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

Nov 15, 2012

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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As if the on-field performance isn't embarrassing enough, does anyone really know what's going on with the (de)construction project at Fedex Field? I remember first noticing the partial dismantling of the upper deck while attending a pre-season game last August. This "party deck" project seems no closer to completion today than it did 15 months ago, with almost no info coming from the team on the timeline or what the finished product will look like. The entire Pentagon was built in less time than that!

I don't have an answer but I'm posting this in case one of our intrepid chatters does. Sorry I didn't post it last week; it was one of many questions stuck in the "basket," as it were.

And good morning, all. Going to try to get through today with a minimum of tears and hissies. Last week was awful. But today, so far, this thing seems to be working. So let's get going.

Hi, Tracee -- Need you to put on your con$piracy hat here. Assuming that the solid K-State and the entertaining-as-hell Ducks win out, how does the BC$ rig the system to create a Notre Dame-Bama championship game? We all know it's gonna happen, but I need a noted authority like you to explain the methodology. TBHitW

They take away ranking points for every FCS team you play. That eliminates K-State and Oregon. They give more points for conference power rankings, which the SEC wins. And they choose Notre Dame because God told them to. I don't know, but I know if either Oregon or K-State slips up, it drops like a stone. Because yes, Notre Dame vs. Bama is the game the BCS and TV want. That said, the Irish have had a great season, no doubt.

I understand why R.A. Dickey won (20 wins backed up by a lousy team, age, return from injury, etc), but how did Clayton Kershaw beat Gio for second? Gio had all the stats, and he helped lead his team to the playoffs.

Gio had more wins (21 to 14 -- 14!) and a better strikeout per nine innings avg. -- 9.3. That said, Kershaw led the league in ERA and WHIP and pitched more innings and threw more strikes than Gio. For me, the 14 wins probably would make me put Gio second, but if you can't penalize Dickey for playing on a lousy team, you can't penalize Kershaw either. Still, I'd like to  have seen Gio finish second. I wasn't surprised Dickey won it.

Just wanted to say a big hi and howdy to you, Tracee, and to everyone out there before the inevitable chat software failure.

Oh, please don't jinx us!

Hi, Trac! The Marlins' latest crime is just awful. Less than one year after the new stadium opens, less than two years after they pledged that they'd never lower their salaries below their revenue-sharing payout, they're doing it again. I wouldn't be surprised if this does indeed hurt the Dolphins' and Rays' chances for public stadium funds. It would be nice if Florida and MLB could team up to force Sternberg and Loria to swap franchises, and put a well-run team in a new stadium. Surely even Bud has to see that this is not in the best interests of baseball? Oh, wait, now that I see it in print... never mind. Rico

Rico: You self-corrected; good job! It is dreadful, what they've done. Boz's take is online this morning.

It's amazing to me, but after laying eggs against Pittsburgh and Carolina, the Skins are still not quite dead. If they can get to 8-8 (unlikely in my mind, but possible), they might get to play a home game in January. (Probably won't happen, and they would probably lose that game to the Packers anyway, but at least it's something to play for.) What's frustrating about this team is that if they had just decided to play defense on one play against the Giants -- against the one player on the Giants you need to watch at all times -- that the Skins would actually be in the drivers seat for the NFC East. But they didn't, so they aren't. No question. Just sharing my frustration about a team that always finds new and creative ways to lose. On the upside, they now have a QB who is at least capable of finding new and creative ways to win.

It IS amazing, but frankly, they have as much of a chance as the other three. And yes, if they'd just defended Victor Cruz ... but who knew he was a deep threat? :) The Eagles are a mess, the Cowboys are all over the place, and the Giants can be beaten. They have plenty to play for besides next season.

i know he's never running again which seems like a good idea but do you know why George Allen never played up his connections with his father, coach George Allen? Were they estranged or was he adopted? Never understood that. Thanks.

