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So, This Is Awkward…

Welcome to the 106th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where ummm….  I’VE MOVED!

The format of the blog remains the same, but it is now over at the SB Nation Rockies site “Purple Row“. So go there. Now.

Click here to read this week’s post.

Or here.

Or here.

Thanks for all your support the past couple years. Now go read today’s post!

 

The 13 Most Memorable Colorado Sports Moments of 2013

NYE mix

(Roy: Michael Martin/Getty Images; Manning: John Leyba/The Denver Post; Helton and Karl: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Welcome to– and Happy New Year from– the 41st edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where we’re reminiscing about days gone by. To commemorate 2014 I’m looking back at The Year That Was in Colorado sports. These aren’t the best or worst moments of 2013. They’re simply my rankings of the most memorable.I’m sure you might rank them differently; I’d be interested to know how. Let’s get to it…

13.  Elvis Dumervil’s Fax Machine Doesn’t Work. (March 15th)

Gail Burton/AP

Yes, it was a significant moment in the Broncos’ offseason, but this story makes the cut purely because of its weirdness. Initially, it appeared the Broncos were not going to get a deal done with Dumervil. Surprisingly a deal was finally renegotiated and in place, but the Broncos received the paperwork via fax at 2:06 p.m. — seven minutes after the league deadline. The Broncos were forced to cut Dumervil and he became a free agent. He signed with Ravens and fired his agent. It was an odd story.

12.  Avalanche Selects Nathan McKinnon With First Overall Pick (June 30th)

(USATSI)

Leading up to the draft the Avs were expected to take local product Seth Jones. They changed course and took McKinnon. It’s worked out so far. The Avs are improved and the 18-year old is a stud. Here’s hoping he leads Colorado back to the top of the hockey mountain.

11.  Colorado Beats Colorado State in Rocky Mountain Showdown In MacIntyre’s First Game. (September 1st)

(AP Photo)

The Buffs pulled MacIntyre away from San Jose State late in December of 2012 to replace the incompetent Jon Embree. (An NFL tight ends coach was never going to work.) CU settled on MacIntyre after being jerked around by Butch Jones, who left Cincinnati and agreed to coach in Boulder until Tennessee offered him a job, which I found hilarious. MacIntyre made a splash in his first game, upsetting the Rams 41-27. Buffs’ standout receiver Paul Richardson (above) took advantage of two completely blown coverages to score a couple huge touchdowns. He finished with 10 catches for 208 yards and the two aforementioned TDs. The Buffs would beat only one more FBS opponent all year.

10.  Colorado Upsets Kansas on Booker Buzzer-Beater (December 7th)

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(via deadspin.com)

The upset was the Buff’s first win over the #6 Jayhawks in twenty tries and more than ten years. It was a wild game that propelled CU into the national rankings (currently ranked 20/24) and created quite a buzz in Boulder. This would have been a few notches higher if it had taken place in February or March instead of early December. Colorado will be tough to beat at home all year long.

9.  Nuggets Upset by Warriors (May 2nd)

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This would be a few spots higher if it didn’t happen every year. The 2013 version of playoff disappointment tasted a little worse than in most years because this time Denver was the heavily favored 3-seed and had home court advantage. Game 6 was a crazy one, with Steph Curry going crazy in the third quarter (above) and the Warriors leading by 18 with just over eight minutes to go. The Nuggets made a wild comeback to cut the lead to two with 32 seconds left, but this was the playoffs, so the Nuggets lost.

8. Metro State Loses Division II National Championship in Final Seconds (April 7th)

(Curtis Compton, Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Associated Press)

In a game televised nationally on CBS, the Roadrunners led Drury (Mo.) by as many as 19 in the first half and were up a dozen at halftime. They looked poised to win their third national championship. After a Drury comeback, Metro State had the ball and a one point lead with 26 seconds left, but missed the front end of a one-and-one, got the rebound, was fouled, and missed the front end again. Drury made two free throws. Metro State didn’t get a shot off in a frantic sequence as time expired. Wild finish. Crushing loss for the Roadrunners.

