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

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Tracee Hamilton
Thursday, November 11, 2010; 9:30 AM

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Remembering Veterans' Day: Tracee, in the midst of our ongoing discussion of important issues such as football, beverages, and Kansas, maybe we can take a moment to remember our vets today. The Post has a wonderful story ("heartwarming, heartbreaking" as a commentator put it) on a brave young Marine named Todd Nicely. We should all read it, put aside our political views on our current wars, and think about and pray for our vets. They gave us the opportunity to waste our time talking about football, beverages and Kansas.

Tracee Hamilton: Hear, hear! A big thank you to all our vets. I had four uncles in World War II -- only one is still alive -- Uncle Bob, U.S. Navy -- but the family is planning to get him out of the nursing home and to the veterans dinner tonight in Lincoln, Kansas. Hope he can make it.And good morning, everyone! Let's get started. John Wall had a huge game. The Nats unveil their jerseys. McNabb McNabb McNabb. Plenty to talk about.

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Shirley Povich: Hi,Tracee- I just finished rereading "All Those Mornings" the collection of Shirley Povich's writing from the '20's to the '90's. I heartily recommend this book to any sports fan reading this discussion -- you can get it at the library. I remember, in the 90's, opening the paper in the morning hoping there's be a column that day from the guy who'd "retired" a quarter century before. If I understand your career trajectory at the Post, you were actually paid money to edit his columns....His last column appeared in the same paper as his obit. He was disagreeing with a column that Boswell had written claiming that McGuire and Sosa's efforts would outshine Ruth. When I read the column over coffee the morning after he died I gave the idea due consideration. More than a decade later, hey, Povich was right, slam-dunk, and Boz was wrong. I miss baseball and I miss Shirley Povich."Section 405"

Tracee Hamilton: Hey, 405. No argument here: Shirley was a gem. And it was amazing that he had, quite literally, the last word.

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Sorta sports related: Do you (or your chatters) know when the last season of Friday Night Lights will start showing on regular network television? I think its on Direct TV now, but I don't have access to that and am ok for waiting (don't like to watch tv on the computer) ....but I rarely watch NBC so I could be missing the promos. Disclaimer: I checked for the next de Moraes-TV chat, but none was scheduled so you were my second choice, despite being first things first.

Tracee Hamilton: I believe it starts in January, but I'm SURE it's after the first of the year. Seems like last season, it didn't start till April. When it gets closer, I promise to mention it; I'm a huge fan and trying NOT to read any details of what's happening in the meantime.

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Is This Surprising?: Heard some McNabb conversation soundbites on espn radio yesterday. One of the questions asked was about how recent happenings compare to a previous benching in philly. Mcnabb couldn't recall the specifics of the earlier situation ("I think it was before halftime"), nor the details of last week ("I think we were down three at the time"). I've heard other players give play-by-play breakdowns on each snap, coverage, play calls, etc. Baseball players routinely rattle off pitch by pitch details. Is there anything to this? Is McNabb's head in the game?

Tracee Hamilton: He remembered it perfectly after the Lions game, because Rick Maese asked him about it. It was a Ravens game and he was benched at the half. So I'm not sure why he was being vague...

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Deferred Kickoff: In the old days you did not have to receive in either half. KU played Syracuse in about 1960. Won the toss and elected to defend. Most of the game was SU grinding out to midfield and punting and John Hadl quick kicking on third down. KU won the game because of a couple SU fumbles. KU kicked off both halves. Hadl holds the Big 8 record with a 94 yard punt against OU.

Tracee Hamilton: Hadl could play. My dad's claim to fame, I believe, is being Hadl's pledge father, or whatever you call it, and paddling him a few times. That sounds bad but I'm sure it isn't; they are still friends.

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Wasting Limited Lerner FA Dollars: So there is talk about the GNats making a run at Cliff Lee. Lettuce C, spend millions on a guy who plays every 5 days and is better known for his playoff performances (at least up until this year's WS) or spend some millions on a player like Dunn who can play every day, can hit 40+ homers, is loved by the fans and feared (somewhat) by opposing pitchers. G, that is a tough one to call. Also, there are so many other needs on this team as far as hitters and fielders go that need to be upgraded, that sinking a ton of money in a multiyear deal for one SP is not a good choice. BTW, every year we are told how great a lineup of SPs the GNats have and every year they go out and sign another highpriced and non-effective or oft-injured SP.

Tracee Hamilton: This is true; their rotation this year was to be an embarrassment of riches, but instead it was, oh, about half of that. I'm not opposed to pursuing Cliff Lee, but not if all their eggs are in the Cliff Lee basket.

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SLC: I don't really care about the NBA, but how 'bout those Jazz!

Tracee Hamilton: Pretty good. I've heard theories that some teams want to just come out and do damage because of all the attention the Heat has gotten. Not sure that's true, but ...

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I...just...what?!: Scott Rolan?! What?!

Tracee Hamilton: Poor Zimm. Not sure what else he can do. And Rolen IS very good; it's not like a Jeter type beat him out.

