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

Tracee Hamilton
Wednesday, February 23, 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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The Yankees: Hey, do the Yankees suck, or what? (Tracee -- this is Dave, of Dave and Michelle. I'm really trying to find out if we're still on for lunch.)

Tracee Hamilton: I just texted you, you nut. How about noon at Galileo III? Is that too early for you guys? 600 14th St. so should be somewhat close to your hotel...And good morning to the non-dining readers as well! Let's get started!

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Ombudsdman?: Does the Post still have an Ombudsman, or has that position, too, been eliminated to save money? It would be nice to register a protest w/him or her, even if that would be meaningless.

Tracee Hamilton: Funny you should ask. We have a new ombudsman as of this morning, and he starts March 1. His name is Patrick B. Pexton.

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K-State, Nebraska, Post Chats: Howdy, Tracee - I've been away for a while on personal business. Sorry! Don't take it personally!I'm not at all optimistic about the game tonight with Nebraska - a key game for both teams. The loser is going to have a very difficult time getting into the tournament. I'm a bit nostalgic, too - the last time these two teams will meet in the conference. (I'm going to miss Nebraska way more than Colorado.)One more thing - your editors are making a terrible mistake. These chats have demonstrated that it is possible for there to be cordial, respectful, interesting dialogue on the internet. That is a very impressive achievement in and of itself. Sadly, it seems like the Post is on track to count hits and create middle-of-the-road content that everyone will hit on and no one will remember. Kind of like oldies radio. Big, big mistake. Your leadership in this chat been exemplary, Tracee - don't let 'em get you down! - K-Stater

Tracee Hamilton: If a K-Stater can say something like that to a former Baby Jay mascot, there is hope for the world. I agree about tonight's game -- the loser may be out. Sure makes it interesting, and I promise not to upset either you or AHG by actually making a pick.

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THE END OF FTF: Does the Washington Post have a square we can gather in to protest against The Boss? Is there a Washington Post flag we can burn? If we do protest, will thugs from Arts & Living come out to beat us and cause us to spill our favorite beverages?

Tracee Hamilton: I think you should fill the halls a la the Wisconsin legislature! No, I'm kidding. But don't be afraid of Arts & Living -- we can take 'em.

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Cheese Boy Luvin Him Some GMU!: Thanks to Dan for pointing out the meaninglessness of the Top 25 Poll yesterday. That said, I tend to agree that it's best that they continue to fly under the radar. Let the big conference teams disrespect them and not take them seriously. If that's the case, then this year's George Mason will be. . .George Mason! Go Patriots!

Tracee Hamilton: Agreed; we discussed this yesterday and Dan had it right today. Those Patriots just need to keep winning. Do GMU fans ever call them the Pats? Or is that reserved for New England? Not sure I've ever seen that in print.

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Venemous comments and questions: Michelle Singletary just gets pounded with these, as did Carolyn Hax whenshe announced she was getting divorced. Michelle posts on occasional "mild" version and they are enough to make you sick. Anonymity lets people say the most outrageous things. Unfortunately there ar mean-spirited bigots/sexists/idiots in all walks of life, but I'm still sorry you have to put up with this..

Tracee Hamilton: My skin is thicker than a year ago, but not thick enough. So much rage in the world. So sad...

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It's all my fault!: Tracee, I am so sorry. I don't read Hax or Sietsma, but I did read John Kelly (his loss was almost as hard on me as yours is going to be), Ann Hornaday, Desson Thomson, the real estate ladies, and so many others who are no longer chatting. OK, I probably didn't drive off Wilbon, but if they cancel Boz I am going to cancel the subscription I've had since 1965. Isn't there someone to whom we could voice our displeasure? I realize it probably won't make a difference, but it would make us feel better.

Tracee Hamilton: You can email my boss at sports@washpost.com, but remember, he's, like, my biggest fan so don't be too hard on him. He's trying to find the best way to use me, is all.

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To get your numbers up: More product placement + give relationship advice?