7.  Colorado State Beats Missouri in NCAA tournament (March 21st)

Iverson -- AP James Crisp Smith -- AP John Bazemore Green -- AP James Crisp)

(Green: AP/James Crisp; Smith: AP/John Bazemore; Iverson — AP James Crisp)

Colorado State’s unique group of five senior starters had a special season to remember. The Rams had gone 4-12 in conference play the year before the core of this group arrived. They improved each of their four years. The program went to back-to-back NCAA tournaments for the first time in 13 years. This year’s team won the most games in program history and is generally considered the best Colorado State team ever. The 84-72 NCAA tournament win over Missouri was the first for the program in 24 years. CSU got screwed with their tournament seeding and matchups and location, but showed they were underseeded by easily handling the Tigers. They would lose to the overall number one seed and eventual national champion Louisville a couple days later.

6. Nuggets Fire George Karl (June 6th)

Jason Decrow/AP

After eight and a half years and nine consecutive playoff appearances, the Nuggets fired the guy who just won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award. In all, Karl coached 680 games in Denver going 423-257. He joined the Nuggets halfway through the 2004-05 season and went 32-8 to lead the Nuggets back to the playoffs. Obviously, his troubles came when they got there. Of those 9 appearances, the Nuggets made it out of the first round just one time. On the surface it may seem absurd to fire the Coach of the Year, but when every season ends in the exact same boring disappointment, some of us failed to see the point of doing it all over and over again.

5.  Patrick Roy Hired as Avalanche Head Coach, Goes Crazy in First Game. (May 23rd, October 2nd)

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The Avalanche made what appears to be the perfect hire at head coach when they signed legendary goalie Patrick Roy. He brings an edge and attitude that the team badly needed. After having the worst record in the NHL last year, the Avs started out 12-1 and are currently in 7th place in the Western Conference. But Roy freaking out on opening night and trying to remodel the two benches will probably be the moment of the year regardless of what happens.

4.  Peyton Manning’s Incredible Record Breaking Season, Named Sports Illustrated Sportsman Of The Year (September 5th – Present)

(Photo credits: Jack Dempsey/AP and John W. McDonough/SI. I pulled the combo from SI.com here.)

Manning’s record-breaking 51st touchdown pass. (via @sbnationgif)

Some might have this ranked a little higher, but the Broncos didn’t bring Peyton Manning to Denver to win MVPs. They brought him in to win the Super Bowl. He started with seven touchdowns in the opener and finished with 55 touchdowns in the regular season. He’s 37 years old. He’s only two years removed from getting cut and having four neck surgeries and not being able to throw a football ten yards. And he just finished the greatest regular season ever played at quarterback.  It is one incredible story.

3.  Colorado State Wins New Mexico Bowl in Astonishing Fashion (December 21st)

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An incredible shot from Dan Byers/CSU (@danbyersphoto)

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I recapped this game last week. It was wild. Touchdown/Fumble/Fumble/Touchdown/2 Point Conversion/Review/Fumble/Field Goal/Game over all in about three minutes. The Rams’ first bowl game win since 2008 could not have come in a more exciting game, 48-45 over Washington State.

2.  Todd Helton Plays Final Games and Retires (September 25th – 29th)

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(AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

via Drew Litton / drewlitton.com

If you’re a regular around these parts, you don’t need me to explain this one. (If you haven’t read my post on Helton’s career, check it out now.) The last home game included the home run in the video above and it just felt like magic. There were lots of special moments that night. The video tributes. The horse. The standing ovations. The career of one of the two or three best Colorado athletes ever coming to an end after 17 seasons.

1.  Broncos Shocked by Ravens in Divisional Round of NFL Playoffs (January 12th)

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via deadspin.com

(Chris Humphreys, USA TODAY Sports)

In one of the most painful moments in Denver sports history, the Super Bowl favorite and first seeded Broncos couldn’t put away the Ravens on a bitter January afternoon. The Broncos had a seven point lead when Baltimore took over on the 30-yard-line with 4o seconds to go. On third down, Flacco threw up a prayer and Rahim Moore answered. Then Manning took a knee. Then 15 scoreless minutes of overtime. Then a Justin Tucker field goal. Then the season was over.

The result led to speculation about Peyton Manning in the playoffs. And Peyton Manning in cold weather. And John Fox’s coaching style. And on and on.

It also rendered the 2013 regular season almost completely meaningless. For the Broncos, the real season starts in 2014. They open the playoffs on January 12th, the one-year anniversary of last year devastating defeat. They’re 13-3. They’re the 1-seed. Sound familiar?

