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

Aug 15, 2013

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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I'm convinced that the little ... discussion... that Werth and Gio had was a very good thing, and I wish it had happened in May.

A problem with the team this year has been that they seemed to play with an utter lack of emotion, like they were in zombie mode. I think the recent mini-surge is starting to awaken emotions in the team, and that'll contribute to better on-field performance.

Of course, I'm writing this *before* leaving for the Wednesday game vs. the Giants (will be otherwise occupied when the chat is live), so we'll see what happens....

Well, what happened was that great Span catch. Hope you saw it (I KNOW you stayed till the end, 405.) That was really sweet.

And good morning, everyone. Let's get going!

No, Ms. H, not the one in Kansas (I trust it's not close to your relatives), but the one the Nats dug for themselves. After collapsing (or just being "collapsed by") the Braves, it figures the Nats would get on a winning streak - not only after the horse has escaped the barn, but after the barn has been foreclosed and replaced by a fast-food franchise. I'd guess the Nats end up about 2 to 3 games short of the last wild card, providing some hope for next year. AHG

No, AHG, but thanks for asking -- that sinkhole is near the KS-CO border. Wonder what the devil caused it but if you're going to have a sinkhole, it's a great place. No homes, roads or livestock endangered thus far. You know how desolate that area is.

The Nats have made hay against some bad teams but they just can't gain ground on the Braves. They can still make some noise in the wild card race and I hope they do because that would be fun -- watching the scoreboard in September is always a nice distraction.

I was hoping that maybe you or others on the Chat might explain a phenomenon that puzzles me: people wearing a jersey for a team not playing in the game. For example, at the Nats vs. Giants game last night, I saw someone wearing an Atlanta Braves jersey and another person wearing a Boston Red Sox jersey! I actually understand the Oakland A's Suzuki jersey someone was wearing, but I do not understand wearing a Red Sox or a Braves jersey to last night's game. What are these people trying to say by wearing a jersey for a team that is not playing in that game?

"Hey, I'm a fan of a different (even better) team"? Beats me. There's a lot I don't understand about the jersey-wearing trends.

You said a meetup at the ballpark might be a possibility "when the weather gets cooler". Well, I'm writing this at around two in the afternoon, and my phone says the temperature is 69 degrees... There are only two home stands left in this year's crazy, unbalanced home schedule.... Section 405

Wednesday would have been a great day for a meetup, but if I schedule one, that day will undoubtedly be 100 degrees with 100% humidity. (The real answer: I'm trying to schedule a medical doohickey for September so I'm not committing to anything else right now.)

How do we fix this?

Teddy has to go?

Does this have anything to do with upcoming new ownership?

There was a chat last week:

I urge everyone not to attribute anything they see or don't see in the paper or online in the coming weeks to new ownership. The sale hasn't gone through yet, so there are no changes so far. I'm sure there will be but when I know about them, I'll tell you.

Tracee; I've been sort of amazed at the Clark/Pujols story, and while everyone has been focusing on Pujols' denials and the possible realities, there are a couple of issues in this that have been overlooked. First of all, Clark's historical prickliness toward the local "baseball heroes" during his playing days is overlooked. When he was in St. Louis, he wasn't exactly a fan of Ozzie Smith. He was VERY open with his distaste for Tony Gwynn when he was in San Diego; made comments to the press about Gwynn when Clark went to Boston. Secondly, isn't it just possible that, while some are going to look at the injuries Albert has suffered the last three years and wonder if they're a result of PED wear, we are forgetting that in the pre-PED era, power hitters for the most part WORE OUT IN THEIR 30s??!? Even in this era, we've had one notable example of a slugger continually sustaining injuries over a five year period without the mention of steroids in his career--Ken Griffey, Jr. I guess my point here is that, while this era makes any great baseball player's numbers come under suspicion, the deeper and longer history--especially Clark's history--should also be taken into account...

