Thursday, May 31, 2007

Humphries stoned, Porter tagged, trade talk

Former CU star guard and long-time NBA player Jay Humphries wanted it but missed from long range in his attempt to become a part of new Buffs coach Jeff Bzdelik's staff, according to Chris Dempsey story in the Denver Post.

Bzdelik apparently handled the request with class, talking with Humphries and offering a way for him to be aligned with the program, just not as a coach. While it might be romantic for the Buffs to have someone on staff that played and excelled in Boulder, it is, contrary to popular belief, not necessary. Bzdelik's job is to put together the most knowledgeable coaching group he can, one that also has chemistry and that he trusts implicitly. He believes he has done that. That all said you wish Humphries a break in the coaching world.

Former CSU and Pittsburgh Steelers standout linebacker Joey Porter got sacked for $ 1,000 as result of his unsanctioned boxing match with Bengals offensive lineman Levi Jones in Vegas. The problem, it seems, was that the tussle went down, inside the Palms hotel-casino and in the valet area, without it being promoted or tickets sold -- Porter was just hacked off and jacked up ready to throw down.

Such a good football player, such a blockhead. To want to go felon on someone for football field trash talk is such a schoolboy move. And to do it in public, well, thought he would have learned better than that from his classes at CSU. I mean, not right, not tight any way you look at it.

It's been written here that the Rockies need an established, veteran bat in the lineup. You've said, 'so what, give me a name, fool.' Well, here you go. Rumor has it that Minnesota will not be able to re-sign centerfielder Torii Hunter. Willy Taveras has played well, as well as a Willy Taveras can play but he's no Hunter (no power or run production). Take the money hit, swap those two players, throw in another big leaguer and a prospect and you could have a deal.

Nonsense, you say? Want more pitching instead? Hear that White Sox lefty Mark Buerhle could be on the curb. He is an innings eater and a winner. He was poor last season but that likely was an aberration. He could be a solid no. 2, no. 3 guy here. To get him you'd either have to deal stud pitching prospect Greg Reynolds. Why would you do that, you ask? For one, Buerhle is proven, Reynolds is not. Two, Buerhele gives you another lefthander to mess with opposing lineups.

Former CSU running back Cecil Sapp has lost weight and will move from Broncos fullback to tailback. Sapp was a rock in Fort Collins but he is not going to be a tailback in Denver. No burst, no wiggle, no 'special' about him. That said, he is the kind of player that is always in the mix for a roster spot because he'll do anything to make the team.

Another wanna-be boxer, current Denver receiver David Kircus, seems to think his passed lie detector test makes him innocent. Funny thing about the law Mr. Kircus, it ain't always about truth and self defense. That little thing of your roundhouse that connected on some guy's face is not going to play well in court. Do believe Kircus is sorry and is scared he could be out of the league soon, which is prompting his all-out public relations blitz but that moment in time where he let it all hang out is going to haunt him.

Seems the magic number for new Denver running back Travis Henry is 1,500 yards -- a level coach Mike Shanahan thinks possible if the former Tennessee Volunteer, Buffalo Bill and Tennessee Titan can stay healthy. Henry can definitely reach that total on talent but the offensive line, once money in the bank, is now a question mark. Nothing is a given anymore until the line proves it on the dirt.

Former CU basketball Dale Vanwright is on the move again, this team leaving Texas-El Paso. Seems that coach Tony Barbee is into this whole get-an-education be-an-example thing. Will be interesting to see if his approach allows him to keep his job after losing some apparent talent.

Prayers sent out to CSU basketball coaching legend Jim Williams who is reportedly gravely ill with pneumonia. The man coached 16 years, piled up 352 victories, four NCAA Tournament triumphs and built the foundation for Rams hoops.

The National Sweep

I prefer not to be one of those fools who says that regrettable word "never." After all, many grand accomplishments in history came after that word was repeatedly said. However, it is taking all I have not to utter it too when Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, no matter his intelligence and business success, wants to try to start a football league that would shark infest the waters for players drafted after the second round in the NFL, as well as late NFL cuts and free agents.

Sounds less intriguing every time a USFL and XFL fail miserably. Such a concept will be a difficult sell to intelligent men, no matter the trail blazers they might be. Cuban's idea that demand is not being met might be false too. People want what they can't have oftentimes and if they get it, they are not hot to get it. What people want more of is quality football, not a watered-down version as prior circus shows have been.

O.K., take my bet. A nickel it will never come to fruition.

Don't take my word on it, look here to see another voice declaring that Browns quarterback Brady Quinn is going to be an excellent NFL player. As some have agreed, he will likely best top overall pick, Jamarcus Russell of the Raiders. Quinn is big enough, strong enough, smart enough, played for Charlie Weis at Notre Dame and knows the nuances as a talent that Russell lacks. Russell is a physical marvel and could turn out to be special, no doubt, but his road is going to be longer and rougher. Allllllll my money is on Quinn as the better player and likely Pro Bowler.

Speak up, Go Warrior

From John Boden, who is in the courts with one important question.

"What is the difference between the CU scandal of 91' and the Duke (lacrosse) scandal this time. The Buff seniors, sure as hell, were not granted immediate fifth-year eligibility?"

WSN: The question is would such a ruling have gone down at a school like, say, Alabama A & M? You don't think Duke has lobbyists? I admit, I don't have all the facts but it appears to me that the accused in this case went from elitist low life's in the public eye to sympathetic figures as framed young men. Virginia coach Dave Sarsia thinks the NCAA went overboard considering Duke was largely responsible for this going down. That, I disagree with, but at the same time, I am, like you, shocked that the team got a reprieve. What this does is set a precedent for future 'scandals.'

Scoreboard Grumblings

Point blank, Utah had a great season, it really did. Next point -- they never had a shot against the Spurs. That series was decided before the Game 1 tip-off. The NBA Finals have also been decided already, you know that, right? San Antonio will handle Detroit, or Cleveland in five or six games. Book it.

Brad Hawpe is HOT, homering to show off again. Matt Holliday golfed one out too. The Rockies went down nonetheless, 8-4, to the Cardinals because Colorado starter Jason Hirsh had GPS on his pitches. Winning streak over.

Random Rambling

Have young children -- check their hands for insight into their potential.

Only men get blamed, couched or divorced because of this but hey, it happens on the other side too.

What kind of garbage is this? The government looking for yet another revenue source in which to put its' hands into your pocket and mine and with that treasure they can now waste more money. Why let us try to use that cash for ourselves and families. That would be too American.

How about better spending habits for Washington? Try that on for size some time.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rockies bubbling, Shanahan's cajones

Who is Rodrigo Lopez and who are the Colorado Rockies? A stud pitching performance and seven-straight wins? I get it, once I sign on as a believer, once my name is on the dotted line, the rug is going to get pulled out from under me, right? The small print probably details it all.

What ever's shaking down now, it feels real good, doesn't it? Come on, you can admit it, you like it, don't you?

Jeff Francis is hot, Aaron Cook looks quality, Jason Hirsh has proven himself major-league ready and now Lopez is back and strong. Kaz Matsui is healthy and producing, Brad Hawpe continues to streak after a slow start and Scrabble-named Yorvit Torrealba scored big with a grand slam Tuesday. In the moment, this is something that is desirable and marketable. But the Rockies still need a quality, productive veteran presence in the lineup and some medicine for the bullpen.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan offering lie detector tests? Receiver David Kircus accepting? Where is the NFL's players union on this one? I'm guessing there is going to be some fallout from this beauty of a story, starting with the media who will pick up on it nationwide, which will lead to union bristling and a temper tantrum. Watch for it.

