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

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Tracee Hamilton
Wednesday, February 2, 2011; 9:30 AM

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

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Small World Story Here: I think I know the one-legged woman who had to ask for seats on the Metro 20 years ago! If so, she was a lovely 20 something who, unlike many amputees, found her prosthesis to be awkward and clumsy and so preferred to get around on crutches. I used to say, riders looked at her face rather than her legs. Still completely outrageous, of course. Amy, if you or any of your friends are out there these days, could you let us know how you're doing?

Tracee Hamilton: I have to post this first, just to see if we get a reply. Small world indeed.And good morning, everyone! The Wiz lost (no surprise), the Caps blew a lead (becoming less of a surprise every day), Maryland plays Duke tonight, the Super Bowl lead-up drones on. Let's get started!

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Sled dogs RIP: I know we like to keep things chipper and cheerful here, but did you see that story about the sled dogs in Canada? It's numbing. And it came to light because one of the hitmen filed for workers comp! I sincerely hope the people who were calling for Mike Vick's head will be out in force on this.

Tracee Hamilton: It's just sickening. You just wonder what's wrong with people.

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Daniel Snyder . . .: Good Lord, what could possibly be added to the litany of boneheaded moves that Daniel Snyder has "entertained" us with over the past decade? Suing Mr. McKenna and The City Paper is right up there with driving Six Flags into a ditch. I'm not a lawyer, but whining that your feelings were hurt in a free weekly doesn't cut much with me. How could he possibly sue for libel and win? He's a public figure, and everything that Mr. McKenna reported on is in the public record and hasn't been retracted. If putting The City Paper out of business is Danny Boy's long-term plan, then perhaps he could buy it and turn it into the house organ of Red Zebra Productions. I'd be happy to contribute to a defense fund for the reporter.

Tracee Hamilton: I don't get this, either. It's out there, it's done. Everything in it was accurate, or they'd have been screaming for a correction the minute the story ran. Now everyone will revisit it and it'll be out there all over again. And for what? As a business decision, as a public relations decision, this makes no sense.

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Metro Etiquette: Good morning! I read yesterday's transcript and had a follow-up comment on Metro etiquette, if I may. I'll first say that I've experienced many of the same experiences as the other folks - 8 months pregnant on Metro; offered a seat while young and able-bodied; having offered a seat and gotten attitude in return. So, I decided there is really only one solution - polite proactivity. If you need a seat, simply ask for it (nicely. ie: "Excuse me folks, I'm feeling really woozy/broke my leg/have a heart condition/[or nothing], and I could really use a seat. Would someone mind giving up theirs, please?"). There are many people who would be happy to stand up if they know a person is in need, but are currently 1) unsure and don't want to offend, 2) don't want to get yelled at, or 3) trying to think through something in their own life. Yes, there are folks who won't give up a seat, ok fine, but if the rest of us just act honestly (whether asking for or offering a seat) I think we'll all be fine.

Tracee Hamilton: Again, using a common sense approach to life's problems. What are you thinking? :) I do think, however, if you are on crutches or use a cane you shouldn't be standing on the train, and you shouldn't have to point it out to people.

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this just in: Dateline: Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney.Our intrepid observers on the ground report that, after peering around for some time, Phil did not see his shadow. Thus, it was proclaimed that there would be an early spring. Yay!

Tracee Hamilton: Let's hope!

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NFL Lockout: What do you think the odds of a lockout actually are for the NFL next season? Given football's current hegemony in the sports world, I can't believe they'd jeopardize that by canceling all or part of next season.

Tracee Hamilton: I think it'll get settled. (So you know what that means.) The owners have leverage and the players can't add a year to their careers just because they miss one season. The owners will give in on something the players want to help them save face, but I think it gets settled.

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YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM: So Duke gets absolutely blown out but they remain utterly bulletproof in the polls. Someone asks you about it and you shrug and say "everybody knows why."I don't mean for this to sound like a personal attack because almost everyone else does it too. "Oh, well, it's Duke."Is any sports journalist ever going to take a hard look at this? Because there is not ONE other team in the country who would be sitting at #5 in the polls after the St Johns game, yet I fully expected Duke to be right there. Oh, well, it's Duke.I can't help but wonder if this kind of exclusive treatment can possibly come for free.Maybe someone should try marketing OWID teeshirts.

