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

Sep 10, 2010

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

I should have sent this earlier, but could you let Dan know that during Wilbon's chat this week, Wilbon name dropped him (unfortunately not as Cheese Boy). About 2 yrs ago when he was doing chats (exaggeration) he used to complain about how we would always be discussing Wilbon.

You can tell him yourself; he'll be a guest next week, day TBD, but not Monday or Tuesday.

And speaking of Monday, Jason Reid will join me Monday morning for Skins talk. We'll expand to one hour.

Yesterday someone asked about the Federer audio being lost and the crowd booing. Liz was downstairs but said she thought the booing was directed at the blown audio, since those interviews are broadcast live in the stadium. Certainly not at Federer.

Someone asked yesterday about the Skins logo being used on Virginia lottery tickets. I didn't answer that one live because I didn't know the answer, but Mark Maske said the rules were changed a couple of years ago and other NFL teams also do this.

A late question yesterday from someone looking for a sports bar in the Dupont Circle area. Ideas?

And good morning, everyone.


Never been so pumped for a Redskins game since Gibbs came back.

Wow. That's pretty pumped.

All of the sports prognosticators are picking the cowboys, what say you? This coaching staff I have a lot more faith in that's for sure, however our receiving core makes me nervous, hopefully they use the Cooley/Davis 2 TE sets a whole lot. Our O-line is slightly better, but with Miles, Bryant, and Witten.....the DBs are going to have their hands full.

I picked the Skins by a slim margin in our Post Pro Picks contest. I think the Redskins' offense is a mystery at this point. I picked the Skins because the bits I saw of Dallas during the preseason weren't terribly impressive, although granted, it is the preseason. I've gone back and changed that pick and changed it back at least once, but I'm going to stick now. Probably.

1. Washington will play Dallas tough, but lose. 2. One or two columnists or talking heads or bloggers will say, "Gosh, with a couple of breaks here and there they might've beat the Cowboys. They'll surprise some people!" 3. A great many fans will take this as a license to predict 9-7 and the playoffs. 4. When the team finishes 5-11 or 6-10, recriminations will begin, and last all winter... and spring... and summer. Deliver me. When does Caps training camp open?

1. Very possible. 2. Quite possible. 3. More than likely. 4. Absolutely.

I've said 8-8 and I'll stick with that. I don't think this is a playoff team. It IS a better team than a year ago.

Oh, and Caps rookie camp starts today, full camp next Friday, I believe.

This morning's Post had a nice article about Portis' 180 degree change in attitude. Kind of makes you want to give Big Al some time to change before he is cut loose, especially AFTER the bonuses have been paid. Cutting Al now doesn't save any money. Team chemistry is overrated anyway, since it all comes down to wins and losses. Ask Dunn if being a "nice" guy helps winning anyway.

The main reason I don't expect a sea change from Albert: Shanahan brought it about in Portis. He's clearly not had the same effect on Albert and I don't see it happening. But it doesn't appear he's going anywhere, so time will tell.

Tricked you! Seems to be the only way to get a Wizards question/comment in. You may have heard that the Wizards...they're an NBA Team that plays in Washington by the way, opens training camp at GMU...that's a DC area college...with Midnight Madness on Sept 28th. Love the Skins. Love the Caps. Love the United and even the freaking Freedom. Why do the Wizards ALWAYS take a back seat???? Just sayin'...

Yes, you did! You know, I don't get many Wizards questions. I'm not ducking them. I will have Michael Lee on, but closer to camp. I am hoping to attend the Midnight Madness thing at GMU; should be interesting and it's a different idea for a pro team. I don't think the Wizards will take a back seat this year.

To borrow from "Mitchell's Potawatomi Journal" have you gotten over the Double Overtime loss to that power house North Dakota State University?

Well, it wasn't double OT, but I love the headline "The Night the Wheat Stood Still." Very nice. Am I over the loss? Sure. Am I worried about the program? You bet.

What's your prediction for the season opener vs the Cowboys? I always start the season out an optimist (silly me) so I'm gonna say Redskins 21 Dallas 10. What does your crystal ball say?

I went with 26-22, Skins, on Post Pro Picks, so I'll stick with that. Probably.

Have you seen it? Snyder is terrible especially in contrast to Jerry. Jones is bright and convincing whereas Snyder comes off as inhibited and seems annoyed and uncomfortable. So he's no actor. . .but I think the performance is more telling. I've always gotten the impression that he's an obnoxious, arrogant man that just doesn't like people and situations he can't control. We've heard the stories about what a terror he is to work for. Have you had enough exposure to form a personal opinion of him?

In a word, no.

Jones has never ducked an interview or a camera, as far as I can tell. Snyder does both. I'm guessing that's part of the reason he looks so uncomfortable. He hasn't had Jones' practice. I wonder if he ever did any speech or drama in high school? That sure pays off in life, I've found.

Trace, There are so many story lines for Sunday night's game: McNabb's first game as a Redskin; Team Shannahan's first game on the sidelines; how will the line, specifically Silverback Williams, perform; is Clinton Portis "back" as a top back; will someone else in the WR corps step forward outside of Santana Moss; will that Haynesworth get off his lazy rump and play to his potential...anything you are going to be watching that I have missed? BTW, love when you on Mr. Tony's show.