Personally, I lovvvvvvvve the idea. Shanahan was torqued and wanted to find out if his player, like many do, was lying. Kircus didn't try to do a shimmy shake on his coach, stuck his head in there and took the humiliation like a man and passed, getting, at least for now, a reprieve. Old-school justice. I liiiiiiiike it. Think I'm turned on.

Of course, Kircus will be on a thin leash and better produce this summer. Hope he's aware of those facts.

Broncos left tackle and key figure in any potential offensive success in 2007, Matt Lepsis, is back at work after suffering a knee injury last October against Cleveland. A healthy Lepsis helps quarterback Jay Cutler get a little more sleep on the night before games and a lot more confidence when the ball is snapped. Without Lepsis' best on the field, it's all a crapshoot for an offense that was, well, poor last season. The former CU Buff tight end, if he's right, should have a few more productive years left. He's no Gary Zimmerman but he ain't no Jamie Brown either.

I see Bernie Lincicome of the Rocky Mountain News jumped on the WSN bandwagon (get your tix now!) in pondering a Kobe Bryant import to Denver from the West coast. Niiiice. Of course, we agree on the fact that the Nuggets should aggressively explore talks, even if the Lakers just circular filed Bryant's 'request.' The odds might be worse than slim such a deal could go down but that doesn't mean you don't put yourself out there and try, like the Broncos scoring Javon Walker and Jay Cutler through trades, as opposed to the Rockies approach of 'oh, well, no one would want to be with us, so f*** it."

One voice, that's all it is, but how about Nene now being attractive again on the trade market? Moving him to the Bulls? Nyet! Not gonna happen now that the big Brazilian is relatively healthy and showing the promise for which Denver paid big money. Sure, teams will come after him knowing how the Nuggets were once vaguely interested in dealing him, despite denials, but with Kenyon Martin the longest of longshots to ever be what he was in New Jersey and Marcus Camby always capable of a roadside breakdown, you keep Nene or risk becoming the CU Buffs, where size obviously doesn't matter, having no 'bigs.'

Poor Lendale White. He just doesn't see how he's going to throw away a bright career. Bet he still wonders how, as a first-round talent, he slipped into the second round of the draft last season...'what did I do?' Until he changes his either clueless or spoiled attitude he will be a nobody in the Not for Long. If respected teammate, linebacker Keith Bullock, is blasting you as nothing as a player at the same time he's complimenting you as a person then that's...well, that's not good. If your coach, Jeff Fisher, one of the good guys, is also publicly wondering about your attitude, then you know this training camp is make or break for your career in Tennessee.

It's time White quit letting others pump him up with destructive false love strokes and start taking his job seriously. He has talent but seems destined to be a bust.

Just as when Denver took a quarterback high in the draft last season when it already had Jake Plummer on the roster, the Titans grabbed a running back project (Chris Henry) in the second round after believing they scored big with White in the previous NFL flea market. For anyone with a brain (we're talking to you, Lendale), Henry's drafting is a loud drum beating.

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, a WSN favorite, is getting love in a Ken Rosenthal column on, where a scout raves about his arm and above-average range. No mention, as there should have been, for the improving hitter Tulo is becoming.

In yet another mock NBA draft, Jeff Goodman of has CSU's Jason Smith landing with the Nets and another former Colorado prep, Nick Fazekas, late of Nevada, ending up with the Spurs. The call here is that both players will end up near the bottom of the first round, which is a great thing because neither 'tree' is ready to contribute big right away. If they both end up selected from a group that includes the Jazz, Rockets, Pistons, Suns and Spurs, they should be real happy because they will learn how to play the right way and how to win in the NBA.

How about this for a college baseball team -- Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals third sacker), Mark Reynolds (red-hot Diamondbacks rookie) and some cat named Joe Koshansky (powerful Rockies prospect) all in the same infield for Virginia.

An late bit of WSN dope for you -- look for the Nuggets to trade a future pick away on NBA draft night for a shooter, either for a veteran or draft-eligible swisher.

The National Sweep

So, question -- where are those LeBron James' doubters now? Yeah, I questioned the Cavs credentials to get into the NBA Eastern Conference Finals but never looked down on James. That Cleveland is now 2-2 with Detroit is amazing and shows how close the franchise is to being a title contender, which no one thought yet possible.

Detroit got balanced scoring but lost Tuesday because James did what great players do, dominate in crunch time. The Pistons also embarrassed themselves by allowing some gate crasher named Daniel Gibson to punk them at their own party. That hurt.

Daniel Gibson?

Still rollin' with Detroit in this series, front runner that you think I am, but if it doesn't tighten up its' act, come correct, well Cleveland just might be capable of sinking the Pistons boat.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Local forecast, playoff dream, Walker's juice

Guess it's time to shake off the rust of the long holiday weekend and crank it up again.

Gotta pay the bills that go along with living.

Movin' slow, maybe, but willing to take kill shots, as always, from dissenting opinions on the news.

So who's turn is it now? Seems CSU's Tim Miles and CU's Jeff Bzdelik's programs have been going back in forth in the news with players leaving and new blood being brought in. I think these two are embracing the challenge of becoming somebody, what do you think? This is going to be, it says here, an exciting ride.

Is it wrong for me to be talking college basketball with football just a few months away?

Sonny Lubick and Dan Hawkins are winners but they both know that come the season opener, the oven will be opened, the heat will roar out and they will be expected to show they can make it all happen on the scoreboard again. The media and fans will settle for nothing less.

Former CU top dog, Gordon Gee, a good educational man by all accounts, doesn't have the juice. Florida President Bernie Machen does when it comes to talking about a college football playoff. And his logic is so money he doesn't even know it. Read down to the bottom of the page and catch it there. That said, it is too logical to ever come to pass. Why? Presidents are more scared of what they could lose than excited about what they could gain.

What I hear is that Missouri might be the favorite to win the Big 12 North division this fall. While I love quarterback Chase Daniel and the athletes the Tigers are collecting, I think Nebraska, even with potential head case transfer Sam Keller the pick to replace the productive Zac Taylor under center, might be more than angry about that call. The Huskers have to be the preseason choice. Those schools that differ with that forecast can show up and prove it wrong. For now, the Huskers talent is superior and they are the team to beat.

O.K., confessional time again. Must be a flashback from my youth as a Catholic. Honestly, I had no idea who Gabrielle Union was in this world. Wasn't really motivated to find out either until I heard that Broncos receiver Javon Walker was spotted having dinner with her. Being the voyeur that I am, decided I better check out what being a famous athlete with big bank buys you these days on the 'honey market.'

I tried to play football well -- didn't have the genetics. Just wasn't meant to be, me being Tom Brady or Javon Walker. Of course, I kind of like not being tracked by Tommy Lee Jones and the paparazzi with every girl I'm able to blackmail into going out with me.

So, we'll call it good.

Man, how old am I? Just found out that Larry Drew Jr., a California prep shooting star and son of the former standout Missouri guard, has committed to play for North Carolina in 2008.

Sweeping the Nation

Roger Clemens
doesn't care. He comes back for season after season, does his time down in the minors to big crowds, doesn't act like a prima donna, prepares as if it is a big league park and succeeds. Then it's back to The Show for more dominance. It is the twilight of a golden age of pitching. It will be a long time before it's this good again.

