CO Sports Chick

Musings on Colorado sports from a female perspective

Archive for June, 2009

US Shows Up for First Half

Posted by The Minkster on June 29, 2009

The men’s U.S. Soccer Team could have created some big time buzz about the world’s football game here in the States, but couldn’t capitalize.  After pulling a Houdini to get into the finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup for the first time ever (that’s since 1916) and playing an inspired first half, the Americans decided they were done with the tournament with a 2-0 lead and 45 minutes left on the clock.  The Brazilians had their sites set on winning their third cup by exhibiting more desire than the US and came back to win 3-2.

The Yanks played liked they belonged in the first half by attacking the shocked Brazilians.  Landon Donovan looked like he was going to take control of this game and lead the team to victory.  After taking a 2-0 lead the Yanks played protect the net for the final 5 or so minutes of the first half and went into the break feeling confident – or so I thought. 

I’m not sure if there was something in the water or the US team decided they didn’t have to put much effort in order to close out Brazil, but they looked more like it was a practice session rather than the last half of a championship game!  They were jogging on defense, sitting back in their defensive zone and not taking shots on goal.  Don’t know what the official stats were for the second half, but I don’t remember the US taking a shot until the final 3 minutes of regulation (final game shot tally was US-8, Brazil-24).  The Yanks were playing not to lose instead of to win – and lose they did.  That was a very disappointing effort by the team and the first year head coach Bob Bradley, but at least we have the CONCACAF’s Gold Cup to test their mettle before heading into the World Cup in 2010.

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Best Week of Summer Sports Wrap-up

Posted by The Minkster on June 27, 2009

Weekdays during the summer are traditionally slow for sports outside of pro baseball, but this week was an exception.  There were so many exciting things going on in the world of sports, in and out of the state, that I’m just going to hit the highlights so you don’t have to read all of my pontifications.

  • The College World Series (CWS) championship series played out its full three games with LSU winning the first game 7-6 in 11 innings after the Tigers’ DJ LeMahieuhit a two-out two-run double to tie the game in the ninth.  Texas easily took the second game by a score of 5-1 with Freshman Taylor Jungmann pitching his first complete game.  LSU took home the crown after blowing open a 4-4 game going into the 6th.  That brought LSUeven with Texas in all-time CWS crowns at six, but half dozen behind leader So Cal with 12 in the trophy case.  Yes, I admit I Twittered some rambling statement encouraging the Longhorns on to victory.  I’m currently in therapy for it and hopefully won’t happen again.
  • The Men’s U.S. Soccer team is going to its first FIFA Final since the team began playing in 1916!  It took a monumental upset of top-ranked Spain to get there after losing to Italy and Brazil earlier in the tournament.  The Yanks earned a chance to play Spain through the second tiebreaker which counted total goals scored.  Not only did they beat the heavily favored Spaniards, but shut them out 2-0.  It was Spain’s first defeat since losing to Romania in November 2006.  Spain called it an accident – I call it a butt kicking!  The U.S. will play Brazil tomorrow for the championship.
  • On a down note, the Rockies lost two in a row for the first time since June 3 with the Angels taking the series in Anaheim two games to one.  The boys in purple pinstripes have won 17 of their last 20 and look like the stop in southern California was a blip in the road.  They beat the A’s and their old teammate Matt Holliday4-2 Friday night with Jason Hammel pitching a nice game though 7 1/3 innings followed by ex-Athletics pitcher Huston Street sealing the deal.  I think the Rox will get back on track and at least take the series by the bay.
  • The NBA draft took place this week with the Nuggets wheeling and dealing their way for draft rights to Ty Lawson, the point guard that helped lead the Carolina Tar Heels to a national championship earlier this year.  Lawson was taken at #18 by the Minnesota Timberwolves then traded to Denver for the future first round pick they had from the Charlotte Bobcats.  I’m almost as excited about this deal as I was about the Chaunce Man coming back to Denver!
  • Speaking of something to get excited about (okay my life is pretty boring), the Avs didn’t trade away their third pick in the NHL draft on Friday as speculated.  Instead they got a talented kid that has been a longtime fan of the Aveys complete with framed jerseys of Roy and Sakic on his walls at home.  Matt Duchene is such a fan that he can reel off the stick models and blade curve each player takes on the ice.  The 18 year old center played for Brampton in the OHL last year and was a scoring machine.  His numbers don’t match those of John Tavares taken at #1 by the Islanders, but the Avs think this kid has better all around tools and will be a key building block of the future.  Fans might not see him in an Avs sweater next year, but he’ll be playing in the Can soon enough.
  • The Rapids controlled most of the game against FC Dallas on Wednesday, but found themselves down 1-0 late in the match.  Omar Cummings scored in the 84th minute to give the Rapids a tie and extend their unbeaten streak to 8 games.  They aren’t overpowering teams, but every win means points.  This is the best Rapids team fielded in several years – look for them to do something in the postseason.
  • And lastly, the U.S. Track and Field Championships are being held this weekend, but Colorado has already represented well.  Kara Goucher of CU fame won the women’s 5,000 meter.  The Buffs assistant coach (and CSU alum) Casey Malone won the discus throw and senior Jenny Barringer advanced to the finals of the 3,000 meter steeplechase.  Aaron Braun of Adams State placed 12th in the men’s 5,000.