Tracee Hamilton: I don't have enough product placement but I do give relationship advice when asked. :)

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The last week of "First Things First": As a half-century reader of, and a thirty-eight-year paid subscriber to The Washington Post, I have taken the cancellation of your daily online chat as the latest example of the paper's self-destruction. More and more, I seem to be continuing my subscription less out of interest and more out of duty, and it pains me to see this happen.One hallmark of a dying institution is its refusal to capitalize on its assets that distinguish it from its competition. It can be something minor like the Uptown Theatre no longer using the curtains that dramatically highlighted its giant screen. Or it could be the Post cutting back yet again on its wonderful online chats solely based on readership. I remember when the Post canceled the weekly chats of its Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Tim Page, and hoped that was just a one-time goofy decision from a neophyte department head. (and yes, Tracee, I am putting Mr. Page and you on the same lofty pedestal).If the Post's search for more eyes to view its website is more important than what those eyes are reading, why not give up any pretense of quality and put the Kardashians on the home page, or change everyone's byline to "...Washington Post staff writer and Redskin fan."Here's a more serious suggestion: The Post's business managers should call in Michael Kaiser from the Kennedy Center. He is famous for turning around struggling arts organizations, but the for-profit Post could learn a thing or two from his experience, especially about not cutting "programming" in a futile attempt to cut losses. Like artists of a great theater or ballet company, it's painful to see the talents of the writers of the Washington Post underused or squandered by bad management. To quote "popular" chat host Carolyn Hax, I'm banging my forehead against the keyboard. I'd copy this message to ombudsman Andy Alexander, but he's gone!

Tracee Hamilton: Just please don't hurt yourself. And I appreciate the passion.

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Boston, MA: I could be all wrong about this or perhaps my MBA and 20 years in marketing might have an edge here. These online chats should be gold for The Washington Post. Having been outside the DC area for 3 years now, I can state that there are very few if any news outfits that produce as professional and regular chats as WaPO does. Even if I don't care that much about the Redskins or Kansas basketball (sorry), I still read your column and online chats. It's quality stuff. I don't know what metrics they use to assess your chat but hopefully they don't compare it to Hax and Robinson who are nationally known figures. In terms of marketing, I would be interested to know what WaPO does to market these online chats, specifically the ad hoc ones that pop up based on current events. Since I lived in the Middle East, I posted the link to the chats on my FB so that my friends, many of whom live in Egypt and other countries rising up against their leaders, would know. Many said they either caught the chat live or read the transcript afterward. Why can't this be encouraged with your and other chats? Anyway, there is so much WaPO could be doing with these chats. I'm sorry to see that they are opting to reduce the number of chats not increase them.

Tracee Hamilton: I agree re the chats of all kinds. They are not expensive to produce and I think I've proven they can be done without even a producer to help me. So it's not a cost question. Kind of a bummer.

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Say it ain't so, Joe!!: Posting early in case I don't get on live. REALLY gonna miss the daily chats, but guess we'll all have to get used to being rationed. This move is as crazy as when Steinbrenner traded Costanza to Tysons for chicken beer.

Tracee Hamilton: That's EXACTLY what it's like! Great reference!

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Wake for FTF!: Since FTF is not long for this world I think it's only right and proper that we send it off with a good old fashioned Irish wake. We can have a casket and everything! We'll drink Guinness and recollect about the good times we had with our dear departed friend FTF. You pick the pub, I'll bring the keeners. It'll be great craic altogether!

Tracee Hamilton: Maybe we should, Friday, for instance. Hmmm. Anyone else? Have to be somewhere downtown, which I know eliminates the suburbanites and Kansans and all...

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Transcript Chatter: T-Ham, I just don't know what to say. When I read your chat was being discontinued I was crushed. I have a couple of questions about it. How much does it cost to do a chat? I mean, why is there a finite number of chats that can be done? Clearly I'm ignorant of how they work but aren't you just pounding away on a laptop at home? How can it possibly matter to the Post if you continue to do that? Or are you considered to be "on the clock"? I'm just so confused. I can't tell you how much I enjoy your chats and will really miss them.