To me it's an object lesson in making accusations based on pretty much nothing. These guys had this radio show for about a week before getting fired. That doesn't help Clark's credibility. What Pujols did or did not do, I can't say. And won't, because it's irresponsible. As Jack Clark has learned.

I don't know football statistics that well, so maybe you will be able to answer one of those football questions that has us stumped. When a quarterback takes a knee, does that get counted in the quarterback's rushing stats and/or the team rushing stats? Or is taking a knee recognized as different from rushing?

This was tough to find, so I turned to our editors, who said it was a loss of yards to the QB. Anyone else who wants to weigh in, feel free.

Good Morning: I love the Nats and have followed them since they arrived, but I'm frustrated that the Nats management and team leaders still don't seem to have accepted the reality of their continuing poor performance for this year. Do you sense they really understand how frustated loyal fans are this year and how their denial of their failure deepens our frustration? It seems every insignificant success or minor victory over even worse teams is a great cause for public celebration, but there is limited admission of the overall lack of success. Are we expecting too much for them to acknowledge the extent of the problems?

I think they have to keep sounding positive for public relations reasons. I am quite sure they are aware of the fans' frustrations. And they are not out of the wild card hunt so there is still hope for them.

Teheran, the guy who plunked Harper, is schedule to start Sunday against the Nats. Does Gio greet him with a high and tight one -- or will the Nats plunk one of the Braves' batters on Friday?

Well, my feeling would be neither, move on, take the high road. That probably won't happen. I think there's a chance Teheran gets plunked. Anyone else?

In last year, I've noticed a big drop-off in links to NFL, NBA, or MLB highlight videos from major websites. E.g. no Post link to Denard Span's catch last night. Before, the leagues wanted to drive traffic to their sites; now they think they want to discipline us to always go there and get more hits and ads?? Not sure about that logic. Wouldn't mind so much if their sites were better organized and more timely - the NBA's site is awful. Please tell me it's not news sites that have made this decision - definitely counter to your interests!

Our web guy (for lack of a better term) was just in my office and I asked him. He said there is no concentrated effort to run fewer links to videos. Wagner apparently tried to embed a link to a GIF of Span's catch (the GIF is on Deadspin, for instance) but it glitched. So it's not an effort on our part. We do sometimes run up against resistance from the leagues about running stuff. I agree about the NBA's site and I truly hate MLB's. Takes too long to load, for starters.

Your editor is correct, it factors into a QB's rushing totals.


Up by 2 and with 1 out last night, a Giant reached 1st base in the 9th. The runner then stole 2nd base because Soriano ignores all runners, instead focusing solely on the batter. However, the batter then hit a 4 bouncer to Rendon, whose only play was to 1st and the Giants then had a runner on 3rd base with 2 outs. But Rendon might have been able to turn the double play and end the game right there (depriving Span of his moment) if Soriano was able to keep the initial runner at 1st base. Does anyone ever ask Davey about Soriano's refusal to hold runners on base?

I don't know; I've never heard Davey talk on a day when this was an issue. But I'll post this since Boz is at the park today; maybe he'll ask!

I believe there were 3 players in the All Star game this year that were then suspended for 50 games shortly after "representing" the best in baseball. One of those was Everth Cabrera. I think most people would agree that if Everth cabrera was NOT named an All Star, Ian Desmond might have been selected instead (let's not even discuss the fact that even with PEDs, Cabrera is still not as good as Desi). Should MLB go back and strip the All Star designations from the 3 that were subsequently suspended?

I don't think that would make Desmond feel like more of an all-star, and it's a slippery slope. It might make us feel good, but what does it accomplish? I'm far more concerned about MVPs and other far more meaningful awards. (Also, remember that not all players want to go to the all-star game. I'll say no more.)

Once they were no longer in danger of overtaking the Braves, they've played pretty well.


Tracee - thank you for your column last week on Johnny Football and the NCAA. It's unfortunately rare these days in sports commentary to say, hey, wait, BOTH sides can be wrong. ESPN spends 12 hours a day arguing and picking sides in every little conflict. Sometimes two things CAN be true at the same time - Manziel can be a punk and the NCAA can be a bunch of corrupt idiots.

