Aug 11, 2010

On the 10th day of Strasmas, the Nationals gave to me... eh, I'm getting tired of the Strasmas references, aren't you? Instead of lords a'leaping, let's just talk about his start and whatever else you want.

On the 10th day of Strasmas, the Nationals gave to me... eh, I'm getting tired of the Strasmas references, aren't you? Instead of lords a'leaping, let's just talk about his start and whatever else you want.

Morning! Out-of-towner here all set to make a first ever visit to Nats Park on the 26th. Hopefully I'll catch Strasburg; I still haven't seen the guy pitch, even on TV since I don't have cable, but either way I'm very much looking forward to the trip. And though I'm ambivalent towards the Nats, they'll definitely have my wholehearted support since I hate, hate, HATE the Cardinals. Their only redeeming quality is that I hate the Cubs more. Anyhow, I'm looking for some insider tips on the stadium. What should I make sure I see, eat and drink? What are some of the unique quirks of the ballpark? Maybe you can offer up suggestions, or be so kind as to post this early in the chat so your esteemed readers can chime in. Thanks much! I appreciate your insight as well as everybody else's at WP. Where would we be without the interwebs? 15 years ago I could never dream of keeping up with the Skins and Caps from 800 miles away like I can now

I'm starting with this so that the other chatters can help you. My expertise lies in what time the clubhouse opens and good places to stand on the field where you can get a breath of air conditioning. I assume Ben's Chili Bowl is a must-visit, but chatters, please help our visitor!

And good morning to all. We'll get right to it.

Ubaldo Jiminez, who lost to the Mets 1-0 yesterday to go to 17-3 with a miniscule ERA, got really pounded a couple weeks ago. It happens. I'm sure Strasburg, and the Nats, know and accept this. We fans have to do the same. PS Anyone who thinks Floyd Little belongs in the pro football HOF is either a close friend or family member, or just isn't looking at things clearly.

I've been saying forever that the kid is going to have bad nights. Last night was one of those nights.

It's the end of the world! There is no Santa Claus! Seriously folks... Boz says the problem was that Strasburg had no confidence in his circle change or his curveball. That's fixable. I'm more worried by Hanley Ramirez, quoted in Adam Kilgore's game story, saying that we just needed to find his release point, and now that we know where it is he's hittable. That is bad bad news, if true, and it's exactly the kind of thing that could be hidden during a collegiate career and an express train through the minors. I know it's too early to slit my wrists, but I do find myself lingering at the Henckels website. Talk me down, please.

The Henckels website is a knife site but I'm not posting the link because it keeps crashing my computer.

Listen, he's going to be easier to hit the second time around, like everyone is. He's going to be harder to hit when all four of his pitches are working. He had two pitches last night, and the fastball, which fast, wasn't bending to his will so much. It's too early to give up and go to the knives.


For the Nats Park visitor -- the pre-game party on the Scoreboard Walk on the weekend evening games, half-smoke with everything at Ben's Chili Bowl, seats in the Red Loft or Red Porch if you can get them, and I think the rest is fairly standard.

Here is some help for our visitor. Thanks!

Already the knives are out on sports talk radio: The Nationals brought Strasburg back too soon (take your choice, blame the manager for starting him, the general manager/team president for not protecting him from the manager who forced Strasburg to pitch, the Lerners for not spending enough on medical treatment, the lack of quality care by the Nationals' medical staff. Add to the comments that "they didn't let him get ready long enough after being out for serious medical issues..." Got to love the knife bearers who don't believe that maybe, just maybe, Strasbur's human, or that the other team has professional baseball players who don't want to rollover in the name of Strasburg and who play to win. And one even called it "The Curse O' Les Boulez". Which means, I assume, that the caller had no idea who or what Les Boulez were or is, and probably no idea that Tony Kornheiser coined the phrase some 20 years ago..

