Dec 08, 2010

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

Cubs sign Pena for one year/$10mil; any idea what the Nats were offering? Are we now all in for Adam LaRoche? Any chance of a big trade for a Prince Fielder? Is Michael Morse a viable option?

Can't say and it's all Adam Kilgore's fault for not answering my emails. Seriously, who does this guy think he is? I'm going to have to go all "nasty editor" on him. And he knows I can do it.

And good morning to everyone except Kilgore. (Seriously, dude's working, I know, but he's got to start answering the emails!) Just came from back PT; now I get to choose between back and shoulder at PT. Fun! So I'm running behind and we'll just jump right in.

Hi Tracee, Great article this morning by Sally on Big Al. I completely agree with her that Haynesworth is all about money. He could care less if his team plays well or not. So what do you think his next destination will be? I HOPE it's NOT Dallas... Sorry I'm a Cowboys fan surrounded in my office by Skins fans:( Kinda sucks....

I should sic Sally on Kilgore. No idea who'll pick him up but someone will, someone who's willing to have a different standard for him than for other players. Too soon to say who that will be.

Trace, Finally, Coach Mike did what was needed. He sent Albert to his room and he is not allowed to play with the rest of the big boys. That being said, I don't understand why all the detractors are targeting Coach and calling him out for his handling of the situation. According to Sally's column, Coach bent over backwards (for him) to get this guy to play as he realized he could help this defense be the dominating force it needs to be. Finally, after all of Albert's "I don't want to play in this defense, in these packages, during running plays, when its cold outside, etc.", Coach had enough. If the critics want to rough him up for his handling of the McNabb situation...fine. However, he was trying to get something...anything, out of the team's biggest investment and in the end, had enough. And hooray for P. Daniels and his comments on Albert.

More anti-Albert than pro-Albert this morning, but there are pro-Albert folks out there.

The missus is down with the flu, so I flip on the Worldwide Leader to see a few minutes of Syracuse-MSU. Sound is down, so I don't immediately know who's 'casting. Next graphic is, no joke: ESPN Presents the Dick Vitale Dinner Honoring John Calipari. I need a shower and some earplugs. A.W.

AW, that's the single most disturbing thing I've ever heard. (I barely survived my own game so I didn't stay up for that one.)

Any chance we can officially suspend any talk of Fat Albert in this chat until the end of the season now that he's been suspended? Seriously, I am so annoyed and sick of the whole situation that I don't have an opinion on it - I don't care what the Redskins do, I don't care what he does, I just want it all to go away! In other news, I live in Texas and am married to a pseudo Aggie (he's in grad school, so he's not a fanantic or anything). Anyway, they randomly would have the A&M football games on CSN's "B-Side" channel (not sure what it is locally, but 643 on Directv). Nothing is more fun than watching A&M beat Oklahoma (who saw that coming!) while also watching commericals featuring Boudreau doing bird calls. Best of both worlds!!

Oops, too late! Sorry. You  knew it wasn't possible anyway, I'm sure.

I love that CSN channel on Saturdays. They even occasionally show a KU football game. Well, "love" is a strong word, at least this season...

"'Why do they call it Ovaltine? The mug is round; the jar is round. They should call it Roundtine.' That's Gold, Jerry, Gold!"

That was Banya, right? Am I spelling that right? I loved the bit about the restaurant. Was it Mendy's or Mindy's, where Banya always wanted Jerry to take him. Last night I caught the "Festivus" episode. I thought the airing of the grievances was a Christmas ritual; it was at my house!

. . . for geezers like me, Ms. H. The obits are out for Hugues Cuenod, who died at 108. An opera tenor, he first sang professionally in 1928, debuted at the Met at the age of 84, and last sang on stage at 92. This means, with a little luck, I can be doing whatever replaces emailing 30 years from now with your successor's successor's successor, complaining about the Skins still not making it back to the Super Bowl and NU not doing well in the Big 17, while you're editor emeritus of the Post. (It does give a little perspective to the Haynesworth debacle.) AHG

AHG, do you really want to go the full 108? Not real sure I do at this point. Probably a really bad attitude. But I have a certain amount of longevity genes in my family so I'm bracing for the worst.