Hard to pick a winner in that one. Manziel clearly has a lot of issues but the hypocrisy of the NCAA makes my head hurt.

Just back from the Wednesday Giants game. Although we won, it wasn't a feel good game like the ones vs. Philly and the Tuesday Giants game. Blame can be directed to the bullpen.

After 7 innings, Jordan Zimmermann left with the score 6-1. Between them, Ian Krol and Ryan Mattheus gave up 3 runs in the 8th before Tyler Clippard finally shut down the Giants in that inning. Then Soriano came in for the 9th and gave up an additional run. With 2 outs and a guy on first, Soriano gave up a lead-losing double to Hunter Pence -- except Denard Span made a spectacular diving circus catch after running full blast to end the game.

Mattheus was wonderful last year, (and I'm grateful to him for turning me on to Katy Perry), but this year he's either been bad or a knucklehead. I hope he's gone this winter. Soriano has been an adventure almost every appearance since the break. Does anyone remember Don Stanhouse, the Orioles' closer back in the late '70's? He's the one Earl Weaver nicknamed 'Full Pack", because Earl would smoke a full pack of cigarettes during just about every appearance. That's Soriano for me - we never should have gotten him. BTW, it's crazy needing a sweater at a ballgame on August 14th.... Section 405

You had me until the sweater remark. It's great needing a sweater in August. It's my dream. (Katy Perry? Really?)

Not a lot of Soriano love on the chat today.

Maybe they are just saying "I like baseball! I wear this jersey to any baseball game, because I like baseball!" Or "I like Ted Williams" if the jersey is Boston #9, etc.

Yeah, maybe they are going with Nats fans but they aren't Nats fans but they want to wear a jersey. Maybe they are tourists in town and want to wear their team's jersey. Maybe ... I guess I just don't care enough. It's probably better than going shirtless, depending on the dude. Ryan Gosling, go right ahead. :)

I think it's pretty simple -- there are people who are just BASEBALL fans. They may not like the Nats or the opponent, but they like the sport so they go. And they represent their favorite team. I'm trying to hit all 30 MLB stadiums. When I go to one, I usually wear a Nats hat.

There you go. Always a good conversation starter, wearing something unique.

My partner and I talk about this phenomenon all the time! The best answer we've come up with is that people think, "I am going to a baseball game, I will wear my baseball clothes," even though the clothes in question are not specific to that matchup. We have a friend who specifically wore a Red Sox hat to a Nats/Braves game because it's a baseball game, and that's when you wear your baseball hat.

Makes sense to me. I am jersey-less in all sports, because when I go I have to dress nicely and sit in the press box.

Is there any truth to the rumor that Rutherford B. Hayes will be running for Teddy today? Which non-represented president was the most fleet of foot? Ford played football at Michigan, and Carter ran cross country at the Naval Academy. Who would you draft to run?

Ford was a tremendous athlete, so I would draft Ford if we were getting the U-M Ford, but not Ford if we were getting the White House Ford, because he tripped a lot. Carter? I don't think so. Kennedy?

O goddess of the Plains and Knower of ALL things GREAT and small Do the Nats have a captain ? If so, where has he been all season ? while the players still SEEM to pay attention to Davey, he is clearly a lame duck. where is the LEADERSHIP on the roster ? Harper is too young for that roll. Ryan Z ? Werth? LaRoche? Seems they should be , but each has had his own issues this year . Desmond may be poised for that role. Speak, oh Goddess, speak !

Last I knew, it was Zim. Correct me if I'm wrong, someone.

(BTW, I just leanred Boz is flying in from vacation right now and heading straight to Nationals Park. You gotta love that guy.)

No, no, you don't plunk another team's pitcher, like you don't cross check another team's goalie .. someone else would get plunked but what's the point at this point?

My original point -- I don't see the point. But if you're going to plunk someone, I would plunk the plunkee, but I see why the pitchers shouldn't be plunked, I guess.

