Saturday, August 4, 2007

Unplugged, condemned, checked out

The end of the road is right here.

This blog is now cooked.



Thanks for all those who consistently read this space. It was for you that I spent the time digging, thinking and writing.

I had hoped to begin chasing interviews again in the next few weeks on Colorado college and pro sports teams but I am silencing myself, for an indefinite period of time. It is highly unlikely, although I will never say never, that this space will be revived.

Personal and business issues are the variables that led me to the decision.

Thanks again for being the readership I respected and hoped to please with something different and interesting.

Please proceed to the exits in an orderly fashion and drive home safely.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Buffs absorb hit; Graham unknown

Colorado Warrior

P.T. Gates, CU's hope for an electric breakaway back, is, as expected docked for the season due to academic deficiencies. The junior college star won't be lining up in the Buffs backfield because he lacks the progress necessary to be eligible. Gates is saying that he is firm on CU, thanks to the relationship he has with the coaches and his love of Boulder but he's young and who knows what might happen down the road. Losing Gates takes away the Buffs hope of added punch to its' offense, making it more dynamic. While there are other talented backs on the roster, Gates was expected to be an immediate impact player. His absence will be felt in games and truly, helping recruit other players. If he would have been successful, it would have stoked the interest of recruits for the next class. Coach Dan Hawkins had to take a chance on Gates. It didn't pay off, at least not yet, if ever, but it was a calculated gamble worth investing in.

Jesse Nading (pictured) doesn't believe the return of injured running back Kyle Bell to the team is the key to CSU reversing its' fortunes. The touted defensive end thinks the Rams have sufficient talent to win without Bell. Truth is Nading was not disparaging the rugged Bell with his remarks as much as he was avoiding excuses for any sub-par results this season but maybe he should have asked offensive coordinator Dan Hammerschmidt and quarterback Caleb Hanie what they thought about his statement on Bell first. Guessing that trio may have agreed to disagree because the reality is the Rams might be talented without Bell but they are better with him over the course of 11 games.

Daniel Graham, the former CU All-American tight end, and New England ex-patriot who is now a Bronco, is getting a lot of media stroking because he's a story of a local boy done good who came home. The given is that Graham will be the blocker Denver has lacked in the running game at the position, and a player who has winning intangibles but what is unknown is whether Graham can be the pass catcher at the NFL level that he was in Boulder. With Tony Scheffler being banged up, this is Graham's time to show his best to the coaches. That tandem potentially might be the best the franchise has fielded. The guess here is that Graham is capable of 50-600-6. His talent will only help a young Scheffler on many levels, from playing the game to learning how to be a pro.

Stephen Franklin, CSU's talented basketball recruit and an Aurora Central graduate has not turned himself in on charges of identity theft. It is difficult to imagine that this is going to turn out well and Franklin is going to have a long and memorable career in a Rams uniform. This is going to likely be a short story. Look for Franklin to end up at Backwoods U. once the dust settles and this is all ironed out, legally.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bronco breakouts; Nelson surging

Colorado Warrior on Pig

Three Broncos are predicted to bust out and big this season, according to the crystal ball of Dennis Dillon of the Sporting News. The names named are quarterback Jay Cutler, wide receiver Brandon Marshall and guard Chris Kuper. Cutler is an easy choice, as was Marshall for how he ended his season a year ago but Kuper's selection takes some stones. Only the insiders know of his quality college resume even if he didn't play at a school anyone knows much about (North Dakota). Matter of fact, the Broncos offensive line could be ready to start turning over with Kuper and 2007 draft selection Ryan Harris to blend with the aging center Tom Nalen and left tackle Matt Lepsis, coming off of injury.

First-round draft choice Jarvis Moss is visualizing and speaking Defensive Rookie of the Year to himself. The poor guy has no idea that he won't be playing Vanderbilt or Mississippi State in 2007. And maybe he should focus on building and keeping his body strong to prove his case. Point blank, the best rusher on this team is Elvis Dumervil. If Moss can mirror ED then the Broncos might have something goin'.

Early shots in the dark -- CSU signal caller Caleb Hanie and Air Force counterpart Shaun Carney are going to lay down impressive seasons in 2007. Both are experienced, more than capable athletically and driven to succeed. Hanie could even lead the Rams to a bowl game.