Yes, I knew this was coming and am not surprised, except at the Curse o' Les Boulez reference. The Nats wouldn't have let him get within five miles of the Park if they thought he was injured in any way. Period. They are going to be crazy cautious with him. So I don't buy into any of that. I just don't. You are sane and sensible and bless your heart for that.


... "at first these big league hitters are going to light you up like a pinball machine. Don't worry about it. " It happens. Actually, maybe it's a good thing. Maybe now people won't expect SS to walk on water every time out. Yeah, the Strasmas thing is getting old. Was never a fan of it to begin with. Just let the kid pitch. Re. ballpark fare: In addition to Ben's Chili Bowl, I like Teddy's BBQ, particularly the brisket. Also the shakes at the Gifford's stand. And the fries at the Boardwalk Fries stand. None of the above are cheap, but, hey, it's ballpark food.

Ah, yes, Bull Durham has a quote for all occasions. Thanks!

And more advice for our visitor. Thanks for that as well.

To the uninformed Bronco fan about the long time it took to get his homey into the Hall Art Monk retired after the 93 season and was eligible for the 1999 Class but did not get elected until the Class of 08. That was 10 years later. Go ahead and count them. Why did he not go in the first year? Because he was a quiet and to himself. He rarely talked to the media. Besides Monk those that are still waiting are as follows: 1. Brian Mitchell (was #1 overall all-purpose yards leader. Currently #2) 2. Joe Jacoby 3. Chris Hanburger 4. Pat Fischer 5. Larry Brown 6. Gary Clark 7. Jerry Smith So next time hold your tongue. You're just preaching to the choir.

More on the HOF discussion. Everyone's got someone he/she thinks should be in the Hall. Here's one list.

What about Mark Moseley? Before my time but he was pretty impressive from a distance.

Sorry Larry Brown should be in the HOF and not Little. Mr Brown was a far superior running back than Little ever was. Its a crime and politics that Larry Brown is not in the HOF.

Another vote for Mr. Brown.

When I was young and lived in DC, I was as loyal a Senators fan as there was. I boycotted MLB for thirty-three years when Bob Short committed his crime. Now I am old and live in Richmond. I have tried very hard to bond with the Nats. I have been to a few games and watched many on MASN but it has never really been the same. Still, I continued to try. Until last night. As the Nats batted, the announcers ignored the game and talked to a guy named Dawson who played with the franchise in Montreal. I care nothing about Montreal or their baseball team that they apparently would not support. I see that the new DC stadium now has a ring of fame or whatever that has Montreal players in it. I suddenly had an epiphany. I realized that trying to bond with this franchise was like trying to love a woman who kept pictures of her dead husband in the living room. As Mr Dawson discussed his career, I switched to another channel. I'm not really sure I'll ever switch back, it just struck me as being weird beyond my ability to relate. I guess the DC-Montreal thing is some kind of touchy-feely 21th century karma type thing and maybe I'm just too old for that or I still miss the Senators too much but I really don't care 2 cents about Montreal's baseball team. For all I care, they might just consider going back to Montreal. Many would notice, few would realty care.

I'm sorry, I can't agree with this. DC would not have a team if it weren't for Montreal. How depressing it would be to go into the Hall and have no franchise to give you a "night". Dawson was so moved and pleased by it; how does that hurt the Nationals? I don't get it. There will not be many Expos worthy of the Hall or the Ring of Honor; this isn't going to go on for the next 50 years. It's one freaking night.

Tracee! Please help! I may have had one beer to many on Saturday night and ended up betting someone a fairly large sum of money (for a struggling grad student) that the Redskins will beat the Houston Texans. Now, I realize it may be premature to ask this, but what do you think my chances are? Or should I start searching through couch cushions now?

Let's talk again Monday, after we see something Friday night, but I don't think that's a lost cause. However, you'll feel better if you skip the next beer night and put the money aside just in case you lose. So when the Skins beat the Texans, you'll have a little nestegg ... to spend on beer. See how that works?

