First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton on the latest sports news

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Tracee Hamilton
Tuesday, September 7, 2010; 9:30 AM

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North Dakota State???: where does that rank on the KU ugly scale of 2010?

Tracee Hamilton: Sunday morning and said he doesn't know how they will win a single game. It's just still impossible for me to fathom.And good morning, all! Lots to talk about; let's get started. I have to leave right at 10 this morning so no OT. How about those games yesterday? And I see ESPN is reporting the Titans may want AH back. Hmmmm.

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Shanahan/Haynesworth: Looks like Shanny is trying to stroke Haynesworth's ego. Your thoughts

Tracee Hamilton: I don't know; he never really says anything very positive about AH. And now the trade rumors...

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Hard Hits: Tracee, if I remember correctly your weren't that enthusiastic about LaVars hire at the post. What is your early view on his blog? I think so far it has been good and provides a viewpoint that perhaps has been missing

Tracee Hamilton: I don't think you are thinking of me re LaVar. I like LaVar and I think his blog has been good, especially when he analyzes the Skins from a player's viewpoint. For a guy who's never, to my knowledge, written for a living, he's doing fine.

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Danny Boy: I know its early and the offensive production can't be maintained, but am I allowed to impressed by what we've seen from Espinosa? He's hustles when he runs and is all over the field making plays. Wow. Side question, I wanted to go to yesterday's game, but I went online at 10am the the nats website said tickets weren't available (even though it was three hours before first pitch!) Is this normal to shut down online ticket sales so early?

Tracee Hamilton: You are allowed to be very impressed. When I was in AZ last fall, he was the Nat about whom I heard the most raves, besides Strasburg. As for the online ticketing, I don't know; that seems early. Someone on this chat will know the reason.

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North Dakota State?: I haven't paid close attention to KU football, so I figured that you could explain in one or two sentences why they're losing 6-3 to a I-AA program. Oh well, at least the Turner Gill era has nowhere to go, but up. (Well, one hopes.)

Tracee Hamilton: Truthfully, I can't. They lost only a handful of kids last year but they were by far the best kids on the team. But that doesn't explain why the o-line can't block. It's pretty unsettling and I'm sure for Gill it was a gut punch. Not a good way to start your career at a school.

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Ever been to Fargo?: It's a nice small city. Friendly people, beautiful river. Little school you might have heard of: North Dakota State University. Just thought you'd enjoy a getaway after your long hot summer.

Tracee Hamilton: I have never been to North Dakota. We only made it as far as my dad could drive in a week, with stops, so the Black Hills were as far north as we made it. I'm sure it's lovely.

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league vs Snyder?: Yesterday in an Insider post, J Reid seemed to bury a big lead when he suggested/hinted that the NFL may have taken a hand in persuading Mr. Snyder to change his ways - "Snyder listened to the fans (and the league office) in making sweeping organizational change and in changing the way he does things." Any idea what the heck he's talking about? And if there is a story here, any idea why no one is reporting on it? It's a lot more interesting than Albert Haynesworth.

Tracee Hamilton: I have mentioned this a number of times on the chat, that I think Snyder is trying to "fix" things, in particular his relationship with the fans. He got rid of Karl Swanson and hired Tony Wyllie for PR. They approach their jobs in very different ways. I have noticed little things that lead me to believe Snyder is trying. I'd like to write about it but there's not enough "there" there, yet. My little observations are just that, observations. I am hoping Snyder will grant me an interview one of these days.

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Ricky Dobbs: Has any player played himself out of Heisman contention so early in the season? His performance was just pathetic! My Dad went to the Naval Academy with David Robinson, doesn't expect great things of Navy athletics, but the football team has been an exception in recent years. Thank goodness he and my Mom are in Hawaii, so he couldn't see this live. I hope just reading about it doesn't do him in!

Tracee Hamilton: Really surprising to me. Talk about beating yourselves. That's not a shot at Maryland, which has improved a lot from last season. Really noticeable.

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US Open: Looks like I'm losing in my brackets thanks to Andy Murray's loss...but I think Cljisters is looking really good and could repeat. Predictions?

Tracee Hamilton: I'm liking the top seed, Wozniacki.