Tracee Hamilton: It has nothing to do with cost. I can't think of what the cost actually is. I do them in addition to my other job, I can do them from just about anywhere, so it's not a logistics or cost issue.

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Boz: Boz is so happy he'll be taking over Wilbon's slot in the chat schedule. I have to say, if I were the Post, I'd let Boz chat whenever and wherever he wanted. The same for you. I plan to divide your Thurs. chats into 5 equal portions and read one portion every morning, but it just won't be the same.

Tracee Hamilton: I will try to chat extra long on Thursday so it will equal five chats.Still not sure Thursday's the best day. Need to think about that and decide real quick.

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Dolphins or Wizards?: I grew up in Miami in the 60's/early 70's so the Dolphins will always be my NFL team no matter where I live. But there was no NBA team back then, so I'm happy to root for the Wizards. So which do you think will happen first - the Dolphins winning another Super Bowl or the Wizards winning another NBA title? And given the ineptitude of these franchises over the past 20 years, will I see it in my lifetime? I'm 57, healthy, and plan on living to at least 100 so am hoping the odds are in my favor.

Tracee Hamilton: I think you'll see one of those things happen, and I think the Dolphins are a little closer. I hope you see many good things in the remaining years!

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Hello, Newton...: So Cam Newton says that he intends to be "an icon and an entertainer" and not just a football player. Can't we just have one young player come into a league with the attitude that he's going to work hard and do things right and be the best player possible in his sport, without also wanting to be the next "icon" for American society (other than Bryce Harper, of course)? And with this kind of attitude, is there any question now that Cam Newton is destined to the the Redskins' first draft pick, after which he'll flame out while becoming an icon and an entertainer instead of a football player?The first question was rhetorical; the second, not so much...

Tracee Hamilton: Well, when I hear that, I think of one guy: Devin Thomas. He wanted to be an entertainer and an icon and they shoved him right out the door. So how hypocritical would it be to bring in another guy with the same goal? Hope you all saw J-Reid's column today on the upcoming draft.

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The Demise of the Daily FTF: T-Ham: Add my name to the disappointed fan base who has made FTF a part of my morning routine and thinks the Post is nuts to cut you down to once a week. Why is the Post mucking up its most valuable online differentiator, the chats? Also, if indeed we must endure you chatting less, might you compensate by tweeting to and with your followers more often? Pats Fan (grouchy and depressed over this)

Tracee Hamilton: Tweeting more often is a possibility. I do tend to tweet in bursts, which is very bad of me, but I always worry about TMI with tweeting. I also need to get on Facebook; isn't there a way we can talk to each other on Facebook? Yes, I know, it's dreadful I don't know that, but I've been gunshy about Facebook, literally, having been stalked before. But it's time.

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Storrs, Florida: Kind of ironic (and yes, I'm actually using that word correctly) that the NCAA case against UConn comes down to a 70-year-old coach--who thinks Yahoo is "some blog"--failing to control excessive texting by a freelancing kid who wants to be Arliss. I have a mental image of Calhoun using a cell phone with rotary dial--we love him for putting us on the map, but (as the Larry Sanders Show put it so eloquently) he's from the school they tore down to build the old school.

Tracee Hamilton: Since I just asked the world's stupidest Facebook question, I won't mock Calhoun. I don't know all the details but I do know that there is a real focus on the "little stuff" and a real tolerance of the "big stuff" that I don't like. KU got penalized once for a plane ticket for a kid to attend his grandmother's funeral. This year at least the NCAA got it right and let the whole team come to Thomas' mom's funeral. Some progress.

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Pittsburgh Wife: How can we get you back? I'd even let my husband watch a Steeler game for you (Kansas City Chiefs, that would be, right?)

Tracee Hamilton: Wow, PW is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice! I am so touched! But I can't let you use PH for good or evil.The more I think about it, the more I think Facebook is possibly the answer.