I don't believe they were estranged or he was adopted. I always kind of wondered about that, but perhaps he wanted to make it on his own. When I first moved here, I didn't realize there WAS a relationship between them. Maybe he used it early on in his career and then after that decided he didn't need it. Someone more versed in politics might know the answer.

Two of three awards-- better than I expected! While I hoped Bryce would get ROY, i figured Miley would beat him out. So congrats to Bryce and Davey-- how long til Viera?

That's the attitude! And here's a clock to help with the countdown. (First game is Feb. 23.)

Why do NBA players appear to be the highest paid when (a) baseball players have twice as many games, outdoors, in temperature extremes and in wind and rain; (b) hockey players have more physical contact and play on ice--cold!--wearing skates with sharp blades and have more injuries and lost teeth; (c) football players, although having a shorter season, also play outside in even more extreme weather than baseball players and have the most physical contact and injuries?

Fewer of them would be one reason. Beyond that, I guess they have owners who are willing to pay crazy prices because some of the contracts that get offered -- after a lockout, no less -- are ridiculous.

OK, the execrable Wiz host the also-execrable Pacers Monday night, so 11/19 is the line for their first win. You taking them?

Well ... okay, I'll take them. No, wait, that's the kiss of death. I won't take them.

Is unworldly, Ms. H: I can remember when I was in grade school in Lincoln, NE, looking forward to the NU/KSU football game, as it was usually the only game of the season in which NU would be favored. KSU had the WORST major college football program in the US. Not only does Snyder turn KSU around (I still maintain Frank Solich was fired from his NU job because of KSU wiping out NU in Lincoln {38 - 6?}) - he does it twice!! One of the greatest coaching jobs of all time. I'm glad NU isn't playing KSU this year, that's for sure. AHG

AHG, I can't argue with any of that. Even KU used to circle that game on the schedule as an easy "W" -- those were the days. (Of course, NU also loved to play them because you could get tickets to those games! Also at KU, of course.) I'm not of the school that thinks Bill Snyder is a benevolent old geezer but the man can coach football. This is the topic of my Saturday column.

Who carries $3700 cash in their wallet? Shanahan doesn't have a credit card? Every once in a while I just have to be reminded that these guys are just different from the rest of us, in good ways and bad ways.

Meal money? Big tipper? I don't know. I DO know that the players' valuables are locked up at Redskins Park and FedEx, never mind visiting locker rooms. So why wasn't his? And why the big secrecy and misinformation about it? The passport, perhaps, he uses as his ID while flying. That's the only explanation I can think of. But why not a DL in your billfold? And why do we care? All good questions.

I know as a Jayhawk, you have little love for KSU, but doesn't it seem that all things being equal, the Wildcats will wind up being screwed in the BCS because they're not a brand name (the Okie State syndrome)? Second, the recent Miami-Toronto pillage, er, trade leads me to believe that If Giancarlo Stanton is available, Mike Rizzo needs to strike quickly and bring him to D.C. (Sorry, Ty Moore and a prospect or two; enjoy south Florida) before one of the AL East evil empires (the New York original, the Boston wannabe) makes their move. Imagine the support Stanton would give Harper and Zimmerman in the heart of the Nationals' lineup.

I have to admit, I'm not angry or sad about K-State's success. I think it's good for the state, which means more to me than its schools. And yes, if any of the top four teams (I include Bama for obvious reasons) get screwed over, it will be K-State. Pedigree matters.

If there are spoils to be had from South Florida, Rizzo should be all over them, yes. Some of the prospects can become trade fodder. Rizzo should get a lot more returned calls for deals after the Nats' 2012 performance.

I went out yesterday wearing my "Curley W" sweatshirt and my Nationals jacket, and was stopped by a Metro employee who commented on Harper getting the Rookie of the Year award. A few weeks ago, this reached ridiculous levels, when (wearing the same jacket/sweatshirt combo), I was stopped by no less than *eight* separate security guards at the National Gallery of Art with Nats/baseball comments.

