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

Oct 03, 2013

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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We missed you last week. I guess, amazing as he was this year, Jordan Zimmermann's chances for the Cy Young are not good, compared to Kershaw's ERA. I can hope, though. Do you think Span should get a Gold Glove? And were you surprised the Indians crashed and burned, even with The Little Mermaid on their side?

I wasn't surprised about the Indians, I guess, although I thought that one could go either way. I don't like Zim's chances; Span's are better.

Sorry about last week; surgery went sideways, didn't work, complications, infection ... I was a mess. But I'm fine now and happy to be back. Let's go.

Out of the female sideline reporters, who do you take seriously - Pam Oliver, Michele Tafoya, etc. Thanks.

Tafoya is my top choice, I guess. I don't know Pam Oliver very well. Given what they are asked to do, which is kind of strange, it's not a job I'd want -- especially asking questions of coaches coming off the field at halftime. Some of those exchanges can get ugly.

Navy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk, in a telephone interview Tuesday, said cancelling the Air Force-Navy game would cost the athletic department $4 million, and that businesses in and around the state capital would take a similar hit.

No doubt that number is correct. Of course it's big business. But I think the shutdown is costing $200 million a day.

Do you think the game should be played?

You either get it or you don't get it. I just saw "Rush," and I don't get it. Even my BF, who likes fast cars, says what a horrific waste of gasoline. But obviously a lot of people feel differently.

There was a time when that was THE glam sport. I remember them coming to Detroit and they traveled with entourages of the most gorgeous women you've ever seen. It was a big deal. Now it's not. I was never a huge fan but did follow it when Detroit had a race.

For them, it's a win.


I'm involuntarily staying home for the indefinite future, so now I have the time to do things I never had the time for. But ... with no money. Any advice? Is this what retirement will be like?

I hope retirement will be like that, but WITH money. At least some. No hobbies? I do NOT want to be furloughed but I have so many projects to work on I would not be bored.

The Royals almost make the playoffs, K-State football is unmentionable and the Chiefs are undefeated. Only Kansas Wesleyan seems to know what's supposed to happen this time of year...

Go Coyotes! I have no idea what the problem is. I think I'll blame the drought.

Any thoughts? Who do you pick?

Oh, you know better than that. I will just jinx whoever I pick. Anybody else?

Um, who died and appointed the Atlanta Braves as arbiters of baseball etiquette? I think that Brian McCann should have been tossed from the game where he blocked home plate after Carlos Gomez's home run, and suspended for several subsequent games (I bring this up because we missed a chat last week, and I'm *still* steamed about it). Instead, Gomez was ejected (along with the Braves' Freddy Freeman, who didn't do anything particularly wrong).

Yes, the Braves seem to be taking over for Cole Hamels in that department. Very odd.

Who do you want for a new manager, 405?

Hi Tracee -- I was wondering what regular reporting beats or teams or sports you covered prior to becoming a columnist? What's your sports journalism background?

I covered the Pistons years ago but I was an editor for all the rest of my career until becoming a columnist. I've been in sports journalism for 30 years. Just had my 20th anniversary here.

Last time we chatted you said "...what will replace it? The only new thing to come along is UFC.." Ten years ago I would have shrugged my shoulders and said, "no idea". Now I'm confident it will be soccer. A few things have changed my opinion: 1) Premier League games and other European games are now regularly shown live on US television 2) I see sports bars touting that they show MLS games and other soccer leagues and 3) Seattle Sounders average almost 43,000 a game. (If you have seen the 15 minute segment on HBO's Real Sports on the Sounders, it's pretty illuminating.) People like the NFL for many reasons, a couple of the primary ones include: 1) Games are parties, whether at the stadium, outside the stadium, or at home and 2) Fantasy leagues/betting. The Europeans long ago figured out number 1) and the US is catching on.

Yes, you know, you may be right. Remember when soccer used to be touted as "the sport of the '80s", "the sport of the '90s", etc? It may finally have found its time. The quality of soccer available on TV has really improved and that may draw in new fans. Good point.

