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

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Tracee Hamilton
Monday, February 21, 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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Thanks : for today's session. A day without Tracee is like a day without sunshine.

Tracee Hamilton: So, no pressure. :)Good morning, everyone! I expect a small but hearty band of chatters this morning, and if neither of our Nebraska fans joins us to brag, I'll be disappointed. Big win for the Huskers.Let's get started. Did anyone watch the NBA All-Star Game? Daytona? Did you get out of the house and have a life?

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Top 3 reasons why baseball is better than opera: 1. Beer.2. You can wear shorts.3. You can do it with your Dad.

Tracee Hamilton: True. I know I would never get my dad to an opera. Although my dad has quite a nice voice. Not in Dave's league, though, of course. Dave can make me cry.

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Wanna buy a game-used net?: You can't be doing this. For crying out loud, you almost made the final four last year. Act like you've been there before!

Tracee Hamilton: I thought this was the year K-State got past just wanting to beat us and get back to having a nationally respected program. This would indicate, not so much. It's a shame.I will say, though, that KU has won 42 of the past 45 meetings, I think -- K-State fan will correct me if I'm wrong -- and so for some of these fans, they've never seen a Wildcat win. So they're excited, and good for them. Selling the net seems a little over the top, however.

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Donanvan McNabb: is he leaving or not ?: Hi Tracee, what's the latest rumor inside Redskins Park? Is McNabb leaving or not? or has GM Bruce Allen cooled all sides to reach a compromise at the table for a potential return next season?

Tracee Hamilton: When I know, you'll know. Seriously, it took nearly a week to find out how bad Brandon Banks was hurt. This is not a chatty bunch. And I'm not sure they know yet. They've got to see the combines. A lot depends on the draft. Say they want Cam Newton but someone snaps him up first? Do they go with a quarterback they want a lot less, or stick with McNabb? I think it's still too early for answers.

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You too?: Why are we working today?

Tracee Hamilton: Let's get those federal mediators on the phone.Or maybe we should just let them handle the NFL instead.

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Has it really been twenty-five years?: Thought you and the chatters would appreciate this reminiscence.

Tracee Hamilton: Nice; Maryland fans will enjoy it in particular.

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Montgomery Village, MD: Congratulations ! You are the ONLY regular to have a chat on Presidents' day and the only chat other than one about Abe Lincoln. You have gone from Sports goddess of the Plains to Almost PRESIDENT of Chatworld. he STILL hasn't won in 94 races. Can't his legions figure out that this guy is all hype ? I guess his number 88 reflects THEIR IQ plus number of teeth. And as for Danica Patrick on Saturday, she was in the way of much faster drivers all afternoon. Harick or someone finally pushed her up front , causing her to actually lead a lap, just to get her out of the way. She really needs to decide which career path to follow--pole sitter or pole dancer. Who is she driving for in NASCAR? JUNIOR--priceless !

Tracee Hamilton: I'll be eager to read the chat with Abraham Lincoln, namesake of my hometown, main street and county. Last weekend was Abe look-alike day back home. They get Abes from all over the country. Someday I've got to get back. he's always going to have a legion of fans because of Dale Jr. That was one wild race. And Danica Patrick is starting to bother me as well.

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Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!: Ms. H: I'll enjoy NU's win over Texas to the utmost, but am resolving not to get too excited. A shot at the NCAA? That almost requires beating KSU and Mizzou in Lincoln, plus road wins at CU and Iowa State. Despite the Wildcats and Tigers being the far-better teams, my Huskers will no doubt pull something like beating them, losing both road games and collapsing in the Big 12 Tournament - a likely scenario, given our b-ball history. Who would have guessed, when your Jayhawks lost a week ago, nearly everybody in the Top 10 would go down? AHG

Tracee Hamilton: There's AHG. Knew you'd come. I told you your Huskers had a shot at it and I don't think they're out of it yet. Missouri has one road win so you could get the Tigers. K-State is so up and down it's hard to say. But I wish you luck.I just assumed Texas would be No. 1, like everyone else. One of the Texas kids said early in the week he didn't want to be No. 1 because it's just a target on his back. I know how he feels.