The sun once again is shining on Colorado sports fans despite the afternoon thunderstorms that have become a regular occurrence.  Baby TO and Culter are just a passing t-clouds with all our other teams and athletes the 300+ days of sunshine a year.

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No Crumbling Cookie

Posted by The Minkster on June 18, 2009

The Rockies’ Aaron Cook tied the franchise record for team wins by a pitcher at 58.  He matched Jason Jennings in his efforts while dressed in purple pinstripes.  Both had the advantage of the infamous humidor effect over their predecessors, but both are strong pitchers with average offense and defense in support. 

Most baseball fans don’t think of strong pitching when talking about the Rockies, but the humidor has helped pitchers get more movement on the ball either through adjustments in their approach mentally, physically or both.  It’s fun to see the Rockies finish off games after the top of ninth instead of having to pull out heroics in their last at bat. 

Cookie has to be one of the fan favorites at Coors Field.  He’s a steady pitcher that doesn’t overpower, but causes opponents to ground out and hit into double plays.  He fits into that western mold of hard working and enjoying being outdoors making a living.  Unless some freak injury takes Cookie off the field, he’ll break the Rockies win record this season.  Hopefully there will be a disappointed crowd in LA when that happens.

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NBA Needs to Step Up

Posted by The Minkster on June 15, 2009

Recently there has been talk of the NBA raising the minimum age that a player can join the league from 19 to 20.  Much of the yammering has been focused on how that will change the college game and how the role of institutions of higher learning would change should this happen.  The only person yet to mention the NBA Developmental League is a lone blog poster.

It shouldn’t affect the college game because they shouldn’t be handing out scholarships to athletes that don’t qualify academically.  The NCAA has been primarily ineffective in dealing with this issue (along with many others), and that won’t change no matter what the age limit is in the NBA or NFL.  The NBA needs to step up and stop using institutions of higher learning as their free training ground.  If kids want to jump from high school to pro they should have that opportunity.  There are a couple of pro leagues that have figured out how to handle teenage phenoms – see NHL and MLB.  Where would Kobe, Howard and KG be if this were the case when they graduated high school – playing for some K-stan country?

The issue, as always, is money.  The NBA doesn’t want to pay 18 year old kids, that still need hand holding and phyical maturation before they can make a contribution, a bunch of money .  Plus, it’s a crap shoot as to which kids can handle the money, pressure and actually perform at that high level through a 9 month season.  The owners would rather have these kids spend time in the insular world of college campuses and have coaches like Krzyzewski, Self and R. Williams developing the young ballers.  That gives the NBA scouts more time to assess ballplayers before they spend millions to sign a guy.

I’m really not sure why the NBA cares what age the kids enter the league, because what they put on the court is entertainment not basketball.  If the powers that be focused more on cleaning up the officiating, putting better rules in place and stop giving the stars favorable calls maybe they would be able to grow the fan base.

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Rox Best in the ML

Posted by The Minkster on June 14, 2009

With a tornado delayed 7-1 win and sweep of the Seattle Mariners the Rockies extended their win streak to 11.  That not only ties the club record, matching the streak in 2007 that got them into the postseason, but it’s best in the Majors this year.  Yes, that includes the Dodgers, Yankees and Sox (actually 11 ties the Sox April run this year).  Hammel picked up his career best 4th in a row win, probably would have pitched deep into the game if not for the storm delay.

The Rockies luck isn’t running all good.  Today the medical staff and Tyler Buchholz decided Tommy John surgery is the best option since the flair-up during a game simulation yesterday.  He will be rehabing with Francis and we all hope the two young guns will come back healthier and stronger in 2010.

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Bandwagon Expands Routes

Posted by The Minkster on June 13, 2009

I consider myself one of the few original Rockies’ bandwagon drivers still covering routes (and routs).  Having been with the team since inception, I’ve been the only one on the wagon more than once since 1993.  Of course, during the good times people are hanging out the windows, jumping onto the the back bumper and hanging off the roof.  You remember what it was like during Rocktober?

Well, looks like people are starting to fill up the bandwagon again.  With the Rockos on a 9 game winning streak, a bullpen holding it together and a new manager at the helm, the fans clad in purple and black are starting to swarm Lower Downtown.  Cries of missing a Holliday are becoming more distant and the boisterous rumblings of Helton hanging up his cleats aren’t even as loud as a 3:00 pm stomach growl.  Hawpe (.330), Helton (.308) and Barmes (.292) are leading this latest offensive spurt and Dexter Fowler is emerging as a viable candidate for Rookie of the Year.  Tulo is finally inching that BA up after his usual early season jitters and Iannetta is looking good after a stint on the IR.  Let’s hope the boys in purple can stay hot through the All-Star Break and play above .500 after that.  Keep looking for that bandwagon, I’ll be coming to a neighborhood near you soon.