I'm sure this must be out there, but I haven't been able to find a comprehensive evaluation of closers. For example, Jim Johnson saved 50 games but he also lost 8 and had 9 blown saves. Like most things in life, there are easy saves and hard saves; someone even got a save for pitching 3 scoreless innings in the Rangers' 30-3 2007 blowout of the Orioles. But a formula that takes losses and blown saves into account would nore accurately reflect a closer's year..

I'm surprised no one has come up with this. Bill James, perhaps? Saves definitely isn't enough because teams use guys in different situations. All saves are not equal, I guess. Hmmmmm. Interesting. Someone looking for something to do could devise a formula!

As one former copy editor to another, I'd suggest that the Post educate its copy editors on the difference between dreadlocks and braids. I've noticed some WaPo writers describing black men's hair as "dreads" when in fact the man is wearing braids (ex: Andrew McCutcheon). I've noticed this in both the sports section and other sections. Just something else that IDs writers as clueless honkies. Have you been out having surgery? I missed some chats and now realize I'm as clueless about Tracee World as Bob McDonnell is about ethics. Lady Fairfax

When I'm in doubt -- when I haven't seen the guy close up -- I avoid the issue. It's not like a necessity to the story most of the time, unless a guy is tackled by his braids (or dreads). I do think I can tell the difference but you are right, I'm sure for some people they are interchangeable.

In defense of our editors, I should add that we don't have nearly enough anymore. That was an area that took a tremendous hit during the buyout days.

Tracy, thanks for a thoughtful column about the Navy-AF game. I'm a nonessential fed who is lucky enough to be able to make it through without a paycheck (or maybe two). But there are a lot of people out there like my secretary who is a low paid, but very dedicated federal employee. And their stories aren't being told. Yes, it would be a bummer if the game couldn't be played, just like it's a bummer that folks can't go to Yellowstone or fulfill plans to raft the Colorado River. But there are a lot of feds out there living paycheck to paycheck, and those people are the real victims. A continuing resolution merely requires people to vote for EXACTLY the same spending bill they voted for last year. No caving in, no need for compromise. Just do the right thing, Congress. Pass a budget.

Good Lord, that got online fast. I can't even find it. But thank you. I am not against a football game as a distraction but the shutdown is so much more important than that to so many people. I feel for everyone involved.

are delirious about how far the Royals turned it around this year. I can't imagine the level of euphoria in Pittsburg. Have things really changed so much in MLB in the last few years that small market teams can continue to thrive?

I think small market teams can thrive in short bursts. I don't think you'll see a small market team pull off a dynasty-style run, but maybe the days of dynasties in general are over. I think Pittsburgh picked up a lot of fans with the underdog factor. And it should help ease the pain of the Steelers' season.

Feel for ya -- I've had a couple nasty bouts with staph, and the only thing worse is the reaction to the massive penicillin IV dose. TBHitW

And when you're allergic to penicillin -- oy! :) Luckily not staph, but they poked a hole where there isn't supposed to be one so I was none to pleased. But again, feeling okay now. So tired of not feeling great, however. Thought this surgery might do it. That's why the epic fail was such a bummer.

Do you think there is a real possibility this could happen? I wonder if Cal would do it, if only because it could hurt him in Baltimore, which does have an inferiority complex with DC.

I don't think it ultimately would happen, although I'm sure Cal would give the Nats a listen. I'm also not sure how Cal would be as a manager. Great guy, but he was never a clubhouse leader. Not assertive. Kirk Gibson, for example, WAS a clubhouse leader. Not every good player is. It would be a risky move since he's never managed a game.

Well, they always tell us that the football programs are self-sustaining, so there shouldn't be any gov't cash expenditure, unless they fly the Air Force Academy student body out to Naptown. I guess the same would go for any other away games, right? TBHitW

Navy is self-sustained; I am not so sure about AF. And some of the AF personnel were furloughed. I guess it's the different way the schools are structured; I'm no expert on that. But you can play a game with the athletic director. It's not usually done, but you can do it. Just an odd situation.

