washingtonpost.com
First Things First -- Tracee Hamilton on the latest sports news

Tracee Hamilton,Mark Maske
Friday, February 4, 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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Roman numerals: Your column today reminded me of this song - especially starting at 1:05.

Tracee Hamilton: Hilarious! Thanks for taking it in the spirit it was intended and then one-upping me!And good morning, everyone! Maske will join us and we can talk about whatever you want. Let's get started!

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Roman numerals: Tracee, it seems obvious to me that your bit about the Super Bowl was totally tongue-in-cheek (it was, wasn't it?) and I thought it was pretty amusing. And yet the majority of commenters were outraged by it. Either there are a lot of really uptight people out there, or they are all high school Latin teachers who are afraid of becoming irrelevant if the use of Roman numerals is mocked. Anyway, all us FTFers are still with you.

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, it was meant to be fun. But there are a certain number of humor impaired people in the world. I have some great email to plow through this afternoon.

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Weingarten chat on Dan Snyder: If you haven't read this, it's not to be missed. Both Gene and his chatters outdid themselves with insightful, witty and clever comments. I rarely laugh out loud but this time I couldn't stop.

Tracee Hamilton: on...

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Coach K: (A day late, but I didn't see yesterday's Mike Wise column on Coach K until the afternoon...)You know there's an old Internet meme to the effect that "when you compare your opponents to the Nazis, you lose the debate"?Well, when you need to get a character reference from Robert Montgomery Knight, you lose the debate.

Tracee Hamilton: Ha! The RMK Axiom.

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Mark's picture: Is that a current picture of Mark? Because I think I have been reading him in the Post for many, many years, but he looks like my 16 year old son. Does he have his driver's license, yet?

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, damn him, he looks like he did the day we meant. He makes the rest of us sick.

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Sports Talk At the Toddler Drop Off: Boy1: "The Redskins are playing this weekend". Boy2: "No, last weekend was the Redskins turn to play." Please settle this debate.

Tracee Hamilton: Let them have their fantasies. Soon, reality will set in.

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Your Column this morning: Hi Tracee, Interesting column this morning about Super Bowl numbers. I understand your point and agree with you, but your attempt at straddling the line between being serious and humorous didn't work for me. Love your other articles and chats though and keep up the good work!

Tracee Hamilton: Fair enough, thanks! And THAT'S how you disagree with someone or express dislike of a column.

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Roman Numerals: I'm almost certainly in the minority here, but I work with Roman numerals every day... with a cheat sheet for the ones over 500. Are they a pain? Sure. Would I want the NFL to make them go away? Not a chance; there's something quaintly hilarious about using such an esoteric system to enumerate occurrences of a game not exactly known for being refined. Thanks for the great read! Super Bowl TMI would be a thing, indeed...

Tracee Hamilton: Some might say we've already achieved Super Bowl TMI.

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Happy Superbowl, Everyone!: My wife and I met at a Superbowl party 16 years ago and have now been happily married for 14 years, even though she still doesn't know the difference between the football and the goalposts. I was hanging out with some of my friends when my now-wife stopped by to visit her aunt. She had no idea a football game was on, much less THE game of he year. We have an "anniversary" party on Superbowl Sunday each year, where fans watch the game and non-fans retire to another part of the house to read, knit or whatever. Hey, it works for us!

Tracee Hamilton: That's a great story, thanks for sharing!(Maske's having technical difficulties but he'll be here soon, by the way.)

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"Sports Talk At the Toddler Drop Off Boy1: "The Redskins are playing this weekend". Boy2: "No, last weekend was the Redskins turn to play."": No, I think the kids have it pegged: every other week, the Skins show up to play. FH

Tracee Hamilton: Out of the mouths of babes...

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II, IV, VI, VIII Who Do We Appreciate!!!?: Come on Tracee, they just look cool. I mean I look forward to superbowl "L" or if I live to see it superbowl "C"Plus they look regal and fancy!

Tracee Hamilton: I love "regal and fancy." Plus the cheer. Thanks!