You know if Don Shula is calling out Nick Saban as a fraud, liar and loser then there has to be some serious fire with all this smoke. You just don't dump on Shula's Dolphins likeSaban did then politic behind the scenes, allegedly, for a job held at the time by Shula's son, Mike, without getting whacked publicly.Saban can recruit and coach at the highest level in college but something tells me the weasel is not going to satisfy the Alabama faithful as much as he thinks he can. The WSN word? He will have some definite success but will leave town after failing to win a national title, which is all the Crimson Tide fans care about outside of beating some country boys from Auburn.

Kansas had to feel euphoric that Brandon Rush withdrew from the NBA draft to return to Lawrence. His presence surely had to mean good things for the Jayhawks. Until we found out he ripped his knee up. Oh. Well, Rush saved himself from going undrafted but now the road back will be full of doubt as scouts will wonder and nit-pick his health. His impact on KU's 2007-08 season will likely be altered too.

Just when I think I could care less (sorry) about golf unless Tiger Woods is blazing towards yet another step in history I see inspiration something off the tee boxes, out of the rough, and away from the greens.

The power of the human spirit, real life, what matters more than sport and victory, what this life is all about -- laying it on the line -- conviction.

Scoreboard Grumblings

Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams are one of the best one-two punches in the NBA. If only they played in New York, they would be 'all-that' in the eyes of the nation. But they still aren't enough to lead Utah past the been there-done that San Antonio Spurs, who now lead the Western Conference Finals, 3-1, after a 91-79 victory Sunday.

The Spurs are methodical in the way they take apart an opponent and the Jazz is the latest mark.

San Antonio has whatever pieces it needs in whatever series it plays. The Suns found this out, now Utah and next, Detroit.

The Rockies fell into fortune. They're winning big now and even if it is at the expense of teams almost as poor as them, victories are victories. Jeff Francis, a WSN favorite, continued his recent dominance by shutting down the Cardinals over 7 2/3 innings in a 6-2 win.

Francis is now 3-0 in his last five starts with a sparkling 1.70 ERA.

No, he's not that good but he certainly is capable of being a strong no. 2 pitcher in this league one day. Put it this way -- put Francis in Boston or Detroit and he could win 20 games. In Colorado, he might reach 14.

Matt Holliday and Brad Hawpe did what they are paid to do -- drive in runs. Each homered.

Glory be!

Wanna know something? This Rockies team is not devoid of talent. That you get. But there is a problem, unidentified, that is keeping it from being a better-than-.500 team.

It says here that a bold, accomplished veteran thrown into the lineup could spark a serious offensive breakout. That would help get this machine hummin' more than a elite starter like Johan Santana. Who that is, what position he plays and who would go is not my job, man.

That's for the high-priced suits.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Monday Heat

Nene was strong down the stretch for the Nuggets. J.R. Smith started hot, showing explosive scoring ability. Both should be traded now, along with dishing out yet another bundle of first-round draft picks for...Kobe Bryant.

Yeah, the likelihood of the Lakers dealing their star seem nil no matter the media firestarter but if Los Angeles had a moment of weakness, dealing with Denver could net them a large, effective power forward, a perimeter scorer and picks, a nice booty indeed, for Bryant.

The Nuggets could endure the loss of Smith and draft picks are something they have always been loose with, meaning only the departure of Nene would hurt in the present. A moderately healthy Kenyon Martin could alleviate that pain for the short term.

Of course, maybe this wild idea could never work under the fool thing called the salary cap, but if the teams wanted to make it work they could shuffle other pieces to make it reality.

Bryant teamed with Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony give you a chance to win it all. Add Marcus Camby in the middle and get some insurance for Martin and who knows what might happen.

Roll the dice.

By the way, coach George Karl told Woody Paige of the Denver Post that Denver doesn't need new blood only new chemistry and professionalism. Not just sure how to break this to Karl but when you have selfishness in the list of ingredients you are always going to have a bitter result. Anthony, while a fantastic talent, is still selfish. Iverson, who showed he wants to win with the Nuggets, has long been one of the most selfish players around. Smith? Just watch the games. Even Linas Kleiza is known to be a little bit of all about himself. Shopping for different ingredients will prevent the spoiling of the recipe.

Tim Miles got his big man for CSU through a transfer just the other day and now CU's Jeff Bzdelik has added some size of his own with Wake Forest transfer Casey Crawford.

Let's break this down -- guy signs with the Demon Deacons, thinks about going to Northwestern and ends up at CU. Not a dog academic school amongst the three so consider Crawford's intelligence something highly appealing to Bzdelik.

Now throw in he is, reportedly, a sweet-shooting 6 foot 9 and you have a player that should understand Bzdelik's approach and should be able to excel some how.

Crawford was also originally recruited by West Virginia, another quality program.

Here is a snippet on him from a blog dedicated to the Demon Deacons.
Brick Oettinger, in the Recruiter’s Handbook, offers this evaluation of Crawford: “While he is more of a big forward, with sound fundamentals and a soft scoring touch up to mid-range, he handles the ball (with sure hands) and shoots it proficiently enough on the perimeter to raise the possibility of some future play at wing forward, especially since he moves well for someone his size. Hence, he might be able to defend that position.”

It says here that Miles and Bzdelik are both off to successful starts on their new jobs.

O.K., this is one old article (early May) but just ran across it and it is unique. So how you feel about your favorite NFL team's first-round draft selection? Is that guy going to make it or not in the League?

Looking at Jarvis Moss, the defensive end out of Florida, who was tabbed by the Broncos, this piece echoes the sentiments in this space. While Denver hopes he is the next Jason Taylor, the word here is he isn't and won't be.

Will admit, this article is harsh, to the point of being too aggressive. Yes, most first-rounders fail to live up to the hype but this forecast seems to go muy loco.

Sweeping the Nation

Ah, the spoils of victory -- USC, according to this article, has on its' roster 10, count 'em, 10 prep All-American running backs. Wonder how many the rest of the Pac-10 or a CU and a CSU have combined? Amazing the power of L.A., winning and glitz.

Imagine if you will (at end of column), Derek Jeter playing alongside Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio for years instead of winning World Series titles in New York? Could have happened and Houston might have been a World Series champion.

Falcons quarterback Michael Vick reportedly loves and bets dog fights, going back to 2000. Here's a bigger news flash -- Who Cares! Not saying I'm into animal cruelty or lawbreaking just that this is becoming more than an investigation, it's a witch hunt and media orgy of a scandal. The intensity of this story just doesn't seem justified.

Dario Franchitti wins the Indy 500 and how sweet that must be -- driving one of those cars, taking home a premium victory and getting congratulated by wife Ashley Judd as well as Danica Patrick and even best friend Tony Kanaan. That's all worth toasting here.

Scoreboard Grumblings

Oh, those poor Giants. Already to devour Colorado when the Rockies hit San Francisco, like the home team usually does. This time, however, Colorado put the hurt on its' division rival with a three-game sweep, the first ever over the Giants out West. 6-4, Rockies, as Taylor Buchholz went seven quality innings, the bullpen acted like pros and the lineup generated enough offense, highlighted by Matt Holliday and Chris Iannetta's pair of RBI each. Todd Helton also got a good workout in, rapping out four hits. Good day, great weekend. Let's do this again sometime, shall we?

Just as was written yesterday, don't get too excited about a lesser team winning one game in a playoff series. Cleveland punched back on Sunday and knocked down Detroit, 88-82, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, which will get the Pistons attention and restore their work ethic and resolve.