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CHARGE ME PLEASE!: Tracee -I am so bummed your daily chat is going away. I'm a longtime reader of the post who moved to Houston. I was a religious reader and sometimes question poster on Mike Wilbon's chat and in all candor found yours as an outlet for his going away. While I didn't know anything about you at first, I think being an a loyal FTF reader let me get to know you a bit better and as such I think I probably do enjoy reading your columns more than if I hadn't been an FTF participant. Though I don't agree with everything in your columns, I do enjoy reading.There have to be others like me. And while I do read the post for free Online the chats certainly do get me to read more often. I also will say that although I think the price is a bit too steep for online publications like for my Kindle, I would pay something to be able to read and when appropriate be a poster in the chats. This wouldn't even need to be monetary - as a poster said yesterday, I'd be willing to provide demographic info for targeted ads which in today's online space I think is key (just ask Google or others trying to mine you to sell to advertisers).Anyway, just my two cents. I do think it's a bit short sighted to reduce the interaction between columnists and readers if even a smaller audience especially when it sounds like you enjoy doing them!-- Frustrated in Houston.

Tracee Hamilton: I do enjoy doing them. Maybe the reason the audience stayed static is because we don't flame, or name call, and we try to keep things civil. If the chat WASN'T that, I'd have pulled the plug myself. I just don't want to contribute to that. We'll go weekly and I'll try to figure out another way of us to communicate between times. Lord knows there have to be ways I don't know about. :)

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Nats Fan Fest: So the Nats didn't do a traditional Winter Caravan and have set their "Fan Fest" for the day before opening day. They just don't get it. I'm not going to take TWO days off work in the middle of the week for the Fan Fest AND opening day and I doubt many people will. Perhaps they did have a proper Winter Caravan and Fan Fest up in Philly where their target market lives?

Tracee Hamilton: I think they had good intentions but bad results. They want to have all the players available for FanFest, but it is a problem to have it on a weekday before the opener. I'm not sure what the answer is but be sure to register your complaints over in Nats land. No reason this can't be improved upon.

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NU and Basketball?: Ms. H: Sorry to see you'll only be with us once a week, but a1/5 of a loaf is better than none. NU's win over Texas (and a 16-1 home record - the one loss to that charming bunch of Jayhawks) has been enough to have the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star discussing b-ball even more than Bo Pelini's new assistant coaches. The equivalent, in Lawrence, would be relegating Self and company to the back page while covering Turner Gil's choice of 2011 student managers. I'm afraid KSU will end all of this tonight in Lincoln. Please predict a KSU blowout. Thanks AHG

Tracee Hamilton: AHG, I just can't pick, but if the hoops team is finally getting some props, you're right, that's incredible. I think even Post readers would be surprised by the level of Huskers football coverage in Nebraska. But it outweighs Redskins coverage here, by a lot.

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Increasing Hits: Hmm, how to increase hits for this chat. How about posting videos of your cats playing piano? They could perform "Hail to the Redskins!" And you might look fetching with a red bandanna on your head as you sing "The Phillies Fans Intruder Song" ("They're climbing in your Nats Park, snatching your tickets up...").

Tracee Hamilton: Those are certainly ... ideas. :)

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Product Placement: Could we get one of our beverages to sponsor you? Or pomegranates?

Tracee Hamilton: You know, I should have a beverage sponsor. Guinness should be my sponsor! I could get one of those home keg systems. Oh my heck.

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Does the Post still have an Ombudsman, or has that position, too, been eliminated to save money?: What's that?

Tracee Hamilton: An ombudsman is someone who works outside the editorial processes of the paper and handles reader complaints. They columnize on how the Post handles certain issues and they are supposed to be as objective as possible. Some newspapers have one, some don't.

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Caps: Tracee - I received my invoice from the Caps yesterday and there was another substantial increase in ticket prices. Over the past two years there has been a more than 50% increase in the cost of the seats. If Dan Snyder did this to the Redskins fans he would be absolutely crushed in the media so why does Ted get a free pass from everyone?

Tracee Hamilton: First I've heard of it; thanks for letting me know.

