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

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Tracee Hamilton
Thursday, February 24, 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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proBUDWEISERduct placeDODGEment: I was pondering the issue of product placement while sitting at my Dell computer and sipping a grande latte from Starbucks. While I agree that the placements I often see on my Sony television are sometime annoying, they don't drive me to the point of putting my Stanley hammer through the LCD screen. I can always ignore them and scan the Washington Post on my Kindle. But sometimes, when I get too weary, I move to my La-Z-Boy recliner, ensconced myself in my Snuggie and drifted off to Ambein-assisted sleep.

Tracee Hamilton: Very nicely done! I will admit to plugging La-Z-Boy before, including writing an ode to my La-Z-Boy recliner, I think from the Athens Olympics. And I meant every word I said.And good morning, everyone! Let's get started!Oh, what about tomorrow? Should we just have a drink at a bar somewhere downtown? Verizon Center area will be busy because of Caps. Any thoughts? Post Pub?

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Real Men don't Abuse Women, Even Anonymously: Tracee, I am very sorry to see that the daily chat is going. It is one of the chief reasons I log on to Wapo.com. I was shocked to read the responses to Sally Jenkins' column this morning. Apparently too many boys pretending to be men believe in a fantasy world of riches, fame, and success without counting the cost. Adults know that there are costs for success, and often that cost for athletes is heatlh. Sally Jenkins pointed brain injuries and crippling might not be the average $2.4 million an NFL athlete. The boy-men call her names and demand that she be fired. Boys, men make judgments based on what they know, and they accept risks and costs if they feel the prize is worth it. They don't cover their ears and scream "NA NA NA, GIRLS HAVE NO PLACE IN SPORTS!" They don''t shoot the messenger.

Tracee Hamilton: Well, you know my advice: Don't read the comments. I sure don't. Idiots + anonymity = crap. There are smart people reading and commenting on stories, but they are often chased away from the comments area for this reason. This is why I read and respond to emails. Occasionally a troll writes, but by and large I get thoughtful messages -- meaning messages that required some thought -- even from people who don't like me, the column, or The Post.

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Chris: Poor kid. His senior year and they had a chance at a good run with him at the helm. Well, Chris - heal up and good luck to you. Even if you don't return, you have been and always will be a great Hoya.-funkey

Tracee Hamilton: We're talking Chris Wright of the Hoyas here, for those who missed it. Very bad news for the Hoyas. They were closing in on getting one of the top four spots in the Big East tournament, too, which means a double-bye.

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Not really a question: You don't have to post this, but I just wanted to get a few things out to you. I don't know if you've seen this site before, but figured you'd appreciate it as it's a photojournalist's blog about Detroit (I just pulled an article for you; there is tons more to read). Also, in terms of Facebook, you can create a group page and then restrict membership so that you have to personally approve everyone who requests to join. That way, you can try and mitigate the trolls. Although to do that, you would have to join FB...

Tracee Hamilton: Thanks for this website; it looks great. It's funny that the blogger mentions Chris Hanson in the first graph; he started his NBC career at the Detroit affiliate and I used to see him at the journalist/cop bar we all went to late at night. He looks very preppy but if he drank at the Anchor, he's good people.Re Facebook, I'm still pondering. I'm hoping to come up with something tomorrow at a meeting with people who are smart than me about these things. :)

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FTF Wake Tomorrow?: So what's the verdict? A lunch hour gathering downtown would work best for me. Just tell me when and where!

Tracee Hamilton: I think it's going to have to lunch hour, even though some of us won't be able to drink. I have a meeting at 2 so I will at least try to go in sober. How about noon-1:30 somewhere? Waiting for a good suggestion since I'm not the barfly I used to be.

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Caps winning?: Yesterday in response to a comment about the steep rise in Caps season tickets, one of your chatters said that the price hike was justifiable because the Caps have been winning since the lock-out. Hate to burst that bubble but they've only won one playoff series since the Cup run in 1998. During that same period the Skins have won two playoff games. The playoffs are all that matters - a win against Carolina on a Wednesday night in December doesn't matter.So to the original commenter's point, we're forced to pay a 50%+ hike over the past two years but has this team really provided us that much of a return on our investment? Post lockout bandwagon fans may disagree but those of us who have had our tickets for 10, 15, 20 or even 25 years are all pretty frustrated with how Ted takes our money for granted. It was said yesterday, but if Snyder did this he would be absolutely killed by the fans and the media.

