Sep 24, 2010

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

Tracee, Tracee, Tracee... You seem to not like Hawaii 5-0 because it isn't very realistic. Don't you know that REALISTIC cop shows are BORING? The only way they can be interesting is if the governor of Hawaii gives the team immunity so they can shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. I had to have this conversation with my foreign in-laws back in the early 1990s when they thought all American men behaved like they do on "Melrose Place." No, it is just more interesting if they sleep with everyone on the cast. I just didn't think I would need to explain this to you. Now, back to the Redskins. Thanks.

On the contrary, reality is not the problem. I watch "The First 48" and "Cold Case" for real cop work, thanks to Manny Acta, who got me hooked. I don't need my network cop shows to be realistic, I need them not to be stupid. I'm fine with the phony, but if it's fiction, it needs to be well done fiction.That show wasn't good. The writing was blah and as much as I like AoL he was stiff as a board. So you don't need to explain anything to me. Thanks.

And welcome, everyone! Let's get going.


Why did LJ get cut when Portis, and his multimillion dollar contract, remained even though he only got 33 yards to go with 2 gimme TD's? Portis is so afraid to run and get hit now, that whenever he gets a breakaway run, he's like a child learning to walk again, meaning he just flops down on the ground. He has absolutely no moves, and makes no effort to gain any extra yards. Let's stop talking about what a great blocker he is when he gets in those free bee chip shots at unsuspecting rushers. LJ had one bad run, but carried the ball 2 times. Gimme a break. Let the dude carry the ball consistently before you make a determination that he's washed up. It can't be any worse than Snyder giving Portis an unsolicited multimillionaire contract extension 2 seasons ago.

Portis is not the runner he was, no question, but I disagree completely with your assessment that he's afraid to get hit. And I don't see the loss of LJ as the end of the world, either. Sorry.

OK, T ... bets on how long 'til Mark takes over. Boz suggested in his chat yesterday that the son is less likely to continue the sins of the father (cheap...), being more of an actual fan of the sport and (OK Boz didn't mention this second part) friend/business partner of the more generous Leonsis.  All of this buzz about Kasten leaving begs these sorts of forward-looking purse-strings questions ...

I don't know Ted Lerner; he's a bit reclusive compared to our other owners in town, at least. But last I heard he was in good health and still on top of things. Not sure what his impetus would be to hand the team over to his son. I do think Mark would probably be more willing to spend, or they are going to have to up the payroll or get used to 10,000 a night. I'm just not sure that's what's coming next.

Tracee, I'm Russian and love the game of hockey. Go figure..) I've met Alexander Semin a couple of times and just did not get a good vide from him? Have you ever spoken to him? I know he does not give interviews in English but an unamed "insider" knows that Semin speaks and understand English very well. Is he just stuborn? What are your thoughts?

A lot of the Russian hockey players speak English far better than they let on, just lik e some Latino baseball players speak English but pretend they don't. I don't know Semin so I can't speak for him personally but this would hardly surprise me.

Thanks for your column showing that some athletes really do care about the team as much as we do. It's a LONG offseason when you win the President's Trophy and then are bounced out of the first round of the playoffs. But you've been to the Olympics. How do the Olympic athletes deal with the pressure of having to wait FOUR years if they have one bad day (i.e. Michelle Kwan) ? I would be all tied up in knots.

Olympians definitely feel that pressure, especially in sports in which the window of competition is not very wide. You can be a bobsledder and go to three or four Olympics. Skating is different; depending on when your birthday and your peak fall, you might get only one shot, two if you're lucky. So it's a tremendous amount of pressure. With the hockey guys, they start so young -- to us -- me, anyway -- Laich appears young with a lot of time to achieve his goals; he clearly feels differently.

Oh man I wish I could participate live, my work computer doesn't let me submit questions. I've lived here in the east for over 20 years and I still say pop, except with my husband because he acts like he doesn't know what I"m talking about. Of course he insists on saying "grass cutter" instead of "lawnmower"! I never heard that before I moved here.

If you are okay with grass cutter, he's gotta give you pop!

Ha, not the state, know more than I care to about the state. I have Strasburg jersey, wear it at the beach and pool - coverup sort of, easier to put on and keep most of the lotion on because it's a button up versus a tshirt. Is that legal? Now, if I have Mike Epstein throwback Senators Jersey - may I wear that around and be considered an outcast? I am 50 - and I guess have no life at all. Otherwise, my wife and 2 daughters and I only wear our jerseys to games, and school (the kids). On a more serious note, my family knows the Lerners (through marriage). Not well mind you, but still, anyway, he and his family were not born into wealth, they worked darn hard for it and their successes were not luck, but the result of hard work. Therefore I have always considered Ted and Mark to be quite intelligent and aware of what's going on (now and for future plans). So, the loss of Kasten, while sad may not spell doom. Oh, the question is, how do such intelligent people seem to make such odd decisions - should be a no brainer to keep Dunn - for 3 years maybe with a option for a 4th. But? ANyway, have a super weekend!

