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

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Tracee Hamilton
Wednesday, February 9, 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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bhitw: I wish I could be in the running for this.Sadly my fiance passed away shortly after I purchased our wedding invitations.

Tracee Hamilton: Pity. Did she have a very valuable doll collection, perchance?And good morning, everyone! Let's get started.

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You see this?: A Big East QB who can throw the ball where he wants it? Smells like 12-0 up in here! BHitW, tCFKaFH

Tracee Hamilton: I enjoyed the heck out of that. Thanks! (Edsall left this guy?)

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Nats/Snyder: Was pleasantly surprised to see a Nationals story on the front page of Tuesday's Sports section. I'd love to see the city's other teams get similar, Redskins-style treatment. Look, we've heard over and over again about how the Skins are the big game in town. But I think we could all use a breather from anything Skins-Snyder related. Snyder reminds me of that old Simpsons Halloween episode when the advertising logos came to life and started destroying Springfield. The logos died when the town stopped paying attention.Maybe that's the trick here: Snyder will go away if we stop paying attention. I've already started. Go Nats! Go Caps! Go Wiz! Go away Danny!

Tracee Hamilton: I guess it's worth a try.

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National Anthem: Let's see how political we can make this sports chat.I am in favor of personal renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner. To me, that is what this country is about - joining in traditions and adding your own creative spark to those traditions. The lack of precise conformity *is* the sacred idea that we should celebrate. To be fair, I am not a big fan of the song (or the lyrics of America the Beautiful, for that matter). I think the national anthem should be This Land is Your Land. It is simple to sing or play, and it is also easy to add your own verses without damaging the message or the patriotic respect it shows for this country. I have a recommendation for all followers of this chat - sit down with your child/niece/nephew/neighbor, whoever, and help them write their own verse. Any subject the kid cares about will work. Then sit down and write a verse for yourself. It is humbling and uplifting, in an active, participatory way. I believe that is what our experience should be when we sing our national anthem.Oh, and Dan Snyder sucks.

Tracee Hamilton: What makes this country great, and this is not at all political, is that everyone has a different opinion and we're allowed that. And that's as political as this chat will ever get.

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Tom Brady, I'm all but certain, bathes each morning in fresh coconut milk: Hi Tracee, and fellow chatters. Forgive me for going all September 2010 on you, but I continue to struggle with Tom Brady's hair. I'm no Justin Bieber fan, but he can be forgiven for his hair, since he's what, 6 years old? But how can Brady justify that hideous monstrosity that's perched atop his delicate head? As I pondered this, I could come up with only one plausible explanation: each morning, he rises out of bed, and fills a bathtub with fresh, hot coconut milk, and climbs in. And then he washes that freak hair of his in the juices of wild boysenberries that you just KNOW he grew himself for that purpose. When he emerges from the coconut milk/berry concoction, presto, you get that freak head we've all come to fear. I can see no alternate explanation.

Tracee Hamilton: No, there is literally no alternate but that which you've proposed. :) is popping up all over lately, and I've come to kind of like this kid because he's not afraid to poke fun at himself and he sort of "gets it." He may be our next Timberlake, a boy singer who turns out to have tons of other talents. His Saturday night live sketch with Sandberg was great, and so is the Ozzie commercial.

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Tony Wylie made me do it: Does anyone possibly believe this ??

Tracee Hamilton: I was surprised to hear this.

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Hitsville aka Hockeytown: The Dave Bing story in today's Post, along with the talk about the Chrysler commercial, has me thinking about the Motor City. At the Super Bowl party I attended, I was the only person who had ever been to Detroit -- for two days. People asked me what it was like and I said I saw some nice buildings but also some big empty blocks, and the hotel concierge was glad to give me restaurant recommendations but also warned me to go early because I should avoid this and that block after 8 pm. I'm no stranger to the mean streets but I don't see a need to rush back there anytime soon. So let me ask you, Tracee: what do Detroiters love about Detroit that tourists don't get to see? And leaving aside the pain for individuals, what would America lose if Detroit never "comes back"?

Tracee Hamilton: Detroit was one of the great cities in this country. Detroit gave the middle class and minorities a chance to live the American dream. It's worth saving. How that happens, I have no idea. I will say this: I worked in downtown Detroit for 10 years, almost exclusively late, late nights. I mean LATE nights. Never had a problem. I think the casinos have attracted some street crime; there used to be no one downtown at night.