If you were commish, what changes would you make to speed up MLB games? 3.5 hours for a 9 inning games is average now, and it is ridiculous. Would you bar batters from stepping out more than once during an at bat? Would you eliminate managers' walks to the mound? My attention span grows shorter and shorter. How would you speed things up?

Oh, gosh, 405 gave us a huge list about a month ago. I'd limit the number of times a batter can step out. Batting gloves either stay fastened or duct tape them, but quit playing with them. I am not sure I'd eliminate manager's walks to the mound, but when a manager stalls while a pitcher warms up, that bugs me. I get the reason, but still ... The bad thing is, you can't do anything about the commercials, and the commercial time is getting longer.

If a pitcher didn't throw within a specific amount of time, a ball would be automatically added to his count. That would speed those guys up.

Am I the only one who's troubled by the fact that the Nats' "resurgence" coincided perfectly with the complete collapse of their realistic chances to make the playoffs? Truly, the moment that sweep by Atlanta was complete and everyone in the universe lined up to agree that the Nats were now out of contention, suddenly they learned how to play again. While others are celebrating this turnaround, I find it ominous, because to me it bodes ill for the future. Successful teams have to learn to win when the pressure is on, not just when it's off. Agree?

Yes. I would point out I wrote them off well BEFORE Atlanta's sweep, and I didn't get the hate mail I thought I would. In other words, I wasn't the only one.

Harper got plunked because he stood and watched his home run instead of running around the bases. The score has been settled.

Again, no argument, no advocating for plunking. I don't care for plunking and I'm completely against beaning, and I don't like calling plunking beaning. Now there's a sentence.

Hi Trac! I was glad to see your appreciation for Art Donovan. But I think you put the accent in the wrong place. As you said, Art was a great storyteller. That was the key to his greatness, not the fact that he was funny (which he was). There aren't that many storytellers. Then again, there never were. Oh, sure, part of the problem is that these kids today only know how to tell stories 140 characters at a time. But storytelling ability is rare in any age. Rico

You are right. Being a true raconteur is a gift. My friend Richard Justice is one of those people who can really spin a yard. My friend the late Don Fambrough was another. And ... I may be done with my list, Rico.

Any thoughts on the UVA football Cavaliers? I'm pretty stoked with the Watford selection at QB, I think he'll provide some mobility there and keep defenses honest. Smoke Mizzell may be the ACC rookie of the year. Is a bowl game a realistic possibility?

See, you don't want me to answer that. If I say no, they'll get a bowl bid, but you'll be mad in the meantime. If I say yes, they are doomed. Seriously, you don't want me to answer that.

I am looking forward to seeing Mizzell play. Labor Day weekend, I see. Good.

So that's where my state tax dollars are going??

No, Maryland is careful to point out that the money it loaned the AD came from the non-state funds (parking fees, stuff like that). Still .... it's not an ideal situation.

Most guys who wear jerseys are not exactly in the Ryan Gosling class, if you know what I mean. Keep 'em on!

Ha! Well, I don't like to judge. I was just using him as an example. I'd be happy if everyone kept their clothes on at ball games, and if some people wore a little more clothing, too.

Because, to put it plainly, he doesn't deserve it or his outrageous salary. Saves are a silly stat that mean nothing to me. He has consistently put this team in danger in the 9th. I shouldn't have to hold my breath when a supposedly brilliant closer comes in. That is the exact opposite of his job description. Ugh.

No, a closer is not supposed to make the ninth inning more interesting.

The correct term dearie (if that is correct) is called "Webmaster"

You don't know this guy. "Web guy" is generous. (Just kidding, Mitch!) I think his title is actually "interactivity editor" now that I think about it.

Five games between the Tigers and Royals that actually matter. In August! You ought to be feeling pretty happy right now.

I want the Tigers to win, but I want the Royals to stay in the wild-card hunt. So I'm not sure if I'm happy or nauseated.

