CO Sports Chick

Musings on Colorado sports from a female perspective

Archive for August, 2009

Series Loss to Dodgers Huge Setback

Posted by The Minkster on August 28, 2009

Still driving the Rox bandwagon!

Still driving the Rox bandwagon!

Although this series with the LA Dodgers was a late August match-up it had late September implications.  The Rockies made a valiant effort against a strong team that seems to be righting itself after a second half slump, but it wasn’t enough to position the home team for its first NL West Pennant.  I’m not jumping off the Rox bandwagon because of one series, but rather I’m looking at the remaining schedule for both teams and it doesn’t look good for hometown boys in purple.

First lets look at the Dodgers weak schedule for September.  I know the MLB Gods don’t know which teams will be making runs at the end of the season, so they try to schedule divisional games to make any potential pennant races exciting.  Normally I would agree that this is a good strategy making it exciting for fans and players alike.  However, this year September looks more like it will hold all the excitement of spring training for the Dodgers.  Of the 11 series remaining only San Francisco (2 series) and Colorado (1 series) have winning records.  The rest of LA’s opponents are either in last place or second to last place in their division with the D-backs boasting the best record at 56-72.  Let’s hope the sleepwalk through September will take the competitive edge off of the dudes in blue.

Now let’s take a look at the Rockies remaining schedule.  This weekend the team flies out to the Bay Area for another heavyweight bout with Wild Card contender San Francisco.  Although Colorado plays the same Arizona and San Diego teams the Dodgers do they also play the Mets, Holliday and his temp team St. Louis, and the Brew Crew.  Although only the Cards loom as the biggest foe the other two teams have enough talent to play spoiler to the Rox.  Then of course, there is the final three game set in Southern California against the evil Dodgers. 

That is why I haven’t cleared space on my wall for the Rockies first NL West pennant.  While my purple heart knows the Rox will make the postseason I’m not holding my breath that they will go in as division winners.  If this prognostication holds true there is a good possibility Colorado will play the Cards and Matt Holliday.  My wallet hurts just thinking about how much those home game tickets will go for!

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Where, Oh Where is Baby TO?

Posted by The Minkster on August 26, 2009

Had to share this hilarious Westword Broncos dreamin’ blog by Joe Tone.  He shares his wish list of top 5 teams that would trade for Baby TO.  I’d say it’s a pretty good list and reasons had me rolling on the floor!

WESTWORD BLOGS

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First Rox Grand Salami

Posted by The Minkster on August 25, 2009

Rockgust?

Rockgust?

In case you fell asleep before the Rockies and Giants came to a decision in Game 4 of the weekend series last night, the good guys won 6-4 in 14 innings.  It wasn’t just your regular extra inning game, but had playoff intensity, goats and redemption all wrapped up in one late August clash of Wild Card contenders. 

It wasn’t like both sides didn’t have any opportunities to get runners home during the almost 5 hour game – SF left 14 runners on base and the Rockies 13.  Both sides used a battalion of pitchers to get through the game (Rox-7, Giants-8), and the defense was stellar with the only 2 errors committed early in the game by the San Francisco Treats.  Geez, this game was tied 1-1 going into the 14th INNING!! 

Spilly and Tulo both made mental errors in the game that would’ve won it in regulation time.  Spillborghs and Tulowitzki both made the last out of an inning with runners in scoring position twice during the game.  Tulo made a major base running blunder when he was caught trying to extend a single into a double with Baby G on third in the bottom of an extra inning (in other words, we only needed Gonzalez to go 90 feet and game over).  Rockies didn’t score in that inning.  Spilly made a major fielding miscalculation after moving to right field on one of several double switches during the game, which led to one of the two triples by San Francisco in the top of the 14th. 