Wonder why schools like USC stack prep All Americans several deep at many positions while other quality programs struggle to get one all star to commit to their school? Outside of the prestige of saying you're a Trojan, Gator, Longhorn or Wolverine there is Memphis basketball coach John Calipari's approach to selling the deal. If a recruit hesitates on him due to the logjam of talent in the Tiger's program, Calipari questions if what he's doing talking with the kid, adding that good players don't worry about who else is in the program (Sporting News).

Rockies Rap

Aaron Cook again showed he is capable of being a shutdown arm with his performance Tuesday against Florida. What Cook, however, is not, but has been often written to be, is an ace. While he can flash like one at times, he is also quite undependable in that role. That is not beating down the man because what he is is still of great importance. Cook is a quality no. 3 pitcher on a staff, which is no slight and he's a top-level no. 3. Teammate Jeff Francis, who pitches like an ace frequently, is a rock solid no. 2 guy in a rotation. What this franchise needs is a no-doubt no. 1 or another Francis to take the next step towards being a playoff team.

Don't look now but the Rockies first-round draft choice in 2004 and development-slow poke Chris Nelson is becoming an exciting player. At Single-A Modesto, Nelson is controlling the strike zone, and producing extra base hits. His average might be a disappointing .280 but he has banged out 28 doubles, six triples and 14 homers while driving in 74 runs. The shortstop also has 21 steals. What this all says is exactly what the Rockies organization preaches, which is patience. If Nelson can duplicate his numbers next season at Double-A Tulsa, he might the future impact stick in the middle of the infield the parent club is desperate for, adding a feature that the lineup truly needs.

Rodrigo Lopez down with an injury, Jason Hirsh comes back from the Springs to replace him. Hirsh started fast then fell apart. He needs to be the quality pitcher he's capable of being for the Rockies to balance the rotation.

A pitching surprise so far from the 2007 draft class is Bruce Billings, a 30th-round selection from San Diego State, who has proven to be difficult to hit (28 knocks in 38 innings) and with excellent stuff (48 strikeouts and only five base on balls). Now, that is what you call scouting.

On the other hand, outfielder David Christensen, a second round pick a year ago, is still struggling mightily, hitting but .219 with three walks and 46 strikeouts at Casper in a rookie league, a sickly and similar repeat to last season. The question now has to be can he play at all?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Raiders back to basics; Celtics win and lose

Daunte Culpepper and the Raiders is an excellent match. Culpepper, remember this, is the best fit as Oakland QB the team has had since Rich Gannon. Culpepper is big and strong, talented, productive and loves throwing the downfield ball. The only question for him is health. If he has it, his mind will be right. If the top overall draft pick in April, JaMarcus Russell, holds out for an extended period of time, he very well might become the next Philip Rivers, the San Diego Chargers QB, sidelining it for the first season of his career.

Just so you know -- Minnesota won the trade with Boston that sent "The Big Ticket" Kevin Garnett to the Celtics for five players and two draft picks. Garnett is a player of great skill, passion and pride, a Hall of Famer, but the word here is that Al Jefferson is becoming one of the better young forwards in the game, Ryan Gomes is underrated, Gerald Green has high-scoring ability, and then the Wolves also get two first-round draft selections. Especially considering Garnett wanted out, this was a treasure chest of booty for Minnesota. Boston, though, is not crying. Garnett will help them win more games and create more buzz for the team. Win-Win.

Rockies nap; Buff gets break; Outlaws

Colorado Warrior

The trading deadline came and the Rockies took a nap. Maybe that's not a bad thing. If a quality deal was not available then why make a move just to say you did? This isn't Colorado's year anyway. The time to improve will be this offseason. Mark Teixeira was a name of interest that could have infused some explosives to the lineup but there is no way Todd Helton can be moved anymore. His value is minimal and his contract is an albatross.

Former CU star guard Jay Humphries is back stateside after the Suns brought him back to Phoenix as an assistant coach. The ex-Buff played with the Suns for three of his 11 NBA seasons. He's been coaching overseas for the last six seasons. Many CU fans wanted Humphries on new coach Jeff Bzdelik's staff but working under Mike D'Antoni in the desert will be a higher profile position to aid his future dreams.

