Aug 16, 2010

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

Huh. Apparently, my whole yard is a bunker. Good to know.

And even better -- you don't have to touch it! No more pesky yardwork! Although I must admit, I've been treating my back yard like a bunker for years now.

And good morning to all! I hope everyone had a better weekend than, say, Dustin Johnson. Let's get started.

I'm in grad school in DC, went hiome for the summer and was stunned to learn on my arrival back here that the local ESPN Zone has closed! While my grades and finances will likely improve because of this, it's surprising to me because the place was always mobbed. It had a good downtown location, convenient to Metro and the Verizon Center. People would be lined up waiting for it to open for lunch, and it was usually full evenings and weekends, often roaringly so. Any idea what happened? "Stunned" is not too strong a work for my reaction. Thanks.

Well, I am just as surprised. This happened while I was on vacation, apparently. I thought that place was always hopping and yes, there were always lines. My brother-in-law liked to go there when they visited; he'll be disappointed. The food wasn't to die for but I always thought of it as a destination for hot and thirsty tourists with kids in tow. Disney cites the economy but anecdotal evidence would beg to differ.

I was the tired person from Friday who didn't want to talk about the Redskins, the Nats losing and Tiger Woods. What I meant was that I was tired of talking about the Nats *losing*. I'm more than happy to talk about them winning. :) A 5 game losing streak can get to you.

If we only talk when they win, I fear our relationship is doomed. But I get your point.

Given the Redskins' overwhelming victory against the Bills, it is clear that the Skins will now win the Super Bowl. This result was derived by the use of simple statistics (correlation and regression analysis) plus six shots of tequila, two beers and the divination of some animal entrails. Since the results are self-evident and provable by strictly quantitative methods, how do you think the Wiz will do? Signed, A Typical Redskins Fan

Based on the John Wall press conference, the Wizards will sweep the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Lakers will then forfeit the Finals. I like this game.

Yes, there will be a little overreaction to the Skins win. They still have problems and holes. The big plays on special teams masked some really bad errors on special teams, for instance, although it's hard to put those squads together with space parts. I'm still not sold on the receivers. But there WAS improvement in some areas. Some cautious optimism is good; crazy optimism leads to, well, craziness.

Bryce will sign. Bryce will sign. Bryce will sign.

Everyone, all together now. Help out this Nats fan.

What's your prediction for our Jayhawks this Fall?

This is tough. They lost five starters, but they happened to be the best five of the starters. New coach; everyone loves him at the moment. Hmmmm. Looking at the schedule, and trying not to be overly ME, I'll go with 6-6. How about you?

Strasburg looked fine (and I am relieved to know that Rig just pulled him because of the protesters). My apologies for sending the Henckels link. And hey, Albert is sounding like a good soldier! Everything is back to being awesome in DC. (There's even a Cult of the Backup Quarterback story on Rex Grossman in the paper today. Woo!) Is it too much to hope that your shoulder's feeling better?

Now there is a great attitude on a Monday morning. If I hear Grossman called Sexy Rexy too many more times, I may start a petition to bring back the Cult. It IS too much to hope that my shoulder is feeling better, but thanks, and keep hope alive! I think this is the really bad phase before the improvement really starts. That's what I'm telling myself.

Tracee: The ridiculous and much-delayed decision by the PGA to slap a two-shot penalty on some poor twit who had the audicity to let his club TOUCH THE ACTUAL GROUND reinforce for me why I rarely watch golf on TV. It's an absurdity that creates a mini-golf atmosphere by using silly and arcane rules to create hoops for golfers to navigate, much like the clown's mouth you have to putt into to win a free game. How can anyone watch such things when an oh-so-deserving guy gets the boot for such a stupid and nonsensical faux transgression? I'd like to admire them as athletes, but have come to pity them instead as shmoos.

I had no idea what a shmoo was, but Wikipedia saved the day. Unless you really meant schmoes. Either way, I learned something new.

There are some arcane rules, granted, and this one seemed particularly silly. If you can't tell it's a bunker, well, then, it's not a bunker. But I don't think the arcane rules ruin the game often enough to write it off entirely, for me, anyway.