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Boulez Ethos: Now that the boulez have a point guard, do you think they will soon get an inside banger/defender type?JTPlacitas, NM

Tracee Hamilton: They need some muscle, don't they? It'll depend what's available in the draft at their spot, I suppose, but yes, that should probably be next on their wish list. I do think it'll have to wait till the draft, though.

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No Special Name...: Hi,I've been reading your chats during my lunch hour almost every day, and I'm going to miss your daily chat so much, it's been the highlight of my days over the last year... Maybe if I'd had a special nickname and typed in during the chat I could have saved it... You'll just have to be the highlight of my week instead of my day....- No Special name

Tracee Hamilton: NSN, you have a name now. And just by reading the transcript you did your part. Thanks.

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Icon - really?: Can you really be an icon after one successful year of college football? Can you think of any possible way to put a bigger target on your back for your rookie year than that quote? Nothing like motivating really good defensive players. Does the name Ryan Leaf mean nothing to anyone or is that ancient history now?

Tracee Hamilton: No, I don't think so, but he might really think he is. Shudder. He was able to come to Auburn and immediately dominate; I don't think that's going to happen in the NFL.

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ON SECOND THOUGHT: Just realized that could be taken the wrong way. Just kidding- sorry. (about stalking your lunch).

Tracee Hamilton: Ha! I saw your first message. I wasn't worried. :)

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Goodby Big 12 . . .: Ms. H: I sent an earlier email, before I saw the one from KSU grad. As the b-ball season winds down, it's another reminder of the Big 12's end. I'll miss NU/KSU - a sure football win for NU for years, and vice versa for b-ball. Coach Snyder never gets enough credit for the greatest resurrection in college football history - KSU was the absolute worst major college football program for ages, and he turned it in to a consistent winner. Besides, driving from Lincoln to the Little Apple is a lot easier than Lincoln to Minneapolis or Madison. AHG

Tracee Hamilton: Nice drive, and no traffic! :)

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Tried to email you at WaPo today.....: Tracee - I tried to email this note to you, but the WaPo page didn't seem to be sending anything, and just refreshing the page. If you got four of these emails, please forgive.Message begins:Your "Tree" column - now that's why we need more of Tracee, not less. Very well done, although I'd rather have done without the subject matter altogether - jeesh! How can someone's life be so void of meaning that they'd go poison some trees, and then call a sports talk show to "brag" about it? Pathetic.Did you ever get the "Glory of Their Times" audio CDs? They are a treat you shouldn't deny yourself. It's a taste of what the Ken Burns "Baseball" series might have been, if grownups had been put in charge of the project.Don't let them steal Hamiltime from us - you have no idea how important such a simple pleasure can be to working stiffs like me out here. You and your writing do bring a lot of enjoyment to us, and also provoke some thought as well. Someone did a good job raising you, that's obvious.Looking forward to today's FTF.

Tracee Hamilton: You can always reach me at hamiltont@washpost.com. I try to respond to as many emails as possible.Thanks for the kind words about the Auburn column, and everything else. Much appreciated.I didn't get TGofT on audio but it's on my list. I'm slowly working my way through the things I didn't get for Christmas that I really want. First was Mark Twain's biography, then the Rebecca Skloot book about Henrietta Lacks. And let me tell you, that book is riveting. I'm not finished but highly recommend it.

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Caps: Hi Tracee: Will miss these chats...was curious to hear if Katie is hearing any trade rumblings from the Caps. Clock is ticking...

Tracee Hamilton: So far GMGM is being pretty silent, and there is no availability today. I'm going out there tomorrow so we'll see. It's a tricky thing, deciding whether to potentially disrupt team chemistry with so little season remaining.

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Chat Cancellation: Tell me this isn't so! Will I now have to actually work at work?

Tracee Hamilton: Now you can start that novel you've been dreaming of!

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Chatonomics: If the chats are too expensive to produce, why were there video chats for the Prince George's parent who robocalled the school board and the guy who was photographed buying ice cream in the snow? These decisions are baffling.

Tracee Hamilton: No, economics really isn't a part of it. These chats are cheap. Believe me.