Were our beloved Nats kidnapped & replaced by evil clones? Except maybe for Ryan, who hit a double (although it would have done more good a couple of other at bats. . .).

That was not a good game. The bats seemed to have been coming around but perhaps they missed the flight from LA. Well, tonight's another night. (I'm trying here...)

Your chat has become such a part of my routine that I find myself composing questions and comments throughout the day I'd like to ask you in the next day's chat. Is this because you're a good chatter or are you using some kind of devious Jayhawk Jedi mind trick?

Oh, the latter. And now I have to make you forget that answer using my mind powers.

Is it working?

It usually takes a second look at new young pitchers before hitters catch on to such things as the point of release. I also think it's telling that he only drew 25K this last time out. The novelty seems to have worn off and if he got clobbered by the lowly Marlin hitters imagine what a line-up like the Phillies could do to him (once everybody's healthy again). Once the lease is up, it looks like the soccer team can look forward to a new venue! Or maybe by then there will be a woman's soccer team...

Wow. Okay, let's not bulldoze the place just yet. He looked human last night, but in most of his 10 starts -- 10 STARTS!! -- he has not looked that human. He is going to occasionally get hit hard. It happens. It certainly happens to rookies coming off, what, two weeks off?, making their 10th start.

The crowd was a little surprising. Not sure if that's the August D.C. doldrums, the weather, vacation, all of the above? But if you were desparate to see Strasburg, last night was the night to go, I guess.

Albert. The infrared spotlight of local fans is off of him and people are a bit distracted this morning. Don't worry--we'll get back to him shortly! We're not done with him just yet...

Ha! Yes, Strasburg is now the punching bag and Albert is beloved. Well, not beloved. Good point.

Tracee, As a Terrapin fan, I see this year as a waste (kind of like Zorn last year when everybody knew he would not be back). I don't see MD going having a winning season. Agree? Comments.

Well, this is my column topic for tomorrow. I think 7-5 might be tough. And I think if they start with a loss to Navy, it'll be a long season for Terps nation. My school's athletic department has big problems, but Maryland's is worse right now. Not good.

The good thing about the 26th is that it is Ladies Night & The Miller Lite Party Nite is on Thursdays now too! For the best nachos I would do the Hard Times Texax Chili Nachos. Ben's is great for the Half Smoke, but Hard Times rocks the nachos.

More Park advice. Thanks!

Yesterday you thought they might get 39-40k. Announced attendance was 26. Can you read anything into that?

See above. Not sure but I'm guessing it's the vacation-weather-doldrums thing.

What was up with Morse last night? I don't recall him looking that shaky in LF before.

Well, RF, but point taken. He's usually pretty solid int he field. I thought Bernadina looked good in center and Kennedy had two good plays early.

Not being a follower of baseball, I have to say just from watching the clip of what happened last night, it looks like Brandon Phillips may just have been stating facts when he said, "All they do is [bleep] and moan about everything, all of them. . ." It looked like Phillips was trying to make nice and the catcher (forgot his name) wouldn't let it go. Besides, isn't trash talk just a part of professional sports?

If Phillips does make that move every time he leads off a game, I don't see the big deal. I'm not a tremendous LaRussa fan so perhaps I'm biased. How that turned into the mess it did is beyond me. That's a time when maybe the park security ought to get in there. When they go against the railing like that, someone could get really hurt. And yes, trash talk is part of sports.

Though he looked emminently mortal last night I thought he wasn't getting some of the calls the Marlins pitcher was getting. Last night's dud of a start doesn't worry me. Let's see how he recovers. God forbid there's actually something wrong with him physically though. Any rumors about that you've heard?

Too early to say. Stay tuned to Nats Journal this afternoon. If he has more than the usual soreness that'll be a problem but I don't expect to hear that.

I wonder how Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel are feeling now? They could talk the talk but couldn't walk the walk. Of course it helps to have a national reputation and a 3 year contract. I don't know how long it's going to last, but I'm planning to enjoy it while it does. Go Birds!