LeBron James put forth a champion effort, the Cavs offense hummed along, got great shots and converted at a high rate

Why did Detroit lose this game? Chauncey Billups.

And Rip Hamilton.

The former CU Buff is the gas that makes the Pistons go and he was merely mortal. Hamilton was no factor.

Throw in Tayshaun Prince's less-than-sterling defensive effort and it's amazing that Detroit didn't get blown out.

You can bet all this will be corrected.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday Truth

Former Colorado preps Jason Smith, of CSU and Nevada's Nick Fazekas apparently declined invitations to show (expose) themselves at an NBA predraft camp in Orlando, according to a report by Marc Spears of the Denver Post. Whatever agent yahoo who suggested that move should be told to hit the highway. Smith and Fazekas need to be showing a can-do, all-out effort and intense hunger to scouts. Smith and Fazekas already have the height teams crave. Playing, or approaching this process looking scared only drops them down the draft board. The WSN is still picking Smith in round 1 and Fazekas would be there too if not for his skeleton physique. Both will stick on rosters.

New Broncos defensive end Jarvis Moss, the team's first-round draft pick out of Florida? Upside -- Simon Fletcher, a fair sack dog in his day. Downside? All the other chumps coach Mike Shanahan has drafted and whiffed on at DE, and there have been many.

Didn't like the Allen Iverson trade when it went down, primarily due to my affection for Andre Miller's disrespected game (echoed by coach George Karl) and the draft pick compensation price. However, a healthy, assimilated A.I. could really break out next season. Carmelo Anthony, you'd like to believe will have learned yet another maturity lesson the hard way and be ready to stop all the youthful nonsense and J.R. Smith will be watching that act and getting his together too, creating the perimeter shooting and slashing troika that will be difficult for opponents to handle.

A healthy Nene and Marcus Camby should mean a Denver team that will win a first-round playoff series and have a legitimate shot at competing and winning a second series.

A healthy and happy Kenyon Martin will be a departing Kenyon Martin. The Nuggets would love to pump up his value and then dish him sweetly as a Steve Nash assist to another team.

Don't underestimate the loss of Denver linebacker and drill sergeant Al Wilson. D.J. Williams could replace his talent with some time but Wilson was the heart that fed that defense. Who knows what leadership qualities that Williams possesses.

Cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Dre' Bly would love any sort of pass rush. Look what Bailey did last season with only marginal pressure up front. The potential, well, yeah, baby. Both DBs are top-shelf ball hawks who will smell blood in the water if the defensive front can put any sort of consistent heat on the quarterback. Also remember the name Dominique Foxworth. Thinking he is ready to step up his game.

Still can't believe Darrent Williams is gone. Guns, fools, machismo -- a bad cocktail. Hanging around that element, a real roll of the dice with the price being life.

Look for wide receiver Javon Walker, who had Williams sitting right next to him as his teammate died, to potentially have a tremendous season, a career best.

Believe what you will, all the hype about Broncos defensive tackle draftee Marcus Thomas. The track record of the guy indicates his chances of staying clean, legally, are iffy at best.

Shanahan has quite the offseason going, doesn't he? Bringing in guys with drug and/or personal issues past (Moss, Thomas) and having off-field issues with others (David Kircus, Brandon Marshall). I think this was the Indianapolis Colts model for Super Bowl success, wasn't it.

The Rockies stink. The pitching isn't good enough, still. The real reason, though, for the pitiful place in the standings (the team just can't get out of that hood) is an offense that is inexplicably bad. Anyone with answers, call the Colorado front office, solve the problem and earn salesman of the year.


What this team needs is to start rolling out softballs on game days.

And maybe those fat toy bats.

Or a tee.

So who's going to have a better first season, record-wise -- CSU's Tim Miles, CU's Jeff Bzdelik or Air Force's Jeff Reynolds? Or am I foolishly leaving out Denver University's Joe Scott?

Naming names -- WSN Rockies Prospect Hot Sheet

AAA -- Colorado Springs --
Outfielder Sean Barker (.358) and first baseman Joe Koshansky (.333) are having their way with opposing pitchers and would be kicking down the door to Coors Field if...they were showing any power. They're not. The two have combined for a paltry 8 home runs in 78 games.

Pitching? What pitching?

AA -- Tulsa -- Outfielder Matt Miller (.300, 5 HR, 24 RBI) keeps grinding out quality minor-league seasons in hopes to one day make any major-league roster.

Dominant starter Greg Reynolds (4-1, 1.58 ERA) is out with an injury. Jarrett Grube (4-1, 0.31 ERA) is one excellent reliever. In two starts, Alan Johnson is unscored upon.

A -- Modesto -- Outfielder Dan Carte (.336, 16 2B) and first baseman Jeff Kindel (.289, 5 HR, 27 RBI) are starring.

Starter Brandon Hynick (7-0, 1.50 ERA) got laced last time out but is still one of the hottest names in the minors. Reliever Andrew Johnston (1-2, 1.88 ERA) is also hot.

A - Asheville -- First baseman Michael Paulk (.359) and shortstop Dan Mayora (.321) are hitting machines but drive like a compact -- no power.

Starter Keith Weiser (7-1, 3.39 ERA) is the best here

So, the breakdown? The hit list? Remember, this is for those producing. Obviously players like Ian Stewart or Seth Smith in Colorado Springs are top prospects but their games right now are flat so they're not on the list. With that said, here you go...

The WSN Hot Shots
  1. Brandon Hynick, pitcher, Modesto...baffling hitters since 2006
  2. Greg Reynolds, pitcher, Tulsa...injury delays expected promotion
  3. Joe Koshansky, 1B, Colorado Springs...power surge will prove he's ready
  4. Dan Mayora, SS, Asheville...might have to switch to 2B to advance
  5. Jarrett Grube, pitcher, Tulsa...overbearing out of bullpen
  6. Keith Weiser, pitcher, Asheville...wins with control and command only
  7. Dan Carte, outfielder, Modesto...fine talent starting to utilize tools
  8. Matt Miller, outfielder, Tulsa...future MLB utility player
  9. Sean Barker, outfielder, Colorado Springs...PCL hitters must show power
  10. Michael Paulk, 1B, power but fantastic contact hitter
Sweeping the Diamonds

Here's an early look at baseball's surprise team developments.

In the American League, everyone knew Boston was going to be very good, again, but running away from the pack like they are? Hardly. The Yankees, meanwhile, are shockingly bad, even with Alex Rodriguez playing lights out. Changes are a coming in the Bronx, maybe both GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Torre. Next up will be the players.

The Tigers and the Angels were also good bets to excel, which they have but the Indians with the second-best record in the AL?

You picked that one? Really?

The Twins and the White Sox, meanwhile, have stunk for the expectations set forth.

In the National League, when aren't the Braves quality but the Mets, while unproven, are playing better than expected and that is a minor eye opener.

The Brewers are surprisingly on top in the Central division while the Cardinals have been a major disappointment, maybe as big of one as the Yankees. Tony LaRussa, however, is entrenched as manager.

So, who could still slide and who could rise?

Boston is a lock to be the AL's power team and the Tigers are for real too. The Angels could slip and the Indians, while rollin', have no track record lately of being this strong.

The Twins and White Sox are better than they are playing so a rise could be in the cards.

The Braves would be a logical choice to pass the Mets but this isn't the same Atlanta pitching staff of yesteryear so catching the New Yorkers might be much more difficult.

The Brewers are going to keep winning and the Cardinals should improve but maybe not enough to challenge.