Of course, you probably already know the rest.  Two of our favorite sons got redemption in the bottom of the 14th.  Tulo stayed patient at the plate and ended up one of the ducks on the pond when Spilly came up to bat.  Valdez delivered him a sweet juicy one right in the wheelhouse and he took that pent-up frustration out on that poor little ball.  It was a beautiful thing, and gave the Rockies their first ever walk-off grand slam.  Ryan hauled butt around those bases so he could jump into the celebratory arms of his teammates surrounding home plate.  I smell the seasons changing in the air – Rocktember and Rocktober are once again upon us.

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Outlaws Gunned Down

Posted by The Minkster on August 24, 2009

Not sure why the MLL decided that having their two playoff and championship games in a city that didn’t even have a team in the league on back-to-back days after two weeks off is a good idea, but they didn’t ask the CO Sports Chick.  If you’re going to wait 2 weeks to finish off the season, why not have the team with the best record host the event?  That gives everyone time to get organized (including ESPN2), and you’ll probably have actual fans of the teams competing on field cheering in the stands.  There were 7,003 people at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis to watch the championship game between one team from the Rocky Mountains and the other from a country known best for its hockey.  Not bad considering half those people probably couldn’t find Toronto and Denver on a map.

Outlaws in action.

Outlaws in action.

Denver hosted the All-Star game on July 4th and blew away the previous attendance record with 21,952 people coming out for the event.  Blast off some fireworks and have the Outlaws in the championship game, and we’ll make the 2009 championship attendance look like a high school turnout.  Denver has been to the championship game 3 out of the 4 years (lost in the playoffs in the other year) it has been in the MLL, but the league office hasn’t even considered a location outside of the northeast.  I’m not sure they could find their way to the mighty Mississippi even with the ghosts of Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea leading the way.  Hey Body by Jake, why don’t you try and expand your horizons and bring the big game out west?!

Denver’s other boys in orange played hard and were in it until the last 45 seconds of the contest, but broke our hearts again when they gave up a goal and lost the ensuing face-off.  Denver had the #1 seed going into the weekend and looked like the dominate team for most of the season, but the first year Nationals had no expectations or pressure on them heading into the Steinfeld Cup game (yep, the cup is named for Body by Jake).  Not sure if the humidity, heat, pressure or match-ups were their downfall, but here’s hoping 5 is our lucky number.  In case you missed it, the final score was 10-9 in favor of the bad guys and was the defensive battle that fans expected it to be.  Thanks for a great 2009 season and see you next year!

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Gut Check Time for Rox

Posted by The Minkster on August 21, 2009

Woohoo! Go Rox!

Woohoo! Go Rox!

The Rockies have surprised most everyone in the baseball world as leaders of the NL Wild Card race and lingering only 3 1/2 games behind the division leading Dodgers.  After a horrible start to the season the Rockies have turned it around under new manager Tracy to make it a pennant race.  The pitching staff is doing its part with Rosey, Uby and Marquis deSod showing some attitude on the mound, and different bats are coming through each night to bolster Tulo’s and Todd’s hitting.

Although the Rox are coming home with a four game road winning streak in its back pocket, tonight the boys start their toughest challenge all season with 7 games against the Dodgers and Giants.  It isn’t the fact that they are facing the top two teams in the West in 7 straight days, but that at this point in the year it matters most.  Earlier in the season when the boys in purple

Coolest place to be in LoDo!

Coolest place to be in LoDo!

pinstripes took swings through California they could afford to lose a series because there was plenty of baseball left.  Playing head-to-head games in late August can put some distance between these teams or really tighten up the race. 

The Rockies won’t have another week long stretch like this until the last week of the season when they play the Brew Crew and Doggers.  At that point it could be all over but the crying.  The next seven days will show whether the Rockies have the mettle to be real contenders or just wannabes.  Now is the time to strike fear into the hearts of Dodger Blue and send the Giants limping back to the Bay having fallen further behind in the Wild Card.

It would be great if fans showed up +40k strong like they during the last home stand.  I want to hear some good heckling of the bad guys and support reminiscent of the 2007 late season run.  Go Rox!