Tracee Hamilton: Duke's going to get more of a benefit of the doubt in the polls than, say, San Diego State, because it's Duke, defending national champion, perennial contender. Some of that is earned. Also, I would say that while Duke does get special treatment, it's not the only one. It took many weeks for K-State to drop out of the polls despite the fact that K-State has a LOT of problems and some bad losses (ironically, not talking about the loss to Duke). Michigan State -- same thing. Teams seem to "cling" in the polls a bit, which is why when the preseason football poll is so "off," it's almost impossible to correct for actual results during the season. In basketball it doesn't matter -- and it really doesn't -- because there is a tournament. KU dropped from 3 to 6 last week for losing to Texas -- its first loss, I might add, and under very tragic circumstances. The Longhorns are a far better opponent than St. John's, but I'm not hopping mad about it. It gets to me during the tournament when they unfairly get a 1 seed, like last year, but they won the thing, fair and square.

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Pittsburgh Wife: Hi, Tracee, & all. Today is my birthday. When I was born, the doctor told my mother that I saw my shadow & went back inside! And she believed him (still groggy from the anesthesia, I guess). Anyway, I want to celebrate on Sunday with a Steelers victory followed by Glee!

Tracee Hamilton: I hope your mother was able to enjoy the joke and didn't just want to pop him in the kisser, which might have been my reaction. Happy birthday! (And I'll also say happy birthday to longtime friend Kenalyn and my buddy Jake too. Big birthday day!)

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Caps Collapse: I was at the game last night. Not a pretty sight. I posted here last week. . .jokingly. . .that if the Caps end regulation play tied, they should just forfeit. Well apparently it ain't no joke! Here's the problem. . .sloppy passing, slow skating, and an inability to win the puck when it's up for grabs. The goalies are NOT the problem.

Tracee Hamilton: Not a good post-break start for the Caps. Not good at all.

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Media Day: Have you ever been to a Super Bowl media day? If so, how much of it is silliness from people who have no business with press credentials versus legit sports reporting? Obviously the zany questions get the most airtime but I'm wondering what percentage of the actual questions are silly.

Tracee Hamilton: I've never been to the Super Bowl. I'd sure like to see one so I could tell you! It looks like a giant waste of time, from what I can see. (The media day, not the Super Bowl.)

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Dan Snyder Lawsuit: I'm sure many people look at this and think, hey, Dan, truth is a defense to a defamation lawsuit! And they're right. But that's not the purpose. If he files the suit it will be a classic example of a SLAPP suit, or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. Originally used to target small public interest groups for anti-environment or similar activities, the term now applies to any Goliath/David libel case where a large, powerful entity tries to shut down a smaller, weaker opponent. Snyder is about the most public "public figure" in the area, and it is extremely unlikely he would be able to meet the stringent "actual malice" standard for a public figure to win a defamation case. However, defending such a case would cost the City Paper tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees-- far beyong their ability to pay. That's Snyder's point, not a legal victory. I hope he fails miserably, but in the real world Goliath usually prevails. hat's just the way it is.

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, he's got the money to see it through. However, all City Paper needs is a judge who follows the Redskins in any way at all. The key is to get it thrown out early. We'll see. We'll see if they even file the suit.

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Paul Fahri's story on Dan Snyder: Regarding Paul Fahri's story on Dan Snyder wanting a City Paper writer fired, I'm fascinated at the nastyness that continues in the "discussions" that follow the story, and how petty many of them are while they're anonymous, the "he sucks"...the "Danny boy...", etc. Wouldn't it be great if all the people who are insulting to Mr. Snyder - who I probably wouldn't know if he walked down the street - if all the people who are insulting in the posts had the courage to use their real name and provide a point of contact for themselves? Instead of nagging under a cloak? The simple fact is, if no one wants the current ownership, do one of two things: Find something else to support (and don't spend money or time on anything Redskins), or buy the team and lead it (just as Mr. Snyder did). If the response is "I don't have the money to buy the team", then form a consortium to buy the team from the current ownership, and see if you're willing to be an "absentee owner..." sitting in the background, not getting involved with the team, and not wanting to make "decisions" to help the team, or to make money from your investment. Chances are these people, as an owner, won't think of it as a charitable purchase you're making, solely for the benefit of everyone in "Redskins Nation", many of who disagree with each other, and who have differing opinions on everything from the offense to be run, who should be drafted, and how tailgating should allowed. A good story on Redskins ownership issues ruined by anonymous posters in a "discussion."