Tracee Hamilton: I believe a story is in the works about this, fyi. And I think the chatter said the post-lockout ticket prices were low to get fans back and that they're making up for that. I don't know if that's true, but I think that was the point being made.

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Wizards Trade: Hi Tracee, The trade seems like a good trade for both the Wizards and the Hawks. Hinrich gets to play for a contender and the Wiz reduced their payroll. Now all the Wiz need to do is breakup the McGee, Blatche, Young trio that is killing this team. None the three seem interested in playing or learning how to play.

Tracee Hamilton: My parents are flying out for a weekend to see Hinrich play Collison. In fact, there will be at least 60 KU alums at that game. And now we'll all be cheering for the Thunder. Embarrassing. Kind of scared to call home to discuss this. They'll be happy for Kirk, though, as am I. He was a very miserable guy.

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Thanks Tracee ...: ... for not predicting a K-State victory last night; we needed all the help we could get! I will miss Nebraska - I like this coach and I think they've got a good program developing. They'll do well in the Big 10. But still ... why did we they ever break up the Big 8??? And why does the sports world always seem to be trying to fix that which isn't broken??? - K-Stater

Tracee Hamilton: I let you boys hash it out on your own. I think the win over us will help you in the committee room in March, no question. And boy, do I miss the Big Eight. It was just a perfect little league to me. But everything changes, God knows.

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Not getting political, but: I loved Sally's column this morning (as always) but thinks her comparing the NFL union with the teachers' and other government employees' unions in Wisconsin is flawed for a couple of reasons. One, Public sector employees are paid directly by tax dollars we have no choice but to pony up, whereas pro athletes are paid primarily through TV deals and tickets and merchandise we willingly buy. Two, rightly or wrongly (and as the husband of a teacher, I say wrongly) the average American thinks "I could do that" of teachers (or DMV emloyees, etc) and wonder thy they get 'free' health care, retirement, etc. But only the delusional ex-high school star looks at the NFL and thinks, "I could do what that Favre guy is doing." There's more of an appreciation of the level of talent in pro sports and we're willing to pay for it, sadly, over teachers. My wife once asked with no small amount of bitterness, "Why should Barry Bonds get paid millions and teachers make next to nothing." "Because, my dear," I had to answer," you're not going to be able to convince 40,000 people to pay $65 apiece to watch someone work out calculus problems on the chalk board." Comparing societal vs. monetary worth can only lead to unhappiness.

Tracee Hamilton: Good points. I listen to my sister's stories of high school teaching in 2011 and am afraid, for her, for society, for kids who are trying to learn. I mean, seriously afraid. I sure don't think I could do it.I know Sally checks us out, so Sally, here you go.

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Very Good Wife: I'm really sad to see this chat go. I simply don't understand--if the chats don't cost a lot to produce and they're really popular, why does the Post keep whittling them down? Book, real estate, politics, fashion--these chats really set the Post apart and help build readership and a community. I've lived all over the country (and the world, for that matter), but the Post continues to be "my" paper because I grew up in Falls Church and Oakton. (Just to make this sports-related, I went to high school with J.D. Gibbs, son of Joe Gibbs--any Oakton HS '87 graduates here?) I've read the Post for years and the chats are one of the very best things about the online paper. Please do not throw the baby out with the bath water. However, I'm glad you will still be with us once a week, Tracee.

Tracee Hamilton: Thanks, VGW. They don't cost anything to produce but in fairness, they haven't found a way to monetize them, either, and I'm sure that's part of it. I mentioned before, that's why you see more video chats. Those short commercials at the start of those make money, but those advertisers don't want to be attached to the written word. They want video. This chat wouldn't be as fun in video; for one thing I look a fright about half the time, I couldn't answer a tenth of the number of questions I do this way, and there wouldn't be time for back and forth and asking and answering questions. I will really miss doing it but who knows what will happen.

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Coaching Changes: How close are we to seeing two new coaches take over in the Verizon Center

Tracee Hamilton: Pretty close to one; there is just no way to know about the other until the playoffs -- or lack thereof.