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The more I think about it, the more I think Facebook is possibly the answer.: Too many security issues with Facebook.

Tracee Hamilton: Sigh. This is the problem with me not knowing anything about Facebook. Maybe a blog? I don't know.

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Too good to last: I knew there was no way these chats could go on 5 days a week forever, but I'm grateful that it sounds like you will be chatting at least once per week. I'm a 36 year old female with basically zero interest in sports, but a love of reading, and I've grown up with the Post. This chat has opened my eyes to the wonderful writing that makes up the Post's sports section. Because of this chat, I now seek out whatever you and your colleagues are writing about and read it and have gained a lot of knowledge as a result. And I realized after last night's question regarding nordic combined on the Jeopardy Teen Tournament, that I'd never heard of you before you started these chats and the first columns I remember reading were during last year's winter olympics. Thanks for all of your good work.

Tracee Hamilton: There was a Nordic combined question on Jeopardy last night? Now I have to sit through the teen tournament just to see that! Thanks for taking the time to write. I am glad you found a comfortable community here. That's what the internet is supposed to provide on its good days.

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Product placement: So y'all think that product placement has gotten out of hand, huh? Lemme tell you, try tuning into the Big Broadcast on WAMU on Sunday nights and listening to some old time radio. Now THOSE guys knew something about product placement. In the words of the Great Gildersleeve, "What's for dinner, Bertie? Something made with smooth, creamy Kraft Velveeta cheese I hope!"

Tracee Hamilton: I love the Big Broadcast, when I catch it. I grew up listening to Fibber McGee and Mollie and The Shadow on our "local" radio on Sunday nights. Loved it. (I should add these were repeats; I'm not THAT old.)

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Handle Pending: Sigh. I've been a devoted Post (and newspaper) fan my entire life. I cannot imagine not being a 7 day a week subscriber to the paper. I have remained loyal through all sorts of changes, both the natural type of people moving on, and the unnatural type of tinkering with the product. But I have seen a real decline in the past few years in the quality of the product. The exception has been the online chats where we have had unprecedented access to the extremely talented writers of the Post. The highlights for me were the weekly chats with Gene Weingarten (now only monthly and not always that), and then the daily chats with you. Sigh. I can't believe that getting rid of a daily destination for readers is a good thing. I'll be there every Thursday (or whatever day you end up chatting) but it means the site will only get my attention 1 day a week. Just seems counterintuitive to me.

Tracee Hamilton: HP, I hear you.

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Not a cost issue?!?!: Then why in the world stop the chats? Makes no sense...

Tracee Hamilton: They want to drive more traffic and want to try to use me in a different role to see if we can do that. I hope we can. Maybe if we can't, the chat will come back!

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NBA: Is having all the big name players end up in big markets a good thing for the NBA? It's already the most top heavy league, with only 7 different champions since 1991, compared to 12 for MLB, 13 for NFL and 11 with the NHL. Compound this with having teams play way to many games that don't matter, and why should I keep following this sport until the playoffs?

Tracee Hamilton: This is becoming more marked this season, but has been a problem for awhile. And now that players are engaged in a sort of "Sim City" team building of their own, it's going to get worse. NBA teams in small markets can't survive without a change in the economics. Which is why a lockout next season seems inevitable.I used to cover the NBA and loved it but I follow pretty half-heartedly until the playoffs. And my favorite team is on TV pretty much every week. I would shorten the regular season in both the NHL and NBA, even if it means expanding the playoffs, because they are too long a slog for everyone, including the fans.

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Question: Are you scared of Dan Snyder?

Tracee Hamilton: No. I'm puzzled by him. Very puzzled right now. I will write about this at some point, but I am a person who likes to think about things, not just load the shotgun and start spraying.