I've been wearing these items for three years now, and this never happened until this year. Looks like DC's got Natittude!

Section 405

That's what a postseason appearance does for a team, even if it's unsuccessful.

(And thanks for the chat nudge yesterday, 405. You set of a chain reaction of emails and recriminations but the page finally got created. Oy.)

Red Wings owner Mike Illitch just signed Torii Hunter. Can he have decided there will be no NHL season this, and can spend on his Tigers what would have been payroll of the Wings? And what do you think of the additions of Torii Hunter and Melky Cabrera to the Tigers, along with return of Victor Martinez?

I'm a fan of the moves because I think Ilitch has a "now or never" attitude. That can backfire, of course, but I'm hoping it won't. Do I think Ilitch thinks there will be no NHL season? Maybe, but he's been pretty good about spending on both teams.

He's canceled his last couple chats. Is he doing OK -- we hope? Thanks.

Monday's was canceled because of the holiday -- not a holiday for Post employees, but our web traffic is at a trickle on those Mondays. The week before, unless I'm mistaken, he was on vacation. He'll be back  next Monday, as far as I know.

What's going on in LA? First, Mike Brown shoudn't have been fired after 5 games. Erik Spoelstra must be thanking his stars he doesn't work for the Busses or he'd been long gone. Then it seems they never wanted Phil Jackson in the first place and only interviewed him to appease fans. But why would they want D'Antoni, who couldn't get Melo, Amare and Lin to win and has never won a championship, over the king of rings?

Magic seemed to be pinning the Phil mess on Jim Buss. I thought the Brown firing was ridiculous -- unless you've got Phil Jackson lined up. Then I think you make that move. Let's face it, no matter what Brown did, if he lost Kobe, he loses the team, and the team loses. Was Brown treated right? No, but then again, that's life as an NBA coach and particularly life as a Lakers coach. I'm not sure the Lakers wanted D'Antoni over Phil but I'm not sure they could all agree on Phil. Which may be indicative of more problems in LA, if management can't get on the same page about a coach.

Isn't using the bait and switch tactic illegal in this country. They baited people in. Bought a bunch of popular Free Agents. Advertised that a new stadium, a feisty manager, and popular players would bring in fans and a great future for the team. Switch - Traded every popular player save one (Stanton) away. Hmm If I were a Miami fan. I'd report this as fraud! I mean when K-Mart advertises for something it only had one or two of to get people in the store; it's called BAIT AND SWITCH. NO DIFFERENCE!

No argument here that it's pretty despicable. Who is going to stop them? That's a different issue. I don't see MLB doing anything.

What are they the Rodney Dangerfield of MLB? Gio - FINISHED 3RD to 2 teams that didn't make the playoffs! Are you kidding me?! Gee, I guess having 22 wins in fewer innings, your team having the best record in baseball, owning more than one pitch, and making the playoffs for the first time in over 6 years doesn't count when it comes to getting CY-Young Awards. Lannan - need a 5th Starter? Use Lannan and don't trade him. Wang? As Dr. Phil would say "How's that workin' for you?" He saved your behinds during those double headers last year. He's always done what the team needed him to do. Where does that get you? Trade bait! >:(

I'm a little confused here re Wang. You're saying that LANNAN saved their behinds in doubleheaders and Wang is a dud, not that Wang has "always done what the team needed him to do"? I assume that's what you mean. If so, I agree that Lannan saved them but I also think  that if they can get someone better, they should. That's baseball.

If they really want to show that they don't care, they'll rehire Guillen. How bad is Guillen that they had to let them go? I haven't seen ownership this hideous since Judge Banner of the New York Knights tried to crush Roy Hobbs.

The Judge was pretty awful, no doubt. And so was Guillen, a disaster from start to finish. What a bad move.

Does that make him ROYalty?

I thought he already was?