All of those are on my list, plus the defensive backs. I have focused a lot on the offense during the preseason because I don't think we know what that will entail yet. I worry I haven't paid enough attention to the defense.

Thanks re Mr. Tony. Haven't been on in ages; need to remedy that.

You were right, Tracee. She hadn't made a movie since Yours, Mine, & Ours in 2005. However, she does have an upcoming movie. She'll play Frigga (Mrs. Odin, who is played by Sir Anthony Hopkins), queen of the Norse gods, in Thor.

Wow. I missed that remake; I like the original a lot.

Plus, Jones is an insurance salesman, while Snyder is a telemarketer. The former requires personal charisma and presence, and the other requires being persistent enough to keep people from hanging up.

Another good point, thanks.

Would San Diego have won a super bowl by now if they kept Brees over Rivers?

Hmmmm. Somehow I don't think so. What do you think?

It was cold this morning. They can start hockey now. Of course that means we finally have to face the disaster that was last years playoffs. I don't know if I'm ready for that yet.

Can't have one without the other. I wore a sweatshirt out the door this morning at 6:30 -- that was awesome!

Why did they change the press box color from red to blue at Nats Park? It happened sometime last month I believe. Strange thing to do in the middle of the season. Any insight on this?

I have no idea, but I'll ask Kilgore. I've got to get him on as a guest one of these days.

Tracee Looks like maybe Ol Brett and his mates were a little rusty last night. Couldn't they have maybe played some games before the opener to get ready--kind of like a "pre season" ? The Vikings starters looked like they hadn't played in a couple of weeks and Ol Favor looked like he hadn't played since like January or something. Also, that "solidarity thing " with the one finger from players on each side, how long before fans start issuing their own one finger salutes and will they be aimed at the players or the owner's boxes?

The Saints certainly didn't seem to have lost much from a year ago, did they?

As for the labor stand, that was a chilling reminder that next year at this time we could be spending out Sundays in very different ways. Ugh.

Cowboys 13-6. Cowboys record 9-7, Giants 9-7 and Eagles 7-9. Redskins 3-13. Donovan only starts 3 games this season. Shanie's ocaching style and lack of leadership is a big factor. The old CP rears its ugly head in game five. Fat Albert is inactive for the last 9 games. Skins can't trade him. With a competent head coach and owner the Skins could win the NFC East this year and maybe advance to second round of playoffs. instead we are stuck with "Revenge of The High School Football Coach." Shanie needs to read up the current thinking on leadership and motivation.


After yesterdays discussion of hot and cold drinks I was thinking do Americans (I am in England!) eat savoury pies (Steak and mushroom, steak and kidney, chicken and leek etc) or just sweet pies apple and cherry. Nothing to do wih sport just interested its 2:50 in afternoon and counting down the hours to the weekend.

Hello, England! No, we don't eat savoury pies. I guess chicken pot pies would be the closest we come to what you're talking about. Chicken and leek sounds pretty good! Email me one, would you?

Wait, they're closing the beaches? 'Cuz I like to spend Sundays on Captiva or Sanibel.


Boz did his usual good job of explaining what he believes to be the Nats' reasoning in not re-signing Adam Dunn, but makes it clear he disagrees with that reasoning. So do I. As a Nats fan I want the team to do well, and I guess fans will be happier if the bottom line is more wins, but sure wish there were other ways to accomplish it. I really like the guy.

Wish they'd keep him, too.

Hi! Tracee, do you think the Skins can be affective Sunday running the ball and stopping the run?

Stopping the run, yes, I think so. Running the ball? Truthfully, I don't think we know. The offense is a mystery at this point. I think Portis will have 20 carries and more holes than he did last season. Beyond that, I'd be guessing.

What the heck is going on at KU? I haven't seen Perkins talked about this disparagingly since Tiger stopped dating there.

Ba-dum-dum. I know. I just read that he took Fam's parking pass away from him. That's just amazing. The man just had a hip replaced!

(For non-KU people, that would like taking a parking pass away from, oh, maybe Sonny.)

I have a parking pass for lot D on Sunday. Having never driven there, and always taking Metro instead, if I was trying to arrive without a lot of traffic, what time should I plan on arriving?

I'll throw this out there. I arrive really early; we'll probably leave by 3 p.m. The traffic is better on a Sunday, of course, but it's not good. Anyone else have advice? As requested!


Tracee, thanks for the chat. What do you think about Nick Saban's new concern about right and wrong in college athletics? He doesn't want "outsiders" in his program. He doesn't want Alabama fans to boo anyone? Saban talking about ethics is like Sarah Palin talking about her love of liberalism.

Perhaps Pete Carroll could talk about running a clean program, too. Yeesh. College football has me angry these days. Really angry.

Is it December already? Thought I felt a little nip in the air.


How many plays do you think he'll be in?

I do not think he's "start," although starting is somewhat unimportant in this defensive scheme, apparently. I think he'll play most of the game.