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Way To Go Plaxico!

Posted by The Minkster on August 20, 2009

Cheers!

Cheers!

Can I just tell you how much I love Plaxico, Vick, Favre and the Raiders’ coaching staff!?  If it wasn’t for the screw-ups and divas all over the NFL the Broncos constant preseason drama would be the lead NFL story on ESPN every night.  As it is, only the local media are constantly covering the daily happenings in Broncoland.

When it comes down to it, the Broncos are in pretty good shape and should be interesting to watch this year.  The boys in orange and blue have two solid experienced QB’s, a young coach that is considered one of the brightest offensive minds in the league, a bevy of good running backs and receivers, one of the best O lines in the NFL and an improved D (just because they really can’t get much worse).  The only real issue isn’t who starts at QB (if the Donks are winning Miles could be under center and no one would care), but if the team can keep whiny Baby TO from being a distraction.

Mike and John after SB win

Mike and John after SB win

Unlike Shanny who played with the media like a cat toys with a mouse, McKid is all work and no say.  He has a ton of pressure to win during his first year with 42 new roster additions and a complete revamp of the offense, defense and special teams, so he wants to stay focused on turning the team into a winner.  Let’s not forget that Mikey was 8-8 in his first year at the helm of the Broncos and had John Elway as his field general. 

There really isn’t that much drama at Dove Valley, it’s that there is only so much a sports reporter can write about the clean-cut Rockies staying in the playoff hunt into late August.  So, Bronco fans raise a glass to the crazy happenings in the NFC and Raiderville.  Savor the suspense of waiting until September 13 to see what Bowlen’s new toy is like just as you would anticipate Santa’s arrival on Christmas morning.

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QBs Show Nothing In 1st Meaningless Game

Posted by The Minkster on August 16, 2009

Hmmm, preseason could be interesting.

Hmmm, NFL preseason

Typically this time of year NFL fans are getting excited about the start of the season, following the progress of their team’s top draft picks, and hoping no key players get hurt in meaningless games or practice.  This preseason, however, is definitiely the most exciting in recent memory. 

Yes, fans still have to pay ridiculous prices for practice games and the beer is just as expensive, but there is more drama in the sports page than the last installment of The Bachelor.  And, it’s not just here in Denver there is fun to be had all over the NFL.

  • Let’s start with the most recent headline grabber, which was Michael Vick being signed by the Philadelphia Eagles.  With three QBs already on their roster and a healthy Donovan McNabb, many were scratching their heads wondering WTF?!   Many questions are flying around and Andy Reid isn’t answering any of them.  How will they use Vick – maybe a slash type role?  Is he in football shape?  Will he be a distraction to the team?  Will dog lovers picket every away game?  Did Goodell make the right decision to even let this guy back into the NFL?  Can Vick stay out of trouble and take advantage of a great second chance?
  • The Tennessee Titans have a QB contest going on after Vince Young looked strong in the first preseason game.  The ex-Horn star threw a fit on the sidelines last year and was generally acting like a 5-year-old throughout most of last season.   Apparently he has had an attitude adjustment and wants to challenge veteran Kerry Collins for the starting job.
  • What kind of team can the Lions put together after setting the record for futility last season finishing 0-16?  They beat one of last year’s surprise teams, the Atlanta Falcons, 27-26 yesterday in their first preseason tilt.  With a new coaching staff, GM and revamped roster lead by veteran QB Daunte Culpepper, who is healthy and in the best shape in a long time, these aren’t your bag wearin’ Lions any longer.  You won’t want to nap during this year’s Thanksgiving game in the Motor City against Green Bay.
  • Having no problems with sloppy seconds, the Vikings decided to do the retirement dance with Brett Favre this year but were left without a date when he retired again.  Now the Viks have a QB battle between Sage Rosenfels, who looked good against the Colts in a 13-3 win, and Tarvaris Jackson. 

    Like sands thru the hourglass...