Everybody's talking about Jayson Werth -- where's the discussion of Michael Wilbon's 7-year, $126 million free agent contract with ESPN. (Sorry, slept late Tuesday morning and didn't get the chance to insert the friendly satire to Mr. Michael.)


Tracee, I refuse to talk about Fat Boy Who Shall Not Be Named. On Monday someone mentioned backup teams. Yes, it takes me a couple of days to catch up; I actually have to work here! I was introduced to football on the Far East Network as an 11-yo in Japan. My dad isn't much of a sports fan, but he and a friend took the time to explain the game to this little girl, and I've been hooked since - on the Chicago Bears. When we came back to DC (I was born at Andrews), I fell in with the Redskins, but never let the Bears go. Eventually, the blood in my veins went from orange to gold, but I've always followed my Bears. As you can imagine, I've been in great pain for years! So this year, which started off rough, is bittersweet. My Firefox theme is the Redskins, but my cheers are going to Chicago!

The Bears are pretty amazing this year. I've never seen a worse team this season than the Bears against the Redskins (except maybe the Redskins against the Giants) and yet here they are in the postseason picture. This is why it's good to have a backup.

. . .is our long national nightmare over? :-)

It's not over until it's over. He will appeal. So conceivably it's not over. This is one of those stories that is tough to kill. It's like a possum. You think it's dead but it's just taking a nap.

Tracee: So Big Al is gone. Good. The negative effects on a team when one part refuses to participate are not well understood unless one has been on such a team. I blame Big Al for the defense's desultory work ethic last week, and for much of the season. To the extent that Redskins' management is culpable, it's ownership and not the coaches who should take the blame. It is extremely difficult for a coach or line manager to fire a talent who refuses to work with you. I know this personally when, as a federal manager, my employee refused to do his assigned work. He felt he should be doing something else, so he just sat there - literally. It took 14 months to fire him. 14 months! Why? Because upper management kept giving him additional chances to change - chances he blew off every time. Al the Sloth lasted as long as he did because upper management of the Skins was trying to get as much out of their investment as possible, not because Shanny blew it. People should lighten up on Shanny and dump the whole steaming mess on Al the Sloth and Snyder. Do you agree (question asked for form)?

Yes, I pretty much do. I thought Shanny should have dumped him earlier; whether he wanted to or not, ol' Laser Eyes ain't sayin'.

I do blame Snyder for the contract, but I also think McNabb's contract proves that those days are over, or at least on hiatus. Maybe that's a little glass-half-full, but a few years ago, even last year, that McNabb contract would have been egregious.

I thought the original name of the KC football team was "the Chefs" and the guy who painted the name on the field made a typo....

They could wear toques instead of helmets. Their defense could be called the Iron Chef.

I always hear that stories are submitted without headlines and headline writers then add the headlines. Is that the case? If so, I've never seen a headline reflect the exact OPPOSITE of the story more than the head atop Boz' story about Jason Werth, which lauded the acquisition in every way possible: "Lerners gamble with Washington Nationals' signing of Jayson Werth". That's the diametric opposite of what Boz wrote. In such situations, does the writer have recourse? Thank you.

That is absolutely the case. The copy desk writes the headlines in the paper; the assignment desk or copy desk write the headlines online, depending on the time the writer files the piece. Yes, if I went online and saw a headline I thought was odd on one of my columns, I could call in and ask for a change and I think our desk would be more than accommodating.

Follow, follow, follow follow the Yellow Brick Road . . . to a Superbowl in, what, 2015? Which is the time it'll take to get this team to a point where it's able to challenge for a playoff spot every season? (depending, of course, on the Skins getting an owner more like Ted Leonsis.....) Or is all this just a pipe dream?

I think the Skins, like the Nats, will be significantly better in 2012. If they stay the course, sure, they could be Super Bowl contenders by 2015 or earlier. They could also have blown up and gone back to their old ways.

Tracee, Wilbon may not have mentioned you in his last print article but he did mention you in his last chat. And I'm hoping this will be a Haynesworth-free chat. TMI...

Yeah, I sort of let you down on that one. (And Wilbon did mention me, bless his heart, just not as his editor.)