The Dodgers should hold off San Diego and Arizona out West.

In the end, it's Boston or Detroit taking the AL and whichever NL team gets aggressive on the trade market.

Scoreboard Grumblings

Did the Rockies just win their second-straight game in San Francisco? Come on now, ain't no way. One of us should probably volunteer to be drug tested on that one because the Giants normally know how to work Colorado on the coast. 6-1 Rockies. Starter Aaron Cook, who has historically received anemic run support fired a complete-game five-hitter and outfielder Matt Holliday drove in three runs.

So the Jazz pounced on the Spurs in Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference Finals. Nice. Just don't hold out belief Utah actually has a shot at winning this series. It doesn't. For a day the two-headed monster that is Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer ate heartily and as much as their efforts and talents are highly admirable there is simply no way San Antonio coach Greg Popovich is going to let his team be weak defensively for three more games. Tim Duncan won't be human, as he was in Game 3, for three more games either.

Random Ramblings

Fun, Southern style.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saturday Score sees the writing on the wall

Could Rockies bench boss Clint Hurdle be asked to turn in his uniform? While it might not be a surprise move to outsiders it would be to fans who know that Hurdle and GM Dan O'Dowd both are respected and extended by team ownership. Colorado will do all it can to avoid making a change this season but a 85-90 loss season could mean rolling heads. A typical mid-summer slump could result in an in-season exile of Hurdle. O'Dowd isn't going anywhere yet.

Yeah, it's early, and it is, as advertised, ridiculous but sorry, no Buffs, Rams or Falcons on the radar come bowl season 2007-08. Not a surprise, really. Of course, while the odds are stacked in the article's favor, it says here the Rams could surprise with a healthy, driven Kyle Bell and an improved Caleb Hanie. The Buffs, breaking in a new and maybe inexperienced quarterback are a long shot while the Falcons, according to what coach Troy Calhoun told me, have a lot of work to do.

The early returns on new CSU basketball coach Tim Miles look awfully promising this way. The latest -- signing a 6-foot-10 center who was once good enough to be signed by Purdue. The guy's numbers elicit a yawn but Miles has high hopes for him. Just wondering if the man's name will fit on a jersey? Rams hoops might be headed in the right direction, out of first gear, where they have long resided.

One thing is for certain -- Miles and new CU basketball boss, Jeff Bzdelik are not all about fitting in. They don't mind walking in the front door, shaking things up and taking over a room, or a party. And truth be told, that's exactly what their respective programs most need.

Not quite going out on a limb when I say that Broncos wide receiver David Kirkus is done in Denver. The hammerin' hamburger head sealed his fate when he punched out some guy escorting the rowdy Kirkus out of a party. Guys like Kirkus, fringe players, have little margin for error. He worked so hard to be called a pro and now his dream will go poof.

Teammate Brandon Marshall (what's up with the receivers for the Broncos) will remain employed and while he is selling his false imprisonment domestic dispute charge as minor, his future behavior will determine whether that was an isolated incident. Hey, we're all human, we make mistakes. What matters is that we don't go overboard with our actions. He failed there, no matter how the other party may have been at fault. Marshall has paid a price. The question is can he stay away from potential bad situations and keep his name clean from now on?

Color me cynical but I don't see the NFL's new hard line on players' bad behavior really being a deterrent, do you?

Sweeping the Nation

Kansas scored a major recruit when star guard Brandon Rush withdrew his name from the NBA draft. Rush would have been a first-round pick but a late one. Not only is this a smart move for his future as he wasn't ready to start no matter how talented he is but it is a huge jolt of vitamin B-12 for the Jayhawks 2007-08 season.

Ken Griffey Jr. is red hot again, hitting career home run no. 574, which of course means he will be going on the disabled list any day soon. If injuries wouldn't have been his curse he would be as much of the part of the discussion about breaking Hank Aaron's record as Barry Bonds and the likely winner when both player's careers were over.

Greg Maddux, victory no. 337 by winning Friday. Amazing the number of future Hall of Fame players currently chopping wood and piling up big numbers.

Love all the criticism of LeBron James, who has simply been a force since he entered the NBA. Michael Jordan had early detractors too. When the final sentence of the final chapter is written, James will have the last laugh. He can even be smug if he wants to. The media knows little on who he is and what he will become. He is a young man learning and basketball is a team game. Get off his back. He is going to be a champion, either of a team or simply because of his body of work. Maybe both.

Hey, NBA followers, remember this name -- he's been on scouts' minds for over a year. The guy is a baller and will become a fine pro. How good is unknown but will tell you he could have been a fine backup to Andre Miller and now Allen Iverson, last season.

Only in NASCAR. And what a great country song it could make. My stripper girlfriend got caught stealing and ruined my racing dreams.

Scoreboard Grumblings

Colorado beating the Giants in San Francisco? Scoring 5 runs late to do so? What kind of Twilight Zone episode was that? Such things just don't happen often out west. Starter Jason Hirsh has proved to be a find by Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd, potentially as good as the departed Jason Jennings. Outfielder Willy Taveras started slow but is now a serviceable talent. Even Taylor Buchholz has contributed. This team still has but a little stick and that remains the mystery of the season. Things are getting so bad with third sacker Garrett Atkins (.221 average) that a decision might have to be made to bench him, ship him to Colorado Springs, get him counseling or start putting the ball on a tee.

Random Ramblings

Is anyone else's email inundated with colon flush spam? Just grateful that I'm also getting Tide sample spam too. You never know when all that colon flush can bust out on you.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Quit cryin', stop lyin', local names back

It's not as ugly as the media makes it seem -- college athletes being told to look elsewhere if they want to play. It's like American Idol -- telling them truth, no matter how unkind, is the greatest kindness. It serves the athlete, it serves the school. Coaches are paid to win, face it, and if they don't believe a player can help them to that end, they need to go. For those kicked to the curb, it's just life. As long as the athletes have time to look for a new school without losing financial assistance, it's acceptable behavior. No player wants to rot on the bench and not feel part of the team.

Colorado and Hawaii in a four-game contract for college football -- I like. Hey, the islanders play an exciting brand of pig and you know the Buffs will love a couple of trips out that direction. They will make the Buffs work to stay in and win those games. Not a bad recruiting pitch either.

Joe Koshanksy
is red hot in the month of May down in the Springs, according to a Jack Etkin story in the RMN, hitting .390. In the Pacific Coast League, it you're not dominating with a .320 average or better you aren't much of a hitter. To put heat on the Rockies, all the strapping first baseman has to do is start showing his power again. He does that and really, Colorado has to try to force a trade with Todd Helton, getting rid of some of his salary while eating the rest. Until Koshansky balances power with average, though, Helton stays in town but this is a story that bears close watching.

Speaking of which, maybe someone is interested in Helton after all (and reliever Brian Fuentes). The problems are two-fold. One, the Yankees don't have much to offer in return at either the major or minor-league level and two, those New Yorkers are thinking the Rockies will sell at a steep quality discount. Knowing Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd, that is possible, if forever stupid. The Yankees, it says here, are a poor trade partner. Don't deal with them.

Jack Elway, son of a pretty famous local quarterback legend, is almost ready to embark on a college career of his own and some schools of interest include LSU and Oregon. Little Elway has the size according to a Jim Armstrong column in the Denver Post, but anyone who follows local high school football knows his game doesn't compare at all to Pops. He simply isn't an elite prospect although he has that nationally-famous name. To have to carry that burden is going to be a challenge while he tries to improve his game. That said, with proper coaching he could become a winner, no doubt, if not a star, but he is far from a sure thing. Not saying he will be the same guy but remember the name Adam Bledsoe? Didn't quite become the second coming of his brother.