The league can shift more money to athletes because they are spending less on equipment: no pads, helmets, sleeves, or pant legs.

Think of what the Skins spend on sleeves for Griffin alone! :) You are right, though; a cheaper sport to play. Compared to hockey -- no contest.

He certainly didn't hide the Redskins connection, and when he was governor "son of The Great George Allen" was usually part of the description. Later while he was Senator, I ran into him (not literally) near his burgundy and gold SUV, totally bedecked in Redskins stuff. I wouldn't have recognized him if I hadn't been thinking "somebody's a fan" and then "this guy looks familiar...oh." He greeted me, clearly fearing I might be a constituent even though we were in DC. But I imagine once you've been governor and senator, you want to run on your own laurels, not your father's.

Thanks for that. That was before I lived here, or at least before I moved to Virginia. I remain the least political person in the DMV, so I rely on you people to help me out.

This might be the worst Washington NBA team ever. They got a beat down from a team that won just 7 games all of last year. And talk about a bunch of no names. How does a team that's in the lottery almost every year have such a dearth of talent?

It's hard to imagine a worse team. I think about Chenier and Buckhantz and I just want to weep for them. Can you imagine HAVING to watch this team, every minute of every game? Their eyes must never stop bleeding. Where's the talent? A fair question. One assumes Beal will develop, but drafting kids with one year of college experience, in my opinion, is risky. Very risky.

On the other hand, they should be in the lottery again next year, so cheer up!

(I remain skeptical about Nene's foot, and how many games he'll actually play this season.)

Notre Dame is undefeated and has played a stronger schedule than the two teams above them. . .and yet they are still number 3. No doubt this is the classic anti-ND bias at work. I suggest that even if the Irish remain unbeaten and Oregon and K State lose, the Irish will remain outside the top spot. This isn't that big of a deal. . .yet. But I can see the coaches who represent 2/3 of the weekly ranking positioning ND to be out of consideration for the BCS championship game at the end of the season even if they remain unbeaten. Hate on ND and their legacy if you must. . .but this is fraud plain and simple. Am I overstating or do you see some begrudgery going on in the rankings as well?

I am sure there is anti-Notre Dame bias, but I also think Notre Dame gets so much exposure and has called its own shots for so long -- they essentially have a network to themselves -- and that's bound to chafe. You reap what you sow. The Irish has played a stronger schedule -- again, writing about this for Saturday -- but I really believe the triple OT needed to beat Pitt at home hurt them.

But you have to leave some room for this: You can have a different viewpoint on Notre Dame without "hating" on their "legacy." That argument is floated a lot on message boards, and invariably leads to actual hating. I do NOT think it's fraud, no. I won't go that far.

I was sure glad to see 'bama go down -- rescuing America from the chance of another snooze-o-rama title game. Plus, it's always good when you can get the SEC to shut the %*&%&% up.

Who ya got? I realize that, as a former Jaybird, you cannot go for K-State, so is it Oregon or Notre Dame?

Section 405

Read my Saturday column. I believe you'll be surprised.

He always played up his connections. Always had a football, even though he himself was no great legend. In fact, I had to sit in traffic and listen to him and Sonny Jurgensen blather on during a Redskins game. Annoying. Made him seem more like a jocksniffer, rather than it having given him some insight on leadership.

Ok, I stand corrected about George Allen. I didn't see any mention of it in the last election but then again, I muted or changed channels during every political commercial for months. My hand is exhausted.

The Nats have MLB's youngest player and he wins ROY and they have the oldest manager and he wins MOY. Nice bookends, don't you think? Regarding counting down, if the Nats have pitchers and catchers report on the same general Sunday next year as this, we have 94 days until Spring Training starts!

The clock says 93.

What FB games are on your watching schedule for next Thursday?

The Lions, because that's just tradition, and the Redskins, because it's my job, I enjoy most of their performances, and my nephew will be at my house and he's a Cowboys fan. My guess is I'll be sound asleep for the night game after cooking for my nephew. We have Pajama Thanksgiving -- we remain in our pajamas and eat off TV trays.

