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

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Tracee Hamilton
Tuesday, November 9, 2010; 8:30 AM

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Terrible toothache here: What to do before the dentist sees me at 11:30?

Tracee Hamilton: I hear chocolate stout is helpful.Seriously, I got a lot of email about chocolate stout and how it doesn't really have chocolate in it but it's still good, etc., so I wanted to pass that on. Seriously, this group is really beverage-savvy.And good morning, everyone! Let's get going.

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"Deferral" guy again: Tracee: Well, the Steelers deferred after winning the toss and it paid off, thanks to a Bengals fumble. But this is becoming an epidemic. I wonder if it's a fad among coaches or what. Anyway, I am sure Papa Bear and Mr. Lombardi are rolling over in their respective graves.

Tracee Hamilton: Somebody has done a statistical analysis that says you increase your chances of winning by .01 percent or something, is my guess. I'd just take the ball, myself.

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The Skins?: Ms. H: After the Detroit debacle, and watching the Eagles take out the Colts, I will be ecstatic if the Skins can be 5-5 after the next two games. I trust those of us who remain sober realize this no longer a year in which "playoffs" and "Washington" can be mentioned in the same sentence (aside from the Caps, of course). If the Skins make it to 8-8, that's a 4 game improvement over last year, and about the best we can expect. AHG

Tracee Hamilton: Yup. How's that for commentary, AHG?

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Hail to the "Redsikins"?: What's going on up there? Did all the proofreaders go through the DC school system?

Tracee Hamilton: Good grief. Typos happen, as well I know, but this is egregious. And they're wearing them anyway? Oy.

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Sun/Mon Night HFL Games: I know the Bengals made it close lst night, but that was past my bedtime. Is it just me, or have these games produced an awful lot of clunkiers this year: I know itr's hard to predict which teams will be good before the season starts (e.g., Dallas), but I'd appreciate an occasional game that kept me interested past halftime even if my team wasn't playing.

Tracee Hamilton: That's the problem with these night games being set before the season. The Bengals looked like they would be flashy. The Cowboys looked like they would win a game or two. It's a crapshoot, especially in a year like this when everything's a bit topsy-turvy.Of course, in Week 11 that will change, and we'll see some better games on Sunday nights. But not on Mondays.

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with...: ...hot chocolate in coffee OR chocolate stout!Mind you, I've never tried combining the two, though coffee stouts are also wonderful...

Tracee Hamilton: That's what I hear. If I could drink stout, I would try it, seriously. Right now I can't. But perhaps soon. If I'm willing to have yet another endoscopy, I can. And isn't this the kind of information for life you wanted to know?

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REDISKINS: I think what you're mistaking for an I was actually meant to be the vertical member of the following K since it occured where the jacket split.

Tracee Hamilton: One theory...

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Annapolis: I completely agree that you don't pull McNabb for Rex, but man oh man with all this hair pulling and finger pointing etc etc why can't everyone remember there had to be a reason Reid let this guy go to the same division? If you fear a guy, respect his ability to win, you don't send him to the competition. McNabb is who Reid knew he was, not who we want him to be.

Tracee Hamilton: Probably true, PLUS Reid also had Kolb and Vick. That certainly helped make the decision as well.

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First Voice of the Caps is in the Hall: Have I just missed it, or has there really been so little notice that long-time Washington Capitals broadcaster Ron Weber was inducted into the media wing of the Hockey Hall of Fame over the weekend. If I hadn't been watching the ceremonies on the NHL Network last night I don't think I would have known. As the guy who introduced and explained the game when the expansion Caps played their first seasons, and who went 23 years without missing a game, Weber helped make a lot of us hockey fans to this day.

Tracee Hamilton: missed it as well. I didn't know Mr. Weber but he called 1,936 consecutive Caps games -- pretty impressive. There is a nice Q&A on the Caps website.

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Jon Miller: Okay, I'm wearing a black armband because I'm in mourning over the possibility that I'll never again get to hear Jon Miller call a baseball game. Thanks for nothing, ESPN. But sa-a-a-y....Tracee, can you pull the strings necessary to get the Lerners to pay the man a small fortune to call the Nats games, will ya huh? Pretty please with sugar on it?