It's pretty amazing and good for the Baltimore fans, whose previous highlight this season was sweeping the Nats.

So the O's are now 7-1 under Buck. How can the team turn around so quickly with just a managerial change? Of all the coaches/managers in sports, it seems that baseball managers would have the least impact. What else can/do they do during a game other than set the lineup and change pitchers?

I think managers can get you a certain number of wins a season, but not a high number. This is something beyond lineups and such. Was the clubhouse that demoralized? Were they not trying?

Who starts at Rt. Tackle while Jamal Brown is out? I hope his name doesn't rhyme with Blephon Clyer.

I don't have the depth chart in front of me, but I think it is Blephon.

Bill Veeck stated, "I have discovered in 20 years of moving around a ballpark, that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats." Couldn't have said it better, myself. ;-)

Ha! That's a good quote. I think the chatter was trying to send our visitor to something that's uniquely Nats Park-ish.

Our visitor should be warned that there is nothing else around the ballpark. Just realized that. Don't show up way early because there isn't much to do.

I only saw a replay, but apparently, the Cards-Reds fight last night was seriously serious. Are the Cards a bunch of whiners? I question anyone who would hire McGwire for anything.

It seemed to be quite a melee. As I said before, when they went into the railing, that's when I think security should have tried to take control. That's dangerous. If the netting isn't there, that's when fans get involved as well. Not good for anyone.

As a  Royals fan, I have an anti-Cardinal bias. I should state that for the record.

All this talk about hating the Cards, I thought maybe Brandon Phillips was hosting the chat. Whatever you do, don't tap Yadier Molina's shin pad next time you see him.

Will he do it tonight, do you think? Sorry, today. That's a day game.

Chili Cheese Fries from Ben's.

Another vote for Ben's. Thanks!

Are we supposed to be so in the nWo's thrall that we really needed the Miami Heat's full season schedule for next year printed in today's paper? Or is the Post doing this for every NBA team?

I hope we are not in the thrall of the nWo, or the Nazgul, or the Just-Us League, or whatever name you choose.

I've checked with the top editors, since I happen to be in the office today. That was not a mandate from on high. I think the agate fellows, the folks who put together scoreboard, used that as filler and might even have thought it was a good idea. It probably wasn't.

I've been hearing rumbles that John Riggins skipped Russ Grimm's induction to the Hall of Fame. Instead, he was at a sports memorabilia convention in Baltimore, where he was hawking signed pictures for $100. I love me some Riggo, but that's just wrong. For a guy that has been very critical of others (i.e. Dan Snyder has a "dark heart"), this is completely bush league. Have you heard anything abou this?

I have not. I will have to ask around. I will say that I do not know John Riggins and my first attempt to make a connection went over poorly.

Lots of positives coming out of the Bay Area about Jason Campbell. Raiders went 5-11 last year--Skins 4-12. Who wins more games this year?

I think the Skins do, actually, but I'm only picking the Skins for 8-8, so that's not saying much.  I hope Campbell finds a fit there; my limited exposure to him was always positive.

Tracee Let's hope folks get over this "instant gratification" stuff with K Street. A quick perusal of the records of HALL OF FAME pitchers will show that most did not win more than 55% of their starts. So give him a break. Are all of these folks PERFECT in THEIR jobs? Even folks from Kansas aren't completely perfect, present company excluded.

Agreed to all of it, and I'll even admit I lack perfection as well.

So how about that display of bravery put on last night at the Astros game? Should the guy have protected his girlfriend and taken the foul ball instead of ducking out of the way, or should she have been a little more on her toes instead of shrinking up like a violet? C'mon, girls can catch too you know!

Well, that depends on the guy, and the girl. Not all girls are shrinking violets, but not all girls want to catch a baseball either. If the guy knows his girl falls into that second category, the thing to do is pull her away or shield her. But that doesn't meant the guy has to take a ball in the face, either. I don't know how I'd feel about that, to tell you the truth.