    Like sands thru the hourglass...

  • Kansas City was looking for help at the QB position after a two win season in 2008 and went after Matt Cassel, who played well in relief for the injured  Tom Brady in New England last year.  No one questioned the move for the Chiefs, but everyone is wondering if this guy that never started a game in college was successful because of the system or was he for real.  Then the Chefs lost their mind!  Before he was even declared the starter for new head coach Todd Haley, Kansas City signed him to a 6 year deal worth over $60 million.  Wow!  Did you come into some interesting pictures of the owner, Matt?
  • Of course, all of Bronco Nation knows about Matt and how the dominoes fell when Josh McDaniels was hired as the new head coach.  The first preseason game for Orton and Cutler was less than stellar, so we will have to wait and see how things play out on August 30th when the Bears visit Mile High.  Both will have had more time to learn new systems and get comfortable with the guys, so I don’t think the NFL will be disappointed making it the Sunday night game and only contest of the day.

Nothing like a little drama to make August football a little interesting.  Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our NFL.

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Vick Lands With New Birds of a Feather

Posted by The Minkster on August 13, 2009

Yes, I was brought up a Hokie fan.

Yes, I was brought up a Hokie fan.

Mikey Vick has signed a two year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles after serving 23 months in the federal pen for running dog fighting rings.  He’ll be pulling down $1.6m this year with an option for next at $5.2m (creditors are popping champagne tonight).  Donovan McNabb is of course going to remain the starter, and with Kevin Kolb and A.J. Feeley backing him up some are scratching their noggin’s wondering WTF?!

Andy Reid is a no nonsense coach (he has to be as the head guy in Philly), so he knows a couple of slow pocket QB’s aren’t good options if Donovan goes down.  The offense is built around a mobile passer and Vick fits the bill perfectly.  He is a virtual clone of McNabb when he was three years younger (Vick is 29).

Vick in happier days before the bust

Vick in happier days before the bust

If there is any NFL town that will embrace an ex-con, polarizing figure and underdog like Vick it is the City of Brotherly Love.  Remember the original Rocky – okay it was a movie just work with me here.  They’d boo the Pope if he couldn’t score touchdowns and make a hero of Capone if he won the Super Bowl, so I can’t think of a better opportunity for #7.  The way some are vilifying the guy is beyond me.  He made a mistake, has paid his debt to society and deserves a second chance at doing the only thing the young gunslinger knows how to do.  Don’t think dog catcher is an available option.

Those suspects on Animal Cops that kill and maim their pets on every episode rarely get anything more than a fine.  Why don’t the people that are getting so upset about Michael Vick’s reinstatement direct their energies into raising money for the ASPCA, driving efforts to change laws or pushing for education of animal abuse in schools?   There are many people with true evil in their hearts – Michael Vick is not one of them.

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Tulo Almost Makes Crazy History

Posted by The Minkster on August 11, 2009

Yep, I can't believe it either.

Yep, I can't believe it either.

Last night in the last game of a four game set against the Cubs at Coors Field, Troy Tulowitzki hit for the cycle in a game where the Rox won it going away.  When Tulo came up to bat in the 7th the game was well in hand, so Brad Hawpe told him he needed to go for the triple if there was any chance to pick it up.  It looked like Tulo was out by a mile at third, but Jake Fox misplayed the ball and the big shortstop was safe.  He is only the second MLB player to have an unassisted triple play and hit for the cycle in his career joining Red Sox shortstop John Valentin. 

The craziest part of the night wasn’t that Tulo hit for the cycle, but that it looked like he would add a grand slam to his stats for the evening.  The bases were loaded and the youngster unloaded on that ball like it had just insulted his momma!  It went so high over the foul pole into the bright Colorado evening sky that the camera couldn’t even find the ball.  The umps reviewed it, but confirmed the foul ball call after being the first crew to use video review at Coors Field.  That would’ve put Tuloin the record books all by himself as the only player to hit for the cycle and hit a grand slam in the same game.  As a biased fan and watching the directional scatter of folks on the concourse, I think he was robbed!  Where’s CSI when you need them?