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Careful Mon Ami: With all the hullabaloo (can't believe I used that word) surrounding Snyder and WCP, your story about getting rid of the roman numerals with the SB and telling the head cheese (no pun intended) Goodell to get rid of them you might be getting on the wrong side of the fence here. Don't get me wrong, I want to get rid of them as much as you do but this is the NFL's baby here. If it comes to it and the NFL wants to sue you have my full support and what ever I can put into the kitty. Sick 'em girl.

Tracee Hamilton: Thanks for having my back!

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Gary Wiliams: You and Liz Clarke wrote in the paper about Gary Williams asking the UMD students to clean up their language? Have you been anywhere near Gary during a game? His language is stunningly offensive, all the time. Maybe it is par for NCAA coaches, but they don't get to ask anyone in the world to clean up their language. You missed a big opportunity to point out some stunning hypocrisy. We love you Tracee, but this was a big whiff.

Tracee Hamilton: You make an interesting point. To me the difference is that Gary's obscenities aren't being loudly broadcast on TV (lip-reading, sure) and that they aren't usually directed at the opponent. The referees, however, yes. Hmmmmm. You've given me something to think about, thanks!

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No Super Bowl in DC: Do you thnk the bad weather in Dallas this week underscores the importance of playing the Super Bowl in a warm weather location? Only a self-centered owner like Dan Snyder would think there is a possibility that Washington could host the game. Besides, where would the teams practice in th event of bad weather? The Redskins don't even have an indoor facility.

Mark Maske: Hi, everyone. Sorry I'm late. Technical difficulties. I can't even blame the weather in Dallas. That's a very good question and something I'll probably be asking people about here in Dallas today. There was ice here earlier in the week, and now there was a snowstorm overnight. Some owners already were reluctant to award Super Bowls to places where the weather might affect things. My guess is that this will have a small effect on future Super Bowl decisions, but not too pronounced. Remember, this is likely to be a very, very successful game, with an attendance record and undoubtedly a new TV viewership record. By Monday, that's probably what will be on the minds of the people in the NFL, not the weather problems this week.

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Gilbert: He can talk the talk, but he doesn't walk the walk. I don't begrudge any athlete who signs an enormous contract because, as he says, are they supposed to turn it down? That's on the owners/GM's. I do begrudge his not following the team's recommended conditioning program and everything else he did to help ruin the franchise. I said after the gun incident I would never see another game while he was still on the team, and I kept my word even though I love basketball and can walk to Verizon Center. Now I'm back on board but the team is so painful to watch. I don't plan to boo Gilbert tonight, though I imagine most people will and I don't blame them. However, I certainly don't plan to cheer him, either.

Tracee Hamilton: I really think he'll hear more cheers than boos. A lot of people still supported him even after the gun nonsense. You are right about the contract money; I guess, though, that if I'm given that huge chunk of change I might feel some obligation to try harder to earn it.

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Pittsburgh Wife: What time is the Packer fan coming by to kidnap my husband, so I can have his bag packed and have him ready to go. By the way, he loves lobster, prime rib, truffled potatoes, creme brulee (not too bruleed, please), long-stemmed strawberries with whipped cream, Tattinger champagne. Please have lots of Iron City for him. And he must get to Mass Sunday!

Tracee Hamilton: Whoever is kidnapping Pittsburgh Husband, here are your instructions. And could you kidnap me, too?

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Football UN-Know-How: My wife is like the earlier writers wife, can't tell the difference between the offense and the defense. But, as she says, she always knows a tight end when she sees one.

Tracee Hamilton: I like her!

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Wives and superbowl parties: Not trying to one-up the man who met his wife but 11 years ago this Superbowl, I went to a party. The party was also attended by two women I was dating (and I knew they would both be there). One watched the game while one knitted. I continued to date one and she is now my wife.

Tracee Hamilton: Well, which one did you marry?

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Let's all calm down!: Oh my gosh, Ben R. took his O-line out to dinner! And they went to a piano bar! (And if you had to feed all those guys, you'd be paying $1000 too...) Let's all relax!