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"Letters to the Editors": I emailed a letter to the WaPo Sports Department Editor on Tueday expressing my concern about the pending changes to FTF. I have not heard back - this is a typical non-caring non-response from the WaPo that I have been subjected to over the past few years with greater frequency. What gives?

Tracee Hamilton: You sent it to sports@washpost.com? Those are coming in just fine but my boss is out of town this week so he won't have seen them yet.

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Wizards Trade: OK, I'm not particularly current on NBA players who are not Celtics so I ask you, who knows all, is this trade going to be a positive or negative for our local franchise? Local Pat's Fan

Tracee Hamilton: Eh. I think having a second first-round pick is going to be positive. The rest? It's some numbers, Bibby is a solid veteran to fill the Hinrich role, but these guys aren't the final solution. They're a stop gap and probably an attempt to light a fire under the rest.

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Lookinf for a Cheap Vacation??: Woah did anyone else notice this? On the 'archive' list of FTF chats, today's chat shows up as being hosted by http://budgettravelonline.com/. Did the WAPO pick up on the hint of sponsorships allowing FTF to continue, or did the web site get hacked? --Long Time Reader, First Time Chatter

Tracee Hamilton: Um, I have no idea!

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FotF: Good morning, Tracee. So with all the coverage of Harper and Werth (and everyone else), I can't help but wonder how the Face of the Franchise is handling his role on the team. Can someone put a bug in Kilgore's ear (or Boz maybe) to check in with Zim?

Tracee Hamilton: Boz, check in with Zimm for all the Zimm lovers! (Boz reads the chat.) No point in me telling Kilgore; he doesn't even read my emails!

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getting together: Ms. H: If there is one, and it's at lunch-time, how about at least noon to 2pm? I can't get out of my office until 1pm (if I'm lucky - it's hard to move the giant "Big Red" banner and full-size statue of Bob Devaney, which block the doorway). AHG

Tracee Hamilton: How about 1:45? I have to be back at the Post at 2 so I'll have to jump in a cab by then...

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Mourning Chris Wright's broken hand: Is Georgetown cooked now? I didn't watch the game last night, but couldn't understand how the score went south in the second half until I read that. There's a big difference between playing with Wright having a bad night and not scoring and playing completely without him.

Tracee Hamilton: Yup, a huge difference. Georgetown is deeper than a year ago, when this would have catastophic, but it hurts them, no question. They will make the tournament but the optimists who had them going deep will, I think, dial back a little.

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FTF Sponsorship?: If you could get a sponsor for FTF. . .say Guinness. . .would you and your handlers consider continuing the daily chat? I'll negotiate the deal (with a 10% surcharge of course!).

Tracee Hamilton: Man, wouldn't that be sweet! They could pay me in kegs.

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Kilgore and Zimm: Um, did you look at Nationals Journal this morning?

Tracee Hamilton: Good point. I'm boycotting Kilgore but Zim fans take note!

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Hot Chocolate and Bailey's: Tracee,First of all, thanks for creating a wonderful environment for people to talk about sports and everything else under the sun. I really am not sure what I will do during lunch since that is when I pull up your transcript. I agree with the others, the decision makes no sense. Every so often when I have referenced a comment in the transcript to a friend or colleague, it hits me how this chat and the folks in the chat has become a part of my everyday life. I got a kick out of how I would cite to a column you wrote or a comment you made in the chat and call you "Tracee" - as if I've known you personally for years! Thanks for bringing us into your life.Second, I was watching Rachel Maddow last night (no politics, I know), and she was broadcasting from the Free State Brewing Co. in Lawrence, KS. Ever been? She interviewed a bunch of Kansans and talked about how nice everyone has been. She also gave a brief history of Lawrence. Fascinating. I didn't know the ties to Massachusetts. Made me want to get a history book on Kansas - and I don't think I would have said that a year ago! Thanks for all your work both here and in your columns.

Tracee Hamilton: First, thanks. Second, oh, yes, I've been there, it's great. Lawrence is a tremendous town; I highly recommend it. It was settled largely by abolitionists from Massachusetts. The streets in town are arranged in order of their admission to the union, but that's how Mass Ave because the "main street" of Lawrence. Kansas wanted to come into the union as a free state, which led to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the bloodshed between Kansas and Missouri, where in many ways the Civil War really started and John Brown was "hatched," and the dislike between the two states even today. Lotsa good history there. Glad you were interested!