I am puzzled about why the Caps would let Perreault go, especially for a bag of pretzels and some pixy stix. Carrick is not much bigger and so far no improvement. (Yes, he is a rookie and yes, one game is not a good sample size.) Was this trade driven by Matty P's desire to go anywhere where he can play? Thanks.

I think he wanted to play, no doubt, but I was a little surprised by this one, too. As you say, it's too soon to tell about Carrick although I am VERY excited about the pixy sticks. :)

The problem is, whenever they give an exemption for a high profile game/agency etc., they lessen the probability that this will be solved soon. If you really want to solve this fast, ground the commercial airlines, and send home the TSA and the air traffic controllers. This would get solved in a minute. The exceptions are what kill any reason for responsible negotiation.

See the link above for the column. I know not everyone will agree and that's fine.

If they were going to make exceptions, I'd like them to start with the CDC, perhaps. I understand the game isn't costing the government anything, but it just LOOKS bad that there was so much effort put into this, when so many other things are more important.

Hindsight is 20/20, but I've been starting to wonder if the Skins wouldn't have been better off staying put at #6 in the '12 draft, taking Tannehill (who looks like the real deal) and not giving up all of those draft picks to St. Louis...

I've been hearing a lot of look-back at that deal since Griffin's injury and it's a fair question. But I don't see how you pass on that guy, unless you got a bad report on his knee, which they clearly didn't. (Or ignored.) Not knowing what we know now, I'd make the deal.

Now that UConn finally (only three years too late) pulled the trigger on Head Coach Intercepted-Pass-qualoni, now it's time to find that big-name big-time coach to take us to the promised land. So, Toss-Up: Lane Kiffin, Charley Weis, or shut it down and wait for hoops? TBHitW

Weis. Please. (I shouldn't say that; he's 2-1, after all.) Hey, Mangino is available, I think.

I tried watching the train wreck on C-SPAN, and that gets REALLY depressing after about 15 minutes. (They're talking at the cameras, not to each other). So now what? I've done the dishes, run the laundry, vaccummed, and washed the bird. There's not even Australian Rules Football on the tube for distraction. Suggestions? - GSC (Grounded Space Cadet)

I'm so bad at this, because I have hobbies that would keep me cheerfully occupied for hours. I have some research work I could do, I have some baby blankets to make ... that said, I don't want to be furloughed. Gutters -- gutters always need attention.

And washing the bird  -- what a great chore. Good for you.

It's really sad that folks get worked up more over the "potential" cancellation of service academy football games than Head Start programs really being shutdown. I know you don't do politics and maybe you won't respond to this, but please publish it without comment.

I don't do politics but I DO do football games, and I've written much the same thing you articulate here. No argument from me.

Out of the male sideline reporters, which do you take seriously? (I always want to snap Ken Rosenthal's bowtie, but maybe that's just me. Did I just type that? Yes, yes I did.) On another note, what are folks' rooting interests in the postseason? I had my 90-year-old aunt's Indians, but that didn't last long. (She's a trip. Stayed up late listening to the game - on her computer. I want to be like her when I grow up.) I'm also kinda sorta rooting for Pittsburgh. Beautiful ballpark, long postseason drought, and one of my other aunts (since deceased) rooted for them back in the day. And maybe the A's, seeing as how I used to live in the Bay Area and they have some former Nats (as do the Pirates, in Marlon Byrd). On another other note, sorry to hear about the surgery complications but glad that you're doing well now. [exhales] There, that about covers it. (1a)

You covered it all! Ken Rosenthal is so knowledgeable but during the postseason they make him do these chirpy updates and I, too, want to snap his bowtie. And I like him. As for the playoffs, I am of course rooting for my Tigers, and in an effort not to jinx anyone else's team, I will refrain from picking anyone in the NL.

Volunteering, maybe? My cause of choice is cat rescue, but there are plenty of others out there.

A good idea. I want to do Meals on Wheels when I retire. I did it with my grandma when SHE was retired and I really did enjoy it. My schedule being weird precludes me from doing it now. You'd need to find a volunteer gig that you could drop at a moment's notice, which might be hard but worth considering.