Ms. H: In our back-and-forth emails about NU - KU, the change to the KU fight song lyrics, and parents yelling at the TV, your posting last week about your "free throw puppet" (?) and marching around the house singing KU ditties reminded me of the craziest part of all this - if you're doing something and your team scores or makes a big play, you have to keep it up. If I'm nibbling a horrible snack at a friend's house and the Skins get a TD, then, lord help me, I have to keep eating the stuff. Once, watching with a bunch of fellow NU nuts, one of our cohort was "on the throne," so to speak, when we had a punt return for a TD. He stayed there the rest of the game, as we kept a running commentary through the bathroom door so he'd know what was going on. He'd only dash out during time-outs (the reverse of what usually happens with toilet usage during a game). The most insane part - no one thought this was unusual - proving, again, all serious sports fans are past being fanatics, they're just plain nuts.

I'm happy I'm wiggy like this about just one team. What if you had a team you felt that way about in every sport? Or maybe you do. I don't, thank God. I would have done the same thing re the bathroom. If I don't get the KU flag up on the pole before Game 1 (football or basketball), it doesn't go up all year because I'm afraid to jinx it. I know the craziness.

After hearing that camp was a little rough for him so far, were you surprised by Grossman's performance? Nice to have a backup who knows the offense (well, we said that about Todd too).

I was a little surprised. I hadn't seen anything that impressive in Ashburn but he really did well for a first exhibition game.

Didn't Stephen hold off on signing until the last minute? What does he have to gain by making his comment about Harper. Great pitcher but I sometimes wonder just what going on in that brain of his. Your thoughts?

Very, very odd. Harper's doing exactly what Stras did last year. Stras threatened to go to Japan (well, Boras threatened for him); Harper threatens to go back to school. Stras signed three minutes before deadline; will Harper? It's so odd to see Strasburg express an opinion about anything; I'm very surprised to see this one.

Tracee, I submitted a post last week asking for reassurance about a silly bet I made. You said we should revisit it again, after Friday's game... So what's the news? Did we look good enough to conceivably win against the Texans, Sept 19th?

Yes. I'm not guaranteeing a win or anything, and I still advocate stashing some ducats just in case, because that's just good financial sense, but I don't think a win over the Texans is impossible.

Someone please give the boy fielding lessons or at least stretch Adam Dunn so he can reach ten feet above his head!


Well wasn't that a pleasant surprise?!?!? We blocked, we tackled, we completed passes, ran back punts. . .did I mention we blocked? Ok. . .I know it's only preseason but come on, they looked better than we thought they would. Can we expect more of the same or should we temper our expectations before opening day?

They look better than a year ago. That much is true. I agree about the blocking; that's what I wrote for Sunday. To me, the improvement in the line is the key to everything else. There were few penalties, no confusion in play calling, and with all respect to Randle El, who I miss in the locker room, there were actual RETURNS.

There are still weaknesses but I do not believe that sitting through this season will be as painful as sitting through last season.

I didn't catch any of his performance vs the Cowpattys. How did he do? It was so nice to see a QB in McNabb that didn't look terrified and clueless in the pocket!

Here is  Cheese Boy's review.

Tracee, who writes the teasers on the bottom of page 1? Whoever it is, they got the terminology wrong. Dustin Johnson was not "disqualified." He was penalized. Well, in my mind, the term is "jobbed," but not by the rules officials. The "fans" crowding around his shot and the marshalls who didn't clear them back further are the ones that really cost him.Your thoughts?

Very true re the terminology. No idea who wrote the keys; that varies by night. I thought the marshals should have cleared more room, yes.

At the Nats game the other day I noticed that the NCAA had put up ads in the men's room reminding us that it is illegal to bet on college sports. Are they serious? Yes we all know it's technically illegal but is there any enforcement outside game fixing schemes? I can't imagine they want to rain on their own parade by muting the fun and excitement of following college sports. I suppose they have to make an appearance but they can't really expect people to stop betting on March Madness and Bowls do they?

It's good the NCAA is spending money in such meaningful ways. I'm sure a few signs over the urinals will take care of this. On the other hand, this is a genie that's long out of the bottle. Can they do much about it? I haven't seen any evidence they can, no. Do they expect to? It's the NCAA; they probably do.

When I was a kid (1970s) we would stay out summer evenings playing kick the can and flashlight tag and come Autumn we would have acorn wars. I have children now and they're are plenty of kids in the neighborhood but they don't do these things. It's not like they're sedentary slobs. They do play outside together . . .but it's just not the same. Does this comment now officially make me a curmudgen? Is there a 12 step program for this affliction? What games did you play in your idyllic midwestern childhood?