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"John Wall had a huge game. The Nats unveil their jerseys. McNabb McNabb McNabb.": What about us? Our team's in first place overall again. Do we get a mention, or by "complaining" do we fall into Steinberg's trap?Signed, Washington Capitals fans

Tracee Hamilton: I'm not sure what Steinberg's trap is. I would very gently suggest that some Caps fans might be, perhaps, a little oversensitive sometimes. You have the best team in town. Enjoy!

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Nats jerseys: Huzzah. It's tempting to say that anything would have been an improvement but that's not true -- it could have been worse -- and this look is very good, treating the curly W as an icon to rival, well, the overlapping N and Y. I think I like the new logo even more, but I'm a sucker for art-deco-style graphics.

Tracee Hamilton: They picked a look and went with it, which is the smart thing to do. I didn't like the curly W at first but the darn thing has grown on me.

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Natty Nats?: Well, the great unveil was last night at Nats Park. I actually like the new jerseys. They tie into an old Washington baseball tradition. For decades the old Nationals/Senators did not have the team nickname on their jerseys. In the 40's and 50's the home jerseys sported a block W on the left side. And, of course, the curly W was the cap logo for the Senators in the '60's. So, the new unis are a combination of two uniform traditions in this city. They could have done a lot worse.

Tracee Hamilton: They had about 200 people there; not a bad turnout for a fashion show. I see Drew has changed his number to 25, btw.

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Beer: Hammer Time:Can you/have you considered gluten-free beer during the stout-free period of your life? I don't know if this is something you'd be permitted, but some of the gluten-free beers are supposedly quite tasty.Just a thought; good luck.

Tracee Hamilton: I haven't; truthfully, it's so much work to find and prepare gluten free food that I haven't worried about the beer. If I have to live this way permanently, I'll look into the beers.

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POP: Tracee, this is from yesterday.. Someone had mentioned Teem, which I believe was Pepsi's answer to 7-UP or Sprite.. I used to wait tables at a restaurant in Columbia in the mid 80's, and we had Pepsi products with Teem.. I remember Teem in bottles in Ohio in the early 70's.. Is it still around?? I know Pepsi brought out Sierra Mist, a few years ago, which I like...Off today for the holiday, find myself wanting a Coke Float !!!

Tracee Hamilton: Apparently Slice pushed it aside in 1984 but it is still sold overseas. I like my floats of the root beer variety, but to each his own. I worked an old-fashioned soda fountain for a brief time and loved it.

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Racial Coding: What is Feinstein smoking when he's calling for Shanahan's resignation based on racist assertion? Why can't a player just be out of shape and not know the playbook?

Tracee Hamilton: A player can be. Shanahan perhaps chose his words poorly but I think that while what he did was shortsighted and wrong, it falls short of racism. I think you have to know a person pretty well to make that accusation and that you should never, ever make it lightly.

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RE: Veterans Day: I was planning to write in with a comment about honoring our veterans, but the first poster said it perfectly. Thank you to all you chatters who have served our country in the armed forces (I know there are at least a few of you).

Tracee Hamilton: Worth repeating!

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I'm a vet who has to work today: So you should take my comment. Just kidding - I know I'm far from alone.About McNabb - he's criticized for not being passionate enough by some fans, and some cpmmentators have said he should have called the Shanahans out. Sorry, but I think he's the smartest of the bunch. He has the unreserved support of the locker room. At the professional level, they don't need a "rah rah" leader in the huddle; I think they respect the quiet professional. And I fail to see how complaining in public about the coaching staff does anything but escalate the situation. I'm glad we have McNabb in the Burgundy and Gold. Now if he could just quit skipping short passes off the turf...

Tracee Hamilton: McNabb has an EZ Pass for the high road, and thank God. I think the players will respect him more for his handling of the situation. They don't like this kind of situation and McNabb didn't make it worse for them by firing back.

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Loving it: Tracee, I've been a Caps fan since 1974. (Eight glorious wins that first year). Yes, we are oversensitive now that our team is in the Hockey Elite. And, I am taking your advice and enjoying this team. Life is too short and sweet to take media slights, real or imagined, to heart.

Tracee Hamilton: Good for you! Because I enjoy the hell out of the Caps, I really do.

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DA Boz: Why is not Boz scheduled today?Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Tracee Hamilton: Good question. Boz, are you okay? Your fans are worried (and I am one of your fans).

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Rolen again: Oh, I'll give Rolen credit. He IS good. However, if you're not going to give the GG to the actual best defender at their position (probably Chase Headley), I thought it was supposed to go to the incumbent. Isn't that how these things work?

Tracee Hamilton: Well, the alternative is to decide to base the award on a formula or combination of stats to determine who really is "the best." As long as people vote -- managers, media, fans -- there will be injustices. I also think that playing for a playoff team helps immensely. Presumably your best players are making the playoffs, but not always the best at every position.

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Caps fans: Look, I suffered through the lean years too, and I'll gladly go to a game if you're buying the tickets, but I just can't get roused up for Caps talk this early in the season. It is a LONG season and there are always issues to work through. (Who's the go-to goalie, for instance? I couldn't tell you whether I think Varly or Neuvirth is the better man.) Maybe it's the Caps' long history of slow starts, or the various playoff hexes, but I'll be fired up to chat about them in, say, January or February.