Mark Maske: Agreed. To some extent, Roethlisberger's past actions bring such scrutiny upon himself. But not to this extent. I'm not being an apologist for him, but Mike Tomlin said he had no problem with it and unless curfew was broken or some sort of team rule was violated, the quarterback going out to dinner with his offensive linemen and hanging out at a piano bar is a non-starter as a controversy and barely worth mentioning, if it's worth mentioning at all. I know non-stories become stories in some people's minds just because it's Super Bowl week, but that shouldn't be taken to ridiculous extremes.

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Roman Numerals?: I think most of the negative reaction might be due to the fact you've been handed *the greatest opportunity of our generation to mock/blast/excoriate a local sports owner* on a silver platter and you chose to write about Roman Numerals.Anyway, we already have Super Bowl TMI every year - it's called the second week between the conference championships and the game.

Tracee Hamilton: Ah, well, I wrote the Roman numerals column on Monday. Actually didn't know they were running it today.

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Well, which one did you marry?: The football watcher (who is a Pats fan) :(

Tracee Hamilton: That's what makes the world go 'round...

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Not Super Bowl, Caps & Feinstein: Tracee,Good morning. Ho-hum interest in the SB here other than an intense dislike of the Steelers (sorry Pittsburgh Wife), but what are your thoughts on John Feinstein's piece this morning? Is he actually suggesting the Caps trade Ovechkin? If so, why doesn't he just say it? Or did I (totally possible) take the column the wrong way? I do agree that tonight's game is very, very important. Let's Go Caps!

Tracee Hamilton: It certainly sounds like he's suggesting they do something drastic, yes. Trading Ovechkin would be drastic, but I'm not sure I'm the GM who wants to pull off that deal.

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High V: Great column this morning, Tracee! The Super Bowl's crazy and pretentious numbering systerm has been bugging me for years. Your column also raises an old question for: What kind fo leeway do the media have to not play along when things get ridiculous? I.e., if the media, or any particular media outlet, just 'Enough! Call it what you want, but WE are calling it Super Bowl 45. Or just the Super Bowl.' What's to stop them (you) from not playing along?Here's an even better example: Let's say, for the sake of argument, that a professional sports team used a mascot and logo that were widely considered to be offensive. Why can't the local paper say, 'We'll cover your games, we'll cover your team - but we're not using your racist name or logo.' I mean, what are they going to do - sue you? -K-Stater

Tracee Hamilton: Well, you can choose not to refer to the game by its number in copy. We do use the Super Bowl logo as an art device. But yes, in copy I suppose we could use the Arabic numerals. We would have the same leeway we have in choosing to ignore the stupid names corporations stick on the front of golf tournaments and bowl games. The FedEx Orange Bowl is just the Orange Bowl, etc.

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Super Bowl Sunday Dilemma: A friend is flying back from London on Sunday and she needs for us to pick her up at the airport. MIA is about three hours from here and her flight arrives about 2:30, if it's on time. So here's the dilemma: do I take advantage of the opportunity and go windowshopping for Eurotalent on South Beach before swinging by the airport, or do I take the wife to Ikea for napkins and candles? There are no Swedish meatballs or lingonberries at the beach, but still, I need your advice. FH

Tracee Hamilton: Wait a minute, you'll drive three hours to pick up a friend at the airport? I'm still trying to wrap my mind around that...

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Superbowl week question for Mark: What do the folks "covering" the Superbowl do all week? Is it much different than what they do when covering their hometown team during the season? I understand the necessary hyping that the league and the teams encourage, but is this week more fun or more work than a regular week?

Mark Maske: It's a pretty long week with a lot of bus rides to press conferences. Getting from place to place this week has been complicated by the weather. It's pack journalism at its worst, so the real key is to try to think of some ways to break free of that.

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Just use the year: And then we'll know what you're talking about. Simple, elegant solution, not to mention regal and fancy and whatnot.Hey, Maske -- make sure you get some breakfast at Esperanza's in FW while you're there...the migas are best.

Mark Maske: After the snowstorm that has hit Dallas, I don't think I'll be getting very far beyond the lobby of my hotel today.

