the circus had finally pulled up stakes and departed Ashburn. Now we're into day 7 of "Conditioning Testgate" and things are back to the normal modus operandi at Redskins Park. Really, how absurd is this? Now we have radio broadcasters running (and passing) the test. Heck, even Dave Feldman passed it. Every hour we get another breathless update on the knee, and whether Albert is running again. When is enough enough?

It's hard not to cover it when your highest paid player is working out against trash cans. That's the big quandry for most of us.

I've gotta go; the radio show calls. Thanks for the feedback about the topics; we may reconsider that. I like it when you guys get worked up and set the agenda. Join me again tomorrow; chat will be coming to you LIVE from Redskins Park.

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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