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

Dec 12, 2013

This week, Tracee Hamilton discusses all the sports news.

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It would probably be good to let folks know the holiday schedule for this chat....

That'll come next week. But no chat on Dec. 26.

But we're chatting today so let's get going.

Danny needs face time with his stars. Is that so unreasonable? If I owned a football team, I'd hang out with Griffy, too. Hasn't there ever been an owner like that who made it work? Al Davis?

The Squire used to have pols and others in his box but I don't recall him socializing with his players. I can't think of another owner who does. Anyone have any examples? I can't see the Lerners hanging with Harper in the offseason but maybe they do.

I agree with the benching. I think RGIII needs to let his body heal and I think Cousins needs a chance to actually play a full game. I think everybody (but RGIII himself) realizes that this is just not his year.

I think making him inactive was a bridge too far, but I'm eager to see what Cousins can (or can't) do.

... understand one thing: If not Mike Shanahan, who? If a Super Bowl winner with experience working with young QBs, who lasted a lifetime in Denver and has solid NFL credentials, ends up in a soap opera in DC, free from the hands-on immaturity of the Young Danny, then how is anyone supposed to turn this thing around? Lombardi Himself turned them into winners but that was sans soap opera, egos, meddling owner. Seriously, if not Shanny, who? If not Gibbs II, who? If not Marty, who?

I have no idea who will want this job, as I wrote earlier this week. Someone willing to put up with a lot for  aggravation followed by a big payday.

The BCS is over now, with most people happy. However, if you look at this year, and actually most years with some exceptions (2001 Nebraska getting killed by Colorado yet making the big game, 2011 when Bama lost to LSU at home yet was allowed a rematch at a neutral site etc.) hasn't it for the most part worked out in the end? I can't see a 4 team playoff this year solving every argument.

Eh, I think it's been okay but not great. I still think a four-gamer will be better.

I have a theory that the next Skins Coach will be Nick Saban, for two reasons. 1) Snyder is desperate for any solution, as long as it will make a splash, and will try to get a big name. 2) Saban is tired of the Alabama fan base. They lose to Auburn in 2010 and a fan destroys their trees. in 2013, the tide lose on a freak play and some fans send his kicker death threats, and complain that Saban ruined the season. I think it is a perfect storm in the making to bring Nick to DC.

Saban will go to Texas before he'll come here ... and I don't think he'll go to Texas.


ciao Traceessima, Hey two thoughts about the current 'skins situation. 1) I agree with the decision to sit the quarterback right now. I actually thought he should have been held out at the beginning of the season. A recurring theme is that he isn't playing well right now; most likely due to a lost off season. I also think that he really needs a dedicated QB coach. If I were Dan S, I would be on the phone to Wade Wilson and offering whatever it took to get down here and mentor and teach my QB. Isn't Kyle the OC and QBC right now? RG needs a full-time teacher and mentor... for my (or Dan's) money, you can't do better than Wade Wilson. 2) Cap-Hit... I am so tired of hearing about the $36 million hit and it being an excuse. The team was penalized for moving dead-money into the uncapped year. If they had not done that, the first year of the "penalty" they would have had to eat the $21 million of dead-money they would have had from dumping Haynesworthless and a couple of other guys (betts, lorenzo, etc). They also accelerated $15 million of D Hall's salary into that year. So that $15 would have been spread out over these last two years as well. So if they had obeyed the unwritten unspoken set of rules for the uncapped year, they would have eaten $36 million in dead-money anyway. The only difference turned out to be that they could spread the AH hit across two years instead of one. Oh and did you go to the stadium for the Chiefs game? Thanks for the chats!

I am not sure a QB coach is a bad idea, but then I insert another body into the Snyder-Shanahan-Shanahan-Griffin debacle and think "ugh." I think the idea with the current setup is to have him hearing fewer voices.

I didn't go to the Chiefs game. The weather was just not workable for me. TV works just find and it didn't cost a day of my life.

at the Mandela ceremony looked more like he was telling someone to steal 3rd base

I heard Jeanne McManus say that on Kornheiser's show. Funny! Not funny that it happened, though; takes a lot of stones...

The Astros were also going after him. Looks like he'll be platooning at first, and DHing in AL games.

Two hours ago I Googled him and he was heading to the  Astros. Things change fast.

so who besides Griffin is worth keeping - Orakpo, Kerrigan. . .??

Morris, Garcon, Reed, Williams, Kerrigan ... hmmmm. I like Orakpo but it's going to depend on what he's asking, and frankly, who will be the defensive coordinator. He hasn't been as effective of late. But I do like him. Who am I forgetting?