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Saturday's Nats Game: Hi, Tracee. My husband & I were in Pittsburgh Saturday & went to the game. It was a lovely night (but a little cool); the stadium & the view of Pittsburgh were beautiful. We had seats behind third base, so the view of Zimm was also beautiful! (Yes, I'm the Zimm lover!) Lannan pitched very well. There was an excellent graphic on the big scoreboard about the statues coming to life & sinking the ship with Nationals on the sails (to the music of Carmina Burana by Orff!). We had a fabulous time. And haven't the last three games been amazing!If only they had played this way just a little more. . .

Tracee Hamilton: Wow, you went to Pittsburgh to see Zimm. Should he be worried?I wish I could understand why either everyone hits, or no one does. Players are streaky, but the Nats as a team have been ridiculously up and down this season.

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VT Fan: Just a note for all the VT fans out there: remember, there is no pain like that Matt Ryan BC game. Oh, a question: what's there left to play for? A 7th straight 10 win season? Another ACC championship? I hate the day after a loss.

Tracee Hamilton: Sorry about that. It's easy for me to enjoy that game because I didn't have a rooting interest. Your boys lost to a very, very good team. I know that doesn't help, at least today.

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BSU BCS: Boise had almost 1,000 fans at the game last night! Do you think their tiny fan base hurts them re: BCS? Its all about the revenue right?

Tracee Hamilton: I thought there were more than that. I don't think that was representative of their normal contigent; seems to me they travel well to bowl games. I'll have to ask Prisbell, the expert on all things Bronco.

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MD/Navy: I identify with Coach Friedgen because we both have weight issues, but his constant whining last year wore me down. Well, he got more breaks yesterday than a crashed truckload of eggs. I hope the Terps can build on this, and Navy can come back. But that game left me sadly shaking my head.

Tracee Hamilton: Your eggs metaphor is priceless and accurate. I do think the Terps showed improvement. I was left wondering why they took Robinson out for one series -- to me that made no sense -- but it shows Maryland did gain something from last season's experience for the young kids.

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Showalter: Saw the O's for the first time in awhile on Sunday and almost went into shock: they are running back to the dugout after making an out at 1B! Somewhere my parents, both serious O's fan, are smiling. If Tampa can do it, so can we! Go O's!

Tracee Hamilton: Showalter could be governor of Maryland at this moment, I think.

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Riggleman's suspension: I was a bit puzzled why Riggleman got 2 days suspension - I don't recall him doing anything worse than the Marlin's manager, who got 1 game. In fact, if anything, the Marlin's manager was the instigator of the whole thing - three Nats get hit by pitches and then a pitch is thrown behind Morgan - seemed like the umps lost control of the retaliation. Did you see something that made Riggleman deserve the harsher punishment?

Tracee Hamilton: No, I thought the same thing. Riggleman was making his point -- that hitting Morgan once was okay, not twice. And to hit two other guys ... but then we don't have audio on these things so Riggleman could have said the magic words...

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Montgomery Village, MD: TraceeLiving where we do, it seems that we get the very early edition of the Post so, no coverage this AM about Boise State , pretender to the " national championship" breaking thousands of hillbilly hearts at that even BIGGER pretenter to the "national championship" Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.The game ended before midnight.Can we expect similar lack of coverage next Monday morning with the game in Raljohn likely to end AFTER midnight ? I suspect OUR edition will have a page or 3 filled with lots of photos that will be replaced by actual stories and analysis in later editions. I thought technology was supposed to make it easier/faster to bring the latest news to readers. Yes, we do have the interweb here in Montgomery Village and most of us have those Mr Tony "google machines" , but they are hard to hold with the morning coffeein the other hand.

Tracee Hamilton: I will never understand the distribution of the paper, partly because it's so complicated. When I lived on the Hill, I got the same edition you're getting. Used to drive me crazy. Your edition Monday morning will almost certainly not contain much of anything about the game. We do get deadline extensions for the Redskins, so you should get something, but yes, you'll have to go to the interweb and your Google machine. Sorry, but that's the truth.

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Break Out Game: Hi Tracee,Was at the game yesterday when Danny Espinosa could do absolutely no wrong (well, he did have a fielding error). What a day! The guy absolutely crushes the ball, hits from both sides of the plate, and has a cannon for an arm at shortstop. Was very fun to watch. It was obvious he has won over the Nats faithful already. I don't think he will see the minors again! Go Nats.