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Chris Wright: If he is SO central to their success, were they really a good team to begin with? I haven't really watched them this year but I got the impression they were a good team. . .not a mediocre team with one good player a la the Cavs without Lebron.

Tracee Hamilton: Like I said, a year ago they had essentially five good players. They are deeper now and they don't suddenly become awful. But he's a senior and a team leader -- it would be rare if that had NO effect.

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Generating more hits for FTF: You tried the guest host approach, but you did not far enough. I have the solution:First Things First with Tracee and Sarah Palin!First Things First with Tracee and Lindsay Lohan!Every other Post chatter uses this technique. I guarantee more page hits. What do you think?

Tracee Hamilton: Um, can I pick different celebrities? How about Bieber, every day?

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Comments: Why does the Washington Post - a giant in the industry - permit the comments of any and all articles to be filled up by the idiots in the world?If the WaPo silienced these idiots, they'd eventually give up and go away leaving the comments section open for the real adults.

Tracee Hamilton: I am told there is a new comment system coming that will address some of these problems. I sure hope so. The problem for a newspaper is, how to we just tell certain people to shut up? It's a free speech problem. And although you can report truly egregious stuff, there aren't enough employees in the entire building to police every story, blog, etc., every day, so while we do try, it's like pushing back to the ocean.

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Wake Venue: Fado, Clyde's? Somewhere in that neck of the woods? Somewhere Metro accessible so that rules out Georgetown.

Tracee Hamilton: How about Fado? That's a good idea. Near Verizon, noon, so won't run into the hockey crowd. I know I'm never going to pick a place that makes everyone happy, but at least it's Metro accessible. So let's do that. And if I have to nurse a Guinness alone ... well, there are worse things.

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He was a very miserable guy.: I"m sure you think it was understood, but I think you need to add, "because he was playing for this awful team." Otherwise it sounds like he wasn't a pleasant person.

Tracee Hamilton: Sorry, yes, he is a terrific guy who had never played on an historically bad team in his life and didn't enjoy it. I'll miss him, though.

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Letter to the Editor: Tracee, I sent a polite email to the Sports Editor giving my two cents about the upcoming changes to your chat. I don't know why people have to mess around with something that's working just fine. Love your chats, columns and most of the Sports writers. I still don't understand how Chico Harlan would rather write about pieces of crappy art instead of being a beat reporter for the Nats. But I guess that's sort of a dream job of mine. So my question is: if you had to pick between the two, Field of Dreams or the original Bad News Bears?

Tracee Hamilton: Field of Dreams, but not by a landslide.

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Wiz trade: Any chance Mike Bibby is back in 11-12? He could be an asset for John Wall

Tracee Hamilton: Possible. One would assume they'd go for size in the draft.

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Sally's Column Today: I disagree with Sally on this. Yes, I know that NFL players don't have long careers and very few get the top salaries, however they earn more money in their short careers then most Americans earn in their long ones. Do players have to buy big houses and lots of cars and all the other trappings of wealth if they know (and they do know) that they will have short careers and lots of expenses? The answer is no, they don't have to buy all those things. They could live in modest houses and live frugally and then they'd be set for life. When I was a kid growing up in Reston there were several Redskins who lived near me in modest, average suburban homes that no NFL player would be caught DEAD in today. They make their choices. Most appear to make bad choices but that shouldn't earn them sympathy.

Tracee Hamilton: There is no question that some players run through the money as fast as they make it, and sometimes in really idiotic ways, far worse than big houses (like 30 cars, that kind of thing). If they lived a normal, middle class life they'd be set for life. But they so seldom do.

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Caps tickets: It was a suggested rationale from ownership's point of view, whether or not it's 100% true. I don't know what season tickets cost before the lockout, but I know what I paid in face value back then, and that price for my seats has just gotten back to that; they're more for the "premium games". If you're that unhappy with the price, cancel your tickets. It's a business, too, and until sales drop off, they haven't hit the maximum they can get away with charging. I'm not defending it, just rationalizing.

Tracee Hamilton: It's true, they can get what the market will bear, I guess.