Not only is it a horrible team, but it has a terrible fan base. Can they just move to LA, Orlando, or Toronto and start over. You must destroy the organization to save it.

Were the stands completely empty for the last home game? I was told they were but somehow missed it in the "highlights". What a shame.

No it should not be played. How can it be deemed essential? We have to shut NIH and prevent them from starting cancer treatment to 30 children but we have to play a college football game? We furloughed people who were dodging bullets at the Navy Yard two weeks ago but the golf courses at Andrews Air Force Base remain open? Not to get political, but if the shutdown stopped everything the government did (e.g., the FAA, so no airplane flights) the public would never put up with it, no matter how red the district.

I sort of thought I'd get beat up for that column. No arguments here.

Yeah, I didn't know that I was allergic until the IV, and of course the calamine baths to follow. Oy is right.

Wow. Excruciating. I saw the coolest thing in a catalog -- a medical alert bracelet that is also a thumb drive. You can put your whole medical history in there. This is the kind of thing I think about getting. That, and Life Alert.

Maybe they should just get grownup haircuts and let it go at that.

I have to say, I think braids are kind of hot. Can't believe I just wrote that.

You don't think Cal Ripken was a clubhouse leader? What would make you think that? This is what Boswell, who covered those Orioles teams every day, said about him on Monday: "Ripken was raised by a manager, played as if he were a manager in uniform, was always the leader of the Orioles, or else was the leader in tandem with Eddie Murray and probably knows as much about baseball at the granular and the theoretical level as anybody in the sport in the last 50 years."

Sorry, not a VOCAL clubhouse leader. Leading by example, yes. But not a "rah rah let's win one today boys" kind of guy. That's what I meant. On the diamond, he was definitely the leader of that team.

I sent in my question before I saw your column. All I can say is thanks. Well said.

Thank YOU.

Perreault was a forward, Carrick is a defenseman. Carrick being on the team had nothing to do with Perreault getting traded. Wilson/Latta are the reason that Perreault was traded.

I think the poster (and I) meant that it's too soon to know if it was a smart trade, not that Carrick is replacing Perreault but that he is the piece they got in exchange.

Did everyone see the clip of Roy and Bruce Boudreau going at it last night?

My answer got cut off. I meant to add. the following: And once we make it easy for everyday people to bet on soccer (pools, fantasy leagues, etc.) it will really take off.

Good point. I'm sure there are already fantasy leagues and they will proliferate. There used to be one way to play fantasy football. Now there seem to be hundreds of configurations.

Can you recall *any* pitcher being intimidated and affected by opposing fans in the same way as the Red's Johnny Cueto was by the Pirates' fans? Pedro Martinez and "Who's your Daddy" doesn't count, because Pedro inflicted that one on himself and the Red Sox won that Game 7. I'm really pulling for the Pirates this postseason. Section 405

I'd like to think they didn't get in the guy's head but the evidence seems to support that notion that they did. Wild. I know that got Pittsburgh a lot of non-committed fans.

I understand Kansas City isn't NYC, DC, or Boston, but it's not Peoria, IL either. It's a Metro area of 2.5 million people, and Johnson county on the Kansas side is one of the wealthiest areas in the country. Can't their problems be more attributed to bad ownership?

Except that they ARE improving. I'm just not sure they'll ever get over the hump. You are right about KC being a good market and a rich one too. And they only have the Chiefs, Royals and Sporting KC to worry about.

I hear on sports talk shows that the NFL wants a team in London. I can't see that working. Travel being the main thing, but also for the players the cost of living plus taxes would seem to be unattractive.

I know that the NFL has long wanted a foothold in Europe but I think this would be a mistake, for the reasons you cite. Plus I think people in London might be interested in a game as a change of pace, but that's still soccer country (city) and I won't see that changing.

Matty was moved to make cap space for Tom Wilson, not to keep Carrick with the big club. Also, Carrick is a defenseman while Perreault is a forward. I think it is a good move, both for the Caps and for Perreault's career. He should get more ice time with Anaheim. By the way, I think that the only winners in this federal shutdown thing are the dogs. I saw twice as many people out walking dogs while I bicycled to work this morning than I normally do.