Word just in -- Denver coach Mike Shanahan falls more in love with quarterback Jay Cutler every day. He's married to him in contract and in heart.

Great....Rockies elite minor-league pitching prospect Greg Reynolds, last June's top draft pick, who is off to a bold start (4-1, 1.58 ERA) at Tulsa has a bum shoulder and is now on the disabled list. Even when Colorado has something going for it, things go up in smoke. The organization better handle him with kid gloves after seeing what happened to former uber-prospect Chin-hui Tsao, once of the better talents in the minors who busted in Denver due to injury. Now a Dodger, he looks promising again.

Sweeping the Nation

Selfishly speaking, I'd love to see Dikembe Mutombo have a shot at winning an NBA championship. It likely won't happen before the ancient center retires but if he keeps coming back season after season, who knows what might happen. Deke has just announced that after a dinner conversation with Hakeem Olajuwon that the 7-foot-2 condor is back next year for the Houston Rockets. Mutombo is one of the good people in sports and his presence, even in lesser athletic impact is a great thing for the Association, both for his closeness to young players and for what he can do image-wise for the NBA.

Congratulations to former Denver prep Micheal Ray Richardson, back in basketball, hired by a CBA team in Oklahoma City. Richardson was simply "forked" over comments that, while stupid, were hardly inflammatory, yet led to his firing. Worse things are said on playgrounds and in offices near daily. It was typical political correctness overreaction and pant soiling. "Big Time Jew Lawyers" oh my, what will we do! All those attorneys so offended they will sue for damages, the entire Jewish population staying home from work to mourn. Ridiculous. That's who we've become as a nation, though, looking hard to punish anyone over words. The way to hurt Richardson was not to throw a fit but, if you were offended as an attorney, simply refuse to work with him, which is still immature.

This really is appalling -- not the New York Rangers conduct but the former cheerleader's. Come on now, it's cheerleading! It's about appearance, more about what guys look at than getting someone excited for the team. Cheerleading has long been overrated as to what it brings to a game atmosphere or how it affects the outcome of a contest. It's about pretty girls, looking their best. So for this honey to be upset that her bosses had the nerve to suggest looking good for the fans is a hollow complaint. It's not some corporate job. Getting groped in the stands is a very legitimate gripe but the rest, is...the jury finds the plaintiff innocent...court dismissed. What's next, Hooters girls or strippers feeling sexually objectified in the workplace?

Fantastic story on Barry Bonds, the home-run record, and top hitters from Tracy Ringolsby of the Rocky Mountain News. Points to mention -- Bonds is lying if he says he wouldn't mind Alex Rodriguez breaking his record one day. Look at how Bonds phrases his statement and you can see he is a deeply insecure guy deflecting, in his mind, weakness over being hurt not being no. 1 one day. Also,Rockies manager Clint Hurdle's remarks about projections, how we can say A-Rod will break the record for sure but minefields remain. A lot of talk also on Bonds unbelievable talent as a hitter and how he almost always powders the baseball. Great work by a Hall of Fame writer.

Speak Up, Go Warrior

From Dolo, a "concerned fan" who is ready to take out a stalking order on me on behalf of one San Francisco Giant.

I don't know what Barry Bonds has done to you personally, but your fascination with him borders on the insane. Did it ever occur to you that the exact pitchers that served up those bombs to Bonds early in the decade were on roids themselves? Did that not occur to you? Bonds took roids, that's not in doubt, but what bothers me is that you seem to have some sort of bone to pick with him personally. Yes, he cheated, but so was everyone else in baseball, and I stress EVERYONE! Lay off the Bonds, or better yet, when you admonish him, please also admonish the vast majority of ball players with him (not just Canseco, Palmero, Sosa and McGwire)."

WSN: Guess, I've been outed. I do suppose I have been harsh on Bonds because of my "issue" with liars, especially those who mix it in with arrogance. And maybe I am a wee bit insane with my "fascination" with his cheating, only because of the affront it is to Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and all the accomplished players in history who's bodies haven't abnormally changed since their arrival in the big leagues.

Do I think Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez, for example, have cheated? There is always that possibility they took part in that clubhouse buffet of supplements but I believe those guys, along with Ken Griffey Jr. either only sampled (and didn't take more on their plates) or rejected that sort of enhancement altogether. It's quite obvious the already amazing Bonds, piled that junk up high on his plate. Look at how Bonds and Mark McGwire's bodies changed over the years. That's not merely working out and diet.

To give Bonds a pass is to bury one's head in the sand. To say, 'hey, everyone else is doing it" doesn't wash either. Why? What would your parents and mine have said or what did they say if and when we tried that line on them growing up?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Neuheisel move; Ogirri transfer; free agency

No matter what great things the Baltimore Ravens might do on offense in the next couple of seasons, former CU coach Rick Neuheisel won't get the credit because most believe boss Brian Billick, a noted offensive mind and well, control freak, is runnin' the show.

The reason that Neuheisel should be concerned is he desperately wants to be a head coach again. While Billick gave the former Buffs leader a real break, Neu should split if he can get an offensive coordinator job anywhere if he doesn't want to be forever an assistant.

Kory Sperry is a player and the NFL has noticed. Matter of fact, the League also thinks Jimmie Kaylor ain't bad either -- for a punter. Sperry has a chance to go high in the draft with a big senior season. His size and soft hands are big pluses. With all apologies to the Kaylor family, unless you have a freak of a leg (Ray Guy, Rohn Stark, Reggie Roby or Shane Lechler) you don't normally get drafted high. Right now, the CSU leg is likely a late-round pick. But who knows, if Todd Sauerbrun can't keep clean as a Denver Bronco, maybe the home team will look at Kaylor next spring.

Former Colorado prep star Sean Ogirri, now late of Wichita State, is transferring to Wyoming. Ogirri did some fine clutch things for the Shockers but he is going to end up being less of a factor in Laramie, and that's a reach too. Ogirri had non-legal off-the-court difficulties at WSU that distracted him as a player. If he works his life out he can contribute to the Cowboys but he is a weak guard without much ball-handling ability. He will have to work hard just to survive at Wyoming.

The Broncos can talk up their new cornerback tandem of Champ Bailey and Dre' Bly all they want but with a weak pass rush an advantage in the deep (the secondary) is largely negated. Starve those defensive lineman and poke them with a stick for two days leading up to game time to get them angry and hungry, then maybe Bailey and Bly get fat off the rush up front.

This is a bad (expletive deleted) trade and making such a dumb move would send fans to the franchise, canceling season tickets. Todd Helton ain't what he used to be and Garrett Atkins, a real homegrown star has, without reason, failed miserably this season but you don't dish them to the Angels unless you are getting rock-solid talent in return (see stupid Vinny Castilla trade to Tampa Bay). Getting a hitter or two like Howie Kendrick or Brandon Wood back this way might be appealing or snagging a top-of-the-rotation pitcher might do the trick but the junk that was mentioned in this article -- insulting.

Said it before, the Buffs need help and even if Kelly Jo Mullaney wasn't initially their type, losers can't be choosers. Mullaney started well in Fort Collins so she has to have some game, which CU is in need of -- a shot in the arm, no doubt. Stupid prank but she gets a fresh start at a new school. She will make an impact.