So there ya go. A lot happened in 2013, most of it bad. What did I miss? What’s too high? What’s too low?

(Another holiday post this week, so none of the weekly installments or videos. They’ll be back next week.)

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Happy Tuesday everybody. And Happy New Year. Thanks for reading. Let’s all have a great 2014.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

Your Weekly Roundup from the Sports World and Internet

Welcome to the 17th Tuesdays With Mitch, where I find it amazing how little I can care about NBA Free Agency over a long holiday weekend. I guess Dwight Howard or Shaquille O’Neal or somebody signed with the Mavericks or Rockets or Astros or somebody. Whatever. It was nice out and that cold case of magical American Budweiser cans wasn’t gunna drink itself.

Andre Iguodala never enjoyed playing in Denver. Now he’s gone. (Howard Smith, US Presswire)

In news I did pay attention to, Andre Iguodala bailed on the Nuggets and took a 4 year deal with Golden State worth $48 million. I always got the feeling Iguodala never really wanted to be in Denver for some reason, even though the team was dominant in the regular season. Oakland isn’t exactly a title contender or a huge market, and apparently George Karl wasn’t the issue either. Maybe he’s the only NBA player alive who doesn’t like weed.

I’ve always really liked Iguodala’s game, but I think 12 mil a year for four years is a little much for a player that can go through some serious offensive droughts. Also, the Nuggets have acquired Darrell Arthur and JJ Hickson in what could (or could not) prove to be a couple savvy moves. I think both of those players, Hickson in particular, are the kind of solid NBA role players a contender needs.

At any rate, next season the Nuggets will have a new head coach, new GM, new starting center, new starting two guard and a new starting small forward until Gallo comes back from his knee injury. That feels like an unprecedented amount of changes for a team that won 57 games. I guess that’s the kind of thing that’ll happen when you never win in the playoffs.

Roy Oswalt has not exactly been the savior to the Rockies rotation. Instead he sucked. Then he got hurt. (Chris Peterson, Getty Images).

The Rockies had a disaster of a series this weekend in Arizona. They were outscored 22-6 and never had a chance in any of the three games. And boy, Roy Oswalt and Drew Pomeranz sure have sucked. On Sunday, the comedy of errors reached quite the crescendo. Oswalt, the supposed savior (I never bought in) who, again, has really sucked, was in the process of pitching poorly before pulling a hamstring trying to run to home plate. So he’s done for a while, with nobody worthy of replacing him, which is saying something, since he has really sucked. Then in the ninth inning Carlos Gonzalez, who has not sucked at all, left the game after injuring his hand on a swing.

This team is teetering on the brink of irrelevance with two series to go before the All-Star break. When Tulowitzki went down, I wrote that it was hard to see the Rockies hanging around and they really haven’t.

It’s clear that the Rockies offense is kind of a mess without Tulo in the lineup. What nobody is talking about, though, is that the Rox are missing Tulo and Dexter Fowler, who has also been crucial to the Rockies’ success or lack thereof. Not having either of them in the lineup or in the field makes the Rockies a completely different team.

The Rockies have three in San Diego (they won Monday), which has now lost ten in a row. Then there’s a possibility both Fowler and Tulowitzki will come back on Thursday for four games against the Dodgers. Those seven games could go a long way in determining how many more times I stroll out to Coors Field the rest of the summer.

In related news, Jeff Passan of Yahoo chose Carlos Gonzalez as his midseason NL MVP.

A cool GIF from Andy Murray winning Wimbledon:

(via @erikmal) I found it on the timeline of @edsbs.

And a cool picture:

(Via @GettyImages and ‏@RealMikeSinger) I found it on the timeline of @richarddeitsch.

And an incredible front page:

(Via ‏@suttonnick and @thetimes). I found it on the timeline of @richarddeitsch

As far as links go, there’s really only one piece you should focus on this week. Instead of trying to describe it myself, here’s SI’s Richard Deitsch from his weekly media column:

If you click on anything in this column please let it be the video linked in the next paragraph. It might be the best feature piece I’ve ever seen on ESPN.