George Allen the Younger probably doesn't try to trade on his relationship with his father because his father is not remembered fondly by people (like me) who are old enough to remember his coaching tenure: quarterback controversy with Sonny vs. Billy, trading away draft picks for old players near the end of their careers, generally losing to Dallas...I could go on, but now I have to go and cool off. Thanks for reminding me.

Thus endeth the Allen family discussion.

It must be for rewarding big hits on defense, like if a QB or wide receiver is injured. (Sarcasm alert)

I almost said the same, but then thought, someone will take me seriously. But it's a good line.

What country was it issued under and what was the name on the passport? Maybe he's living a secret double life as Caspian Montefiore, wealthy gadabout from Luxembourg?

I think he'd be from somewhere sunnier than Luxembourg, although I like the name and the theory. But the tan ... we must explain the tan. (I know, I know, Rustoleum.)

Baseball has huge costs for development (minor leagues and scouting) and has rosters that are more than twice as big as the NBA. Football only has 16 regular season games and rosters more than 4x those of basketball. Hockey is zzzzz.

Yes, that's a good point as well. Well, I don't agree with your hockey opinion, but you're entitled to it!

Injuries happen to all teams. Which is the worse problem for the Skins and Wiz: Coaching or the Roster? Some of the players from the "gun incident year" are still productive elsewhere, even quite productive like Caron. RG III is a wonderful player. However, Sonny only had one winning season between 1964 and 1970. What would have happened if they'd kept Jason and spent the money on grunts who could block or tackle? That was Jpe's approach not start QBs.

I think both teams have holes in the roster. The Wizards are rebuilding and because the draft is only two rounds and it's hard to attract free agents when you're wretched, they have a tougher row to hoe in that regard. But the Skins also have huge holes. They chose going for RGIII over keeping those picks and getting linemen and maybe a receiver who can stay healthy for more than two plays. I think they made the right choice but could formulate an argument for the other side as well.

It's all about roster size. The NBA has the same number of games in a season and a better tv deal than the NHL (brings in more revenue), but each team only pays 12 players at a time instead of 23 (and 3 of those players sit on the bench and make the minimum). Same for baseball and football rosters.

I think that's the biggest part but the chatters have also brought up some other good points.

O goddess of the Plains and Knower of all things GREAT and small Any chance Mike's $3700 in cash was "bounty " money ? Just askin'

See sarcasm, above. I can't believe any coach is going to be paying bounties this year. And I haven't seen very many bounty-worthy hits for the Skins this season.

It's just a dirty shame that they're breaking up that juggernaut that dominated the NL East by winning 110 games. Oh, wait...

No question, they weren't good last year. But decimating your roster of all its talent isn't a good way to say, "Buy tickets to our expensive new stadium, please."

While I can understand both sides of the NHL lockout, what frustrates (and annoys) me the most is that they haven't really been negotiating. Last week was pretty much the only time they met and discussed issues. And now they're in a staring contest again. They could have gotten a deal done before 9/15 (the start of the lockout) but they barely even talked in the THREE MONTHS between the end of the season and the start of the lockout. I don't buy EITHER side's argument that they care about saving a season. If they did, they would have been meeting nonstop from the time of the first proposal, until a deal got done. That said, it does bring me some joy that the Wizards are doing so poorly. At least Ted L isn't getting any extra money from them to make up for no Caps games.

In a fight between Don Fehr and Gary Bettman, I take Don Fehr. Every time. (I mean, in terms of who wins. I have no rooting interest in the outcome except that I miss the Caps and want to see games again.)

The day the Lakers hired D'Antoni, that evening "Bones" aired an episode in homage to Phil Jackson's book, whose principles were interwoven into the plost as Dr. Temperance Brennan tried to implement with her team of interns. If you missed the episode, you might try finding it to view belatedly.

