First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton on the latest sports news

Aug 30, 2010

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

Good column on the Skins' receivers. Do you really think the Redskins' brass will read your recommendations and do the opposite? I felt that way about the Orioles, pre-Showalter, except that no one in the Warehouse had any idea what I was thinking! Nice turn-around for the team, for which I deserve no credit whatsoever.

No, of course not. I think they'll base their decisions on cold, hard facts (like Brandon Banks' size) and I base mine a little more on gut, I guess. I'd like to see him make the roster, no question. Realistically, I'm doubtful it will happen. I like a guy who tattoos his name right across his torso, btw. Makes it easier in the locker room when they are out of their jerseys! Maybe a new league rule...

And good morning, everyone! And a quick note to the guy who made the Skins-Texans bet: No Labor Day weekend partying for you. Save that cash, just in case. Did anyone else see the Cowboys-Texas game Saturday night? I'm not sure if the Cowboys are worse than expected or the Texans are better, or both. But the Texans looked pretty darn good.

Hi! I was delighted to be hired as a new Nats usher, starting with the recent Cardinals series. I'm certainly not doing it for the money, but love the Nats and baseball and the chance to hang out at the park. My problem? Virtually no one wants to sit in their assigned seats. Plus I was assigned to the 300 level, and my sections included a row of "handicap" seats. We're supposed to check tickets, but we obviously can't check everyone. Plus I can understand if people don't want to sit in the sun, etc. However, I did want to keep my handicap seats free for those who had tickets, and this was virtually a full-time job. Yesterday I had to ask 31 people to leave, and some were not too happy about it. My colleagues tell me people routinely try to sit downstairs using their $10 tickets. I realize this would/will not be a problem when/if the Nationals sell out, but in the meantime, people, give us a break! We could get fired if our supervisors discover people w/out the proper tickets sitting in our sections..

This has got to be one of the most thankless jobs in sports. I feel your pain. Although I'm sure none of my chatters would ever sit in a seat he/she didn't pay for. No sirree!

Hi, tracee. I was going to point out to you that Tony LaRussa is a huge animal rights' advocate who has very generously funded programs in both Oakland and St. Louis. That was before I heard he was planning to attend the Glenn Beck rally! Of course, he is free to do so, but I'm free to pitch my "Got Albert" t-shirt and other Cards memorabilia.

I don't care about his politics but I was certainly read to bop him for arguing that Storen deliberately threw at Holliday. The Nats are winning; putting a guy on base would have been idiotic. Storen is far from a hot head. And Holliday could break him like a twig. I guess I didn't mind LaRussa sticking up for his guy but I did mind the umps letting it go on, and on, and on, while Storen cools off. Yes, Storen hit him a few nights earlier -- and walked in a run. If LaRussa thinks a kid who came up in May is trying to start a blood feud with a guy twice his size, then he's crazier than I thought he was.


Do I still have a job?

Good question. I'm beginning to wonder. Steinberg posted this item over the weekend.

Will we see the return of a college football weekly chat? Pretty pleeeeez! No video chats either. Those are not work-friendly...

Another good question. If not, I'll have the college guys on as "guests," which reminds me to remind you that Steve Goff will join me Wednesday and Liz Clarke Thursday.

Tracee, I t hought Boz was overreacting when you said he wanted to head up to Phila when he heard Strasburg had been injured. Turned out his instincts were correct. Way too bad. I was at yesterday's game (yea Nats) so don't know if Dibble was back on the air. Sure hope not. I haven't had any use for him for years, so if this gets rid of him for good, as it should, that will be a tiny silver lining in this whole unfortunate situation. And Strasbury may yet come back.

Boz's instincts usually are. Dibble was not on the air, nor is he going on the road trip, or at least the first part of it. I can't remember what they said regarding that.

Would Adam Kilgore please do a story on why Nyjer Morgan continues to be in Riggleman's starting lineup or even on Rizzo's team? NM has made one boneheaded play after another this year, from the tantrum on the warning track while the ball was still in play, to getting picked off base numerous times, to missing home plate in order to take a bush-league shot at the catcher. You can't spell "numbskull" without NM, and he should be designated for assignment. Let Maxwell play CF the rest of the season.

I can't figure the guy out. He really does do stupid things. I would have no problem putting Maxwell in the rest of the way.

If you're suspended for X number of regular season games, why should you be allowed to play in the pre-season? I understand that you're being suspended for regular season games, but it somehow seems to defeat the purpose of the suspension if you're suspended X months ago but you can go on as if nothing happened except an injury that stopped you from playing the first games. Bottom line to me is if you're suspended you're suspended immediately until the end of the suspension.