Tracee Hamilton: I've said it before and I'll say it again, don't read the comments if you can't take it. I quit long ago, when I was an editor. Even the best intentioned discussion is ruined by one idiot who pops up with insults, racist or sexist slurs, whatever. Just don't read them. That's the best you can do.

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Metro seats: After witnessing a not-obvious-to-the-naked-eye disabled woman rip into a young man for a) not seeing her standing BEHIND him and b) not offering up his seat (remember, he couldn't see her as she was standing behind him), I decided to never sit on a crowded subway and just stand the whole time. This way I don't have to awkwardly offer my seat to anyone who may not appreciate the gesture, and I avoid making judgments about people. Works like a charm.

Tracee Hamilton: That's a solution, I guess. There are a lot of people with anger issues on the train these days, I'll say that.

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Cheeseboy's email: Hi Tracee, How great is this! The Post has to preserve Cheeseboy's emails because Snyder wants to sue the City Paper! It only makes me love Cheeseboy more! Now after reading the article, I love Cheeseboy's neighbor Dave McKenna too! What is Snyder's next move, hire Hosni Mubarek as team vice president? Don't laugh, Mubarek is soon to be out of work!

Tracee Hamilton: I'm guessing anyone who has to delve through Dan's email will soon rue the day, etc.

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Oh Danny Boy: Is threatening the media the stupidest thing he has ever done? Attempting to restrict the freedom of the press is outrageous. This also completely de-legitimizes 980. How can we take anything the station now says seriously about the Redskins, when their employees know they can be fired for negative comments about his team.

Tracee Hamilton: It's not a smart move. I do wonder who advises him, if anyone.

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As a business decision, as a public relations decision, this makes no sense.: Isn't his company a PR firm? Would you trust this man with your PR decisions?

Tracee Hamilton: He made his money in direct marketing, not PR.

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Daniel Snyder and the City Paper: I missed the article when it was ran. Glad Snyder has kept it in the public eye so I knew it was there and could read it. That was his plan, right?

Tracee Hamilton: Exactly.

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Consortium to buy the Redskins: If the city of DC buys the team, I'm in for a dollar!

Tracee Hamilton: You and billions of your friends!

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McNabb as ESPN Analyst for Super Bowl: Did ESPN actively search for the most boring NFL player who thinks he's the funniest person on the planet when naming McNabb as an analyst this week? The next time he says something remotely interesting of humorous will be the first.

Tracee Hamilton: Haven't seen him on the air yet. Not good, eh?

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Hinrich: Saw a blurb that indicated that the Lakers covet Kirk Hinrich but don't have any attractive trade pieces to pry him away from Washington. How much could it really take to get Hinrich? Steve Blake and a second round pick?? A signed Kobe jersey?

Tracee Hamilton: Not sure if this is an insult to Kirk or the Wizards, but it would probably seem like a rescue to Kirk.

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Metro seats: One of the most brilliant moments I had on a crowded train (MARC, not Metro) was similar to the previous poster. A woman, standing behind a younger man started ripping into him regarding not offering her a seat for her, not-obvious-to-the-naked-eye disability. He listened patiently for a couple minutes, then pointed to the crutches that weren't-obvious-to-the-naked-eye tucked beside his (visibly pregnant) seatmate and said, "But I'll have to disturb her to get those and then find a new seat for myself." She turned the brightest shade of red and somebody else offered her a seat. The next day on the train, she asked much more politely.

Tracee Hamilton: Never assume. Never, ever assume. Easier said than done, but ...

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Pro teams: The NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB should ahve a rule that if a team does not make the playoffs and in NBA, NFL and NHL make it to second round at least once every 10 years the team is automatically put up for sale. Skins fans should not ahve to suffer for 50 years with Danny Boy as the owner.