Tracee Hamilton: I expect Espinosa will be the Desmond of 2011 -- bring him up and let him learn on the job.

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"Local" means local!: Congrats to Virginia Tech on a fine football game, but not everyone wants extended coverage of the team. Please! Blacksburg is 270 miles away! I attended Delaware (100 miles away),. while my wife went to William & Mary (140). We'd love to see extensive coverage of our alma maters, but know that's not going to happen. Ditto for our kids, 3 of whom went to Pitt (245), Villanova (145) and Princeton (170). Heck, NYC is closer than Blacksburg; why not consider those schools "local" as well? Seriously, to me and msot of my friends and colleagues (I've polled them), "local" means DC and its suburbs, and perhaps the USNA (30 miles away). At a time when the paper Post seems to get smaller by the week, this seems an obvious place to cut back. To the extent they're a national power, cover them as you do other ranked teams, using national feeds and the occasional "human interest" story. Just my $.02.

Tracee Hamilton: Can you send your Tech coverage to Montgomery Village?One thing I've learned in 27 years of this business -- you can't make anyone happy. There are so many Tech fans in this area -- and of course, a lot of Tech detractors as well.

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Nats: Quite a start for rookie Espinosa. Any chance that we will get to see the offensive power of Zimm, Desmond, Espinosa and Dunn on the 2011 Nats? Ray Knight was talking yesterday about how Dunn still badly wants to stay, and I hope against hope that the cheap owners will see the light and show him the money...

Tracee Hamilton: If they don't re-sign Dunn, I think there will be a lot of angry fans. They can't afford a lot of angry fans with their ticket base.

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WPost Sunday Magazine the new SI?: Something sure got into Ricky Dobbs! I mean, anyone can have an off day, but this was surreal. Was he ill? Distracted? I do expect them to rebound, but this is a tough one to swallow.

Tracee Hamilton: Really, really surprising. Did he play himself out of Heisman contention? I'd say yes. There is too much talent out there and those fumbles ... yikes. Moore certainly got some attention, and Tyrod Taylor was impressive yesterday as well. And those were just the QBs we saw on Labor Day!

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Robert Henson: He was doing well his last game, until he got hurt. Why did they cut him and not even bring him back for the practice squad?

Tracee Hamilton: Makes me think that injury may be more severe than we thought. You can't have an injured guy on the practice squad. We may see Henson again.

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Maya: I'm excited to see how Maya does tonight. If the Nationals contend for a playoff spot in upcoming years, I believe he will be part of the reason why. Even without Strasburg, the Nationals already have too many starting pitching options to deal with. This is a nice problem to have for a change!

Tracee Hamilton: Yes on Maya. Maya makes you forget Wang. And Zimmermann's recovery gives hope as well. Some positives. Zimmermann could be the real bright spot next season, assuming his recovery continues. Ideally, when Strasburg returns, it should be a very hard decision on which pitcher to remove from the rotation. That should be the goal next season.

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Kingstowne, VA: No question, just an observation: All the VPI fans have been grousing all summer that it's a disgrace for a team like Boise State from outside the automatic-qualifying conferences to be ranked #3 in the polls. They've been talking smack about how they'd stomp that no-name team from out West. Today all the VPI fans are saying how it's no disgrace to lose a close game to the #3 team in the polls, especially when it's not a home game (what, they think it was a home game for Boise State?). I might actually agree with them on the #3 thing if so many of them hadn't been spewing the smack talk all summer.

Tracee Hamilton: Tech was in a lose-lose situation all along: Win, and it's no big deal, because Boise State is a pretender. Lose, and it's a huge deal, because Boise State is a pretender. Obviously, winning would have been better but they wouldn't be getting a lot of credit for the win today, and that would be crazy.I heard a lot of "Tech will roll" talk -- not just from Tech supporters -- and I thought it was crazy. What does Boise State have to do to get a few believers? That is a good football team.

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Should Zimm Be Worried?: Don't you mean should my husband be worried?

Tracee Hamilton: Ha! It's a secure man who lets his wife indulge her crushes, er, fandom. :)Gotta dash. Quiet morning today; was everyone up late watching the game? We'll talk tomorrow about Maya and the Skins and anything else on your minds. Later!


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