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Kwame Brown: Between the basketball player and the council chairman, should DC just make a decision to stop blowing money on guys with that name?

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, good idea.

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NASCAR Like a 7th Grade Dance: I'm not a fan of the new bump drafting strategy on display at the Daytona 500 yesterday. As Darrell Waltrip said, it makes NASCAR like a 7th grade dance with everyone trying to pair up. Let the drivers race! Let mechanics create advantage! Stop trying to innovate for its own sake and go back to what people like. . .RACING!

Tracee Hamilton: have asked her to be on today but knew she's be traveling. I'll try to get her to come on this week. Now that I've seen the new world, I'm not sure I like it. But happy for the Bayne kid -- and didn't someone on this chat predict a win for him? Or was he on someone's crush list? Or both?

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Boz Rules!: I love when Boz goes down to Spring Training.. makes me realize that the cold weather is almost over! Love the article on Livo.. Just good to see him still around. Everyone can use a horse that can eat up innings.-ashburn fan

Tracee Hamilton: Agree about Boz. It's the perfect time of year for a little optimism and joy and nobody brings it like Boz.

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Boz on Livo: Loved Boz's article on Livo today! I love Livo and sincerely hope he can repeat his performance from last year. That said, I do agree with those critics who point to his being are starter that the Nats really haven't done much to improve the rotation. Everything we've tried has been a bust: Marquis, Wang, building from within (jury's still out but it hasn't gotten us much so far). Even Strasburg could turn out to be a colossal bust. I love Livo but we need a young, deep rotation and we are far, far, far away from that.

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, the fact that he's the Opening Day starter yet again is a great human interest story but not a signal of great progress. If all the injuries heal and all these guys get after it, they'll be ... okay. That's a BIG if.

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Pet Peeve of Mine: Happy Washington's Birthday or, for those in Virginia, Happy George Washington Day! I hate that people refer to today as "Presidents Day" since the holiday STILL honors George Washington. I got into a discussion with a friend of mine who was insistent it's Presidents Day "to honor all presidents." Sorry, but are we really trying to say Millard Filmore or Herbert Hoover or William Henry Harrison (who served but 32 days) are equal with Washington? Hell no, at least not in my book. Thanks for letting me vent, T-Ham.

Tracee Hamilton: Isn't that because it's meant to include old Abe? I never think of it as Millard Fillmore Day, although if it meant a holiday, I could get behind Millard Fillmore Day in a heartbeat. Then again, I'd still be working, so never mind.

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Draft for the Offensive Line first.: Why draft a QB in the first round..when the O line can`t adequately protect the position? Don't you think drafting the best available O lineman would be the way to go..in the first round? They got Trent last year..but the rest of the line is marginal at best. Washington won super bowls with QB`s like Rypien, and Williams..because the O line was the Hogs. Shanny had all those 1000 yd plus backs..due to his O line..no?

Tracee Hamilton: Yes. I think I wrote that in a column and on this chat. Without a better line the quarterback and running back doesn't matter. But apparently I am old-fashioned because all indications are, they're going for a QB.

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ESPN Mason Snub: So GMU plays in and wins ESPN's Bracket Buster game vs Northern Iowa. . .and it didn't get a mention on Sportscenter the next morning.

Tracee Hamilton: Trust me when I say enjoy the 13-game winning streak and try to stay under the radar as long as possible.

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Pittsburgh Wife: As I'd rather watch paint dry than an NBA game (and that's not because Pittsburgh doesn't have an NBA team), my husband & I saw two movies (The Eagle, which was quite good even though there were no women to speak of in it; and Unknown, which we both enjoyed a lot) and saw 2/3 of our daughters!

Tracee Hamilton: Did you see two-thirds of all three daughters or two of your three daughters? Just kidding. I won't mention the other Pitt happening but assume PH is not to blame.

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Got out of the house: Since you asked, my son is the keeper on a travel soccer team and I watched him play a fantastic game on Sunday.

Tracee Hamilton: never get back."

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At Least Jimmy Johnson Didn't Win: Talk about a setup! I'm pretty sure that Jimmy Johnson was ordered to crash in the first pile up. If he had won, there wouldn't be a NASCAR fan left this morning!