Yes! I found that hilarious. And since that show is seldom good anymore, it was nice to see an episode that didn't bore me to tears, only for the irony of all the Phil talk.

There's definitely something that we don't know about, and I think it's personal. When a guy has brought 5 titles to LA, is adored by fans and known and respected by the players, AND he's the boyfriend of the owner's daughter, and still doesn't get the job, something's wrong. I'm guessing there's bad blood between Phil and Jerry. Wouldn't be surprised to find out Phil and Jeanie break up.

Magic says it's Phil and JIM, the son. Talk about an intense Thanksgiving dinner ... welcome to the Busses! May I take your coat and any sharp objects?

Are you or any of the sportswriters going to any of the Nats' weddings? I know you're not really interested, but some of us are.

I'm certainly not. I can't speak for the other writers but I'd be pretty surprised.

I see that no one has mentioned RG3's being selected as a captain by his teammates. I read that he wore mis-matched shoes yesterday with some reference to building team unity. The guy is amazing.

It says a lot about him that his teammates see him as a leader in his rookie year. It also says something about the lack of other leader candidates on the offense. That is one reason I think taking him in the draft (over using the picks on more of the holes) was the smart play.

It just clicked with me, Tracee, that next week is Thanksgiving. Which probably means no chat. Here's hoping that you, and all of us, have a great holiday. I'll think of you and everyone at TOBCOTWP while enjoying a Riesling with my turkey and stuffing. (TOBCOTWP bonus: The stuffing contains port!) -- Rico

Argh! I can't eat stuffing and that is my single favorite thing. Ah, well, eat extra for me.

It has nothing to do with how hard they work, the conditions they play in, or the number of games they play. Pro athletes pay is based on the available revenue and the scarcity of talent.

Yes, apparently talent is so scarce there's at least one NBA team that has none. (Rim  shot)

Did Paula Broadwell or Jill Kelley (or her twin) ever attend a DC sports event -- Redskins, Nats, Caps or Wizards? And if so, did they sit in some fancy-shmancy generals' box?

That's got Steinberg written all over it. Frankly, that whole story skeeves me out.

Now that Big Ben is out for sunday's game, will Baltimore run away with the AFC North?

Do you want the Ravens to run away with the AFC North? Because if so, you don't want me to say "yes."

I love Gio, but I don't think he got snubbed at all in the Cy Young and third best sounds about right. And third best in the NL is pretty damn good. But I think way too much is made of wins for pitchers because so much of it has to do with offensive output. Zimmermann is a perfect example. He had the lowest ERA among Nats starters most of the season and the least amount of wins. The Nats bats just wouldn't pop for him for some reason and he can't be blamed for that.

Like I said, I could see second, I understood third. Davey and Harper were both more "mortal locks" than Gio, IMO.

" I muted or changed channels during every political commercial for months. My hand is exhausted. " Carpal shunnel syndrome" ?


Is there anyone who isn't a Notre Dame alum or student who thinks that the Irish are the best team in the country?

I think there must be reasonable Irish fans out there. Svrluga is a reasonable Duke fan, for instance.

The Reliable Source said they're planning an article on the weddings next week.

Someone help me remember to link to it when the chat returns.

T-bone, who do you have tonight in the UVA / UNC tilt? Can the superHoos win out and make a bowl game?

Do you want them to? Because if so, you do NOT want me to pick them.

Just to remind the obsessive - there will not be a chat next week on Thanksgiving Day - right? The next time we gather will be in two weeks, on the 29th. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Certainly, this Nats fan has much to be thankful for... Section 405

Yes, a perfect segue to end the show. No chat on Nov. 22, no chats on Dec. 20 and Dec. 27. Chats on Nov. 29, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13, then back at it Jan. 3.

This was such a smooth chat after last week's debacle. Thanks for giving it another chance! Happy Thanskgiving to all and let's get caught up on the 29th!

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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