Last year someone used parts of the movie Titantic to show how the Redskins team was sinking. Snyder, Cerrato and Zorn faces were superimposed over the heads of some of the movie's stars. I suggest a remake of Top Gun with the following Redskin characters in the remake. Haynesworth portrays Maverick as he wants to do it all by himself and not abide by the rules or the word 'teamwork' . His rear would be DeAngelo Hall (Goose). Bruce Allen would be the flight training school's administrator and Shanahan would be Viper, the training pilot in charge of everyone. Phillip Daniels and London Fletcher would be Ice and Slider who try to rein in Maverick. Danny Snyder would play the Captain of the carrier who originally sent Maverick to Top Gun. Have I missed anyone? Oh yeah, Kelly McGillis's role. Tracee, are you available for that?

I'd have to play Haynesworth's love interest? Pass.

Their BBQ defense really heats thing up, especially since they added that stud rookie from Weber State.

Great one! I've got to tell Cindy to read this transcript.

My boyfriend and his buddies watch sports every weekend, and I try to follow. There is one word that they use a lot. That word is "seed" or "seeded". I have no idea what they are talking about. Could you help? What does it mean to be first seed, or third seeded, or any of that stuff? Sometimes it is a player who is a seed, then other times it is a team that is a seed.

In tennis, the top players are seeded before the tournament begins, largely to divide the field into brackets, so that the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds wouldn't play each other until the final. The same is true in the NCAA tournament. The teams are divided into four divisions and seeded 1-16 (well, when it was a 65-team field they were). So the No. 1 plays No. 16 first, while 2 meets 15 and so on. It's a way to give the top teams the best opportunity to meet each other. Seeding in tennis tends to go by world rankings; seeding in the NCAA tournament tends to be a lot more arbitrary and always causes a certain amount of wailing.

Does that help?

So now that Haynesworth is gone, can be turn our attention away from the man? I can understand talking about him today as the firing is still fresh, but can we all agree to move along now? Please?

I'm just not convinced he's gone. But I'm willing to try.

Check the food chat today (not Tom, the one on cooking) to see if they found your chocolate bark.

Thanks, I will. And I have that Harris Teeter tip too.

Just sayin' ...

Yet another reason to hate the BCS! (You all are full of beans this morning.)

Hi everyone! Who here remembers the Dan-O-Meter? If memory serves, about 8 or 9 years ago WAPO featured a picture of Dan's face in the middle of a dial, and the face could range from elation to seething rage. I always loved the seething setting on the Dan-o-Meter because it featured his not-terribly-flaxen hair standing on end, teeth clenched, and his face as red as a summer vine-ripened tomato.

I remember the Dan-O-Meter. As I recall, that was the brainchild of then-Style editor and now Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Robinson, one of my favorite Post people.

The thing about Albert is that he did the same crap with Titans but he played well enough on the field to make the Skins want to give him a recordbreaking deal. Why didn't the Skins just say he is exception to the rule and he can follow most of his own procedures as long as he performs at a high level? Why get into a spitting contest with him? Was the team so arrogant (meaning Shanahan) that it thought Albert would change? Why didn't they deal him when they had a chance? Why not suspend him earlier? Why mess around with him from March to December? Seems like stupid management on my part.

The other side of the Albert debate. I really thought at various times that this was finally going to work out. Boy, was I wrong.

Can he play 1B? If you think about it, he's got the perfect attitude for a baseball player: he's not into a lot of physical conditioning, he only wants to produce about 1/3 of the time and he's apparently not averse to popping a cold one at the end of the day. You can say that about half of the guys in the Hall of Fame. If he can bat lefty, I think we've got our man.

And he'd still be owed less money that Jayson Werth! I think you've found the answer to everyone's problems!

Am I the only Redskins fan who predicted they would end up 6-10? Realistically, this is not a great team, but 6 wins would be a 50% improvement over last year. And if they continue to do many of the right things (along with the usual wrong things) they could improve next year to an 8-9 win team. They can be a very solid playoff contender by next year if Shanahan et al are allowed to continue. IMO of course.

No, but you were in the minority. I used this formula: McNabb gets them two more wins, Shanny gets them two more wins. I was too optimistic, apparently. But you will end up a lot closer to reality than most of us, so good on you. And you don't see this as a reason to dump Shanny, so double good on you. This was always going to take time. The fans who realized that are the ones not adding Pepto to their Pom every morning.

Hi Tracee, in a hypothetical "Unlikeable-a-Thon," or an "Unlikeable-Off," if you prefer, who would take 1st place between LeBron and Albert?