Is it politically incorrect to ask where are students of color for the Steinmark Award? I know the state's minority population isn't large but no student athletes worked hard enough to make this list as a finalist? Hey, don't kill the messenger, just asking.

Here's something good going down -- more Big 12 games on TV.

Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla, a proponent for easy nights at home with some smoke. Thing is, say what you want, the man has a point. Yes, the rope is illegal but how smart is it to be clubbing, drinking, brawling, groping, maybe packing heat? Which is worse? Not proposing smoking, not condoning it, just flashing the red light on Kisz' column.

Sweeping the Nation

Jerry West is a smart man so does that make me smart if I agree with him that the 2007 NBA draft is overrated? I also agree with West that the draft lottery is a flawed system that needs to go. Instead of worrying that teams are tanking games just fine them heavily or take away their first-round pick. The NFL has docked teams early-round selections for trying to circumvent salary-cap rules so why not deny a dishonest a team their chance at drafting a star?

Is Devil Rays player Elijah Dukes taking relationship advice from O.J. Simpson?

"Yeah, bro, you'se got to set your woman straight -- let her know you'll whack her if she don't do right by you."

Dukes -- potential future murderer.

So, now that Jessica Alba's relationship is on the rocks, do we move in, like now, or play it cool and wait...until tonight? So, if she was/is in a relationship, what's the whole hangin' out thing with Warriors point guard Baron Davis? Is that a California kind of pass?

By the way, hope someone tells this guy that getting asked to show the goods for PlayGirl is not exactly a compliment, or smart career move.

Speak up, Go Warrior

From Zach, who has some heat to send this way on the Paul Backowski comments I made over the big tackle's transfer from CU to North Dakota State.

"I'm sure playing time was an issue, and maybe skill. That said, having graduated from CSU and now currently working as a sports reporter in Fargo, I will say this-NDSU would have beaten CU last year. And that's not just because the Buffs lost to a 1-AA Montana State team that was inferior to NDSU. If you wanna look it up and prove me wrong go ahead. Yes, CU has fallen that far."

WSN: Hope things are going well with your career in Fargo, Zach.

Maybe NDSU beats the hapless Buffs last season but Backowski didn't end up your way because of the great program, education or party scene. He only saw that school as an option because he might get playing time right away, lesser competition to be honest, as he didn't see a bright future in Boulder. At CU, no matter the difficulties he might have been facing, he likely would have gutted it all out if he knew he was going to start.

From Paul, who doesn't but should love my idea regarding collegiate free agency.

"Two things - free agency in college basketball is a horrible idea...where to begin...I just won't touch it. Second, I agreed completely with you throughout the college basketball season until the championship game. Did you see Oden against Florida? That game propelled him above Durant in my opinion."

WSN: Coaches have free agency, don't they? Why not the players? Why don't coaches have to sit out a year when taking a new gig?

You could still put limitations on this proposed free agency in all the sports so you don't end up with an extreme balance of outgoing and incoming athletes. Players would also, unlike recruiting, have to finance all their own trips to prospective new schools. They would additionally be required to be academically eligible to be able to play right away at a new locale.

Coaches would hate this but this isn't about them.

As for Oden, great potential, wonderful skills, going to be good but his demeanor makes me uneasy enough that, the center position be damned, I'd take Durant.

Rip me in 10 years.

Scoreboard Grumblings

Now that is the Jeff Francis I'm talkin' about -- seven shutout innings in a 2-0 Colorado win over Arizona. One day, it might all line up for the Canadian and he will the win 18-20 games that his talent suggest he is capable. He's potentially that good.

Ryan Spilborghs, who should have made the team over John Mabry coming out of spring training, drove in two runs. Another nice Rockies decision putting the thumb on Spilborghs.

Garrett Atkins (.228) and Jeff Baker (.230) are simply the Lost Boys. Amazing how Atkins has gone from emerging national star to invisible.

Now that's magic.

Just wonderin'

Is the Nuggets front office out on the golf course or working in the conference room and on the phone lines trying to get some better two-guard and defensive help into the team mix?

Is the Avalanche committed to becoming a formidable group again?

Is it just me or should the Rockies concentrate on finding a hitter more than a pitcher early in the June amateur draft?

Is CU better off going with shared quarterbacking this fall with JC transfer Nick Nelson and redshirt freshman Cody Hawkins since neither of them has demanded the job with their play yet?

How much is CU sweating getting stud recruits P.T. Gates (RB) and Markques Simas (WR) into school?

If Sonny Lubick's Rams flounder in 2007 is the best coach in school history a dead man walking?

Who's a better player, a better Hall of Fame bet -- Ken Griffey Jr. or Barry Bonds?

Why are many sluggers having down years this season? No Wheaties? The return of Gibson and Koufax?

Which city will more disappointed at not winning the NBA title -- San Antonio or Detroit?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hump day arrows

Woody Paige is saying it, Mark Kiszla is saying it and many fans feel the same way.

The Monforts should sell the Rockies.

They have no clue as owners and the fans deserve better leadership.

Only three obstacles here.

The Monforts don't want to sell, don't have to sell and aren't going to sell, at least anytime soon.

Too bad, so sad.

Face it, this franchise, while having a solid foundation of talent, is a ship without direction, just wandering the seas that are Major League Baseball, aimlessly.

Without smarter men on the baseball side of things and as ownership, without less excuses and more accountability, the song will remain the same.

See, the issue here is the Rockies truly believe patience is the final hurdle to being a playoff team.
They are wrong.

The pitching is still nowhere close to being strong enough, the hitting prospects aren't impact players yet and there is this erie feeling of disconnect between the team and manager Clint Hurdle.

In the end, a Pat Bowlen-type needs to come to town, a GM with a history of playoff success needs to be hired and a new culture must be implemented.

The Nuggets won't get invited, as of now, to the NBA draft party in June. However, if some crazy change were to happen and the team were to acquire a first-round pick, no matter how unbelievable that seems now, a name that could help Denver would be Texas A & M guard Acie Law, a gunslinger, an effort player, a leader who can infuse a little attitude and hunger on the court.

David Kircus, have you called a realtor yet? Sent out resumes to new teams?

Carmelo, A.I., Marcus Camby, Nene -- isn't it great being on vacation while other teams have to sweat in playoff basketball? So much less work being left at home, isn't it? The Spurs and Jazz send their best.

Where have all the homers gone?

What do you think about college sports having, like the pros, free agency? Why not let players, over a period of one month, maybe, check out new schools and move on to a better situation, as long as their academic progress was in good standing.

Sweeping the Nation

Have to say, this is one big story, if only 32 years too late -- George Foreman on drugs. Well, being drugged. Before...a...fight. Not just any bout but a championship tilt against Muhammad Ali. Hey, who am I to doubt him. It could have happened. I just don't expect Big George to get much interest or mileage from the media and especially the public out of this revelation.

Hey, I know everyone is loving all over Ohio State center Greg Oden, the expected top pick in the June NBA draft, but for all his skill and potential, something doesn't feel right. Kick me again (I like it) but I haven't seen the passion from Oden to be great. He has that Sam Perkins kind of cruise control to his game. I don't watch his games and see Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'Neal intensity. Now, before you bring up Tim Duncan's name, let's remember that Duncan was college polished and if you look closely, Duncan actually is intense. Oden is a fantastic prospect and I'm on an island here but I would still take Texas forward Kevin Durant no. 1. You know, that is if Darko Milicic isn't available.