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Philly by way of Pittsburgh: No question - just wanted to shout out to all of my fellow Pittsburgh fans (hi Pgh Wife!) who are also Tracee Hamilton fans - HERE WE GO!

Tracee Hamilton: The court will allow it.(Any Packers fans out there? Or are you all driving to Pittsburgh to get PH?)

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Montgomery Village, MD: Tracee Hmmmmmmmmmm. Remarkably similar subjects today in your column and Weingarten's cartoon. Mere coincidence ? Great minds on same tracks ? BTW, I don't mind the use of Roman numerals for the" Game whose name is copyrighted". It's about all I remember from 3 years of High School Latin. And yes, I could figure out the number at the end of your column.

Tracee Hamilton: MVMd, this doesn't surprise me at all!

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Language: My parents, who would be over 100 if living, were very genteel people who, like most of their generation, were horrified by bad language. My dad ran the general store in Otterville, IL (population under 200) for 40 years, and he kept a "cuss box" (bank) on the counterl. Employees and even customers who said a "naughty word" had to put a nickel in the box. That's right, he would even tell customers, "That will be 5 cents, please" and most of them would comply! It would be nice if this money went to charity, but I think he just kept it. I still remember the one time he was so teed off by something that he said, "I'm going to say a naughty word -- DAMN!" And thenhe put his nickel in the box.

Tracee Hamilton: That's pretty great.

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Trading Ovechkin: Every GM worth his salt knows that Ovechkin would have to be traded to a team in the Western Conference so as not to give an advantage to an Eastern Conference team. This gives me visions of Gary Bettman breaking down in tears because out the window would be the NHL's "Let's make Crosby and Ovechkin look like big rivals" marketing push. I'd pay to see that.

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, that would be a problem.

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Super Bowl Analysis: So my analysis of this years Super Bowl.I am very excitied because it is going to be an actual game of equals ...QBs - Both in the NFLs top 6 or 7. I would take Rodgers, but understand someone taking Big Ben instead.RBs - They both just pull a guy out of the stands who is wearing a number in the 30's right?WR - Green Bay has better receivers, but the difference is small.OL - Even, except Pitssburgh's center is hurt. So Edge Green BayDL - Even, both lines do their job in the 3-4. That is keep the OL off of their LBsLBs - Pittsburgh, but not by much.CBs - Packers, Clearest edge in the game.Ss - PittsburghSpecial Teams - Pretty even.All in all, I would think Packers win 6 of 10 times. It is that close.That being said, I am rooting for the Steelers for no other reason than Pittsburgh's wife and her poor husband who is locked in the trunck. Please give him some of the Super Bowl snacks before you shut the lid.Let's Go Royals

Mark Maske: Seven of the last 13 Super Bowls have been decided by seven points or fewer. It wouldn't help me trying to write on deadline Sunday night, by any means, but it would be interesting to see, wouldn't it?

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Ikea or South Beach?: To answer the previous poster's question: South Beach all the way -- after all, there will always be another shopping trip to Ikea in the cards. And soon. My wife's ability to come up with things she "just has to have" from Ikea is limitless . . . .

Tracee Hamilton: FH, here's some advice.

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Now I feel old: I'm XLIII and I hadn't realized until reading your column how it makes me feel to think about my age in Roman Numerals. The XL's are such a jump from the XXX's. It's don't like that my age is expressed as 50 minus something.

Tracee Hamilton: Geez, I hadn't thought of that, but I'm L. Hmmmm. That actually looks BETTER than 50.

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We have a "cuss box" at our house too.: Next week I'm going to empty it and buy the Redskins.

Tracee Hamilton: Ha!Maske's probably filling his cuss box about now. Continuing to have technical difficulties.

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Tracee Hamilton : Wait a minute, you'll drive three hours to pick up a friend at the airport?: Well, the question became moot for the missus when Ikea opened. I'm just trying to make it a slightly better day. And the "three hours" is in case law enforcement is reading this--Alligator Alley is like the Cuban Authbahn.

Tracee Hamilton: Still, impressive.