ESPN aired the 21-minute video on Outside The Lines on Sunday, which documents the remarkable friendship between former Cleveland high school wrestlers Dartanyon Crockett and Leroy Sutton. Crockett, who is legally blind, earned a Judo medal in the 2012 Paralympics in London, and now lives and studies in Colorado Springs, Colo., while Sutton, who lost his legs at age 11 when he was hit by a train, is now a college student in Phoenix. It is impossible to watch without weeping.

Bravo to former ESPN features producer Lisa Fenn, who produced the original piece on these friends in 2009 and was a central figure in Sunday’s piece, and ESPN coordinating producer Jose Morales, who helmed the update.

Watch the video. Read the feature. Both are certainly worth your time.

I try not to cuss on here, but I sure don’t mind when other people do.

That’s actually a pretty appropriate response to a horrible question. “You just threw your second no-hitter! What was with that walk?”

Eric Decker had a better weekend than you.

Apparently somebody filmed me at the gym the other day.

That’s really Robert Gill of the Arizona Cardinals, supposedly running 25 MPH.

This  poor guy helped produce my favorite YouTube minute of the week, even with the sideways phone.

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And finally, in the opening I mentioned that I had some fun this weekend. On a few occasions I was presented with a situation that reminded me of a Personal YouTube Hall Of Fame video from a couple years ago. It’s borderline inappropriate, but who cares.

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Happy Tuesday everybody, see ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

Is Troy Tulowitzki the Best Player in Baseball?

Troy Tulowitzki

Tulo is currently the game’s best player. Photo courtesy The Denver Post

I think so.

These days this conversation pretty much starts and stops with Miguel Cabrera. More on that in a moment. First, let’s look at Tulowitzki compared to the rest of the National League.

If the season ended today Troy Tulowitzki would deserve the National League MVP over Dominic Brown, Scott Gomez, Yadier Molina and Paul Goldschmidt.

Let’s look at the traditional stats first. Tulo is 2nd in batting average (.351, 3 points behind Molina). He’s 2nd in home runs (17, 2 behind Brown). He’s 3rd in RBI (51, 8 behind Goldschmidt). So right now, he’s near the top in all three triple crown categories. He’s also 3rd in on-base percentage, 1st in slugging and 2nd in total bases.

The more advanced metrics support Tulo, too. That’s fun to say. If you don’t know what these stats mean, just assume it’s good to be in first place in all these categories.

He’s 1st in OPS (and adjusted OPS+, which removes the Coors Field factor), 1st in Offensive WAR, and 2nd in overall WAR among position players.

All of the above stats courtesy of this page at baseball-reference.com

The Rockies have the best offense in the National League and Tulowitzki is the biggest reason for that. Michael Cuddyer is having an All-Star season and Carlos Gonzalez is in the MVP discussion as well, but Tulowitzki is putting up really good numbers in every category, both traditional and advanced.

**Sidenote 1: The Rockies currently have the top 3 players in OPS. Tulo 1, Cuddyer 2, CarGo 3. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one team with the top 3 in any category.

The other factor that has been in play this year has been the “clutch” gene which is hard to quantify. But if you’ve followed the Rockies this season, you’ve seen Tulo deliver a slew of huge, game-changing hits like this one.

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Also, you can not understate what Tulowitzki provides defensively. He makes every routine play, but also does things no other shortstop can.

Put all that together and you have the best player in baseball.

The defensive factor brings me back to Miguel Cabrera. When you look at Tulowitzki in the scope of both leagues instead of just his own, two names frequently pop up in front of Tulo’s in all those categories I mentioned above. One is Baltimore’s Chris Davis. The other is Cabrera.

Davis had a solid season last year, and is an MVP candidate this year. Like Cabrera, he plays first base. So you can put Davis in the conversation of who is having the best season this year, but the sample size is too small to consider him as the game’s best. When Tulowitzki has been healthy (not as often as we’d all like) he’s been one of baseball’s best for the past 7 years.

**Sidenote 2: Can you believe this is our 7th– SEVENTH– season of watching Tulo? Maybe it’s because of all the injuries, but that seems just absurd. 

Cabrera, on the other hand, has been the best hitter in the game for a few years now, including this season. I believe he is currently on pace for 734 RBI. There’s a difference, though, between being the best player in the game and the best hitter in the game.