I think the idea is that the exhibition games don't mean anything and very few players play most or all of the games, especially the starters. Say Ben will in fact miss six games. Letting four of those be exhibition games is no punishment. He would have barely played in any of them anyway. I agree it's weird to see him play now but I do think missing the exhibition season isn't punishment enough.

Ms. H: Who? Check the obits today in the NY Times and the W. Post - after graduating from KU in 1941 he went on to revolutionize marching bands during his long tenure as the director of Florida A&M's band. The Rattlers were the first to go at a rapid, rapid tempo, to really intergrate pop and soul music into its performances,and, I'm pretty sure, also the first to play and march to the music of James Brown. RIP, MR. Foster

Thanks for the heads-up! I have heard of him; KU had a really top-notch marching band and probably still does.

Here's a weird KU story. I was out to dinner last night with my dad and two friends, Russ and Joyce Orban, also KU grads. We were talking about Lawrence and 23rd Street and pretty soon a man approached our table. He had heard us talking and said he couldn't resist. He's the chaplain for the men's basketball team! So we had some Jayhawk talk right there in Tequila Grande. Small world where Kansas is concerned.

There have been quite a pieces written during the month of August. Why is the only one on the WaPo Sports Home Page (under "Post Columnists") the Joey Galloway story from Aug 3? Don't get me wrong--we love reading Tracee's work (no, this isn't her dad writing in!). Just looking for some of the newer pieces cycle through.

Because I'm so darn special? No? In truth, I think that is supposed to be an element on the page that is updated automatically. Since the Post switched to the new publishing system, a lot of the things that were supposed to be automatic don't seem to be working. My list of columns under the "columns" page didn't update for about three weeks, then suddenly it did. So I'm guessing that's the problem. You are right; that column is OLD. Paul, if you're out there, take note??

I can't think of anytime I've heard Coach Shanahan referred to as anything other than Head Coach and Executive Vice President, Head Coach and Executive Vice President, and on and on. Is there an unwritten rule the Redskins have that all sportscasts and updates have to use both titles? Isn't it enough to call him the head coach and leave it at that?

Not that I know of. I've never referred to him that way although in news stories we are supposed to refer to people by their full titles. Hence "Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator" references that just roll off the tongue.

Thanks for looking out for me, Tracee! I have made plans to go camping in the woods - keeps me away from the temptation of making silly wagers on the college games this weekend. (And for what it's worth, I'm a girl)

See, the ONE time I don't use the gender neutral he/she, I get caught. Sorry about that; I do try not to make assumptions. And camping sounds like a great plan, and great fun.

Kudos to Christina Hendricks -- her style is distinctive and appealing -- but January Jones looked like a mess. Oh wait, this isn't the Emmy fashion chat, is it? So McNabb is out. 7-9 is now looking like an impossible dream even for rose-colored glasses -- or even glasses tinted pink like Keri Russell's dress. (Dammit. One more Emmy dress slipped through.)


We now return to the more calm lowercase. If McNabb is unable to play, say, 12-14 games, 7-9 is a dream, yes. I would agree with that.

Do you think NFL players like playing on Prime Time (sun/mon night)? And what percentage of fans do you think like watching the Redskins on prime time, for me a 1pm game is the best.

I have never heard the players complain one way or the other about game times. With fans it varies, I think. This group can tell me. Journalists like the 1 p.m. starts, I can tell you that. I grew up when there was only one night game and I preferred it that way, but that ship has sailed.

Isn't the problem with Santana Moss is that on any decent team, he would be a #2 or #3 receiver? Instead, the other team covers him with their best defender and he gets no production. It really is a team sport, and if the opponent can ignore the other receivers, even the "good" Redskin receivers can't do anything.

Yes, Moss wouldn't be a No. 1 on a lot of teams. It says a lot about the Skins that he is a No. 1. This is the main problem with the failure of Thomas and Kelly to develop -- there are no other threats. Good point.

Hammertime: Can you think of an NFL team whose GROUP of receivers is worse than the Skins' group? Seriously. Joey Galloway a #2? Really? That's why I don't see 2010 as promising. OL is thin. WRs are dreadful. And McNabb's already nicked. I'm working on my cocktail recipes for football season -- that's the only way I'm getting through it.

No, the receiving corps is not good as a whole. I thought Galloway looked better Friday than he has in the past and I guess we'll see what Thomas does Thursday. But it's not a good group. This is why Anthony Armstrong stands out so much this year. And I do like that kid.

I'm 84, have terminal cancer, and will almost certainly never see Strasburg pitch again. However, I've had a good run and have no complaints. I saw him pitch in spring training, in his first game in Altoona and in all of his Nats Park outings, including the magical first one. I just want to wish him well and hope he returns to bring that kind of joy to other fans well into the future.