Tulo hammering away.

Tulo hammering away.

Mike Lansing was the last Rockies player to hit for the cycle on June 19, 2000 against the D-backs.  That brings the total number of Rockies that have hit for the cycle to five joining Todd Helton, Dante Bichette and Neifi Perez.  Tulo ended the night 5-for-5 and 7 RBI. 

Hopefully most fans are quickly forgetting Holliday and getting behind our talented young shortstop, hitting in the vacated clean-up spot, that is locked in for 6 years with an option for a 7th.  This is a talented young team and Tracy is doing a good job of managing the youth.  Not only should fans get excited for the playoff run this year, but how good this team will be in the future.

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Kleiza Opting for Gyros Over Buff Burgers

Posted by The Minkster on August 10, 2009

Not so fast about the Nuggets!

Not so fast about the Nuggets!

Given an opportunity to go back closer to his family in Europe, potentially become a starting forward and cash a bigger paycheck Linas Kleizainked a two-year deal with Olympiakos on Monday.  The Nuggets were set to pay him $2.7 m this year, which was a decent raise from the $1.5 m he made during last year’s playoff season but no where near the cash the Greeks are doling out.  Kleiza averaged 9.9 points and 4 rebounds per game off the bench and was a threat to make outside shots.  Many experts are saying the Nuggies will miss him and DahntayJones, who signed with the Pacers, this upcoming season but I’m not so sure.

Linas Kleiza #43 of the Denver Nuggets goes to basket against the Detroit Pistons on February 25, 2008 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

Linas Kleiza #43 of the Denver Nuggets goes to basket against the Detroit Pistons on February 25, 2008 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

All the talking heads are saying the Nuggets aren’t active enough in free agency this off-season in order to keep pace and contend for a title in 2009-10.  I haven’t seen any blockbuster trades in the West that Karl should lose sleep over.   The same top teams kept their stars and have brought in some guys they think can help in areas of weakness.  I haven’t seen any big fish that got away which could have helped the Nuggets and still kept the tax man at bay. 

Fans forget that the Nuggets are a fairly young team and have great upside.  If their players continue to develop and the veterans stay healthy Denver will continue to go deep into the playoffs.  Let’s take a quick look at the youngin’s:

  • Ty Lawson – Might as well start with the best draft pick by the organization since Melo.  The only thing this kid accomplished in the last six months was come in during the NCAA Tourney with a lingering injury and lead the Tar Heels to a championship.  Hmmmm, sound familiar any Orange fans?  This kid deserves a shot at some minutes which he’ll get with Jones gone.
  • JR Smith – Karl’s problem child grew-up a lot last year and should continue to make strides with Billups as a role model.  A little time in the joint this summer I’m sure helped with perspective.
  • Renaldo Balkman- In his first year with the Nuggets (2nd in the league) he showed signs of why the Knicksdrafted him in the first round out of South Carolina.  He needs to continue to develop and stay healthy so he can give Kmart some relief minutes.
  • Arron Afflalo- Starting his second year as a pro, this little shooting guard can learn how to play the game right along side Billupswho he played briefly withat Detroit before the infamous trade.  Ranks second all-time at UCLA for three-pointers made and attempted.
  • Nene – Although going into his 7th year he has lost 2+ seasons to injuries and cancer, so he is still got upside at 27 years old.
  • Melo – He’s only 25 and taken the Nugs to the playoffs every year since pulling on the jersey.  Don’t  think he won’t get better after the experiences over the last year and having a leader like Billups on the team.

I like this mix of youth and veterans, and just like any other NBA team they must get lucky with the injury bug to end up with a high seed going into the 2010 playoffs.  Don’t know about you, but I’d rather be looking at this lineup versus the old guys in San Antonio which is trying to win one more for the old Demon Deacon.

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