Your jersey choices are all fine, but you knew that. I used to think that earning vs. inheriting made a difference in sports ownership but I've seen self-made men spend like drunken sailors when they buy a team, so I don't believe that anymore. The Lerners have no doubt been hit by th economic downturn like everyone else, but I do think it's time to make a major investment in this team. And yes, I don't understand why they haven't got Dunn done; it seems like a no-brainer to me, too. If Marrero were anywhere near ready to go, we'd be seeing him. The proof  of thatis at shortstop and second base.

I can't help but think that this does not bode well for the Nationals. Stan Kasten would respond if the fans had a complaint and he hired the right men. He attempted to push the Lerners in the right direction. I hope I am wrong but I think a Angelos/Snyder era is about to begin on the Nationals with the bottom line being the most important fact. Letting Adam Dunn just walk away will be the first blow.

That is possible. I'm not ready to give up on the Lerners yet, but this offseason is going to be pivotal for the team. If fans don't see improvements, they have reason to be concerned.

Tracee, we say "soft drinks" in the South. We are a genteel sort. A handful of uncouth Atlantians don't represent the entire South. (Btw, if you've been following the local news, it's no longer politically correct to mention bike lanes as you did yesterday. It's code language for urban preppy, which in turn is code language for the "g" word-- the one that rhymes with jentrification. Just a heads up.)

Bike lanes are a sign of gentrification? Well I swan...

My sources tell me that the fundamental issue behind Stan's departure was that the Lerners were just not willing to spend the money he recommended to transform this team in to a contender. . .that and he wanted to let Dunn walk and the Lerners want to keep him. If that is true, the Lerners need to acknowledge that they just don't have the wherewithall to own a big market MLB team and sell. Dan Snyder has many (many, many, many) faults. . .but being cheap ain't one of them. It's becoming increasingly apparent that the Lerners are just down right cheap. Did Ted buy the team just to give Mark something to do during the summer? They have enough money so that could make Steinbrenner (RIP) and everyother MLB owner look like paupers. . .but they just won't open the wallet. That's fine. . .it's their money and they can do with it what they want. . .but if they don't want to spend on major league talent. . .then why did they buy an major league team. Your thoughts?

There can be prestige in owning a major league team. That said, can Peter Angelos be welcome anywhere in Baltimore these days? Well, maybe hiring Showalter helps a little, but with the prestige comes some responsibility. It also takes owners a few years to get their feet wet, learn the ropes, learn how to deal with agents and MLB and all the rest. But they've had plenty of time now. It's time to pry open the wallet and make improvements.

Everyone seems to forget that the elder Lerner's primary business is commercial real estate, which has not thrived during this recession. Could it be that the Nationals aren't spending much because they have to use their own resources instead of relying on capital influx from the Lerners?

Yes, the point I was making above. The Lerners are cautious and conservative, so if money isn't coming in they are going to slow spending, no doubt. But a baseball team is a living organism just like a business. If you don't plow some capital into it, it falls apart.

Hey Tracee, not an international crisis, to be sure, but I thought I had an airtight request of my wife: that, were she ever to describe my hair color to anyone (seriously unlikely), that she might consider describing it as "flaxen and lustrous," or at least simply as "flaxen." Her response? "Well, no. Absolutely not. In fact, I'm mildly creeped out right now." The lesson here is that there is only ONE individual worthy of being described as "flaxen haired," and she's a senior writer/editor for a major newspaper. I was put in my place, and I accept it!

Yeah, I think "lustrous" was a bridge too far, my friend.

Check this out.  But to give credit where it is due, Gene Weingarten's chat found this years ago.

This map is pretty awesome. I highly recommend it. Although I'm stunned that one person in my home county picked soda over pop.

If the Lerners are so cheap, then why is Strasburg drowning in money back in Southern California? And conversely, if Strasburg is any example, then maybe spending top dollar isn't always the pathway to success in baseball.

I've never used the word "cheap." I don't think they are cheap, but they are conservative. The Strasburg contract is nice but compared to free agents deals? Of course spending alone doesn't guarantee success in any sport. But neither does depending on the draft and the farm system alone. The best teams figure out a way to combine the two.

Tracee.....I heard yesterday evening that our NBA is going back to the Red, White, and Blue uniforms....can we have this newspaper push to bring back the name BULLETS as it should be (since they are making cash off the classic uniforms), or come with a compromise and go with Senators.....The name Wizards has to does not fit!

I'd be in favor of a new name; I always hated Wizards. But I see zero chance of the Bullets ever making a comeback. Senators has a better chance. Start lobbying Leonsis; they might as well change the name while they're changing the colors.

Lerners' are not broke. Old Man Ted was just listed as Forbes' 110th Richest Man in America - worth $3 Billion.