Tracee Hamilton: That's quite possible!

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Kobe's Legacy: Sure it's a theoretical, but how would we view Kobe's career without the sexual assault shadiness? His standoffish attitude always turned me off and he seems to be a bad teammate (2009-10 notwithstanding). Should I stop sipping the haterade and return to my cubicle to ponder my meaningless existence?

Tracee Hamilton: I don't know. I love to watch that guy play but there are a lot of things about him that turn me off. I know this is going to sound churlish, but why does his wife have to greet him in the tunnel at halftime? I mean, seriously, does she have to keep that close an eye on him that she's there at HALFTIME? I don't know, I just can't warm up to the guy, but can't deny his talent.

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St. Paddy's Day: We're within the 30-day window. What are you going to do (aside from drink the nector of the Gods from St. James' Gate)?

Tracee Hamilton: Good question. My parents are coming the weekend before -- mental note: keep them off the Metro -- but they'll be gone. I've got to think about this. I won't go out drinking the Saturday night before, that's for sure. I've been on too many Vomit Trains for that.

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Music that makes me cry: There are certain rock ballads that will elicit the odd tear if they catch me in the right/wrong mood. There's nothing like Irish Sean Nos (Old Style) singing to really get you emotionally. A lot of people, including the majority of Irish people, find it grating but it's pure and real and raw and is maith liom e!

Tracee Hamilton: I will admit that there are Irish songs on my iPod that make me cry, and that a real Irishman would probably hate. Ah, well. Speaking of which, I need some new music for the iPod. Irish suggestions welcome.

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Local Pat's Fan: Congrats on KU's win. With pretty much everybody else losing as well, what are the odds that KU will continue as #1? I know you aren't thrilled with the idea but really should Duke jump from 5 to 1?

Tracee Hamilton: I think jumping from 5 to 1 is crazy and I pray to God Duke does. And given all the Duke love throughout the nation, I'm sure they will.

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Just wondering . . . .: When was the first FTF chat? Is it time for an anniversary or anything?

Tracee Hamilton: That's a good question. Oh, I remember. It was the Monday after Selection Sunday last year. I remember because I had pneumonia SO BAD. But we made it through.

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McNabb? Who Cares?: Why are people asking you about McNabb? First, the football season is done and it's now time to turn our thoughts toward baseball. Second, the Redskins are so dysfunctional and mismanaged that we can all pretty much assume that what's worst for the team will the decision that is made. I've said it here before, the Redskins are flirting with becoming an afterthought in this town. I am 43 years old and I live and die by that darn team but if the Nats or Caps can win a few championships in the next 5 to 10 years, the Redskins will lose the crown as King of DC.

Tracee Hamilton: Well, the Redskins are a year-round concern in this town, and I try to answer all the questions. You are right about the dysfunction. Now all we can do is wait for someone to step up and take charge of our collective psyches.

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"I play for this": Boz's spectacular and funny column on Livo this morning is a reason to subscribe to the Post. Speaking of fine sportswriters, I was wondering whether you know Joe Posnanski, whether he is as decent as he seems in his work, and whether you agree with him the Tiger is a balding 35 year old golfer who's lost it, which is to be expected of golfers at his age.

Tracee Hamilton: I love Joe's work. I've only met him maybe once so I can't claim to know him at all, but he can sure write. I'm a big fan. And he may be right about Tiger, but I hope not. When he's in contention, it's just more interesting.

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Maybe it makes me a homer, but...: I think Boz is the best baseball writer in America. And THREE Boz columns about baseball in four days! Heaven.

Tracee Hamilton: Makes me a homer too -- a Boz homer. Seriously, it's great when he calls in from spring training to discuss ideas with his editor. You pick up the phone, say "Hi Boz" and 30 minutes later he's given you 10 ideas and says goodbye. Being Boz's editor in February was even better than being Boz's editor the other 11 months of the year.

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Lincoln Navigator: I think you should demand a fully loaded Lincoln Navigator from the Post. You perform far more of a public service than Kwame Brown and he got TWO!

Tracee Hamilton: Boy, would I love a new car. I'd take a Hyundai, too. I'm a cheap date.