Cabrera plays first base and not particularly well. He’s also slower than my dad. Tulo isn’t exactly a speedster, but he runs pretty well. The fact that he plays the most important position on the diamond, and does it better than anyone, gives Tulowitzki the edge over Cabrera.

So, yes, Troy Tulowitzki currently is the best player in baseball.

As always, get at me if you disagree.

OTHER STUFF

I’m not a Lebron James fan, but this block is just incredible.

Via guyism.com

Since I showed some good Lebron, here’s a gif somebody somewhere made of him flopping like he got shot.

Via guyism.com

Jimmy Kimmel came through with some funny sports social media discourse, which is kind of right up my alley.

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Good for this kid.

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Three things: That girl’s “right here!” face is a little much for getting a baseball flipped to her. Her boyfriend’s reaction is appropriate. Can’t believe how nonchalant that kid is. Yoink!

What would you do in this situation?

Not sure why he couldn’t just pick the thing up and continue, but the eventual military-style salute had me in tears immediately and made for my favorite YouTube video in a long time, which, of course, I say every single week.

And finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Tim Tebow. He signed with the Patriots yesterday. Tim won me over in Denver and I’d like to see him succeed, so I’m happy he got another shot in the league. However, I’m truly, truly dreading the coming ESPN media coverage. Even though I like the guy, it was pretty relieving to think we were all done with that. Thank you and God Bless.

Happy Tuesday everybody, see ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

Masai Ujiri is Probably Leaving and That’s Bad For the Nuggets.

It’s starting to sound like Masai Ujiri won’t be staying with the Nuggets.

The single biggest reason for the recent success of the Denver Nuggets has not been a player or George Karl. It has been Masai Ujiri.

The VP of Basketball Operations (which really just means general manager, but the Nuggets have a weird hierarchy with strange titles) was considered a rising star in the basketball world when he was hired. This season, he won the NBA Executive of the Year award.

Ujiri comes from a scouting background which is a little different than most front office executives and has apparently given him a leg up in analyzing talent and acquiring a cohesive set of players.

The NBA is a superstars’ league and superstars don’t want to play in Denver. Ujiri has recognized this and expertly assembled a roster of solid players than can compete with the big boys.

There hasn’t been any playoff success, but I point the finger at George Karl there and that’s a whole separate conversation.

The drama surrounding Carmelo Anthony’s exit was a horrible situation for a young GM to be in, but Ujiri pulled off a genius trade that reshaped the Nuggets franchise.

Anyway, the Kroenkes have given Ujiri permission to speak with his former franchise, the Toronto Raptors, about their vacant GM position and it is being reported that Toronto will be offering a very lucrative deal. The details remain hazy, but it sounds like Ujiri could pull in well over $1 million per year, with the Kroenkes not likely to match that kind of figure.

That kind of money not easy to turn down.

At this point, we’re all just waiting on Ujiri to make his decision, but personally, I’d be surprised if the NBA Executive of the Year comes back to Denver.

Ujiri leaving would not resemble most changes in the front office with relatively unknown executives moving on. He is the single most important– and perhaps most talented– person in the Nuggets organization.

OTHER STUFF

Not sure what’s going on here.

Tulo is not interested in high-fiving Betancourt. (gif via guyism.com)

Baseball players are a quirky bunch.

Your quick Rockies update aside from cupchecks or sack taps or whatever is happening there: Finished that crucial homestand 5-2, but then started their current road trip 1-3. Went 6-4 in the 10-game NL West stretch. Should really win the next three over the AAA affiliate in Houston.

This video is perfectly titled. I present, “Tim Duncan Realizing He Has Arms”.

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Chris Anderson has had a few different looks in his day.

@NickiJhabvala

via @NickiJhabvala of the New York Times

As good as this is, I distinctly remember a perm somewhere along the way even though I couldn’t find any evidence of this either. I’m putting the over/under him just saying “screw it”and going full technicolor face-tat at 2.5 years.

This is the best interview I’ve seen in a long, long time.

I would like to hang out with that young man.

I can’t wait for the 30 for 30 on Gordon Bombay.

Bombay’s willingness to accept eccentric characters like the Bash Brothers and implement unique techniques like the Knuckle Puck have made him a true legend.

And finally, here’s a non-sports link. A worthhile read about the devastation in Oklahoma.