Oh, let's see, I used to look for rocks all the time. I was crazy for rocks. We had a lot across from us that had gone to milkweed; we created a maze in there because it was so much taller than all of us. At the top of the hill we built a fort and we attacked each other. I got clocked in the head with a rock -- irony! -- and my dad put a stop to that. At my grandparents' farm, my cousins and sister and I played Ponderosa. I was Little Joe. We made Cousin Jay be Hop Sing. He was always "cooking" something for us. Boy, did we have fun at the farm.

Yes, you're a curmudgeon. Welcome to the family!

Do you think the Hokies will defeat Boise St at FedEx in Sep? I love the hokies, but we always seem to mess up our first game!

I think this will be a helluva game. I think if the Hokies don't bring it, they'll be in trouble. Boise State is on a mission. I hope I can drive by then so I can go.

The juxtaposition of "urinal" with "genie long out of the bottle" is too jarring on Monday morning


Take your brother-in-law to Rocket Bar up the street from Verizon Center. Cheaper beer, easier access to the HDTVs, games aplenty. And the best part is that, because they don't serve food, you can bring in food from wherever you choose.

I'll remember that. I've got to find a way to get him out here during hockey season. He's a huge fan and has never seen a professional game. Tragic.

Good morning Would you agree that the attendance of the past two Strasburg starts have less to do with attention to a last place team and baseball in general and more the result of the various missteps and insults (ie: The Strasburg no start , The Ring of WHOSE Stars) that Nationals management have created with fans ? Also would you say that Stan Kasten is the real culprit in all of these mistakes and that the Lerners should use Ted Leonsis as their role model.

I don't think I could agree with that, no. I think the attendance is due to the fact that the looky-loos have had their look and will stay home now until Harper makes his first start. That plus D.C. in August.

I'm no longer in favor of sports broadcasts averting their cameras when some knuckleheads run onto a field, whether it's for a protest or just because they're drunk idiots. They don't need to dwell on it or show any close-ups, but at least a brief wide shot of the general activity would provide an understanding of what's going on. I don't need to see players standing around scratching themselves while the announcer makes some vague reference to something happening off-camera. I don't think the argument that showing it "encourages" others to do it holds water anymore.

I agree. Everything that happens on the field ought to be acknowledged in the telecast. It's unfair to leave people at home wondering what is going on.

6-6 for the Jayhawks, 8-8 for the Redskins... so are you going to go with 41-41 for the Wizards, and 81-81 for next year's Nats? Do you think the Caps might do a little better than that?

I knew someone would say this. I'm not always Even Steven, but I've looked at the schedule and that's what I see. (I'd really like to say 7-5 but...) I promise for Caps and Wizards I will try to beat the .500 mark. I will also remind you that I picked the Nats to be over .500 -- and look how that is working out!

Disney closed all the ESPN Zones that weren't attached to Disney properties.

There you go...

As a Bears fan I warn you to be careful what you wish for with Grossman. He'll tempt you with near flawlessness only to break your heart later with 5 INTS. Beware the curse of Sexy Rexy.

Duly noted. The real curse is listening to him being called Sexy Rexy. Ugh.

I don't think he really wanted to be answering that question. In the full context, I took it to mean "It's (the waiting to sign until the last minute) a game that we are forced to play. If he wants to play baseball, he's going to sign before the deadline. If he doesn't want to be a Nat, then it is better to not have him. We don't want any players here that don't want to play for the Nats". Selig almost bars high picks from signing early, but I betting many of them hate losing that playing time.

Well, if he didn't want to answer the question, believe me, he wouldn't have. He's adept at answering only what he wants.

He makes the team right? Could we have our own verison of Darren Sproles? Albeit lighter.....

I hope so. Not sure yet. They've got a lot of cuts to make. He sure helped his case and Shanahan seems to like him, which is key.

Ms. H: A reminder, please for my failing memory. Why is the estimable Mr. Steinberg named Cheese Boy?

Because of his great love for cheeses, and because The Post hired him away from his job in the cheese dept. at Whole Foods.

Hi- Since you're a Kansan and you would know, which running back garners the most affection for Kansans, Gale Sayers or John Riggins?

It's funny, but I think Sayers. Riggins doesn't come back to Lawrence very often although he will b e there the first weekend of the season, as I understand it. My folks are excited. I've met both and I have to go with Sayers. First guy to give me an autograph; I was so scared to ask and he was so gracious.

Whoa, gotta go. I have to catch two cats with one arm and wrangle them into carriers. I don't like my chances. Let's talk 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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