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Caps Musings: I was at the Caps game last night and I have two questions/comments. First of all I thought the national anthem singer (Kameron Lowe?) was pretty good although a little slow, but 100 times better than Christina. Secondly, I was wondering if you have/can get any information on the horn guy. He is a DC folk figure and recently I saw him in a local commercial. If one has not already been done can you do a short article about him and his devotion to the Caps? Oh yeah, there was a game last night also, although only one team really showed up (except for Neuvy he was spectacular). -GEICO Caps Fan

Tracee Hamilton: I am about 100 percent sure that Dan Steinberg has written about the horn guy. Yup, here's one example.

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Nats and Lannan!: Okay.. Kilgore is doing what he can to work into our good graces (although I think a full season of bowing down to T-Ham will be required before he is fully forgiven). I love his Nats Notebook entry on John Lannan. It shows an interesting side to a player - GOD I can't wait until next week! Since you are not going to spring training, make Kilgore do double the work and cover all our crazy suggestions down at spring training. I think the Zim lovers out there would love a full page detail article on everything Zim! And get him to shave that AWFUL beard off Stras! - Ashburn Fan

Tracee Hamilton: Caffeine Free Diet Coke on my desk. It's so ON. And yes, the beard must go. I'm guessing about 20 minutes of ribbing from everyone in Florida should do the trick.

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Tell the truth: You think Reid is horrible, as well.

Tracee Hamilton: I most certainly do not. J-Reid is a hard-working journalist with high standards who is well-regarded throughout the business, and one of the nicest guys you'll find.

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Annapolis: Chris Hanburger being elected to the HOF reminds me of a better time in football ... they played hard and tough but fair, flags only flew because something egregious happened, the games took MAYBE 2-3 hours, there was no replay and, well, there was RFK. Can you imagine "The Hangman" playing today with all the intricate new rules that refs are supposed to interpret at 100 MPH and then wait around 5 minutes while "the booth" tries to interpret at 8 MPH? Or any of Hanburger's colleagues, like Huff? Yet there seemed to be fewer injuries and more real football.Sigh. Get off my lawn.

Tracee Hamilton: The biggest difference, I think, is that the game is faster now. Everyone's faster, but especially receivers and defensive backs. That makes the collisions more spectacular and more dangerous and leads to the need for more rules.

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CAPS' GOALIES: Top o' the morning to you from chilly Brooklyn NY, Tracee! Will the Caps be able to score a top-notch, veteran G at the trade deadline? Should they? IMHO, neither of their Gs is physically or emotionally ready to get them closer to a Cup yet (witness the game last night). I'm not saying that G is Caps only, or even biggest, problem, I'm just sayin'. What say you?

Tracee Hamilton: They've said they aren't interested in acquiring a goalie. It'll be interesting to see if they stick to that. I thought they should have kept Jose but they felt strongly that both Michal and Varly were ready to play and in that scenario someone has to go down. So in order to develop two young goalies, this is the system they're invested in, for better or worse.

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dan snyder: synonymous with ...?

Tracee Hamilton: I've been trying to come up with one word. I haven't got one yet.

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Detroit success story in the making: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is opening a satellite office in Detroit. This will help out in hiring some engineers that no longer work on cars, renting office space in a depressed city, providing quicker service to their customers, yadda x3. There are a lot of smart people who are looking for work in the Detroit area. We hope this is the start of more companies locating call centers, manufacturing facilities, etc. in the Detroit area.

Tracee Hamilton: I hope so, too. There are a lot of positive signs in Detroit right now. That's why I'm so hoping "Detroit 1-8-7" gets renewed. Good for employment, good for the city's image, despite the fact that they are solving murders.

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Tony K. and Danny Boy: I'm a semi-regular listener of Tony's radio show and haven't heard him say one word about the latest Danny fiasco. Did I miss something? I know that Tony and Dave McKenna (the author of the City Paper story) have some ... history ... and that Danny is paying (part of) Tony's salary right now, but if he is choosing to sit this one out that's really unfortunate, I believe. I hope I just missed it.

Tracee Hamilton: I haven't listened to Tony every morning so I can't say if he has or hasn't. I know he has told me, before this latest thing, that Snyder has never complained about anything Tony's said about anything. But I don't know if there's a moratorium on discussing the lawsuit.

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fairfax, va: So Tony Wylie is Snyder's latest fall guy?

Tracee Hamilton: Honestly, as I said, I was surprised to read that in J-Reid's column, but I have no reason to believe it's not true.