Tracee Hamilton: Well, that's a nice fantasy but realistically it's a non-starter.

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NFL TV rights: Let me get this straight: the networks have to pay the NFL $4 billion to broadcast next season's games, even if those games are not played? Sure wish I had their lawyers! This is the dumbest thing since some nitwit claimed Cal's streak should have ended when the players went on strike in 1994, i.e. he should have been penalized for not playing in games that were not played. That was just stupid, while this is real. Am I missing something? The rich get richer and all that good stuff.

Tracee Hamilton: This is why the players will give in and there won't be a lockout. I think. The NFL just has all the power. Well, most of the power.

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Super Bowl Ad: If Capital One Card is doing an ad they ought to get Brett Keisel to do a cameo. He looks like he came right off a Viking warship!

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, that would be a clever move.

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Wise in Luv with Dookie K: Good Morning Tracee - I understand Wise's belief that Coach K has done a great job through the years, but why do we all have to show him the love as well? Puke is Maryland's biggest rival and through the years we have nicknamed their coach many things including the weasel for the way that he portrays himself as so clean yet apparently yells more explitives from the bench than Gary. I understand that he has graduated many of his kids from school and he has bounds of accomplishments but I am not sure that makes me less intense towards him and his program.DCM from Rockville

Tracee Hamilton: You don't have to love him if you don't want to.

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The end of spelling as we know it: A little while ago you lamented about the demise of spelling and punctuation in America and I thought about it yesterday because my son left my wife and me a note on the front door to tell us where he was going. Between the misspellings and texting shorthand neither one of us could decipher it and had to call him on his cell phone. There's also a public high school in Tidewater (from where we originate) that will no longer deduct points from papers written using "recognized" texting spellings, expressions, etc. I fear we're one step away from a ten-story Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man showing up downtown.

Tracee Hamilton: Standards are no longer slipping; they just don't exist.(I know, I know! You damn kids turn down that stereo!)

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Supply and demand: Though I'm sure there is no shortage of support for purchasing the Redskins and making them public a la the Packers, people forget that every transaction has two participants: the buyer and the seller. Snyder will not give up control of the team on his volition. Not today, not tomorrow, and not any time in the near future.

Tracee Hamilton: But of course.

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Yet even another seat story!: Not to plug another news outlet, but this NY Times story offered some fascinating insights to the who seat thing, including a sociological study...

Tracee Hamilton: This is REALLY interesting and explains why people aren't comfortable asking for seats better than I ever could.

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Metro seats: There is a phenomenon I've noticed for years now. The most frightening looking thugs on the train seem to be the first to offer their seats to the needy! Whilst many in business attire bury their noses in the paper to avoid having to give up their seats. BTW, I always offer my seat; if someone's rude and barks at you for offering, who cares? You still did the right thing.

Tracee Hamilton: Exactly.

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ice skating: Tracee...........you wanted upbeat. Didn't anyone watch our young men skate on Sunday?

Tracee Hamilton: Upbeat was yesterday. We're back to grousing today. What did I miss, because I was unable to watch anything Saturday except the Big Game.Oh, and I have to pass along a sign at the dr. office that I thought you all would like. I can't remember all of it but this is part of it:For those getting "flu" shots: If you are allergic to "eggs" tell your nurse...Just loved the use of quotes.

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Never assume. Never, ever assume.: I got the evil eye from an elderly woman for riding the elevator. I used to get on the train at Dupont and if the escalators were out I couldn't walk down them if my knee injury was acting up. When you get on the elevator there's a recorded announcement to please let the handicapped and elderly have first dibbs. She sighed, raised her eyes and pointed at me. I didn't respond, but maybe I should have.

Tracee Hamilton: As long as you didn't push her out of the way for the elevator, what's it to her? I have arthritis in both knees, not severe yet thank god, and I know going down can hurt far, far worse than going up.

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Super Bowl buzz: Has this Super Bowl got any buzz? Nobody's talking much about it.

Tracee Hamilton: Maybe it's going to be a boring week followed by a really good football game. I'd be in favor of that.Gotta get going. Heading to Terps-Duke tonight; maybe I'll see some of you there. If not, let's talk tomorrow.


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