Out of the blue, my husband mentioned that he might be interested in seeing a Wizards game. What the?! But hey, who am I to judge? And I need a Christmas present for him anyway. So my question is, given that I know zip nada nothing about the NBA, what opponent(s) is likely to be a "good game" for him to go see? Options that work with our schedule in January are Houston, Detroit, Philadelphia and Boston. And assuming I'm not springing for courtside tickets, any hints about where in the arena is a fun place to sit?

Avoid the corners. As far as those teams go, I'd go for Boston but look at the roster and see if there are players on any of those teams your husband would like. Or look at February. Anyone have any other ticket suggestions?

I never thought that anyone connected with the Inappropriates (as I like to call the Washington NFL franchise) could be a bigger jerk than The Danny. But The Shanny has proved me wrong. You live, you learn I guess.

It's a full-blown circus out there now.

What will happen to Tyler Moore now that we picked up a fourth outfielder and that word has come down that RZimm will spend some time at first base? That's Tyler Moore's natural position, and I had thought he might alternate with LaRoche. He has played some outfield, but we have McLouth. Maybe we should have traded him rather than Lombo? Actually I wanted to keep them both, so it makes me a little sad and a lot worried. Also, I know you don't care about awards that much, but we got NO Gibbys (Tyler Clippard, aka Tyler One, was robbed!), no Gold Gloves, and only one Silver Slugger (the extremely reliable Ian Desmond). Do you think that was deserved?

I thought Span should have had a GG. I don't care about GIBBYS, not all awards. Moore will continue to move around, I suppose, unless they deal him.

Here's something folks probably haven't thought about -- in games played in AL parks, we now have a legitimate DH. Last year, they used Werth a couple of times, I think when he was coming back from injury, and I seem to remember Lombo in the role as well. Now we have a strong DH without compromising power from the "position" outfielders.

405, looking at the bright side!

Bought the Christmas album from this 30-year-old punk group, at first thought "whoa I'm too old for this!" but then,. wow, its pretty fun! Wait ... which chat is this?

No kidding? Always looking for new Christmas music, thanks! This is the Official Beverage and Christmas Music Chat of the Washington Post, btw.

The Redskins have had only one coach in the past 50 years who would have stood up to the Danny, and I suspect he would not have signed on. Mike Wise is correct, RG3 should have been pulled for his own health, but much earlier in the season. Unless his wheels get much better, they have a young, un-taught Billy Kilmer, who needs to learn the position. Kilmer had the advantage of an O-line. Yes the Redskins have had 5 starters each week, but... Could Ben Roethlishberger survive behind them? Heal, Robert and hope you return to form.

To whom do you refer? Lombardi?

You might need to add "Missouri sportscasters" to your pet peeves. Jeez, that was lame. TBHitW

That was not lame, that was about par for that particular course. :)

Clearly there is plenty of blame to be spread around on the Skins, but given the Machiavellian way Mike Shanahan has handled this situation, I'm not sure I can see another owner *ever* hiring him again... can you?

Oh, probably. Once you've been an NFL coach, it's hard NOT to be one again. Let's put it this way -- he'll have an easier time getting a job than Snyder will finding a coach, I think.

This was one of the great "Duh!" moves in sports - and it shouldn't have been necessary, as catcher collisions were technically illegal by existing rules. I can't remember the columnist, but I remember reading a column on the subject a couple of years ago that said that catcher collisions did not happen until sometime after WWII. The column cited a "knotty questions" section in a '30's MLB rulebook that clearly called the typical plate collision situation interference.

Now to the next "duh!" sports rulemaking -- when will they finally flat-out ban fighting in hockey? The Olympic game is so much more enjoyable, and a lot is due to the fact that all the players are "hockey players", not enforcers, goons and bouncers.

You are right about the Olympic game;  it is much more enjoyable, or at least I find it to be. I wouldn't mind seeing fighting go away, especially since so much of it is faked, like pro wrestling.

That's a standard procedure in the NFL when you do something like this. It's essentially to remove the temptation of "Well, Cousins isn't doing well, so let's bag on this idea in the pressure of a game." He CAN'T go in unless both QBs get injured. It's essentially forcing the coaches to adhere to the decision.

I get that, but it might have been less of a slap in the face to a guy who may be struggling with his confidence if they hadn't done it.

Before i read the text of the question "Danny's not going anywhere" I thought it referred to Espinosa. If winter comes, can spring (training) be far behind? natsfan1a

It'll come quickly, like everything else.