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You're so pretty: Tracee, when guys start blowing their chests out to save their brains for research, do you think the NFL has a, um, perception problem? And how do the owners keep pushing for 18 games after this?

Tracee Hamilton: Sally, is that you? :)I don't understand the 18-game push. Well, I do -- money, of course. I just don't know why you'd want to hurt your product by spreading it too thin. And of course, LITERALLY hurting your product.

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Postie throwdowns: Tracee, who is the better dancer, B-Svr, Boz, Wise, or Steinberg?

Tracee Hamilton: Happy to say I've never seen any of these guys dance, and I hope I never will. Although my money would be on Boz.

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Why I love Boz: He writes gems like this: "From age 37 to 41, Maddux averaged 15-12 with a 4.11 ERA in 213 innings a year even though his fastball could no longer break a pane of glass." Classic.

Tracee Hamilton: It's a Boz love-fest this morning! I must tell him to read the transcript.

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Spring Training: I liked Boz's spring training column last week but I LOVED today's piece on Livan. Who can read that and not love Livo--the home run in Atlanta, negotiating his own contract.

Tracee Hamilton: They love you, Boz.

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Javelle M's double dunk: Was something special. I didn't have very high expectations but I thought he really did a great job.

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, the dunk competition was so much more enjoyable than the game.

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Pittsburgh Wife?: What does she do during baseball season? Does she let PH watch the Pirates? Is that why they are so bad? -ashburn fan

Tracee Hamilton: Good question. PW?

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Holiday?: PGW here. I'm a freelance editor and writer, and my child isn't in school yet, so I didn't even know today is a holiday. Sad, that.

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, holiday is a loosely used word. I know if I get out of the house today I'll see a lot of folks working.

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Avant le deluge: I'm glad to agree that Boz is the bomb. But I feel that there's nothing besides baseball to get excited about, so I don't have any good questions for you, Tracee. Maybe I should turn it around and ask what kinds of questions you want to be asked. Or maybe just groove on any FTF in-joke. (Like last week when someone wrote "Hello, Kilgore," which I thought was a mistake until I figured out that Kilgore is the Newman of this chat.)

Tracee Hamilton: Kilgore IS the Newman of this chat, and my life. I wish I could sneak up on him at Panera and say it right in his ear.

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Since there's only one other chat . . .: and it's about Honest Abe, I'll drop some little-known history. When what was a territory was going to become the state of Nebraska, the big fight was where to put the capital. Omaha had been the territorial capital, but the legislature wanted the state capital farther west and to the south of the Platte River "(too thick to drink and too thin to plow"). Omaha interests were able to pass legislation that the village of Lancaster, if made the capital, would be named "Lincoln," figuring no Democrat or former southern sympathizer would vote for that name. The ploy didn't work, and that's why I was born in "Lincoln" and not "Lancaster." AHG

Tracee Hamilton: AHG, I did not know that. Very interesting.ESPN just declared KU a 2 seed in the tournament. Huh. Believe it or not, that wouldn't bug me a bit.

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brief soapbox: Hi Tracee,A comment from last week compelled me to write this. To anyone out there, please do not use the term "raped" to describe how you feel when you choose to go to a sporting event and fork over lots of cash to do so. On this chat, we have generally agreed not to compare sports events to war out of respect for those who have fought in wars. Let's extend the same respect to victims of sexual assault. Thanks.

Tracee Hamilton: Whoa, I missed that. Agreed.

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Pittsburgh Wife (AKA Zimm Fan): The topic says it all!

Tracee Hamilton: Ah, of course. The Pirates are a non-issue!

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Bracket busters: The bracket buster games never show up on SportsCenter. These things are always a bigger deal for the schools involved than for the country as a whole, or even for SportsCenter. It's a revenue thingy for the mothership, and not an actually newsworthy game.

Tracee Hamilton: But if you're going to promote those games on the network, shouldn't you report the scores? Take 20 seconds out of the endless NBA all-star game recap, for instance.

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St. Patrick's Day Routine: Mass in the morning. Work if it's a weekday. Lunch with family, usually at the Four Courts in Arlington before the crowds arrive. Then either a quiet night at home while enjoying a few adult beverages or out with friends if the mood strikes me. I definitely wear green and I definitely DON'T drink green beer.