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FTF Demiser: I am a non-Washington athletic team fan from little old Jasper in deep East Texas, but in the past few months I have become a daily reader of your chat and even sent you a comment once. Please tell the bean-counters at WaPo that they are looking into the wrong end of the telescope in cutting you down from daily to weekly--many, many of us will miss your daily take on the increasing bothersome world of sports. Best wishes for you under the new"plan"--March Coffield, Jasper, TX

Tracee Hamilton: I love that we have participants from all over. Thanks, March!

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Are WaPo Sports Columnists: given a topic to write on or do you decide? Sally's been on fire since the weather turned crappy at SB 45.

Tracee Hamilton: We pick our topics, although sometimes we ask an editor's advice, no question. Sally reminds of "the great eye, lidless" and she turned it on the NFL. Poor NFL.

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End of chats.....it's a shame: Allow me to throw my hat into the ring with this sentiment. I've always thought that it's the chats on this website that distinguish it from...let's face it....a thousand different places in the world I could get my news from. The quality of the Post has always been top notch, but the chats just put it over the top. They gave insight to the thinking of the people reporting the news. They made me a better consumer of the news....I was able to be much more critical (in a good way) of the things I read. I honestly think it makes chatters better reporters...they have to answer critical questions and answer to potential biases. And it made me, frankly, more interested in different features of the newspaper. I was much more likely to want to get my political news FROM THIS SITE (or a hard-copy version of the Post) when there were political chats everyday. Now...not so much, now I can get it here...or anywhere else. I used to read the Misfits regularly every Tuesday when they chatted the same day...now, not so much. With all due respect, and an admitted lack of business/marketing training, I think whoever's basing the decision on whether to keep a chat solely on the clicks on that chat is woefully short-sighted...the chats are a hook. They got me to care about the reporters who chatted regularly, and make me want to read them. And given that you chatters liberally linked to other articles, it was even more effective than that. When there were regular chats on all sorts of subjects everyday, I spent my whole day on this site. The Post is still a quality news organizations, but in my opinion it really has lost its edge over other sites.

Tracee Hamilton: Many people have mentioned the chats as an entry into the site. That's a really good point. Thanks so much.

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Lurker: Tracee, let me add my voice to the chorus. I sure hope your editor, the new ombudsman, and any other Suit with responsibility for these decisions will see the flow of comments that has come forth since your announcement. I live in New England and pretty much read the local paper, Boston Globe, and NYT for most of my adult life. I stumbled on these chats more or less by accident some years ago, and now spend more time on wapo than any other site, primarily because of the chats. Twitter and Facebook are not replacements; what I resent is Post management taking away the direct access to reporters and columnists that so many readers appreciated and enjoyed.Like others, I am upset not only about your chat being canceled, but about the many chats I've followed over the years which have gotten picked off, one by one, just like the ski jumpers brought down by the marksmen in Nordic combined.

Tracee Hamilton: I hate it when that happens! :) Thanks so much for the comment.

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Refreshing antidote to Cam Newton: Someone asked yesterday if there are any professional athletes who just want to play the game. In a column in yesterday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Zack Greinke explained that he almost quit professional baseball several years ago because of his social anxiety disorder. The only thing that kept him in was his desire to pitch against the best batters, which he wouldn't be able to do playing in a rec. league somewhere.Count me among those who will miss your daily chats. I never established a signature but was glad to bond with you over Major Astro, Elmer Childress and years of truly bad football growing up in Kansas. I will be forever grateful that you did not publicly pick the Packers.

Tracee Hamilton: Thanks so much (and you're right, there are good guys out there who are the opposite of Mr. Icon -- what was he thinking?).

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Pneumonia Shots: Tracee, usually one of these is enough. Unless you have specified diseases, in which case you might need a booster 5-10 years down the pike, more may be counterproductive. So unless your doctor advises othewise, you should continue to be protected from the one you had last year.

Tracee Hamilton: Good to know! That's what I love about this chat; people here, collectively, know everything!

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Chat and Caps and Stuff: Add this Chicagoan to the legion of folks that will miss this chat. Seems so very short-sighted of the Post. Regarding the Caps, our Hawks season tickets have risen $5.00 over three years (yes, we've got the cheap seats!) - and the Hawks won a cup (although relatively unlikely to repeat). The more time goes by, the more skeptical I get of Leonsis and the Caps organization (and I am an ex-Caps season ticket holder). Can I please say hi to a fellow reader of your chat? (Hi, Tyler!!!) Yes, we are going to miss you and the chat very much!