Yes, good point, no one meant to imply that Carrick was replacing Perreault. And hilarious point about the dogs.

How does this decision effect their other sports teams?

This just in:

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—The Department of Defense has cancelled all Naval Academy varsity and club sports through Sunday as a result of the government shutdown.

Navy and Air Force have received approval from the Department of Defense to play Saturday’s football game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.  Kickoff is set for 11:40 a.m. and the game will be televised nationally by CBS.


Is still a big deal in the rest of the world. Come on Tracee you need t0 get rid of your stick and ball bias. Its bigger now than it was back in 76 when Rush took place and bigger than when Detroit had a race. back then there were16 F1 races. Now there are 20 races with many cities in numerous countries all wanting a race. We have races in South Korea, India and Russia and New jersey are on the schedule for next year. Think the Bucs and their Qb situation is interesting its nothing compared to the Machevillian machinations in F1. Like has Red Bull been using an illegal exhaust all season. Top F1 drivers make $0 million plus. Sorry Formula Ones glory days havent passed. the women are still incredible at the races. You need to con your editor into sending you to Monte Carlo for the race. And there is nothing like the start of F1 race. Forget the crowd noise in Seattle the pressure change and the exhausts notes make the Seattle NFL crowd seem like screaming toddlers.

Good Lord. I didn't diss Formula One but it's not everyone's cup of tea and it isn't huge in this country. There are a lot of sports that are big overseas and I wish them well. Cricket is a stick and ball sport, sort of, and I couldn't care less.

Hi Trac! My original reaction was that I didn't care about the Academy football game. But my other choice for a comment was about Selig's tenure, and I am not ready to go there today. So here goes: No, they shouldn't play the game. The shutdown is forcing them to cancel many classes, close the libraries and tutoring centers, and eliminate cadet flying time at USAFA. Football is not more important than educating future officers, and it doesn't matter that football is independently funded. Even if the academies were to use the game to try to make some other kind of statement about the shutdown -- for example, marching bands that stand still, or something clever -- it will be lost underneath the game, the game, the game. But I'd be willing to have them do something like those "flu games" that basketball teams sometimes play, and have the teams play on a field without spectators. That would be appropriate. Rico

Thanks for the input, Rico!

The Sox draw better in Tampa than in Boston, so the Rays are used to playing before a hostile crowd. They won't melt down the way the Reds did.

Better in Tampa than Boston? Or just well in Tampa? I know the Rays are used to hosting a variety of fans who support the opponent, though.

It was the playboy Brit against the Austrian machine. It was Ferrari versus McLaren. Think Dallas Cowboys with Roger Staubach vs the Redskins and Sonny. The New York Yankees vs Brooklyn Dodgers. Back then you were either a James Hunt fan and for McLaren or a Ferrari fan. Unlike American football back in 1976 racing was dangerous and sex was safe. Back in the 70's F1 lost a couple of drivers a year.

All I'm saying is that I don't think it's is popular in the U.S. today as it was in the past. I remember the McLaren vs. Ferrari days and Senna and all of that. I like the line about football and sex being safe back in 1976. Things have changed.

I am really impressed that there are F-1 fans out there.

I'm not missing the draft picks. Look how energized DC has been since RGNumber has been in town. Play it safe and you get same-old-Deadskins. Shanny got this one right.

History may prove us wrong but at the time, it certainly felt like the right thing.

Read books about sports. Read John Thelin and Murray Sperber on college sports. Read Ron Jaworski's book on coaching evolution in the NFL, and read Michael Oriard and Sal Paolantonio on football and culture. Read Michael McCambridge's great book on the NFL, and his even better book about Sports Illustrated. Michael McKinley's dandy "Hockey: A People's History" is huge and terrific. Read Ron Kaplan's "501 Baseball Books to Read Before You Die," and then work through the books that look most interesting to you. Just don't try to borrow them from the Library of Congress, because libraries aren't deemed essential.