Tracee Hamilton: Sure, although this sounds more like a job for Super Boz. I can't believe we've heard the last of Jon Miller.

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Who's On First?: The Nationals' web site has a piece about whether Bryce Harper might be a good fit at 1st. Has he ever played first base before? I thought he was a catcher that they weren't going to let catch but were going to put out in right field where he could practice his swing (a la Ted Williams) in between at bats? I like that we signed him but is trying to shoe horn him in to a position he's not qualified to play yet another example that the Lerner's are unwilling to spend money on talent? Yes they spent on Strasburg and Harper but do they realize that there are nine positions on the diamond? Some owners actually spend to get good players at ALL the positions. . . .or so I've heard.

Tracee Hamilton: Well, take a closer look -- it's really a fan question and Ladson shoots it down pretty quickly, so I'd say ... relax.

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I have a vague sense that my wife might replace me with Rex Grossman: Hey Tracee! File this under "I'm probably being paranoid," but I have the vague sense that, should I displease my wife in some way, that I might be replaced by Rex Grossman. She hasn't said this directly, though a husband just knows. Should I be more jealous of Rex, or more angry at Shanny for setting a precedent?

Tracee Hamilton: Well, are you stupid? Do you lack cardiovascular endurance? Do you have bad hammys? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you'd in danger. Rather than be jealous, just pity your poor wife.

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You're fired: I think it's interesting that Wade Phillips wrote into your chat yesterday asking if his job was on the line. He must have seen the writing on the wall. Do you have any predictions on how this change is going to affect the Cowgirls' second half?

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, and genius that I am, I said he'd make it to the end of the season. Again, predictions -- not my thing. I think they'll win one or two games because teams generally respond to firings that way, but they aren't going to run the table or anything.(Thus guaranteeing they will run the table.)

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Video Games?: Are you a gamer? Were you ever? We're about the same age and I stopped playing video games (sports related and otherwise) before the rise of the current game platforms. I used to play but never picked it back up after college I suppose. I know many, many adults our age do play and was just curious if you were one of those. I'm pretty sure that you're not. . .but maybe it's your secret pleasure that you've never revealed to your adoring audience?

Tracee Hamilton: I am not, but I'd very much like to get a Wii or something similar. I've played Wii with some of my friends' kids and I've very, very awful at it, but it was still fun. If I could get my nephew to hook it up for me, I might consider getting one.

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Rex or Donovan?: Who'd you start next week against the Eagles?

Tracee Hamilton: Donovan. Donovan. Donovan.

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ESPN: Why on earth would ESPN not renew Jon Miller and Joe Morgan's contracts? Could ESPN now going to be plagued by the same curse that seems to have befallen the Orioles and Peter Angelos once Angelos fired him?

Tracee Hamilton: The Jon Miller curse? That would be interesting. I'll be eager to see who they bring in for that gig.

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Schadenfreude!: That wonderful German word does not BEGIN to capture the depth of my joy at the Cowboys collapse! I sincerely hope they don't win another game all season. I can't WAIT for the end of season rap of shows for ESPN, NBC and FOX where they show clips of who the analysts picked at the beginning of the season. . .where many if not most predicted that the Cowboys were NFC favorites for the Super Bowl. The only disappointment will be that none of them will admit that they and the entire NFL industry is perpetually biased toward the Cowboys. Anyway, as the KFC commerical says (I think it's KFC?) I'M LOVIN' IT!!!

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, this is the danger of billing yourself as America's team. The backlash is tremendous. People at the Lions game last weekend were cheering the Cowboys-Jax scores, and the Lions (at the time) had won just one game.

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Have you ever stormed out?: Hi, Ms. Hamilton! In your career as a tough-minded editor that sometimes conceals a heart of gold, have you ever stormed out of a writer meeting, a la Flip Saunders, because your staff was just going through the motions, with no fire or passion, and Cheese Boy was being, well, too Cheese Boy-y?