Chivalry may in fact be dead. I had some experiences at Giant yesterday that lead me to believe it is.

There are only 2 kickers in the HOF, Jan Stenerud and Lou Groza and Groza is in as a defensive end. Moseley is the only kicker ever voted MVP of the league. There are at least 5 others that belong in but Moseley and Morton Anderson would be good start. As for Floyd Little getting in, people tend to compare his stats to todays stats, forgetting rule changes, number games and better conditions and training. Little deserved to be in the HOF. Now lets see if Chris Hanburger finally gets in (9 time Pro Bowler and Defensive Player of the Year in 1972) .

A vote for Little, and good info on kickers. I agree on Mort Anderson as well.

Hi, Ms. Hamilton! Were you ever stoked to interview someone, only to discover, mid-interview, that the person was, in fact, a total bore? Or conversely, were you ever dreading an intervview, but the person turned out to be really cool and fascinating? Thanks, and my best to your felines, for whom you indicated you sing. And I do hope you publish your cat songs at some point!

Oh, yes. I wanted to talk to all the Nats in the AFL last fall. I didn't know a thing about Josh Wilkie and ended up really liking him, doing a second interview, then a phone interview, etc. Just a great kid and I wouldn't have known. A few of the other kids were tough to talk to. Storen was the same way; I called Potomac to see if he'd talk to me over the phone and we ended up meeting on Capitol Hill. Great, great kid. You just never know.

As for the songs ... I have two "treats" songs that if I sing the first two or three bars, the cats leap up and run in the kitchen because they know that means "treats." Silly, I know, but I have to laugh every time.

Can you explain why baseball continues to allow benches to empty anytime one player looks crosseyed at another? other then the entertainment value to the fans, this seems so rediculous. especially when you consider that some of these guys are old men (although zimmer vs pedro was a classic moment). The issue last night between the cards and reds would have been resolved by the umpires had the teams not been allowed to empty the benches/bullpens. My solution would be similar to hockey, you jump off the bench, you and the team are fined and suspended. if the batter wants to run after the pitcher, thats fine. but the catcher has the right to intervene first and from there it's mano-a-mano.. no third man in. position players needs to stay where they are and any baserunners cant leave the bases. either that, or each team can designate one or two guys as eligible to come off the bench in such a situation. if the other team knew that adam dunn, for example, was the designated brawlers, it might deter some of these shenanigans.

The problem last night seemed to be, where to start with ejections. So they just threw out the managers. But fines will be coming. I agree that it is unseemly and that baseball ought to do more to stop it. People can get really hurt. I like a good rivalry and some trash talk, but that's ridiculous.

Sorry to hear your first attempt to connect went poorly. He is a native son of Kansas, so I would think he would be more welcoming. (I think he had the state record in the 100 yard dash for some years.)

Yeah, that's what I thought too. :)

Thanks for the advice! I'm going with my dad and am happily spoken for, so the Ladies Night thing doesn't help much, but I will def check out Bens and that beef brisket sounded good

These chatters are the best! Hope you have a good time and that it's not dreadful weather.

Hi Tracee. Okay, is has nothing to do with sports, but somehow, intuitively, I feel to a certainty that most of your readers would enjoy knowing if you have an embarrassing or guilty food (or beverage) pleasure. For me, I gotta admit that if I can't sleep, I might reach for a bowl of my son's Cookie Crisp cereal, or perhaps Count Chocula, which fiils me with shame, as I'm 41 years old. Always enjoy your chats! You're accessible in ways that Cheese Boy could only aspire to be!

I am trying to think if I have one. I usually eat one meal a day, then a little snack in the late afternoon/early evening, but I can't eat anything late. I already have enough trouble sleeping.

I do have a disgusting version of my own Chex mix that I will occasionally make and eat. Haven't had it since before surgery. And now, of course, I want it. Damn!

Oops, way way long today. Thanks again for helping the visiting baseball fan, and sorry I didn't get to all your questions. Join me tomorrow!

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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