Tracee Hamilton: Just please follow me to Thursday, or wherever I end up. When I know FOR SURE, I'll send it via Twitter (TraceeHamilton) and the Post Sports front online will also make sure it's there.

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Oscar Week on FTF!: Tracee:I couldn't sleep last night, pondering the imminent demise of FTF and found myself watching The Godfather, Pt II on AMC at midnight, made doubly worse by the commercials every 12 minutes or so (Michael hugs Fredo...COMMERCIAL...Fredo goes fishing...COMMERCIAL).Anyway, it got me thinking, in honor of Oscar Weekend...What GODFATHER actor (once engaged to Meryl Streep) appeared in 6 films during his career (before dying of Bone Cancer)...and ALL THE FILMS WERE NOMINATED FOR BEST PICTURE OSCAR?We are going to miss you every day. Let us know where the wetting down is going to be. I've never had a drink with a fictional character before. (Are you real?)

Tracee Hamilton: I know this one, although I don't remember his name. The actor who played Fredo. Think what his body of work would be had he not died so young.

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Wichita fan: Tracee,Put this D.C. transplant down as one who'll miss your chats greatly. I work nights and it's been a great way to start the day, before I settle down to my online master's degree classes. You're aces!

Tracee Hamilton: Thanks, Wichita!

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Oscar Actor? John Cazale is the answer. : John Cazale is the answer. Fredo in The Godfather, He also appeared in The Conversation, The Godfather: Part II, Dog Day Afternoon , The Deer Hunter and in The Godfather: Part III in archival footing. All nominated for "Best Picture" Oscar.

Tracee Hamilton: There's his name, thanks!

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List of FTF Characters?: You (of course), Pittsburgh Wife, Sleepless in Mount Vernon, The Irish Guy (that's what I call him), Very Good Wife (or is that an alias of Pittsburgh Wife?). . .who am I leaving out?

Tracee Hamilton: The Airless Cubicle, Ancient Husker Grad, Recent Husker Grad, K-Stater, The Best Husband in the World, Ashburn Fan, Montgomery Village, Md. Oh, I know I'm forgetting more!

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"Bertie"???, "Bertie"??????: Tracee --Where else can you find talk of the Big Broadcast, so maybe I should not be picking a nit, but aficionados know that the Great Gildersleeve's housekeeper/cook's name was "Birdie", not "Bertie", which sounds more like a butler to someone named Algernon.

Tracee Hamilton: I'm not up on my Gildersleeve but thanks for the cx!

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CAPS and Hendricks: I'm so happy for Matt Hendricks. He deserved to be signed for a couple of more years. Great move by the Caps. Do you forsee any other trades for the Caps? IMHO we need another solid defenseman and a 2nd line center? Your thoughts Tracee?

Tracee Hamilton: I'm happy for me that Matt Hendricks signed because he's a good talk and a nice fellow. That's how journalists react to trades and signings -- how does it affect my work day? Losing Hinrich -- bad. Hendricks signing -- good.I think we may still see a deal for a 2nd line center. There's time.

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Pls explain sports writers roles: Tracee, please tell me how the writers we read are assigned: you, Jenkins, Boswell, Reid, etc. The group that covers sports in general and the Redskins. Just not clear on their "positions." And thanks for the treat of reading your FTF every day for as long as it has been going on. If your boss has any common sense, he will recant your removal from here. You are a good will ambassador for the Post that no other discussant can match. That ought to be worth something.

Tracee Hamilton: For columnists, we can make a lot of our own choices. We all have preferences. The last two Redskins seasons, Wise and Boz did most of the deadline Skins games. I usually wrote the day after. But Sally sometimes filled in, and I filled in for Boz for two road games so he could go to the Series. It's not really set in stone. I stayed away from the NBA at first because I felt with Wise and Wilbon we didn't need more NBA from me, but I've done more Wizards this year and assume that will continue. There isn't really a formula and we're not restricted from one thing or forced to do another. I believe I can safely say I am the undisputed leader in the clubhouse when it comes to the Olympics and no one is ever going to shove Boz aside at World Series time. We all have our "things." Does that make sense/answer your question?