Tracee Hamilton: Pacing yourself is always a good idea. As for the goalie, I am not sure anyone knows. Is Varly going to be the glass man? Lot of injuries. Neuvirth may be by default (not that he's not done well this season, because he has).

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Cross Your Fingers: I'm sad about Zimm not getting the Gold Glove, but keep your fingers crossed for him tonight at 6:30 when they award the Silver Sluggers. If he doesn't get it, there's no justice.

Tracee Hamilton: I know these chatters are pulling for him. He certainly deserves it.

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Dunn: May I just say I hate that I probably won't see him in the new unis?

Tracee Hamilton: You may. I concur.

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gluten-free beer: My cheesehead buddies call Miller Lite (yecch) a Sandwich in a Can. Maybe the g-f b could replace your need to cook at all, except for snacks to accompany.

Tracee Hamilton: I'd never thought of that. Hmmmm.

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Nats Fashion Show: Where were Tyler Clippard's glasses?

Tracee Hamilton: Good question. Lasik? Hmmmm.

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Fashion: OK, I really like the new unis (fortunately, I had only invested in one interlocking DC jersey), and having grown up with the block W, I'm totally with only the W on the left chest.Question: Why didn't the Post send Robin Givhan to the fashion show, rather than spending all of that money to send her to Europe to cover events that will have a very limited effect on locals?BTW, I learned to read and love reading by reading "This Morning" on the living room rug. Shirley was a great wordsmith."Sec 315"

Tracee Hamilton: 315, not sending Robin was a missed opportunity. But Cheese Boy is sort of the Robin Givhan of sports, no?

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college basketball: Hi Tracee! I'm very excited about the upcoming college basketball season - do you have any plans for a guest chatter to join you one day to talk about the upcoming season? Eric P and others on WP staff have been doing a great job with the previews over the past week or so.

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, I need to get busy on that. Should have planned ahead better than I did. I'm excited too. I get to see my team play in MSG in December. Not often I get to see them live; they don't come east often.

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Armchair Travelers: LOVE the Kansas part of Hamiltime. With the hours required of most of us just to not be jobless and homeless, it's fun to learn what exotic (to us) parts of the country like Kansas are like. And since Kansas is the cradle of basketball, can foul shooting be taught? Is there any hope for the Terps - 12 missed free throws in a row?

Tracee Hamilton: Well, it's never been taught at Kansas that I know of. :) We've had some dismal free throw shooting teams over the years. Phog Allen must be spinning. I never understood why a coach didn't make a kid shoot 100 FT for every miss the night before, something like that. Surely that sends a message?(Goal for my trip home in December: Visiting Allen's and Naismith's graves.)

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Followup on "Redsikins": No way that "I" is supposed to be part of the "K" -- they're clearly separated at the middle of the cheerleaders' chests (the letters, that is). Can't wait to see the new "Wizzardes" jerseys...

Tracee Hamilton: Maybe they could misspell "Wizards" as a whole new team name. I could get behind that.

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Jeters Gold Glove: Jeter's my favorite player not wearing a curly W, but there's no way he's the best-fielding short stop in the American League.

Tracee Hamilton: No, I'm guessing even Jeter doesn't think he is. And yet...

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Where were Tyler Clippard's glasses?: Some guys only need glasses to play, and they don't want to use contacts because of the sweat and dust.

Tracee Hamilton: Possible explanation.

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Floats and other options: Mr. Pibb, Coke's variant on Dr. Pepper, makes for a surprisingly addictive vanilla ice cream float. (I learned this to my delight, and chagrin, during my freshman year at college.)I didn't know you were gluten-free. But that's not hard to manage on the beverage side. You just need to stick to things made from fruit, like cider, brandy, sherry, port, or rum (okay, that's sugar). You can even put some of these things in your morning cocoa.(Just trying to hold up our rep as the Official Beverage Chat of Washingtonpost.com.)

Tracee Hamilton: Our rep remains solid! Thanks!

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MSG?: They're playing in monosodium glutamate?

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, it'll be messy but fun! (Oh, you wags.)

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Actually, "Wizzardes" could work: They look like they're playing Quidditch out there most of the time anyway, with everybody flying around in no particular direction...

Tracee Hamilton: Very true. Wall would be The Seeker, right? I think they're short on Beaters.

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Even cheaper than Mr. Pibb: Try Dr. Thunder, Wally World's version. Probably bottled at the same plants anyway, given their market muscle.

Tracee Hamilton: Never even heard of it!

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Football trick play: Tracee, have you seen this trick at a middle school football game?

Tracee Hamilton: I had not seen this -- that's great! Kyle Shanahan, take note!

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Getting Zimm a Gold Glove: 1. Nats win more games.2. Get a great fielding first baseman. I love Adam Dunn but, well, he didn't exactly help Zimm's cause this season.

Tracee Hamilton: Perhaps not, but I'll bet Zimm would trade the gold glove to keep Dunn in the order, don't you think?Well, friends and beverage experts, it's time to stop. Join me tomorrow, if you will.


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