Tracee Hamilton: No, because I could keep a meeting under control. You can't have hissy fits (I might add, especially as a woman); you have to rule with an iron fist. I think anyone who ever sat through one of my meetings would tell you if anyone was going to run out of the room, it would be someone else. :)

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Life is Good: The Steelers won (not pretty, but a win is a win), and the Pitt men's basketball team won (again, not pretty, but a win is a win), and the Pitt football team is on top of the Big East with a 3-0 conference record. And what an ending on The Event last night!

Tracee Hamilton: I was with you until The Event. Now, are you the woman who doesn't let her husband watch Pitt events? Because if so, you are doing outstanding work and should be recognized with a Carnegie grant or something.

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Flipping Out: Flip Saunders' hissy fit at yesterday's practice was either juvenile or calculated. Either way he looks like a coach who has lost his ability to connect with and lead his team. How long do you think it will be before Teddie Hockeypuck makes Flip go tilt?

Tracee Hamilton: See above re hissy fits. I am not sure Flip is the coach to lead this bunch but I'd be pretty stunned if they make a coaching change this season. No point in firing him and having to pay two coaches for a season that is, let's face it, not going to end up in the playoffs. I think TL will be watching and make a judgment at the end of the season.(Thus guaranteeing Flip will be fired by noon.)

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How great was Lt. Bookman?: You know, the "Library Detective" who dressed down Jerry for a hideously overdue book. Couldn't get enough of that guy. And did you know what the funniest thing about him was? That his wildly gesticulating hand gestured never matched up with his words! Pure gold!

Tracee Hamilton: I loved that it took everything Jerry had not to burst out laughing. It was hard to get Jerry to crack, especially in the later episodes. But that guy could do it.

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Williamsburg, VA: So - how is it that the Tribe is ranked below Delaware after having beaten them head to head? Doesn't matter, there's a playoff so we'll know who the real champion is despite whatever foolishness the voters get into.

Tracee Hamilton: That's the beauty of a real playoff.

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Handle Pending: How in the world can the BCS continue to ruin College Football when it is clear that a playoff system would be better, more fair, and more profitable? Seriously, is there anything else in sports that will be viewed as more idiotic once it is gone than the idea of trying to pick the national champion based on polls? Thank goodness for college basketball where it is decided on the court.

Tracee Hamilton: I don't know, but TCU clobbered the No. 5 team in the poll and then suddenly everyone was saying, well, they weren't really a deserving No. 5. Argh!

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Stout: A pint of plain's yer only man! Old people in Ireland still call it porter. . .at least the old culchees. . .I mean country people. I rarely drink stout here but all this talk of it is making me kind of thirsty!

Tracee Hamilton: I miss Guinness (carefully typing two n's). So I guess I'd better than the damn endoscopy.

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Are people generally more friendly in Kansas?: Hi. As compared to this region, are Kansans generally more personable, warm, and friendly? Sure, there are people who are just plain hideous in all parts of the world, but on the whole, how would you describe the overall "vibe" of the citizenry of your home state?

Tracee Hamilton: Well, yes, they are, as you say, in general. There are exceptions on both sides, of course. But Kansas is a lot slower paced, and I think that lets people be friendlier, warmer, whatever.That's true in general in the Midwest. I have been wearing the sling for four months. In Chicago and Detroit, people fell over themselves to ask if they could help me with my luggage, held doors for me, etc. Out here -- not so much. That's a real tangible difference I've noticed.That said, I do love living out here. I really do. I can't imagine living in any other city.

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Deferring: I've never really thought about it much, but wouldn't deferring kind fo be like being the home team in baseball - i.e. last at-bat? It is certainly an advantage to start on defense in college overtime, so it seems like it would be similar (albeit very, very slight) advantage to get start with the ball in the second half rather than the first half.

Tracee Hamilton: That's a good theory.

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For Black Armband Person: Invest in an XM Radio and next summer you'll be able to hear Jon Miller's calls of the Giants games -- and Vin Scully do the Dodgers from the West Coast after the Nationals games are over.Oh, and Young's Double Chocolate Stout from England does contain a small portion of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate -- that's the "double" part of the name -- but your correspondents are correct; the chocolate flavors in chocolate stout usually comes from the way they roast the barley.

