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.

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