Happy Tuesday everybody. See ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

Your Weekly Roundup from the Sports World and Internet

Welcome to Tuesdays With Mitch. A bit of a slow sports news week around these parts so this is a shortened post. Also I’ve been busy. I’m sure you’re crushed. Off we go…

Since last we spoke, the Nuggets were eliminated in the playoffs by Golden State in six games. I still think George Karl should be shown the door, even if that doesn’t seem to be the feeling of the Nuggets’ front office.

Also I can’t help but chuckle at the Nuggets fans who are complaining about the refs. The ending to Game 6 was nothing short of bizarre and there were some awful calls down the stretch in Denver’s wild comeback, but come on. Maybe don’t fall behind three games to one against a six seed and those calls would be of less importance.

Nolan Arenado  was appropriately pumped up after hitting a grand slam off the reigning AL Cy Young winner. His career is only a few games old, but all signs are pointing towards the This-Kid-Can-Play category.

The Warriors and Spurs played an incredible, instant classic last night. Down the stretch, one obnoxious, shrieking fan managed to steal the show at the end of regulation and throughout both overtimes. In the sports-twittersphere, last night’s game will forever be remembered as The Screaming Spurs Lady game.

I’m fully expecting to hear that in a few nightmares.  Seriously, how could you sit next to that? This one excited woman/girl turned my Twitter feed into a steady stream of jokes about Screaming Spurs Lady. This gem summed it up the best after the game:

screaming gem

That reminded me of this moment:

The “KEEVVVVVVIIIIINNNN” at 32 seconds just kills me every time.

I think it’s important for all of us to read this enlightening piece on Jason Collins, Tim Tebow, ESPN, First Take, Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith and Chris Broussard. On a related topic, don’t watch that crap or listen those dudes. Just don’t. You’ll be better for it.

It has to be a first to combine an actually relevant, interesting news story with one of those strangely awesome urban news interviews that take over YouTube. Those two came together in beautiful harmony last night, when news broke that three women who had been missing for over a decade were found alive, locked in a house. It’s a horrifying story with a twist of a happy ending. Anyway, this guy is your latest hero.

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Another wild story had a local angle when people in the Wyoming and Colorado State athletic departments managed to save a former Denver Post reporter’s life when they realized she was having a stroke over the phone.

This is a great picture.

And finally, Sunday was Cinco De Mayo and all that Spanish being spoken reminded me of one of my all-time YouTube favorites.

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Happy Tuesday everybody. I should have more to say in a week. See ya then.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

It’s Time to Fire George Karl

Welcome to Tuesdays With Mitch, this week’s edition 100 percent free of both tear gas and pepper spray. Off we go…

What’s the point of another season with George Karl? AP Photo

Over the past eight and a half years, every now and then some Denver Nuggets fans or media members would start a little uprising calling for George Karl to be fired as the Nuggets’ head coach.

I never really bought into those theories. I shrugged and thought Karl was a fine coach, but not the reason the Nuggets weren’t advancing in the playoffs.

This is Karl’s ninth season in Denver. His teams have made the playoffs nine times. They’ve advanced past the first round once. That won’t be changing this year unless the Nugs win three in a row against Golden State beginning tonight. To put it mildly, that seems unlikely.

This off-season is the time to fire George Karl.

Heading into the playoffs, things were different this year.

This isn’t the Nuggets as a 7-seed trying to pull off an upset like in many previous seasons. The Nuggets were heavily favored to win this series. The Nuggets have the all-important home court advantage. This team won 57 (fifty-seven!) regular season games.

Including tonight, the Nuggets have been favored in Vegas in all five games. It looks like they’ll lose the series in five or six games, but keep in mind they’re one Andre Miller layup away from getting swept.

The Nuggets’ performance in these playoffs is an enormous underachievement.

Denver is without Danilo Gallinari, which I predicted would be a huge blow in the playoffs, but Golden State is without their all-star. David Lee going down allowed Mark Jackson to tinker with his lineup– going small by starting three guards– and in doing so, badly outcoach Karl.

Yes, Stephen Curry has gotten weird and sometimes there’s just not much you can do, but if you don’t think Karl’s been outcoached by Jackson, you’re a lunatic.

This isn’t the Broncos losing a somewhat flukey game to the eventual champion. This is one of the best Nuggets teams ever getting blown-the-hell-out by a mediocre team in the first round.