Sorry if I needed knee surgery or some other orthopedic surgery and was a professional athlete I wouldnt trust him. Dr Andrews seems to be in the pocket of the teams. Back in 1980 had my knee reconstructed by Dr Pat Palumbo, the Dr James Andrews of his day and probably taught Dr Andrews everything he knows was team doc for the Caps. He would go off on the Caps on regular basis about bringing so and so back to early. He was the Skins team doc but he quit when they tried to tell him a player was fine. RGIII probably needs a new do and other opinions.

I wrote this a long while back -- I would not have my surgery performed by the guy hired by the team, nor would I let him make decisions on my recovery. Because where does his loyalty lie at the end of the day? I don't know Andrews from Adam, I'm just asking. I also know that while his rep is terrific, there are a lot of good orthos out there.

Now here's something I'd never have paid attention to were it not for this chat. Kansas has lost a lot of games, and are starting 4 freshmen. Are you worried? Also, when I look at the teams they played, they look pretty good. Aren't college basketball powers supposed to play Bozo the Clown for the first month before the "real" season starts?

Trying to take deep breaths on this one. Bill believes in a tough early season schedule and it will help down the road, and these kids may have learned to play by March, but this is why the one-and-done way to doing things is not my favorite. And yes, they have lost to some good teams. I keep telling myself that.

To say otherwise is revisionist history. Apparently Bob Kraft does the same with Brady. So, there ya go...

By the time I got to town, he didn't, but I believe you. Thanks for the examples.

Charlie Weis?

That's hilarious. If only.

Just look to the northeast. Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter were seen as talented individuals who had burned various bridges in multiple cities. They were willing to work for Peter Angelos because they couldn't get hired anywhere else. That's who's going to take this job: someone who needs to rehabilitate his rep. Before he got so much love filling in for John Fox, Jack del Rio might have qualified.

I think it'll be a del Rio type, or else a high profile college coach not named Nick Saban. There is always someone who thinks he can ride the bull till he's tame. Can't be done.

I was watching the All Star game when runner Pete Rose notoriously crashed into catcher Ray Fosse, effectively destroying the latter's career. How would the proposed rule to prevent such collisions work?

I don't know, but Pete Rose is against it, and that's good enough for me. :)

All due respect, I'm not talking who would TAKE the job; I'm talking, if those guys couldn't win here or at least make things consistent and competitive, then who can they possibly hire who actually would? It seems hopeless no matter who they get.

Yes, that's kind of the point. Vicious circle. Very vicious, apparently. I am so sorry for the fans here.

Do you think that Mike Shanahan's successor will try to use RG3 in the manner in which he played last season (run and gun offense, not a stand in the pocket QB)? It seems like this is where the strength lies. With a healed knee and new coaching blood, and maybe a couple guys who can block in front of him, it seems like this would be more of a recipe for success than trying to change RG3's nature. What do you think?

I think it depends on the coach, which means in part it depends on Snyder. The coach may take the team back to a 4-3 and change the offense considerably. A smart coach would work with Griffin on that but not let Griffin make decisions, but that is apparently a tough line to walk.

Hi Trac! The boys in red are in second place in the Metro (shudder. Bring back the Patrick and the other named divisions! One of the great NHL innovations! Aaah, rant off.) and playing like a house afire. That's the best place to be: let everyone else take shots at the Pens and then it's playoff time. Or is it too soon to be thinking playoffs? Rico

It's a little too soon, but not a lot too soon. Ovechkin is amazing. I really think Sochi has him fired up. That Olympic break can help or hurt a team. We'll see what it does for them.

The NFL told players you can't hit above the shoulders. Now they're complaining that people are hitting them in the knees. Both complaints are not wimpy, but legitimate. Maybe it's time the NFL creates a "strike zone" that, like baseball, is between the knees and shoulders. What do you think?

Ideally, that's where they should be hitting. It may be wimpy, but when a guy says, "I guess I'm going to have to end some guy's career" you kind of see where it's coming from. I might add, I don't think Meriweather has had an illegal hit since those remarks (I don't recall one) and he hasn't ended anyone's career AND I've seen him tackle guys at the waist. Amazing.

Guess we should be ready for the press conference now that Tracy has predicted otherwise, huh? ;-)

That's right! Hook 'em, Nick! :)

Anything else you want me to jinx before Christmas, just say the word.

If he loves RG III so much, how come we haven't heard boo from him about the benching? Why hasn't he fired Shanahan yet? I was expecting to see that in the headlines Monday. Do you think he's looking for a replacement as we speak and is waiting until he finds one?