Oh wow. I'd have to go with Albert, I guess, but that's not a gimme putt.

I trust you recall the "Tip Calulator"- you know, the one Jerry gave his dad when he visited them at Del Boca Vista. Is it a false memory, or did his dad then calculate the tip at 12 and a half percent on a $19.45 bill? I might not have that totally right.

I can't remember the numbers of that transaction. But someone on the chat will!

Saw a feature on ESPN this morning about how the story of Lennon's death broke on Monday Night Football. Amazing confluence of a chance visit to the ER by a NYC ABC affiliate staffer, moments of indecision on Cosell's part on whether to make the announcement during the game and Frank Gifford's unequivocal urging to do it. 30 years later I still choked up a bit listening to Cosell's chilling words.

God yes, and I was watching that game. My dorm room soon filled with weeping women. Bad, bad night.

BTW, I don't want to shill for the WWL but they are putting out a DVD collection of 15 of the "30 for 30" films that looks like it would make a great Christmas present. Neither Wilbon nor I get a cut. I just know it's hard for some folks to buy presents for guys.

All you need to know about the Haynesworth saga is this: Imagine this happening on a GOOD team. Is this happening on the Pats? Colts? Steelers? Good teams don't have guys who act like this. Mike Wise should know better. His column defending little al was gawd awful.

Well, Mike has been an AH supporter from the beginning. I have not, and neither has Sally. And neither has Boz, come to think of it. Different opinions make the world go 'round, and keep the columnists busy.

Bringing the guy back in the first place. Haynesworth had a bad attitude right from the start and it wasn't going to get better when they tried to force him to play in a 3-4 defense. Haynesworth should never have broken camp with the Skins, they should have traded him for whatever they could get: chocolate bark, warm Dr. Pepper, gluten-free pancakes, whatever (how was that tie-in to past food/drink related topics?).

Another Albert opinion, with a great chat tie-in. Nicely done. ;)

Someone asked a question earlier, and there is something I've never figured out. In High School we have designations called Divisions. Then colleges are listed as Divisions. If someone plays say, football, in a division III high school, does that mean he can only play football in college under a scholarship if the college is a division III?

Short answer for the end of a chat: no.

Good morning, Tracy: A topic that may only be of interest to me and the 8,000 other Nats season ticketholders during the Haynesworthless drama, but I'd be interested in learning from the Nats braintrust how the long-term deal for Jayson Werth impacts the position choice/development of Bryce Harper. They've had him in RF from the get-go; will he now be moved to LF or 1B -- or back to catcher? I know he's supposed to be a terrific athlete, but I don't know that CF is an option -- or is it? Thanks...

I think LF is a real option -- I heard Kilgore say that on the radio yesterday, because apparently he's not too busy to appear on the radio, just too busy to answer my emails.

I wanted to try and get a post up about you know who and about you know what. I know its already official but O would have posted that he be suspended. But now at least we can have closure and to move on. I really do not think that he will be back next year. Right? What planet does this guy live on. Dictating to the coaches how he will practice, how he will play. This guy is certifiable! Its like I am now the highest paid defensive player and I will tell you how everything goes down. And what about his agent. I suppose he is just like a criminal lawyer and not matter what his client is never wrong/guilty. The agent says the claims by the Redskins are "without merit." What has this guy been smoking? He must have been out with FA partying on Thursday night. He must have been drinking too much of the company kool-aid. Well lets just sit back and see what kind of contract he can get with his next team. I want to say the cat is really out of the bag now on him. But it just isn't your garden variety putty-tat. Its a full grown lion and it's really hungry.

I don't think the team would have used "conduct detrimental" unless they had some evidence of some kind. And no, he can't come back next year. Shanny and McNabb can mend the Detroit mess; this is not a rift that can be fixed.

My sports discussion group is of the opinion that the Nats should sign a little person, like Eddie Gaedel (St. Louis Browns 1/8), who would be a guaranteed walk. I am of the opinion this would be offset by his fielding. If they put him in left field, wouldn't batters pull toward left, and his extra time in collecting the ball guarantee opponents an extra base? What are your thoughts?

Bill Veeck, is that you? Or your ghost, which would be even more cool?