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Here's how Dan Snyder can "soften" his public image: He should simply stop being so Snydery. That, and maybe give some hair care advice once in a damn while. Seriously, even "Jerruh" is kind of likeable in that "down home Texas billionaire" kind of way. "Jerruh" doesn't sue minor news outlets, or fans for that matter. Sheesh. I have to confess: I just wanted a forum in which to say "Snydery." I appreciate your indulging me.

Tracee Hamilton: I do like the word "Snydery." That could become part of the lexicon.

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Now I want to bathe in fresh, hot cononut milk: After learning that Tom Brady, almost to a certainty, bathes each day in fresh, hot coconut milk, well, now I'm oddly compelled to do so. Women, I'm told, find him quite fetching. And if bathing in fresh coconut milk makes the ladies swoon, then I will henceforth follow Tom's example and bathe away in this manner. Tracee, alert the ladies, if you would be so kind!

Tracee Hamilton: I won't need to. Your coconut milk-enhanced essence will sweep over them, and they will be in your thrall.

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Tony Wyllie . . .: I hope he's getting a good pay raise for "taking the blame" for this ridiculous lawsuit. Enough of a pay raise that he can live off it for a few months (or years) when the judge up in New York City dismisses this case with prejudice, and Tony Wyllie then gets fired.

Tracee Hamilton: No one takes a job with this organization thinking there's a gold watch anywhere down the road.

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PR and ticket sales - mis-reading or greed?: Tracee: Excellent column in today's POST by Reid on Snyder's misread. I'm wondering if the Nats owners are exhibiting the same blindeye. I can buy and have bought single game tickets to Orioles games for the coming season. The Nats aren't selling single game tickets yet. They're still trying to force fans into season ticket plans. I think this a basic mis-read of how they should gain revenue. Treating fans well is the best way to gain their loyalty and then their money. Forcing fans into little boxes does not foster loyalty. The O's owner hasn't been a model of wonderfulness (is that a word?), but the Lerners don't seem to learn from his mistakes. They should open ticket sales to single games now. This would let me create my own "season ticket plan," and they'd get more of my money. Instead they're making me wait, and giving me the time to cool off. I see this as destructive. Why do they persist?

Tracee Hamilton: They want to be able to tout some good season ticket numbers, and I'm assuming with no Stras or Harper in our immediate future, that's going to be tough to do. Is it a good business decision? Possibly not but I guess it shows their priorities.

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National Anthem: "This Land is Your Land" is a protest song (as is "Born in the USA); well, maybe not protest as much as disenchantment. It would be a terrible candidate for a National Anthem. The melody is short, simplistic, and repetitive. Can you imagine a band playing that, e.g. at the Olympics? On the other hand, football fans would be able to sing it before kickoff, when they're already drunk.

Tracee Hamilton: I did not take that suggestion seriously. I really don't like that song, for some reason. Maybe it's the melody.

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LUXURY BOX GUY: Mr. Cynical here. Have you heard back from him? I'd like to believe the story, but....

Tracee Hamilton: Nope, not yet.

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Best Anthems: My vote for best National Anthem at a Sporting Event goes to D.C. Washington. I've caught the dude at Nats Park several times and each one has been quite good. Plus, you've gotta love the name.

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, he's very good. I've heard him as well.

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"I love the Series, but they'd bring in pole dancers to get the Super Bowl's numbers": Hi Tracee -- i never get to take part in the chat in realtime, so I'm submitting this at 0-dark-thirty. Do you realize that with the above quote from Tuesday, you may have let the genie out of the bottle? Given that (a) there are 2 poles on every field, and (b) the WS is televised by Fox, I'm sure that if Bud Selig or the suits at the network read this chat, you'd have been able to hear a "cha-ching" coming out of their heads when they got to that line. They'll probably also rename them from 'left-field pole' and 'right-field pole' to 'Mystique' and 'Aura' as a tribute to Curt Schilling -- because hey, baseball is all about tradition and history, right? Next of course will be "inning card girls" a la boxing, which couldnt happen WHILE we're in commenrcial break, it would be televised AFTER the break -- oops, now I'm just giving them ammunition too!

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, we need to stop. Seriously, with their numbers, they need to try something. (Hey, they could call the poles "Legends" and "Leaders." I really hate those names.)

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Dan Snyder is...: (paraphrasing from "Armageddon" - sorry it's one of my guilty pleasure movies) - "a life-sucking bstrd from which there is no escape." - Local Pat's Fan

Tracee Hamilton: There's one...

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Ho-Hum: OK, TC, since the sports landscape is kind of boring right now, IMHO, time to ask a TV Q. I know you watch Chuck. How about Bones? Are you a 'Bones-head'???