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Very good wife, again: The comments sections just devolve into name-calling and mud-slinging. This is why the chats are so valuable--that doesn't seem to happen. I'm sure the idea behind the comments sections were to have valuable, serious discussions about the topic at hand. But the chats are what the comments sections should be--so why whittle down all the chats? The chats are where the grown-up discussions are taking place.

Tracee Hamilton: Completely agree with that assessment.

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Pittsburgh Wife: Much as I would like to join all of you tomorrow, I will be at work. My boss will be out of town in the great Midwest (near a school of former college hoops glory),so I cannot leave. But my thoughts will be with you all, and so will my dear PH. Now if you could have Zimm there. . .

Tracee Hamilton: PW, you will be missed!

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Serendipity of Chat: Tracee: Thiryt-year Post reader here. One of the well known principles of print journalism is that the juxtaposition of stories on a page leads to more stories being read. Eye-catching headlines, subheads or art next to a story draws the reader to a new story. I've found the same serendipity reading your chat and others' chats -- wanting to read something you or a chatter reference, be it a story or a column in the paper. However, rather than link to an on-line version of the story, if possible, I prefer to pick up the paper and read with the copy in my hands. Your daily chat provided movement to the daily hard copy. Losing your daily chat will lose that link to the print Post for me. I am not alone here in thinking that losing your daily chat is not only a disappointment for lots of us, but could be bad for The Post's business. It looks like management is tinkering for tinkering's sake and is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Tracee Hamilton: I do try to send people to other stories, which is time consuming and why chats usually have producers, so they can do those links and such. That's why I sometimes say I don't have time to Google stuff -- it's a busy hour or so out of my day (and I usually start typing answers around 9 so I'm going for about 90 minutes straight sometimes). I do like to think the chats drive traffic. Hopefully the Thursday chat can continue that but it won't be daily.

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If "those are coming in just fine" can you talk about quantity?: Ms. T-Ham; do you know or can you say what the web wizards at the Mothership report about e-mails regarding the chat cancellation? Is it a torrential flood of electronic anger or merely a timid trickle?

Tracee Hamilton: I don't think it's a flood but my friend Kerry is the guy who cleans out the email and forwards them on and he seemed a little gassed yesterday. Bless his heart. I've worked with Kerry a LONG time.

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I just want to say a quick word to the flu shot: Hey, nice job! My wife, our 3 year old son, and I are all sick with the damn flu, and all of us have had the flu shot. Yeah, I know I know it's no guarantee of anything, there's different strains, etc. But can a dude be bitter for an hour?

Tracee Hamilton: You sure can be. That stinks. And I know a lot of people that that's happened to, apparently because there are about 4 billions strains of the flu and the shot covers 30. (Neither of those numbers has been scientifically researched, by the way.)Did I recommend "The Immortal Life of Harriett Lacks" yesterday? If not, I'm doing it now, while we're talking about disease. If I did, I'm doing it again. Truly a wonderful book about a woman who should be a national hero.

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Pre-requisite for Gabby staying: Tracee,You mentioned it earlier that BB's future with the Caps is really all riding on their performance in the playoffs. If you had to guess, what do you think the threshold is? My personal opinion is that anything short of a conference finals appearance will result in Gabby being able to concentrate fulltime on his duties as a Hadeed spokesperson. (perfect product placement, as well as a question.)

Tracee Hamilton: Nicely done there at the end! I think you have it about right. First round is not enough this time.

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Replacing Flip: Tracee,It seems Flip's fate is sealed and I agree there is a lack of effort from the team. Having said that, who can they bring in that's any better??? I would love to see Brian Shaw but he's the HC in waiting in LA.

Tracee Hamilton: There's one problem in getting rid of Flip, and that is that they'll have to continue to pay him plus pay a new guy to coach a team that isn't going anywhere. Does Leonsis want to spend that kind of money? I think the answer is yes IF they can find The Guy -- the one they think can mold a team and then take it up to the next level, and the next. Sometimes, though, that's hard to find in one guy. Some guys are very good at the molding and fundamentals but can't make the next step. This is pretty much the Boudreau debate right now. He formed a team and got them to the edge but can't get them up the ladder. Or can he?

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Clicking Ads: So we should get consulting advice on outsourcing from Capgemini and buy Traveler's Insurance to help the written chat format? I'm deaf, and I don't really like video chats because they are not captioned and transcripts are not provided (at least not when the chat take place) so written chats are more accessible.