With your attitude, you may well be able to see him pitch again. I'm not going to count you out.

Isn't it the fact that Mr. Tony resents Cheeseboy because it's like looking into a mirror, and seeing his younger, snarky self?

There are similarities, especially the lack of hair and the plethora of neuroses.

Sure they have the right to attend the rally, but to claim this is not political is ridiculous. LaRussa is a smart man so he should not be surprised by the negative reaction. SL and Oakland are pretty liberal cities. As a Cubs fan, I welcome what appears to be team turmoil, I think in part predicated on this situation.

Yes, it's hard to claim it's not political. As a Cubs fan, do you root for the Reds this year?

I don't care about his politics, either, tho' to claim they are not political is pretty dumb. However, in yesterday's 9th inning he was just trying to fire up a team that is going through a very bad/frustrating stretch. Weaver used to do the same. Fortunately it didn't work. Go Nats!

I didn't mind the argument -- I get he's trying to fire up his boys -- but I did mind the length of time it went on with the umpires letting him get away with it. Then the umpires meet not once, but twice. Too much time spent on something inconsequential. Glad to see Drew kept his cool and shook it off.

I've seen games in about 20 MLB stadiums and usually get a handicap ticket (cane, not wheelchair, which requires one). A number of parks cordon off their handicap rows, at least for the first part of the game, and don't let anyone in them without the appropriate ticket. Nats, please take note? I find the Orioles do a better job of this than the Nats, but then the O's seem to have more ushers. I also see lots of games there, so they know me, and I'm a pretty generous tipper.

Well, if you go see the Nats, make friends with the new usher and encourage him. He's trying his best.

I hope all the fans can get used to having Rex as QB for most of this season. I see the ankle thing as a recurring nuisance for Donovan. And, while LJ is looking good right now, let's see how long it is before he says or does something stupid again.

Yes, and yes.

Why can't the Nats play the "bad" teams like they play some of the better teams? Swept by the Cubs at home and then almost swept a 4 game series with the Cards (who are struggling a bit). The only team that doesn't fit that mold for the Nats is the Marlins. They have our number.

True about the Marlins. The sweep by the pre-Showalter O's also proves your point.

How about "Dylan?" After all, the folk singer from Duluth, Minnesota changed his name from Robert Zimmerman to Bob Dylan. Seemed to work out for him.

Might be too obscure, but not bad...

I'm really having trouble with Riggleman playing Harris. We're not going anywhere with Harris, now or later. Maxwell may or may not become an everyday ballplayer, but he should be given as many at bats this season as possible (even at the expense of Morgan whose antics will put him off the team eventually). Play him in center, Bernadina (going to be a very good player) and Morse (a hitting machine) full time for the rest of the season. Also, is the play of Morse making the owners think of him as the first base guy of the future? If so, they are crazy. Dunn is not only an HOF teammate, but his fielding has gotten better gradually all season. He's always going to be a streaky hitter. Sign him NOW!!!!! Thanks, I enjoy your blog a lot.

I wouldn't mind an outfield of Maxwell, Bernadina and Morse the rest of the way. See what they can do. And yes, I wish they'd get Dunn signed, although it is looking increasingly unlikely, according to Kilgore.

Will he get the starting slot?

With Moore's injury, I would think so, yes.

Y'all are making me nervous, with this dire Redskins talk. We're not going to be that bad, are we?

I figured on 8-8 based on Shanny giving them two more wins than last season, and McNabb giving them two more wins than last season. If McNabb can't play ... I don't know that we can count on two more wins from Rex Grossman. I do not think they will be as bad as last season but I do think their performance in large part is on McNabb. He's got to be healthy.

Yes, as the t-shirt says, I root for 2 teams: the Cubs and whoever's playing the Cardinals. That includes rooting for anyone who has a chance to beat them in the Division unless, of course, they are playing the Cubs.

Ha! I thought that would be the case.

With Dibble, isn't there a point where the stupid overcomes the interesting? I'm constantly amused by these guys (see Joe Morgan) who really haven't been retired that long, but ONE MINUTE AFTER THEY RETIRE, it's "in my day" and "rub a little tobacco juice on it" and "I turned to Lou Gehrig and said . . . " If Dibs is gone, I won't shed a tear.

He had a bad month, that's for sure.

Shirley Povich used to say things like "So I said to Walter Johnson ..." but in his case it was true. I would get chills.

Well, time to drag my dad all over Northern Virginia running errands. I'm sure he's pretty ready to get back to his recliner in Kansas! Thanks everyone, and 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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