I was on a business trip where we took some clients on a tour to show our thanks. We ended up in Denver on a Saturday and were able to get tickets to a Broncos-Bengals game. A woman I was with wore a Gus Frerotte Redskins jersey. I asked her why and she looked at me like I had three heads. "You wear your jersey to games" is all she said. Very strange.

I'm amazed she had Frerotte. But maybe she suffered some sort of head injury.

In spite of his disability , FDR ran --and won -- all four times. MVMD

So true. Why do I think Coolidge might be a dark horse. Kind of slippery. I think Ike was a decent athlete as well but speed -- I don't know.

Harding was athletic and good-looking. And probably the worst president ever. But he'd be a solid choice for a race.

He'd play dirty, too.

Desmond is often referred to as the "captain of the infield" Maybe not official, but he obviously takes it seriously.

He may BE official, for all I know. He's more of a clubhouse presence, I think.

...I think you meant, not the plunkee. If they plunked their mothers they'd be mother plunkers. A role that needs to be filled.


He may have been in the past, simply by default, but when he said, in response to Harper's recent "play like you care" comments, that 30-year-old men shouldn't need to be fired up, that everybody should just go out there and do their jobs -- at the two-thirds point of a season, mind you, when these players have notably NOT done their jobs -- he lost all credibility with me. At least the kid cares, and he was trying to stoke some passion among these zombies. Zimmerman undercut him with that comment, and that is NOT what leaders do.

Some guys are just not the "win one for the Gipper" types. Ripken wasn't that guy, either. That was always my objection to Ovie. Best player on the ice but not on the room.

Games will never be faster because of the commercials.

I think the time can be cut, but the days of 2.5 hour games are long behind us. I still think 3 hours is the outside of enough. Our attention spans are shortening, even for old folks like me -- baseball will have to speed up or lose any hope of attracting the younger generations.

You don't want to plunk the plunkee; the plunkee's already been plunked. I think you meant plunk the plunkER. You're welcome. K-Stater

I think that's what I said to begin with, but I'm very confused. But nice to hear from you. Getting excited about your Cats? Because I'm really worked up over our "big pile of crap."

Ever hear Uecker tell them? When he was doing the talk shows he was a riot. Still is as a play by play man.

Yeah, I just don't think he's in Donovan's class. But funny. Loved him in "Major League."

Your opinion? I always want to pull a Frank-Sam-Sonny and watch the game with the radio on .. those guys are broadcasters, AND storytellers. FP and the other guy are just bad.

I find their relentless "look on the bright side" approach to be exhausting after awhile. But people in KC hate their TV guys too, from what I hear. Maybe they just don't make 'em like they used to, because the team has input and therefore they have to be careful.

I was surfing the other day and just happened to come across the Dodgers/Yanks game and to my surprise it had just one announcer. The Great Vin Scully. Oh what a joy he was to listen to. He was the greatest of the greats when announcing a game. Not all the garbage that the two and three men in a booth throw out at you. And all the commercials they throw at you. Vin Scully would have none of that.

He was tops, I think. Not all that jibber-jabber. Hate the jibber-jabber. Then again, as the games get longer, these guys do have to fill a lot of dead air, I guess.

This is from Mark Zuckerman's Nats Insider: Since the All-Star break, the Nats are now 10-2 against teams with losing records and 1-11 against teams with winning records. Given that most of their remaining games are against teams with losing records, they could end up winning about 85-87 games. Probably not enough for a wild card but still a good finishing total from where they put themselves.

Mark is absolutely correct.

I'm assuming you get free shipping on everything from Amazon, which is nice. But if you write a bad column, are you now being threatened to be sent to one of those big order fulfillment centers where you spend all day trudging around finding copies of Norah Roberts books?

Now THAT'S funny. And wouldn't that free shipping thing be awesome? A gal can dream... although I am trying to go more Kindle and less paper. I just like books.

And I'm ready to grab a book and head to lunch. Thanks for joining me. We'll do it again 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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