Tracee Hamilton: I do like "Bones" although sometimes I find it silly and I frequently forget that I can't eat while watching it. I'll sit down with some supper and then deeply regret it.I am so glad "Raising Hope" is back. That is a little gem of a show. High marks from me. I was on TK's show one day when Greg Garcia outlined the premise and I remember thinking, "Seriously?" but he's a genius because it works.

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Is the NFL at the Tipping Point?: Tracee, my expertise is not sports; it's history, particularly military history. There comes a time in the history of a nation or an organization that what causes it to rise ceases to provide that rise. (Rome, army/law/government; Spain, militant Catholicism and New World; IBM, mainframes pre-microchip). The nation or organization travel on inertia, assuming all is staying well, until a relatively trivial event demonstrates its weaknesses. This Super Bowl may have demonstrated the NFL has passed its peak in popularity. Never did so many trivial things indicate an out-of-touch leadership, an obsession with money, a desire to merge pop culture with sports culture, and a feeling of false invulnerability than this last week. I think the NFL lockout will be a shock to the league's players and management. This isn't the only sport this is happening -- English soccer is also revealing similar hubris and overreach -- but it's my favorite sport. How have the mighty fallen, and how will the mighty fall! - The Airless Cublcle

Tracee Hamilton: TAC: Good question. I sometimes think that the end is nigh, regarding the NFL's popularity, but then something happens to change my mind. Ratings, people buying tickets to watch the side of a building, whatever. A lot of people are choosing to stay home for their NFL experience but there are other people ready to snap up those tickets and parking spaces. I don't think the end is nigh quite yet. however, would be another story.

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Christian Kane: As you're a fan of his, Tracee, can you convince someone to have him invited to sing the anthem at one of our local games?

Tracee Hamilton: Good idea.

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cats: Tracee, should I feel guilty about leaving my cat alone at home all day? I'm worried he's bored. I just moved him from my parents' house where my brother chased him around all day into a 350 square foot apartment where I'm gone a lot. I feel like he looks bored, but maybe that's just my guilt? Any toys you recommend?

Tracee Hamilton: Get one of those balls you can hide treats in; those are supposed to keep them happy. But also remember they sleep about 22 hours a day and seem pretty content to do so. Hide some toys as well. My house is literally littered with cat toys.I found the boys in my bay window the other day, lying side by side with Doc's arm around Phog's shoulder. I tried to snap a photo for the chat but it was too bright, so I couldn't get a good one. I'll keep trying.

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Coconut milk bath alternative?: Is there some alternative to a coconut milk bath? I am working at shedding a few pounds, but right now I am afraid I would displace too much coconut milk.

Tracee Hamilton: Maybe skim milk?

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Your father, I would guess, would not want to be in a luxury box: Of course correct me if I'm wrong, and I'll happily stand (sit?) corrected. But, I can just picture him in a luxury box at Arrowhead taking in a Chiefs game, saying to somebody, "Watching a game like this just isn't right. What the hell's wrong with just sitting in the damn stands? And why anybody would serve, let alone eat, a finger-sized cucumber sandwich is beyond me."

Tracee Hamilton: Ha! No, my dad would probably love to sit in a luxury box. I don't think he's ever had a chance to. The trouble is, once you've gotten to do that, it's hard to go back. It's like flying first class.On my parents' last trip to Arrowhead, which was many years ago, someone knocked one of those vats of mustard at the condiments stand OVER THE SIDE OF THE STADIUM. It didn't hit them, thank God, but it exploded right next to them, dousing their clothing in mustard. If you knew my mother, you'd know what a tragedy this was.

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It's called a steadycam. Use it.: I tried to watch Detroit 1-8-7 but I kept getting nauseous. Seriously, what's with the jiggly closeup camera shots?!?

Tracee Hamilton: I don't notice that, I guess.

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Why is my wife all all into that "Twilight" series?: And I just KNOW she secretly compares me with that "Edward" vampire. Of course I come up short. After all, I'm not 24, I'm not British, and I'm not willing to bite people on the neck just cause it's tasty. Do I need to bathe in fresh, hot coconut milk like Tom Brady and that other chatter to divert her back to me?

Tracee Hamilton: If she's into Edward, all the coconut milk in the world isn't going to help.Ooooo, I just got my Baseball Writers card for 2011. Spring is here!And on that note I'm going to sign off. Time to go bug my editors and cause trouble. Let's talk tomorrow!


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