Tracee Hamilton: The Four Courts for lunch is a good idea. Maybe I'll see you there and not buy you a green beer.

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Washington's Birthday: There was an attempt years ago by an Illinois Congressman to get a federal holiday for Lincoln and then to combine it with Washington's Birthday but it never officially came to anything. In the interest of full disclosure I'm a native Virginian...

Tracee Hamilton: Ah, I always think of it as both. Good to know. I should do better with my Virginia history.

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PW Wife: Then don't let the PH watch Nats games PLEASE!

Tracee Hamilton: Ah, another good point. PW, is he allowed to watch the Zimmsters?

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Mason: "Trust me when I say enjoy the 13-game winning streak and try to stay under the radar as long as possible."I agree, I really would like them to NOT be an 8 seed, though they'd have as good a chance to beat the 1 (if they made past the 9) as any other 8 seed.That said, if they did crack the top 25 and won out, would they get a seed higher than 8?

Tracee Hamilton: Ooooo, I'm not sure. By winning out, you mean the CAA tournament, I assume. Say they're 25. To be an 8 at that point would mean the committee would have to put three unranked teams ahead of them. I could see that happening. I wouldn't think they'd be much higher than an 8 and that's a good thing. I guess a 7 would be okay.

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Irish Music: Go to litriocht.com. It's an online Irish language book store but with lot's of great music that you won't find elsewhere. It's also run by a friend of mine so go raibh mile maith agat for the plug!

Tracee Hamilton: Great, thanks!

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WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY: Amen to Pet Peeve!!! When I was little, it was Lincoln's Birthday and Washington's Birthday separately; then they rolled the two into Presidents' Day; then they started counting in all of 'em, even the crappy ones. I have a stake in this since I was born on Feb. 22 and still want Washington to have his own day (not that I don't have to work, because I do).

Tracee Hamilton: I had no idea this holiday had touched a nerve. Interesting.

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Bracket busters revenue for the mothership: They even had a "Sears Bracket Busters" decal on the St. Mary's gym floor. I'm an advertising guy, and a capitalist, and I think that's too much.

Tracee Hamilton: Did SportsCenter report the score?

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Montgomery Village, MD: TraceeThe top 4 ranked teams lost last week--sorry about the Jayhawks. They all lost on the road. Is the home court advantage THAT much bigger in college than the NBA ? Or are the players forced to ride busses and sleep in them too ? Or are they too distraced by the big city lights of New York, Lincoln, West Laffyette and wherever the heck K-State is?

Tracee Hamilton: I think the home court is huge in college basketball. We'd won something like 62 straight before the Texas loss. KU has no travel excuses for their loss; Manhattan (home of the Wildcats) is about, oh, a 70-minute drive, maybe. Been awhile since I made it. It's a tough, tough arena for KU, though. They don't throw live animals on the court anymore but still...

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Speaking of a 7th Grade Dance: As TBHitW, I stayed up with the Utahlicious wife to watch her USU Aggies BEAT DOWN St. Mary's...and the way those Gaels were aggressively pulling on shirts and pushing up against their opponents for no apparent reason in a gym smaller than my junior high's, it reminded me of my 7th grade self...

Tracee Hamilton: I would like to have seen that game. I need to get the DVR rolling.

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What if. . .: Strasburg's best days are behind him? How fitting that would be as an emblem of a city that just can't do anything right in sports. We thought we'd come close with the Caps but even they are succumbing to the culture of failure sports mojo that defines Washington sports. And here's poor me who's actually FROM here with no "home town" teams to fall back on!

Tracee Hamilton: It's certainly possible that Strasburg will lose just enough off his fastball to be average. But it's also possible he'll be as good or better than ever. Don't give up quite yet. As my grandma would say, quit borrowing trouble.

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Are you surprised?: "They love you, Boz." Really? The man is a national treasure and deserves the Spink Award. No wonder we love him here.

Tracee Hamilton: Not surprised, no. And yes, he does deserve the Spink.And with that, it's time to sign off and write a column. Thanks for joining me on George Washington Day!


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