You can't interview coaches yet, and there is no benefit to firing him now, really. If he fires him, who do you make the interim coach. His son? Haslett? Burns? (ROTFL) So he'll let him play out the string, I think.

I thought last year Coach Shanahan said he wouldn't let RGIII play unless he was 100%. Now he says RGIII needs to heal. If he has been at 100%, why does he need to heal?

You misunderstood. He wouldn't have done anything different when he let RGIII go back in the game, but he probably shouldn't have let him go back in the game. The nuances are amazing. :)

The guy admitted he's not honest, except yesterday he decided to be honest. I get keeping certain things in the locker room, I really do, but NFL teams are no longer shrouded in mystery, and when they expect fans to pony up the kind of money they do these days, they owe them a little honesty, IMO.

Houston. They have made some interesting moves the last couple of seasons and are trying to build a contender in the very difficult Western Conference.

Ah, some advice. Thanks!

I think Ted Leonsis and Ovi are relatively close. During the dark days of Hunter I seem to recall there may have been some speculation that Ovi would go to Ted re: his playing time.

There isn't anything wrong with the owner and his star player getting along. The problem begins when they are actually hanging out like dudes at the mall.

How can a man who has been so successful in the business world (I read he has a net worth of 3-5 billion dollars) and be such a failure running this team?

This is why I kept expecting him to turn a corner. He's a very smart guy. He really wants to win (the theory that he's only in it for the money is incorrect). But he can't admit he doesn't know what to do. And I thought for awhile he had gotten the message but now I think he never will. This is who he is.

Good morning! Not too much to say today, but the Gophers are going to a bowl game! Rah! Rah! Ski-U-Mah! Also, I just started reading "The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl". I think it will be a tough but good read. Have you read it, O Great Plainswoman?

Hello, and congrats on the bowl. I don't think my team was bowl eligible. :) That is an EXCELLENT book. I knew about the Dust Bowl but found I didn't know nearly as much as I thought.

One of the reasons I would like to see fighting banned in the NHL is that the fights are far from faked. That is the problem. We are trying to eliminate head injuries in a league where two guys can try to beat the crap out of each other with only offsetting 5 min penalties assessed. Those in favor of keeping fighting in the game say that there will be more stick infractions (slashing, spearing, etc.) if fights are banned, but additional penalty calls can curb that. Keep the legal body checks and get rid of the rest of it.

A lot of the bad injuries come during play, against the boards, not when two guys throw off their gloves and go at it. THOSE fights are often arranged between the players, before games. Those are the rights I'm talking about. I'd like to see additional or stiffer penalties for slashing and spearing and I wouldn't mind seeing fights banned. I just don't think that, in itself, ends all injuries.

Ya gotta hear "Christmas at the Airport" by Nick Lowe.

Thanks for the tip!

So he thinks he's ready for the NFL. From 2000 there have been 9 QBs to win the Heisman - only four are in the pros now. The pros are an unforgiving venue and chew through players at an unforgiving rate. Maybe he should talk to Tim Tebow, Matt Leinart etc. Remember how Russell (LSU) and Clasen (Notre Dame) were big noises too? If Snyder had a draft choice they would make a great pair of egos.

And imagine the times they'd have hanging out.

So RG3 and Dan hang out like dudes at the mall? You know this how? Everyone with inside knowledge of their relationships says this is not the case, only anonymous sources (likely Shanahan) say otherwise.

No, I wasn't saying that. Sorry, I wasn't clear. I don't think they are hanging out like dudes at the mall. I think Snyder gives him attention  he doesn't give the other players. I was exaggerating for effect, I guess. And whether or not people are denying it, Snyder's history is against him. Clinton Portis springs to mind.

Pumped Auburn Grad here!!! What do you think of the match up?

Auburn has given us some good football the past few weeks. I think it'll be a good game, thereby making it a 50-point blowout for someone.

Yesterday Shanahan said that Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen have given him their 100% support for benching RG3... um, how is this possibly true? And if it is true, then why all the drama? Soooo confusing...

It must be true because he was being honest yesterday.

Your favorites? Are your baking for the parental visit?

I have a bunch of favorites, but since I can't eat sugar it sort of kills the enjoyment. However, I have made chocolate covered brittle and I will make a few standards, like these chocolate things that don't have a name. Not a lot of sweet eaters in the family so I'm not going overboard.