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FTF thanks: If someone is eating at Tequila Granda and happened to see someone with flaxen hair and sipping a Guinness, would it be OK to drop by and say thanks for all the wonderful mornings we've shared together? I know it's not like you are going away but withdrawal will be tough. My mornings are highlighted by reading FTF and then tuning in Mr Tony. Thanks. 20171

Tracee Hamilton: I wish someone WOULD talk to me at TG, although I don't have the Big G with Mexican food. But if you see someone with her nose in a book, it's probably me. Come on by!Oh, and a plug for the Maplewood Grill in Vienna. Tried it last week and it was very nice. I'll be heading back there.

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that's a shame: Sorry to hear you're being eliminated. The WP has really fumbled the online discussions. They USED to be awesome...full of interesting reporters talking about politics and all sorts of other topics. But a glance at the schedule shows how much things have dwindled down. The increasing use of "video" chats has also been very disappointing as they tend to be less interactive and the number of questions dealt with is exponentially less. I don't get why the WP wants to kill one of the main things that sets the website apart from the printed paper and other news sources. It seems senseless.

Tracee Hamilton: I'll be honest; I don't get it either. I've argued for chats for more of our sports writers, and that's why I've tried to have guests. I think they are SO helpful, they don't cost anything because we aren't paid for them, but everyone is willing to do them anyway; it's not a question of that. Sad, I think. At a time when everyone else in the world is living in everyone else's pocket, we are getting further from our readers. I really get a sense of what people are thinking about and talking about from this chat. It helps me as a person and a writer. I really believe that.

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Getting you back: "They want to drive more traffic and want to try to use me in a different role to see if we can do that. I hope we can. Maybe if we can't, the chat will come back!"So, if we boycot what they do with you next, you'll be back? We've got a plan!!!!

Tracee Hamilton: Just please don't get me fired. The kitties must eat!

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Pittsburgh Wife: How else can I share my love of Zimm if you're not there? And iced tea made with Luzianne teabags? The Celebritology gals (of whom we're losing one) don't mention Zimm at all!

Tracee Hamilton: Love Luzianne. The Zimm love... I don't know. Nats Journal is not the right place for that, somehow, and Kilgore would just be embarrassed by it. You may have to save it all up for one weekly outburst.

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Caps pricing answer: One - because tickets were underpriced coming out of the lockout (poor team plus need to get the fans back.Two - the team is winning now and there's a waiting list for season tickets. I don't begrudge the increase (mine went up 20%), but I thought maybe this year they'd temper it a little because of the economy and the team isn't quite as exciting.

Tracee Hamilton: I bought three last fall for the family and they were on the last row of the arena and expensive as hell. But if they can get the money for them, they will, god knows.

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FTF Wake: I will hall my butt in from the Burbs (Ashburn) to mourn FTF! -Ashburn Fan

Tracee Hamilton: Okay, well, is Friday too soon, planning wise?

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Drive more traffic: Let's see, based on comments you or a questioner made this morning, I have checked out 3 other WP blogs, went to find a couple of WP articles and already have a few to read that I noticed when scrolling down on the WP site to get to your chat link. I'd say that's generating traffic for the site (and I'm a subscriber!)

Tracee Hamilton: And I sit there every afternoon and click on my chat transcript, too! And still it's not helping. :)

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The Post: When will the Post stop announcing things it's going to eliminate and annouce something they're going to add or increase???

Tracee Hamilton: Actually, that's not an unfair question.

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History going down the drain: Tracee,I grew up reading (actually learned to read with) Shirley Povich. I have started almost every day of my life with the Post, going from Povich to Gold, to Levey, to Boz, etc. The Post has managed to show how sports columnists can transcend just sport. Your chats have continued this tradition. Many members of my family have done the same, while often having disagreements with the point of view of some of the "reporting" vs. editorial side. All of that time there were reasons to continue to be loyal to the Post. Frankly, your chats were a prime magnet. The Post is making it harder and harder to find a reason to remain loyal. It is an electronic, interactive age. Someone needs to explain the necessity to retain gems, such as FTF.Sorry, had to vent. Anyone starting a pool on Harper's first appearance in a ML regular season game?

Tracee Hamilton: I think we should wait on the pool until the end of March, just to see him against pitching. And thanks for everything you said.