I am guessing won't include ... What type of beer Zack Grienkie is going to drink while looking over his potential new teams. How many Blue Devils are going to fould out trying to contain the KU front line in the title game. Where the best bark in the DC area is located ... I am just guessing. (FYI - All those topics are great.) Now we return to (hopefully the final day of ) coverage of Fat Albert. Let's Go Royals

From your lips to God's ears, AHG.

Dave Wannstedt has been fired as the Pitt football coach, but he will remain at Pitt as special assistant to the athletic director. He may or may not coach Pitt in their bowl game January 8.

I wondered how that was playing in your household.

Tracee and chatters, who's yours? For me, it's Lt Bookman, the library detective, hands down!

Oh, ask again tomorrow, but earlier, so we can discuss, assuming Albert doesn't do something naughty today. I got to this too late today. Bookman is a great one but I've got to think on it.

Hey Tracee: Are there any numbers out there on how Redskins' fans feel about the new (old) uniforms? Personally, I love em (probably because I remember them from my childhood.) My wife, on the other hand, says the uniforms remind her of Ronald McDonald.

I've heard the RM reference and I get it, but I think the gold pants have gone over quite well.

I should sic Sally on Kilgore. No idea who'll pick him up but someone will, Please don't have Sally actually hurt Kilgore.

It's tempting, but it's been awhile since I've played "Mean Editor" in the school play. Time to tread the boards again! Kilgore, I'm coming for you, son.

Robinson or Weingarten, as former Style editor.....


These kids today and their new-fangled communication methods. I gather that Twitter is the bomb with them. Maybe you need to twit, uh, tweet the kid to get his attention. Also, hope I didn't miss anything but will you be having some sort of Hamiltime gathering in the offseason? Might I suggest an a.m. kaffeklatsch at Panera or a similar venue? We could talk lattes over lattes.

When I find a venue that will serve pomegranate seeds, iced coffee and bark, I'll let you know. (Seriously, this is long overdue and I know it.)

For me it's Marla the virgin, but I love Jane Leeves

That's a good one.

I heard Werth to LF when Harper was ready. (I also heard about a huge offer from the Nats for Cliff Lee but no one's talking so I'm holding off for now).

Yes, there was buzz about that but I think that's cooled off a bit, according to a guy named Kilgore.

A novel approach for the Flipmeister. Too bad he was FORCED to play Seraphin and Booker last night against the Lakers. Maybe he'll learn to players who show they WANT to play hard on every single play (hear that blatche?). "Only" losing by single digits (7 points) to the Lakers is considered a 'victory' in Wiz-land. GO WIZ!!!!

Yup, another "moral victory" for the Wiz.

Since the team had invested so much money in him, I think it would have been worth making him an exception (he probably thought that money made him one anyway). If he still performed poorly then you turn on the screws. The key is you want him to perform well in games. As a manager that is your goal, and you want to get want you paid for. The way Skins handled Albert got them neither. It is clear the Skins way didn't work, we don't know if approaching Albert like TN did would have worked but it should have been tried.

I could almost come around on that argument. But then I see these guys who play every play limping around the locker room and think about the message it sends.

Hi Tracee, Yesterday Riggleman said that Nyger Morgan was the starter in centerfield, ending speculation that roger Bernadina would have a shot at that position. Did I miss something last season? Bernadina outplayed Morgan and the job is handed to Morgan? Bernadina a better hitter nearly as fast and he doesn't lose his concentration on the easy catches like Morgan.

I think Rizzo really needs Morgan to pan out. Maybe they feel like last season was a fluke in terms of his hitting and weird fielding decisions and behavior. If Kilgore were here, we'd ask him.

Okay, I've beaten Kilgore like a rented mule, so I'll stop now. Got to get downtown. Let's talk tomorrow. Homework: Your favorite Seinfeld character.

Alton Benes, played by the late great Lawrence Tierney. He scared the cast and crew so much with his odd behavior that they never brought the character back!

Oh, good one. You could tell they weren't acting when they were afraid of him!

As angry as I am with Kilgore, that's how much I love you. You are the best, Jerry, the best! And now I'm really leaving.

That's the fancy kind you just eat. The Harris Teeter stuff is just right, though. I assume the same poster sent both. And really now, I'm leaving, or I'll be late to lunch with one of my (many) editors!

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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Jason Reid
Jason Reid is a Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post.
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