Plus our furloughed friends are trying not to spend money, so if they can't find them at the local library ...

When will DC get a pro team?

How quickly they forget... If DC doesn't built a new stadium, you'll be right. No team, however bad.


Red Sox - Evil Empire II - should thank Bud Selig everyday for letting them unload contracts on Dodgers Rays - easy on the Joe Maddon worship + fans who don't support their own team deserve no other support. Tigers, A's - either one is a good choice (underdog city or underdog franchise)


Dodgers - Evil Empire West - way too much money Cards - no self respecting Nats fan can ever root for them

Braves - same goes for them + too sanctimonious

So Pirates it is.

There you go.

Go ahead and pick the Chiefs over the Redskins.

No way!

The problem with Jacksonville is the city didn't expand as previously hoped for. When the expansion bid was put in 20 years ago they thought the city would grow rapidly due to various factors and business operations. It didn't. So now you have an empty stadium and an lethargic fanbase. So you have two options: 1. Sign Tebow so people have something to gawk at. 2. Move the team to LA

Interesting. I wonder how an NFL franchise would do in LA.

In 1942 they played the Rose Bowl in North Carolina. They were afraid of Japanese air attack.

Apples and oranges, I'm afraid.

Actually, washing the bird (a maroon-bellied conyer) is the bird's idea. She hangs out on my shoulder , and when I'm washing the dishes, she sometimes gets excited, and runs down my arm toward the water. I make a bird-bath with my hand, set the faucet to "spray", and let her go to it. She spends about 4-5 minutes playing in the water, and then heads back up to my shoulder. Oh, and she's "potty trained" as well - she'll go on command, and if she needs to go, she starts saying "OK ... OK... OK..." I get her to a trash can, toilet, or piece of paper, and she politely takes care of business. Very cool bird.

That's a great bird! I have a friend who has a bunch of birds, and they take showers perched on her shoulders, or her husband's. Fun! My cat has refused to do that.

Instead of putting an NFL team in London the Premier League should place a team in New York. How cool would it be to have the New York Red Bulls play Man U. in a real game with equal talent and in season? Even a lower English league I bet would have a great following in this country.

Interesting. Those teams certainly draw well over here.

He will be coaching in the NFL, Texas, or USC next year. He needs to strike while it's hot and once Manzel leaves A&M is back to irrelevance. Agree?

Took me a moment to figure out you meant Kevin Sumlin. And yes, if he's going to move on, this year is the time.

Actually anyone who works in building 197 at the Navy Yard is exempted from the furlough by Presidential order.

Thanks for that!

Nothing as exciting as 90 minutes of watching people fail to kick a ball into a goal. Yay soccer!

Listen, I'm not a soccer person. But we're discussing the sport most likely to make a rise in this country and I think soccer is doing it. Will that change my mind about soccer? No, I fear that ship has sailed. But I let the soccer fans have their preference and hope they'll do the same for me. We don't all have to like EVERYTHING.

It'll probably be Randy Knorr, and that'll be perfectly fine, but... Cal

I'll reach back into Washington sports history and remind readers of the *other* time Washington's baseball team reached out to a first-tier Hall of Fame ex-player to manage. I bring you Ted Williams, who vastly improved the team and won Manager of the Year in the face of a dysfunctional owner and front office. Williams didn't have any prior managerial experience, either.

While Cal doesn't have managerial experience, he is the son of a good manager, grew up with it since his childhood, was always an intelligent "manager-on-the-field", and got his start under Earl Weaver, one of the all-time greats -- and he paid attention. Ripken would have far better ownership backing and front-office support and a far more talented roster than Ted Williams had. It'd be a gamble, but I'd like to see it.

Section 405

I'll give 405 the final word since he didn't get to vent about the Braves last Thursday. He had to hold that in for a week, and for that I apologize.

Thanks, everyone, for another enjoyable hour. Next week, if the chat doesn't start right at 11, don't give up. I'll be here. I have my flu shot at 10:45 so I might be pushing it to get going at 11 if they are behind.

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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