Tracee Hamilton: Another good point. I haven't seen a lot of video chats I like.Oh, and that said, I'm going to be on a video chat (pause for laughter) on March 15, to discuss the NCAA tournament. I dread doing those things but can't say no to my friend Mitch. I think it's going to be me, Dan and LaVar; Prisbell will already be out covering play-in games. So an early plug for that.

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FTF chats: I wish I could make the lunch tomorrow, but I'll be stuck in a conference most of the day. In fact, I'll miss FTF too, so I guess I'll have to read Friday's later. Anyhow, just wanted to say thanks for doing the chat everyday, I've really enjoyed it and I'm sad I won't have something to read every morning while drinking my tea.

Tracee Hamilton: I'm sorry you won't be able to make it. Maybe we can do this occasionally and hit the various boroughs along the way. Just because we're only going to "see" each other one day a week doesn't mean we can't talk.

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Stuff I don't care about: The WIzards, the Caps, the Skins, the Penguins, Kansas, Kansas State, cats. But I'm here as often as I can be, for the community and the collegiality. And I read other things in the Post while I'm here, and I patronize those advertisers that make sense for me. So by all means, please find a way to drive me away.

Tracee Hamilton: Boy, if talking about Kansas and the cats didn't do it, I'm not sure I can! So glad you stuck it out and enjoyed it. I sure did.

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Another comment on comments: It's especially ironic when the Post highlights a story on the website and note "800+ comments--add yours." Of course 700 of the 800 are mean-spirited rants, but: "add yours."

Tracee Hamilton: Yes, please add to this hate filled, name calling screedapalooza. Not me. Life's too short.

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The Very Good Wife: I am not Pittsburgh Wife, although we are both in Pennsylvania (I'm in State College). Perhaps Pittsburgh Wife and I should get together.

Tracee Hamilton: I knew you were two separate people and I'm glad to have both of you along. The State College area is beautiful; I had family pass through Centre County and have been there to research. Gorgeous area.

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Finally trying to get in a question!: T-sizzle! This question comes from the Seattle area: We'll all miss this time together, with you. But on a more serious note, I think Dino Gregory has been playing great of late and it may be due to the pork loin sandwich recipe that was posted last week. What are your thoughts? -THG (the hungry geographer)

Tracee Hamilton: I believe that pork loin sandwich is all that stands between the Wizards and the NBA title. I'd pass it on to Kirk but ...too late!

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Potomac, MD: Methinks the Graham family is attempting to take a page from the Dan Snyder notebook, i.e. kill the great things about the site and accentuate all that is wrong.I'm sure which is worse out of (a) you getting your schedule axed; (b) Weingarten cutting back to once a month; or (c) Adrian Higgins getting axed out of the rotation.

Tracee Hamilton: Well, don't blame the Graham family. This didn't come from the top and Don has always been one of my biggest supporters, from the day I walked in the door. A better guy you'll never meet.

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Fado: Are devoted readers who've never actually posted welcome at the luncheon gathering tomorrow? Would it have helped if we'd posted more? Always enjoyed the chats and the Big 12 flavor. OUMom

Tracee Hamilton: EVERYONE is welcome who enjoyed the chat. I would love to meet you all if it was possible.

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Hat Trick?: Tracee:I have never had 3 comments posted on the same chat. Today I had 2. Will you post this so that i will remember the daily FTF with a warm spot in my heart?

Tracee Hamilton: Everyone, toss your metaphoric hats!

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Confirming FTF Wake Details: Fado, Tomorrow between Noon and 1:45 PM. Here's my last bit of Irish for FTF. . .Fado means "long ago" as Gaeilge. When you tell a story in Irish you always begin "Fado, Fado" in the same manner that English stories begin "Once upon a time." Slan go foill a cairde! Go n'eiri an bothar libh go lear!

Tracee Hamilton: See, I learn something every day! Yes, that's the plan exactly. Hope you'll be there to teach me more Irish!Okay, so we have a plan for tomorrow, when we'll have our last daily chat. Can't believe I'm writing that! Then Fado, then next week, Boz will be chatting on Monday, so don't miss that, and I'll be on Thursday unless I tell you differently in the meantime! Go forth, have a great day.


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