The system that’s in place is not working. Eventually the organization has to try something new. Why not? What’s at risk aside from another few years of first-round exits?

This team is talented enough and young enough to make the playoffs by sleepwalking through the regular season over the next few years. When the regular season ends is when they need some fresh thinking and a new outlook.

At this point, we know who George Karl is. It is not unfair to label him as a successful regular-season coach who can’t win in the playoffs. He’s a perennial underachiever  He’s a coach that loses in the first round.

And year after year, season after season, what is the point of that?

Feel free to comment at the bottom of this story if you think I’m wrong about GK, or preferably, if you think I’m right.

OTHER STUFF

It was an eventful few days for the Avalanche. They finally had their nightmare of a season come to an end. Then they fire Joe Sacco (to the surprise of no one. It will be more interesting to see if they shake up the front office as well). Then they won the draft lottery. They’re expected to pick Seth Jones, which is a cool story.

The Rockies continue to play well, but the big story from the past week was the call-up of Nolan Arenado, who started at third base Sunday in the most anticipated Rockies debut in years. If you follow the Rockies, you’ve been hearing about this kid for some time. He went 0-3 with a walk on Sunday, but went 3-6 with a 2-run homer last night. His family and friends had almost a whole section to themselves and they kind of went nuts in what was a pretty cool moment. If Arenado can provide some pop and Helton comes back soon, it could make the Rockies lineup ridiculous. Like, best-in-baseball ridiculous.

The Sports Pickle compiled a handful of old newspaper articles praising horrible draft picks. This essentially explains my position on why analyzing the NFL Draft is just a really stupid and pointless thing to do.

Frank Caliendo can get old in a hurry, but anyone making fun of Mel Kiper Jr. is all right with me.

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I don’t know why I found this to be so funny, but I was pretty much crying uncontrollably throughout.

I suppose the 3 million views in three days means I’m not alone.

We lost a legend on Friday. George Jones was one of the greats and a personal favorite of mine. (Yeah, I like that kind of music.) Here he his with his first hit in 1959. (Just look at that flat-top!)

He lived one wild life and there’s a lot in this NYT obituary you didn’t know.

The guy who was carjacked by the alleged Boston bombers talked to the Boston Globe. This is just a gripping, fascinating, incredible story.

And finally, well, I’ll let you piece together the details of this episode. The world needs more people like this.

Happy Tuesday everybody. See you next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

Your Weekly Roundup from the Sports World and Internet

Welcome to this week’s Tuesdays With Mitch, where it’s the middle of April and the weather in Colorado is complete crap. Seems like a good reason to settle in and enjoy everything worth reading or watching from the past week in sports and the internet.

I’ll start with a quick thought on yesterday’s horrific developments in Boston. I don’t have the perspective to provide much that hasn’t already been said, but I’ll add that as Americans I hope times like these do not further separate a divided nation but instead bring us all closer together. That should not be too much to ask.

A couple links worth looking at from Monday.

USA Today found various acts of kindness.

Comedian Patton Oswald struck the right tone on a Facebook post that went viral.

Some helpful words from Mr. Rogers also spread around social media.

Thoughts and prayers, y’all. Thoughts and prayers.

Aaaaaaaaaand impossible segue into the local sports scene… now.

The Nuggets are one win away from securing the 3-seed in the west after Monday’s dramatic win over Milwaukee because Ty Lawson did this:

That came after the Bucks took the lead on 4-point play on a phantom foul call. A road win with no Faried and no Gallo. Pretty resilient bunch, these guys. Faried hurt his ankle Sunday but says he should be back in time for the playoffs. He better be, lest my playoff outlook become even more dire.

On the bright side, Lawson already appears to be pretty darn close to 100 percent. He had 26-7-5 in Milwaukee including that brass game winner. The Nuggs play at The Can on Wednesday; a win over Phoenix locks up that 3-seed.

The Rockies-Mets series is supposed to be four games. As I write this it’s been snowing for like 24 straight hours and the forecast is still bleak. There’s a legit possibility none of the four games get played, which I think would be a first in Rockies’ history. It would also make rescheduling the games nearly impossible, as this is the Mets’ only visit to Denver this season. Stay tuned for scheduling chaos. Two doubleheaders later in the year on common, non-consecutive off days? The Rox playing “home” games at Citi Field? Life is just easier when it doesn’t dump a crapload of snow in the middle of April. Update: The Rockies are attempting a double header today and are currently playing the first game of the series, so ignore the second half of that paragraph. Still, life is just easier when it doesn’t dump a crapload of snow in the middle of April.