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Orton Named Starter

Posted by The Minkster on June 13, 2009

It’s the second day of a mandatory three day mini-training camp and Coach McKid names Orton the starting QB for the 2009 version of the Broncos as reported by CBS4 (http://cbs4denver.com/sports/broncos.orton.nfl.2.1043443.html).  That made me stop and go hmmmmmmmmmmm?  Why at this point in “camp season” would a coach pick a starter when both seem to have been fairly close performance wise thus far? 

Let’s think about why Orton would be the best guy for the job. 

  • He grasp the playbook better than our newest favorite UT grad. Mack vs. Tiller = 1 for Orton.
  • Orton is 22-11 as a starter vs. Simms at 7-8 = 1 for Orton.
  • NFL bloodline = 1 for Simms.
  • Orton can grow a better beard than Simms = 1 for Orton.
  • Simms has second most passing yards in a game at UT with 419 against the Shuskers = 1 for Simms.
  • Orton grew up a Nebraska fan, but thought better of it and went to Purdue = 1 for Orton.
  • Cuteness  factor and filling out those tight pants = 1 for Simms.
  • The guy who B. Marshall would rather catch passes from – anyone not in a Bronco uniform so it’s a wash.

Final tally is 4-3 in favor or Orton, but I think that is still too close to call before training camp opens.  Maybe McKid wants a starter going into camp in a few weeks, or maybe it is to push Simms.  Who knows what goes on inside that young football mind, but this is probably the most interesting off-season Denver has ever experienced.  Let’s hope the regular season isn’t a disappointment.

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New Era in DU Lacrosse

Posted by The Minkster on June 9, 2009

Looks like the University of Denver is serious about being competitive in boys sports off the ice.  The basketball program was arguably the best in their respective D1 conference this past year (at least in tournament conference play) and is looking like they have a good base to build on next year.  The lacrosse team decided is was more fun to party than to win this past year and got their good natured coach fired.  DU decided it wanted to compete in the postseason, so they hired away long time Princeton coach Bill Tierney.

http://www.indenvertimes.com/2009/06/08/bill-tierney-named-head-men%e2%80%99s-lacrosse-coach-at-denver/

We’ll see if Tierney can put together a winning team out here in the Rocky Mountains.  Traditional lacrosse high school talent and collegiate powerhouses are still clustered on the east coast, so it will be a challenge to recruit those kids to move west of the Mississippi and bring up local talent to that elite level of competition that one regularly sees each year in the NCAA tourney.  No matter, local area fans can look forward to some exciting lacrosse at the college level next spring sandwiched in between the Mammoth and Outlaw seasons’.  Good move Pi’s and good luck!

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Roy Snub Best Move Avs Have Made

Posted by The Minkster on June 5, 2009

The best move made by the Avs so far in this off season wasn’t by them but by their ex-hall-of-fame goalie.  I don’t think Roy has the temperament to effectively coach a NHL team, especially one with a bunch of youngsters that seem to take games off.  Inspiring and teaching will probably work better for this squad rather than yelling and threatening.

So the Avs got lucky and didn’t get Roy then fired half the staff.  Change was needed, so I’m actually excited for new blood coming into the organization.  The Avalanche hoisted the Cup while under tutelage of young coaches, so let’s hope the youngest coach in the NHL (as of today) can travel a similar path in the post lockout era.

For those of you that haven’t heard, Joe Sacco is the new leader of the ragtag Avs (you can find more info at the Denver Post).  He is a product of Boston University and the NHL school of hard knocks, so he has has great hockey pedigree and knows what it takes to win.  In addition, everyone you talk to comments on his work ethic, which has been sorely lacking in our local boys for awhile.  I don’t know about you but I’m ready to see an attacking offense and bone crushing defense – you know Red Wing style.  It won’t happen next year, but give the new guy 2-3 years and hopefully we’ll be back hosting playoff rounds in the Can.

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Marshall Dodges Bullet

Posted by The Minkster on June 2, 2009

If you haven’t heard, Brandon Marshall will not face suspension during the upcoming NFL season for his arrest on March 1 in the ATL.  Seems like the guy has female problems – either he can’t pick’em or he likes to beat them up or both.  It appears the guy is dumb as rocks and might be headed down the road paved by Mikey “Mad Dog” Vick, Travis “Pappy” Henry and thug Pac Man Jones.  I can’t imagine he will mature before he does something really stupid and is gone for a year.  It still might be part of 2009 since he as another trial date to face.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4225271

If the Broncos front office and Coach McKid had the CO Sports Chick on speed dial I’d tell them to try and keep Marshall under control until the end of the season then try to work a deal instead of signing the boy genius to a long-term multimillion deal.  His cheap contract will be up after his fourth season, so if the Broncos can get anything for him that would be great.  They might have to just let him go in free agency, but why pay a spoiled brat that kind of money when you don’t know if he’ll even be on the field for regular season games.  There will be other receivers available and Marshall is no TO, Jerry Rice, Rod Smith or even an Eddie Mac – just a problem child.

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