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Football and brain damage: If you were the mother of a high school student, would you let him play football knowing now what you know about the link between concussions and brain damage?

Tracee Hamilton: This is a good question. I am not sure. If my kid really wanted to play football I'd have a hard time saying no. You can't keep them in bubble wrap. They're going to drive a car and they're going to do dumb things. But I'm not nearly as sure as I would have been 10 years ago.

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RE:: "When will the Post stop announcing things it's going to eliminate and annouce something they're going to add or increase???"How about subscription rates?

Tracee Hamilton: Snap!

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RE: Drive more traffic: I don't live anywhre near the DC area, but I end up here nearly every day just for the chats, then I read the rest of the stuff.

Tracee Hamilton: And I sure do appreciate it. I like that we hear from people from all over the country.

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B'More Cat and FTF Lover: Trying to get this in quickly, but for many of us, FaceBook is blocked at work, while the WaPo chats are not. Just saying...And I would follow you on Twitter in a New York minute. Love you.

Tracee Hamilton: Thanks; again, my Facebook ignorance betrays me. Okay, I'm armed with some information, let me think about this. I'm on Twitter as TraceeHamilton (I think that's right) and I'm not a twitter fiend or anything but I'll start tweeting more, that's for sure. So please sign up. Also a good way to communicate with you all if I start something like a blog.

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I feel like Blutto Blutarsky: "Chirst 7 years of college down the drain." Or, whatever he said.

Tracee Hamilton: He said so many great things. "Did we give up when the German bombed Pearl Harbor?"

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Bubble Wrapped Children!: Good answer Tracee! As the father of four boys I can tell you that you can't make your parenting decisions based on fear and change with every new threat reported in the popular media. The risk of football has been know for years. If a parent says that wouldn't let their child play now but would have 10 years ago is lying or allows popular opinion to raise their children.

Tracee Hamilton: I know parents who said "I'll never give my children toy guns." Their kids ran around shooting sticks and using their fingers. The intentions were good but they're kids and they're going to do stuff. One thing sports does is keep kids from getting into all kinds of other trouble. Between my athletic commitments, speech commitments, musical commitments, acting commitments, and schoolwork, I never had TIME to get in serious trouble in high school. Not that I didn't have my moments. But most of the time, I was too busy.

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Redskins: If season ticket holders rose up against Dan Snyder, would he flee the country?

Tracee Hamilton: I think he'd tear down all the trees surround his compound, like Saruman, and build an army to defend him. :) Maybe I've seen LofT too many times.

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Chats helping traffic: Over the last ten years, I can't tell you how many times there's been a big news story going on and one of my first thoughts has been to see if the Post is going to have somebody chat about it. And I live in Chicago!

Tracee Hamilton: Yup, those are the times when chats can really be helpful and informative.

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XM, FTF: XM has a radio station that plays classic radio shows like The Shadow and Jack Benny, Burns & Allen. I love FTF because you actually answer some of my questions unlike other chats where only a few get answered.

Tracee Hamilton: I've gotta get XM. I've gotta get a new car. Sigh.

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Huh?: Tracee, I've been out of town and, I guess, out of the loop. Could you maybe link to the announcement or clarify for those of us who aren't up to speed what's happening to our daily dose of FtF?

Tracee Hamilton: Sorry, I meant to answer this earlier. The daily chat is being canceled; it'll be weekly now. More in yesterday's chat transcript if you have a chance to look at it...

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Galileo III: Are we all invited ... aparently there aren't that many of us so space shouldn't be a problem.(No I have no sports comment today ... as I am in mourning and they don't let me drink Guienesse at work ... stupid work.) Please answer quickly because it's a long drive to Galileo from Charolette, NC and I'll have to find parking.Let's Go Royals

Tracee Hamilton: Well, hurry along and we'll squeeze you in. time because I need to go to Kettler. But I'm willing to go sit at some bar Friday for farewell drinks if anyone wants to stop by. Send your bar suggestions and should this be a happy hour thing or a noon hour thing, and we'll figure something out. Let's talk tomorrow!

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