Good morning, Tracee! I was one of the iced coffee discussion participants from yesterday-- the guy who wondered if it was a faux pas to consume the icy beverage post Labor Day. In any case, a few of your esteemed readers characterized iced coffee as an abomination-- almost one of Biblical proporions! Well, I'm simply here to say: nothing really-- the subject is too trivial. So, in place of that, do you get the sense that Cheese Boy is flattered about all the questions pertaining to him, or is he kind of disturbed and curmudgeonly (as I suspect)?

Ha! You mean iced coffee is trivial and Cheese Boy is not? He'll be so pleased. I have no idea how he feels about being a topic of the chatters. I never see the man, which is mostly my fault. I will see him Sunday, I'm sure. Plus I'll see Wilbon for the first time in what seems like years.

Wizards, Wizards... you mean there's a pro basketball team other than the Mystics? What happened to the Mystics anyway? Did they peak too soon? Or are the Dream that much better? I know I'm rooting for the Dream in the finals because the Storm have stupid sponsor logos on their unis.

The Mystics' postseason meltdown was surprising. They couldn't stop Atlanta at all -- inside, outside, upside down.

Check her out in the remake of "The Thomas Crown Affair". Killer bod at 40+. She was it with some aging out of shape actor Pierce Br something or other. Remake is almsot as good as original with Steve Mcqueen and Faye Dunaway. No one is as cool as Steve not even James Bond!

That was a great remake and she was stunning in that -- I remember her getting a lot of attention for that part and for looking that hot at her age. Pierce Brosnan is the actor.

Looking towards next year, do you see that year as another transition year, where the Nats just try to develop young players and settle for a fourth or fifth place finish again, or do you see something different?

In May, I would have said no. Now, I would say yes. I really thought this was the tipping year. There are still too many question marks. Dunn, Morgan, Maya ... I don't see them making a run next year. It would be great to be wrong.

How do you think the Steelers will do the four games they play without Ben?

Hmmmm. 1-3.

Sweatshirt? Chicken - I admit to jeans, but had a tshirt at 545. Finally ready for a bonfire and college football, if only I could get the fire going in NW DC without being find and possibly arrested. I miss Midwest (well really, 'Great Lakes') Falls.

Ah yes, falls in Michigan were awesome.

Bonfires not big out here, I guess. We always had them before HS games. Maybe they are happening and I am unaware. Sweatshirt unnecessary -- but fun!

Hi T-Ham. Before your appearances on camera or on the radio, do you ever get a touch of stage fright? It certainly doesn't appear so.

Camera, yes, because I do that so seldom. Radio, no. I am a fairly comfortable public speaker. I mean, I get butterflies but not the dry heaves. I was in debate and forensics in high school and that helped tremendously with the public speaking, radio, etc.

I'm not a fan but I follow them because I live here. I think they've gone from a team where most questions were answered "probably not" (Are they any good? A playoff team? With the right coach? And a sound system?) to "I don't know" (see same questions). I don't see how a team with so many key spots filled by veterans who are on the down side of their careers does well this year AND next year, but...."I don't know."

That's an excellent way of putting it. There are a lot of question marks. The preseason answered some of them. I think the receiving corps is weak BUT with all the starters starting and McNabb healthy -- maybe it will be better than expected. It's so hard to say right now.

Last year: Heyer, Dockery, Rabach, Williams, X. This year: Brown, Hicks, Rabach, Dockery, Williams. I will take this year's line a hundred times over last year's line. What do you think?

Absolutely. Guys were hurt last year, guys often played out of position. It was a mess. As I've said, this line isn't the Hogs, but it's an improvement.

Hey Tracee: First, thanks for doing these chats every day!!! Second, I am Skins fan and am trying not to be a homer, so on paper, I would say it doesn't look real good. However, Dallas has to be very concerned about their missing right tackle, their missing left guard, and their new left tackle. This is the kind of thing that sunk the Redskins in 2006. What is your thought on this?

The injuries are what tipped my scale toward the Skins, just a tiny bit. And a home crowd and Shanahan's debut and McNabb's debut ...

Hi there, Tracee. If one assumes that Cheese Boy is a crotchety, cranky, misanthropic, unicycle-riding keeper of all knowlege cheese-related, who would be the "anti Cheese Boy" at the Post? Thanks, and have a fabulous weekend!

Miss Liz would certainly make the list but I think the biggest opposite to Cheese Boy would be Boz. Boz is younger than all of us, he is seldom cranky and he never met a stranger.

Okay, time to run. LaVar has a live video chat at 10:30 this morning, if you want to keep talking Skins.

If you like books, there is a used book sale at the McLean Community Center 1234 Ingleside Ave., today through Sunday (9-7 today, 10-6 Saturday, 12-4 Sunday). On the last day, you can get a bag of books for $7. All kinds of books, including sports. I'll be working in the Treasures room today -- so appropriate! -- so if you stop in, say hello! Have a great weekend and let's talk Monday, when J-Reid will be here.


The Post Pro Picks contest doesn't have "margins." It's straight-up win or lose.

For the Dallas-Skins game, we have to pick a score.

Cool! "CSI: East Wheatfield"

very funny.

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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