Tracee Hamilton: Wow. Seriously, the beverage knowledge here is awesome.

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Flipping Out: Tracee - I saw reading M. Lee's article that John Wall was not included in the list of players Flip singled out for bringing the right attitude to practice. Was curious if you had any insight into what players were not taking practice seriously? With the exception of Wall it doesn't seem like any players have enough of a "pedigree" to be lackadaisical in practice no?

Tracee Hamilton: I don't; I haven't talked to Michael Lee. But with the possible exception of Kirk Hinrich, none of them has earned the right to be goofing around.

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Washington DC: I know I'm in the minority, but the Austin Collie hit was the last straw for me. I'm done with football. I can no longer watch receivers going out on a stretcher for my entertainment. Almost everyone, from Phil Sims to you, is saying it was a legal and non-malicious hit, so it's ok. That's just football, a violent game. Well, maybe they need to make defensive backs blowing up receivers illegal, period, just like there are rules for protecting quarterbacks and kickers. I realize there's no question here, but this chat seems like one of the more sensible forums for sports talk, not that I think many people will agree with me.

Tracee Hamilton: I do think that the hit was not deliberate in this case, but the guy is injured, whether intentional or not. The number of times we're seeing this has definitely increased over the years, as players get bigger and especially faster. Then came the highlight shows, and all bets are off. I think we'll see less of it the rest of the season, but sometimes, a defender is going to knock a receiver into another player, as happened with Collie. That is not really preventable, or at least I can't figure out a way to prevent it. So they need to come up with some better equipment for situations that can't be helped.But all that said, there is definitely violence and if you can't take it, you can't take it. Nothing wrong with that. Personal choice.

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Opening Wizards game: Tracee: I attended the opening Wizards game, and John Wall had a great game and it was an amazing event for all fans in attendance. However, one thing I noticed was that it was a very diverse crowd racially, and that all of the fans respected each other. There was no cursing, or beer throwing, or anything that would deter parents from bringing their children. There were even seats available to make it more affordable for families. I remember as a kid my dad brought me to the Capital Centre to see Bullets games, and it was the same kind of crowd...i.e. diverse racially, but very respectful. Do you think the NBA gets somewhat of a bad rap, in that often the focus is on thug behavior of a limited number of fans and players, when in fact the overwhelming majority of fans and players are upstanding citizens?

Tracee Hamilton: I noticed when I moved to D.C. that most of the sporting events were pretty racially diverse -- the audience, I mean. That was impressive to me. I don't think the NBA's "thug reputation" is based on audiences but on a few players who ruin it for everyone.

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Re: Williamsburg, VA: The Tribe is ranked #1 in 1-AA now, ahead of Delaware. Go Johnathan Grimes!

Tracee Hamilton: Ah, thanks.

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Is it just me: or is MNF's start time creeping closer to 9 p.m.? I remember when they made a big deal of starting it "earlier" but it seems like they're trying to get away with a longer pregame and more commercials. So I don't watch an entire game unless I have insomnia.

Tracee Hamilton: It's not just you. I've decried the late start times many times. Wish I could stay up for stuff like I used to, but the reality is, I can't.

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Friendly Kansas Stout Drinkers: I do think they're more friendly in Kansas. One of the favorite places I've ever found to hoist a pint was the Free State Brewing Co. brewpub in Lawrence. They make a superb stout there, too.

Tracee Hamilton: LOVE that place. Good food, good microbrews, great location, etc. A favorite.

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"If I'm willing to have yet another endoscopy, I can [drink stout].": It's a reward well worth the sacrifice. Come on out here to Salt Lake City and have a Polygamy Porter on me. Or, if you prefer the lighter stuff, try a St. Provo Girl.

Tracee Hamilton: I get the best invitations! Haven't been to Utah since the Olympics but I'm hoping to make a genealogy trip one of these days, so I'll keep that in mind!And it's really time for me to quit. Thanks, everyone, for another chapter in our sports and beverages discussions. I look forward to seeing what you all come up with tomorrow!


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