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SKG: For the sake of family unity, I'm a Packers fan on Sunday! Both my sis-in-law and uncle's side of the family are die hard GB fans. We even shipped in pickled eggs, cheese curds, and cinnamon buns for our Super Bowl party.

Tracee Hamilton: Wow, that sounds really ... awful. Except for the cinnamon buns.

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to Pittsburgh Wife: I'm actually just a bitter Ravens fan and not a Packer fan! LOL I'll be there at 8 pm Saturday night because that's probably when the pre-game show starts. I want him to watch all 24 hours of coverage to jinx the Steelers! LOL

Tracee Hamilton: PW, there's your answer.

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Belichick All Chatty: After destroying all the evidence, it surpasses belief that Roger Goodell would believe that the world would see a Belichick suddenly gone chatty, freely explaining all about it. Goodell has never explained what was on those tapes that made him burn them. Kirk Warner said that it was like the Pats were in every huddle during his Super Bowl against them. While Mark's there, I'd love your and Tracee's thoughts on what was on the destroyed tapes and whether the Pats' Super Bowl wins were ill-gotten. Warner seems to think the first one against the Rams in New Orleans was.

Mark Maske: I saw some of the Spygate tapes that the league released. The league showed some of them to the reporters who were in New York that day. They were deadly boring. What was on them was as far from explosive as you could imagine. I remember thinking the Patriots could have accomplished the exact same thing by putting a guy in the stands and having him take notes on the coaching signals by the other team. The Patriots broke the rules and were punished for it. We can debate all day about how much of a competitive advantage they gained, and about whether the penalties were sufficient. There will never be total agreement on those issues. But that scandal will be mentioned any time there is a discussion of what Belichick accomplished and what that team accomplished. That will be part of the penalty forever.

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Go Pack Go: I almost had a heart attack before I realized that it was Maske rather than TH that predicted the Packers would win. That was too close for comfort.

Tracee Hamilton: Ha! No, I'm holding true to my promise not to use my powers for good OR evil.

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Over/Under for Flip: I've read the good, the bad, and the mostly ugly about Flip and his coaching abilities. Good for an established veteran team, can/can't relate to a young team. I know players play and coaches coach (thanks ego boy Billick), but Flip's player rotations baffle me. I really think he's had his chance.How realistic am I being to wake up every morning, hop onto WAPO and pray the headline reads "Flip is Gone!"?????Seriously, what are the chances he and the equally inept Grunfeld are here next year???

Tracee Hamilton: Honestly, I think it's too soon to tell, but I would be surprised if there wasn't change at the end of the season. Leonsis will give them both a fair shot but he'll end up with who he wants at the end of the day.

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Shouldn't it be SVPER BOWL XLV?: If I learned nothing else from viewing the 1970s PBS show I, CLAVDIVS it was that the Romans had no concept of the letter U. And really, if they insist on going all Roman Empire with the Big Game, shouldn't they have vomitoriums along with all the strippers?And of course with the NFL's constant threats of litigation over improper use of the words "Super Bowl" (litigation levels that only Dan Snyder can beg to reach) isn't it only a matter of time until the SB words themselves become extinct, to be replaced in popular usage by The Big Game? And when that happens, the Roman numerals can go away too, maybe to be replaced by outline notation. Where will you be watching The Big Game 1.a.(3) anyway, Tracee?

Tracee Hamilton: I always was intrigued by the idea of vomitoriums, in a disgusted way. I will be watching The Big Game XXKFIEGNIOTP at home, probably delayed, because I'm going to the Caps-Pens game on Sunday.

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Trade the Great 8: While he still has trade value!! great a playoff goalie and defender and a #1pick.Three years from now alex wont have a trade value. He has not adjusted his game after the NHL figured it out. Get max value now for him.

Tracee Hamilton: I must admit, it's an intriguing idea.

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"shouldn't they have vomitoriums along with all the strippers?": I'm guessing you've never been to Arlington. The parking lots at the Gentlemen's Clubs (Enjoy our $10 buffet!) serve just fine, thanks.

Tracee Hamilton: Ugh. Thanks for the tip!

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Ovi: Really? Are people serious about trading the face of the franchise? I must admit, I liked his scruffy face better, but this seems crazy!