Sigh. No one said broke. No one implied broke.

I noticed your column didn't answer the burning question about the goalie rotation (and yes, to answer your semi-rhetorical question yesterday, it DOES sound like they're going to rotate). Learn anything? Saving something for a future column? Or are Briscoe & Green just getting warmed up on this mystery?

I missed a shot at the goalies yesterday, through my own stupidity, and Boudreau talked about this on Wednesday, when I wasn't there. But yes, I'll probably write about it at some point, and yes, they will rotate.

Katie Carrera got me up to speed and she'll come on to chat about the Caps soon. Mark Maske let me down but he claims he had work to do. Huh.


Yes, but it's the self-made men's Idiot Sons who are the most dangerous: Chuck Dolan, genius--Jimmy Dolan, not so much. George Steinbrenner, evil genius--Hank Steinbrenner, not so much. Robert Irsay, semi-genius--Jimmy Irsay, not so much...

This is why I winced when Mark Lerner shagged flies and got hit in the head. You want to avoid those comparisons.

First, start with a large fortune...

Ah, a classic...

Wait, grass cutter? That's not local. We call it lawnmower here. Thanks for the article, Tracee - Go Caps!!!

No, she didn't mention where hubby was from. I'd never heard grass cutter either.

Bos quoted Kasten as saying ""I can honestly tell you that no decision has been made," in his column Wed. night. But Kilgore's article states "Kasten said he reached his decision at the end of the 2009 season and informed principal owner Ted Lerner and few others". What gives? I'm assuming Bos didn't get confused about the quote - so is Kasten a liar?

Well, I'd have to say yes. No way Boz gets that quote wrong; that's pretty unambiguous.

A not-necessarily Irish, but rather a jaunty and appropriately-relational Top o' the morning to you, Tracee! If you were of the mind to sit down with 4-5 of the current Redskins players just to chat, discuss life, interests away from the game, etc, who do you think would be the most interesting? I have nothing to base this on, but I bet Heyer would be a cool/interesting cat. Also Armstrong and Reed Doughty. Any thoughts? Have a good weekend!

Hmmmm. I will think of a better answer in an hour on the table at PT, but for now, I'd go with McNabb, who is smart and funny and sarcastic, and Armstrong, who you know I like. London Fletcher is great to talk to, as is Andre Carter. I like Ma'ake but don't know him as well. I enjoy Orakpo and I've always liked Casey Rabach. Heyer is a nice guy, not a great quote, but a nice guy. Artis Hicks is a good interview as well.

What's wrong with that? My grandma always called me the "girl with the flaxen hair" and I like it! For a real sports question: What do you think about the HBO Pens/Caps series? As a Pens fan, I think it'll be great fun to watch...

I think it will be good TV. I don't know the Pens' locker room but I know the Caps' a bit and it'll be very interesting for fans of both teams.

Hi T-Ham. I gotta admit: Although I've never seen an episode of Hawaii 5-0, that theme song is seriously good. Da da da da da da! Da da da da da! Etc. Do you have a favorite theme song that, upon hearing it, either inspires you, or simply puts you in a good mood for awhile?

Oh, I love all the old ones, but I tend to prefer lyrics. Of the current shows, I like the "Big Bang" theme song for that reason. I always sing along.

It's supposed to be fun. It's more fun when the team is winning. Just sayin'

You'd think so, wouldn't you? I can't see owning a team and not caring, but other fans swear that's what's happening. Now the Clippers owner, I don't think he cares a bit. But he seems to be the exception and not the rule.

I thought people were putting me on at first: when I moved to New Hampshire for a couple of years, and struck up a conversation with people, I was tempted to say, "c'mon, cut it out. We both know you don't REALLY talk like that. Stop it at once. Why do you insist on imitating the Pepperidge Farm guy?" But that's how they really talk! Over time, it became less Pepperidge Farmy, and more Matt Damoney, but this didn't make much more palatable. I guess I don't have a point, but just wanted to join in on the regionalisms/accents!

That's pretty funny. I'm glad you didn't articulate that thought, though.

Tracee: Top of the Friday to ya! I was born in PA and called it pop until we moved to IL, where it was called soda. Also, we called going for groceries, going for an order. When my mom mentioned that to someone after we moved to IL, they didn't understand. And now we live in WV (Go Mountaineers!). Did you or your Mom ever go for an order?

Nope, but we called it "to the store." Of course, where I grew up there weren't a lot of stores so it wasn't a confusion. When my friend Kenalyn moved to Lincoln in fifth grade, she called me to say her daddy would carry us to school in the morning. I worried all night about how he would carry all of us, because she had two sisters. I finally decided maybe her mom would carry two and he'd carry two. She was from Alabama, and I wasn't all that bright.

Okay, I've gotta go. I'll chat with you Monday from St. Louis before I fly home. Have a good weekend, everyone!

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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