Since the local NFL franchise is such a train wreck, shouldn't the NTSB investigate? - Section 405


If it weren't for the gigantic egos of the people involved and well as the millions of dollars at stake, isn;t the Snyder-Shanahan-RGIII relationship dispute just an ordinary workplace conflict incident which could have been resolved with a half-way decent HR specialist. Stuff like this (not exactly but similar) happens in corporations all over the country every single day. This is what conflict resolution managers do. This could have all been avoided of some one had taken action sooner. It's probably too late now.

I think the Incognito thing proves that NFL teams don't necessarily rely on their HR departments.

Is his moving to Houston a real possibility if he leaves the Landover Redskins? Would the Texans' fans want a coach with this year's record, with most of them not knowing the intricacies of the soap drama going on?

Like you, I've been hearing this rumor. Perhaps it is. But how hard will it be for Texas fans to learn of all this? Pretty easy these days. Of course, they can look at it as if it's all the owner's fault and justify the hire. So who knows.

Mack Brown to DC and Shanahan to Texas. Then each can deal with a different set of problems.

Sounds like a bad episode of "Wife Swap."

Have you ever seen anything like this in any sport? There are only 3 teams .500 or above in the East, and 11 in the West. The East only has two teams averaging 100 points or more per game, while the West only has three teams that are not. It's insane. How does this imbalance occur?

I blame Dan Snyder, Mike Shanahan and RGIII.

A band called Harvey Danger has a song called "Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas." It's great. All journalists (especially office-bound editors) should appreciate it.

Thanks. Going on the list.

Hi Tracee -- thanks for taking questions today. Maybe it's just me, and maybe it's just too early, but the upcoming Winter Games (just two months away) don't seem to have much buzz this time around. What do you think? Is part of that a lack of really compelling stories of American athletes? I'm thinking in particular of women's figure skating, where the U.S. hasn't had a competitive and newsworthy figure since Michelle Kwan. And the men's competition just took a big hit with Evan Lysachek's withdrawal due to injury. What do you think? Is there anything to get excited about?

When skating isn't interesting, the Winter Games do take a hit. I also think the NFL is taking up most people's aattention spans at the moment. The Olympic fans will return. Biathlon, Nordic combined ... gotta love it.

People forget that the true goal of the BCS isn't to match the two best teams, even though that's the BCS's stated goal. Rather, its main, unstated goal is to gin up controversy and keep people talking about college football when it goes away for much of the month of December. It has ESPN's fingerprints all over it, and I'd say it's been highly successful. And it won't change with the playoff. The controversy will merely shift to the Nos. 5-6 teams that are left out.

Very true re the Nos. 5 and 6 teams.

We keep hearing the media repeat the same tired line about Bob and Dan hanging out too much... except, everyone with actual knowledge of their relationships says this is completely untrue. So, can we kill this tired, manufactured story line? kthx.

I think whatever goes on between them has been overblown, agreed. It's just a pattern of behavior -- Griffin is hardly the first to have a relationship of any kind with the owner, close or not. If I'm a coach, I don't like that part of it, that it seems to constantly happen.

At least for the next year or two we won't have to stay up until 1 am to watch the team play. Surely none of the networks will be stupid enough to schedule the Skins for the marquee Thursday, Sunday or Monday night games. OK, it's a pretty tarnished silver lining, but we take what we can get.

We'll see. Griffin is one of those Q rating guys. We'll see if that takes a hit but he is very popular nationally. But like you, I'd love a lot of 1 p.m. games.

We're still going to have the same controversy as with the BCS, its just going to involve the #3 and #4 teams. If the playoff was in place this year, the argument would be over Ohio St vs Michigan St vs Alabama vs Baylor vs Stanford for the two spots. Lets not pretend the arguing is over because we have a playoff

I don't think anyone is pretending that. In fact, I wrote about that a few weeks ago. I do think the playoff is preferable to the current system, though, because it lets an actual game determine something. Will there still be carping? There will always be carping.

Was it Garret Morris from the New York School for the Hard of Hearing?

Oh, man, that was a funny bit. Simple but funny.

Totally just added this to my Pandora Shuffle! Thanks!


Everyone is talking about how it's going to be years before the Redskins are good again. But look at the Chiefs or Red Sox. These teams went from worst to first. If it can happen to them, why not us? Aren't we due?

Due, yes. But let's look at, say, the Chiefs. They hired a proven coach who wanted to go there to build a team. (The paycheck wasn't the only incentive, in other words.) The owner hired him and a GM and then shut up. If it were based simply on taking turns, then yes, you're due. I wish it were that easy.

And I wish we weren't out of time but we are. Let's talk next week!

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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