Tracee Hamilton: I know, but it's fun to speculate about. It'll never happen.

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Superbowl weather: The 2014 Superbowl (XLVIII) will be at the Meadowlands. Given the weather in Dalls, any idea if the powers that be are rethinking that decision?

Mark Maske: It's too late now. The game has been awarded. I think when the owners awarded that Super Bowl to New York, they knew weather could be a factor. I don't think anyone thought they were at significant risk for this kind of weather when they awarded this Super Bowl to Dallas. But again, this game will set a Super Bowl attendance record and no doubt will set a television viewership record, and by Monday that's what people in the league will be thinking about.

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Trading Ovechkin?: Forget whether it makes sense (it doesn't). Season ticket sales next year immediately = zero.

Tracee Hamilton: UNLESS they trade him and win the Cup. You can't tell me no one would stay on the bandwagon for that?(It has zero chance of happening, but it's fun to play "what if" sometimes.)

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Caps and The Cup: With the great 8 on the team and the current roster they will never win the Stanley Cup. Trade him get max value. But first Teddy needs to take care of the curse of Les Boulez since it also effects the Caps.Caps will never win the cup with the Great 8!

Tracee Hamilton: Shouldn't that be the Great VIII?

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Gotta Ask: The Super Bowl buidup has been pretty blase'. Which is OK by me. Who do you both have winning the thing? I am all for the Packers since I absolutely find Steeler fans insufferable. Also, just curious but how much are the Black-eyed Peas going to make for their halftime show?

Mark Maske: You're right, it has been a pretty toned-down Super Bowl week other than the weather. That's okay. It should be a good game and, as I said, I think it will end up being remembered not for the weather this week, but for the number of people who will be watching Sunday.

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Let's go ALL ROMAN NUMERALS: If the Super Bowl wants to use Roman numerals, I'm all for it. But they have to use them in every instance. Therefore, I want to hear the commentators say things like "He just returned that punt return for XXIII yards and the Packers will start at their own XL yard line. But it looks like it's being brought back for a holding call on number XII, so that'll be a X yard penalty. I down and X."

Tracee Hamilton: Yup, this is why I think it's silly to just use it for the title. I like 2011 Super Bowl, or Super Bowl 2011. Everyone knows that the 2011 Super Bowl indicates the champion of the 2010 season. Much easier to parse than Super Bowl LXVIXIVIDIWO.

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Stop right now: The Caps can't trade Ovechkin. His talent is too rare, and he is too exciting and too well known to make it a good business decision. Dump everyone else if you have to, but keep him. Trading him would be bad even if you got XIV all-stars in return.

Tracee Hamilton: Nice use of Romans!

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Shouldn't that be the Great VIII?: hahaha! And the thread weaver award goes to Tracee! Can you win when it's your chat?

Tracee Hamilton: I win every day with this bunch.

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Tracee Hamilton: like I intended. I meant that I win by getting to chat with this bunch every morning.

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Best superbowl food?: Do you have a favorite or must have snack or dessert for watching the super bowl? What to bring to a super bowl party to have all the guests excited? And have you ever posted pictures of your kitties? Liz does over at Celebritology and it just makes my week to see pets (allergic myself). Thanks!

Tracee Hamilton: I was hoping Maske would answer this since he's a big eater, but then, he always works on Super Bowl Sunday. I used to work every Super Bowl Sunday as well so I'm no Super Bowl party expert, but I do like the seven-layer dip plus the tried and true salsa and chips.I had a photo of the boys I thought about posting but my camera was broken and it's too blurry to come out well. But they were crammed into the same small bed together and it was pretty cute. I'll wait for them to do that again, I guess.

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Steelers' weakness: The one team who has had great success against the Steelers over the years has been the Patriots. They just spread out the Steelers' defense and make them chase their WRs all over the field. I believe the Packers have the weapons and the QB to do the same thing. Packers will win.

Tracee Hamilton: have to be very careful not to express approval OR disapproval of said predictions.) I'm sure we'll find something to talk about on Monday. In the meantime, have a great weekend!

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