CSU reserve defensive lineman Devin McWilliams is trying to get kicked off the team and out of school, in essence packing his own bags for a return home to his family's home in Los Angeles. McWilliams can give thanks that he was only arrested for disorderly conduct after bringing a pellet gun to a large house party. Now what would the dude need that for at a party. Nothing good could come out of such a decision. Rams coach Sonny Lubick has to be scratching his head wondering what to say to someone so dense. How do you reason with a player who is so obviously foolish. Like you would trust that cat to do the right thing on or off the field?

And Lubick isn't alone with his grief as basketball coach Tim Miles has to handle the negative publicity and talent hit he's going to take with incoming freshman Stephen Franklin having an arrest warrant with his name on it for identity theft, according to a report by KCNC-Channel 4. You earn a scholarship to get an education and play your favorite sport and then you go do something to risk it all and go to jail. Franklin isn't smart enough to go to college and isn't good enough to be a part of Miles' program. Maybe the long road will refine Franklin's arrogance and character.

Local writers are gushing over Rockies reliever Manny Corpas as if he's the answer as the team's closer. He's not. Corpas is a an intriguing talent with high-level potential, as an eighth-inning guy. He's been shutdown this season but his numbers haven't yet shown the ability to dominate. Remember, a year ago it was Ramon Ramirez who looked like like all that. This season, he got rocked early and ended up back in Colorado Springs until a recent call-up. That said, Corpas is indeed a key piece to the Rockies puzzzle to create a winner.

As Kyle Ringo of the Daily Camera reports, CU is getting that much needed makeover to its' sickly facilities, which will help the program now and become a point to sell not hide for future recruits. AD Mike Bohn is doing his job with positive tangible results to show doubters. With an improved product on the field in the next few seasons, the Buffs could have the rebirth they desire in the Big 12.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Walsh falls; Quinn losing; Bower a loser

Bill Walsh (pictured with Joe Paterno), dead at 75. Leukemia wins, as it often does. Walsh was every bit the champion that Vince Lombardi or Chuck Noll was and as a trailblazer and one that transferred his greatness to coaches and players he was a diamond.

Speaking of Paterno, he had his chances to coach the pro game but said "no." In the right city, say Pittsburgh or Philly, with a quality general manager and talent procurer, Paterno would have stacked wins.

Browns rookie quarterback Brady Quinn holding out is dumb. Here's a guy who dropped like an anchor in the NFL draft to a city who is eager to love him and now he's going to wait around to sign a contract, thus risking the possibility of falling behind learning the system? Look, if you're a top 5 pick and you want to hold out, maybe it's tolerable but not when you are a selection in the later part of the draft and when the job is all yours if you just show up and play like you are capable. Guess a Notre Dame education isn't what it used to be.

Jeff Bower
, Southern Mississippi football coach and Hall-of-Fame loser. Check the track record and decide for yourself. Bringing in player after player that mega-powers reject due to serious criminal charges says it all -- sell your soul at the crossroads to eat the leftovers off the master's table. Disgusting.

The Braves score and score big getting Mark Teixeira from the Rangers. If, and that's a big IF, Atlanta can re-sign agent Scott Boras, um, I mean Teixeira, the the Braves will have pulled off a trade that will keep their lineup loaded with power and production. The Rangers had to make the deal but in the end, truly, they got fleeced. Some value, just not enough. And way too much projection on the part of young players to get excited down Arlington way. Another example of why Texas is always Texas and Atlanta keeps winning.

Kevin Garnett will juice the crowd in Boston but with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen also wanting the ball, who becomes the no. 1 option, then no. 2 and 3? None of these guys seem likely to step into the shadows, do they? Some are already predicting the Celtics to be an Eastern power. Guess what? Don't see it. Give me team play, ala the Spurs, with one star and several quality players around him.

Look in the mirror, mom and dad

Look next to you in the stands for fanatical parents.

Check out this little tennis phenom, Jan Kristian Silva, and you can predict where he's going to go.

Being a Tiger Woods-type success or Andre Agassi-like talent is the longest of longshots. Todd Marinovich might be more like it.

What is most humorous is how delusional the parents are that they are doing it all for their child.

They sense a potential gravy train when they see one, don't they?

They gave up their home and two cars to move to France for their 5-year old. Think about that. That's not necessarily love. That's being blinded by selfishness and the hopes of future riches.