Speaking of Oden, the Portland Trailblazers might be able to turn around a flagging franchise by just getting Oden's character and potential. Somewhere, Bill Walton is smiling.

The Sonics are crying. Yes, Durant is there for the taking but with Rashard Lewis on the roster, Durant doesn't exactly fill a need. Is Lewis on the move?

The Hawks could have instantly morphed into somebody but end up with the third pick. North Carolina's Brandan Wright is thought to be the third-best talent in the draft but Atlanta is loaded at forward. It needs a point guard. Maybe a trade coming here.

It's not just the fans who know Barry Bonds is a phony. In maybe the harshest words spoken yet, former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent and Hank Aaron show their disgust towards the bay area bomber. Deep down inside, yeah, I'm smiling. And I, too, deny taking steroids. I also deny ever drinking, smoking or ingesting anything in my youth. No sex either.

Joe Paterno is going to have people screaming against this, saying it is further exploiting college athletes, that he can't do this, that he is old and has lost his mind. Yeah, like JoePa is going to care one bit what those yahoos are going to say. Good for him. The man cares about character and wants his team to learn

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tuesday Run

North Dakota State? Now, color me skeptical, stupid or whatever works for you but I'm guessin' that an athlete doesn't split from a Big 12 school like Colorado because he's all amped to go to some football hotbed and vacation spot like Fargo, N.D. Yeah, football is football anywhere and the NFL is possible to reach at small schools but if ex-Buff offensive lineman Paul Backowski ends up at North Dakota State then something tells me he wasn't going to make it in Boulder on the field, making the reasons for his departure very clear.

The real reason Broncos coach Mike Shanahan traded superstar running back Clinton Portis? Not for his flash or his outrageous money demands. No, Shanahan shipped him to Washington because Portis, despite his other-world talent, is an idiot. Exhibit A presented to the court, your honor. Those from the University of Miami who don't graduate should shaaaaaaaadup! I can only assume Portis didn't graduate. To be honest, from these comments, I'm not even sure he ever went to class.

Read this and see how Garrett Atkins' name, as well as Todd Helton's, continue to be mentioned in trade talks. Interesting how Atkins can still be desired considering his awful play in 2007. If he's being sold right now, it's in the bargain bin. Helton is also discounted merchandise. You don't sell low and buy high. Wait on Atkins, move Helton if the value is there because his power, friends, ain't coming back. It's retired.

Now, if you want to talk about shipping Atkins to Tampa Bay for outfielders Carl Crawford or Delmon Young, hey, I'm on board. You can even throw in Brad Hawpe and/or a prospect.

Former Rockies outfielder Jeff Salazar is in Triple-A Tucson trying to make it back to the majors with the Arizona Diamondbacks and doing well (.310, 5 home runs, 24 RBI). Salazar was, at one time, thought to be the future in center field in Denver, a blend of power and speed but his star fizzled. Earning playing time for the Diamondbacks, a team rich in young talent, is not going to be easy but with strong minor-league numbers Salazar could catch the eye of another organization.

In the 2002 draft, Colorado took pitcher Jeff Francis with its' top pick. The next choice for the team was a high school pitcher/hitter named Micah Owings, who chose to go to college. Now Owings is starting for the Diamondbacks (2-1, 4.96 ERA). That the Rockies picked two arms, back-to-back, that made the majors as starters is a rarity and impressive, even if they couldn't sign one of them.

The National Sweep

Philly trading Donovan McNabb to Chicago for Lance Briggs? Yeah, right. No matter how good some believe Briggs to be you don't trade a high-quality quarterback for a linebacker. This deal will not even be discussed unless the Bears throw in a lot more chips, and we're not talking Rex Grossman. McNabb, a local boy, would be a major coup for the Bears, one of the best deals the franchise ever made if they could hold up the Eagles but I think Philly is a little too smart to do something so dumb. Briggs makes the Eagles defense better but McNabb could win Chicago a Super Bowl.

Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince is one of the few guys who can stink (1-for-11 from the floor) and smell like a rose (6 rebounds, 9 assists, a win) in the same game.

By the way, Prince was not lottery baby. Went no. 23 overall in the 2002 draft.

I thought Kentucky basketball, where Prince played, was all that. You know, the mecca of the sport. So, if so, why then is it bailing on a game at UMass? Absolutely ridiculous. I don't care if you have North Carolina, Louisville, Indiana, the Spurs and Pistons already on your schedule, if you made the commitment and you think of yourself as basketball royalty you show up and play the game. Pulling out does nothing but leave egg on the face of the Wildcats program.

Future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson appeared to be experiencing serious slippage as a Yankee but don't look now but he's digging deep for a little more excellence. He's embarrassing hitters again and with his drive he just might scrap out the 18 more wins he needs for 300 in his career. Do you think young pitchers see the hard work and dedication of old coots like Johnson, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz? Those arms didn't get where they were without wanting and working for it. They all have more than money, they own history.

Crazy Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune thinks Phoenix could possibly dump Amare Stoudemire over money and team chemistry issues and that Kevin Garnett could be traded for the rights to Greg Oden. Muzzle him. Dude is just out spouting madness.

Rick Adelman is the Houston Rockets new coach. How inspiring. Yes, he won big in Portland and Sacramento but how many championships does he own? Wonder why young guys, why minorities feel they get a raw deal? Pitiful choice and I'm laying money that Rockets fans are far from thrilled. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Remember the name Rick Ankiel? The one-time pitching phenom for the St. Louis Cardinals, long gone from the major leagues could return as a hitter, which would be one good story. The guy's been through some rocky times in his life, personally and professionally.

Scoreboard Grumblings

Brad Hawpe
is starting to produce, Kaz Matsui returned and drove in three runs but the heart of the order went 0-for-10 and the pitching just wasn't quality as the Rockies lost 6-5 at Arizona.

Matsui is going to make a difference in the lineup but Todd Helton and Matt Holliday have to get back on track, Garrett Atkins has to solve the riddle of a season-long slump and the pitching has to become more consistent. Right now, unless you are in a bad relationship with your wife or girlfriend there is no reason to blow a few hours with the Rockies.

The Pistons roughed up the Cavaliers and LeBron James in an ugly 79-76 win. Unless James' teammates step up, unless James shows the leadership expecting them too, Cleveland is going to go home fast. Detroit will win the series, it's just how easy the Cavs are going to make it for the them that is unknown.

Just wonderin'

Does Chauncey Billups wish he was doing all this winning in the postseason in Denver as much as locals wish he was doing it here?

If elite big man Tim Duncan went head-to-head with ex-Celtics center Robert Parrish during his prime, who would show less emotion?

What would their trash talk sound like?

Do the Nuggets realize they desperately need quality help for their backcourt?

Is Jay Cutler really ready to be a star-quality quarterback in 2007 for the Broncos?

Is pass rusher Elvis Dumervil capable of building on his sometimes flashy rookie season?

Will Dre' Bly prove to be a good buy for Denver?

Does Jeff Francis know he has the skill to win 16-18 games a season?

Does Colorado management still think Willy Taveras is the answer in center field?

Random Ramblings

Hey, just make sure you drive by and wake me up so I get to work on time tomorrow, o.k.? Tell me, how does this happen? Is it even possible to sleep that hard? would get some good publicity if this action was their initial stance -- but it wasn't. Seems someone decided to backtrack. Now MySpace looks like a spineless bunch who put sex offenders over public safety and only gave up its' fight due to public opinion and a possible threat of legal consequences. Chumps.