Oh by the way, the Rockies looked horrible when they got swept by the Giants. Looked great in a road sweep of the Padres. They’re now 6-0 against San Diego this season. My sources are reporting they are filing a motion with MLB to replace all remaining games against the Giants with matchups vs. the Friars.

If you know me, you know that this made my Sunday.

OTHER STUFF

You should really read this. Seriously. It’s great. I put it first in this section for a reason. Read it.

Official Twitter accounts of teams or businesses are almost always boring public relations professionals with nothing humorous or the least bit interesting to say. On the rare occasion these accounts prove that they’re run by actual people with actual personalities it enhances Twitter tremendously. The most famous example was the Brooklyn Nets PR account, but then they decided being interesting and relevant wasn’t a good idea. (They’re most funny and famous tweet read, “#Nets now 32-0 when outscoring oppenents this season”). Anyway, we had a good example of effective Twitteration this week. After the Padres pretty much started a brawl with the Dodgers, @Dodgers tweeted this:

dodgers

An official account of a big time franchise with a relevant and funny Anchorman quote that that trolls another franchise? Why can’t every team do this all the time?

I’ve never caught a home run or foul ball at a baseball game. I would guess I’ve been to about 250 Rockies games and never done it. Never even had a player or even field usher guy flip me a ball, which is really remarkable. Anyway, this is probably the coolest possible way a guy can accomplish this feat. (MLB won’t let anyone post their videos anywhere so you have to click the link). The post-catch beer chug is just legendary stuff.

There is a show on TV called “Splash.” At first glance it appears to be the dumbest thing in the history of television. Apparently they find D-List “celebrities” and try to teach them to dive like those flamboyant Olympians. Fear not though, for the show has provided us with a moment of perfection. I present to you a very fat Louie Anderson with arms raised, rolling backwards into the water from a 16-foot platform.

via guysim.com / @worldofisaac

What a glorious age we live in.

This commercial made me laugh harder than I’d like to admit.

`

I haven’t yet seen “42” but yesterday was “Jackie Robinson Day” in baseball. Here’s a great article on the legendary man’s life. USC also tweeted this rare footage of Robinson playing football at UCLA in 1939, which is pretty cool.

I really enjoyed this SI piece from last week about The Best Player You Never Saw.

I love me some 60 Minutes and this story on R.A. Dickey is worth your 15 minutes.

And finally, Papa John enjoyed Louisville’s championship last week.

papa john

Maybe the most random celebrity(?) drunk picture ever. Can we get the wasted, sweaty, falling-over, eyes-half-closed version of Papa John on the next season of “Splash”?! That would be a win for everybody. Make it happen, America.

Happy Tuesday everybody.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

Analyzing the NFL Draft is Stupid

This will be a quick post on why analyzing the NFL  Draft is stupid. Based on the headline/title of this post, I’ve decided that sentence was entirely unnecessary.

Anyway, the NFL Draft Thursday night probably generates more buzz than the conference championship weekend. Think about that.

Super Bowl is #1. Draft is #2. It’s a 3-day, prime time event. Analysis will run rampant this weekend.

Everybody has something to say about every pick in every NFL draft. Thing is, nobody, anywhere knows who made the right moves this weekend.

And nobody knows a damn thing.

Thursday night on ESPN every pick will be scrutinized by experts everywhere. Mel Kiper and his hair (what kind of a blogger would I be if I didn’t say something about his hair?) will give a team an “A” grade and Todd McShay will give them a “B.” Then Kiper will give some team an “F” and McShay will give them a “C.”

Blah blah blah.

In three years nobody will remember or care what kind of analysis is said about pick 8 or pick 14 or pick 25. We’ll say, “Damn we nailed that one” or “That guy is a huge bust.” But nobody, anywhere knows any of that this weekend.

Calling the sports talk shows this week and saying, “Gee what do you guys think of taking Whitney Mercilus at #25 instead of Jerel Worthy?” just so the host can say, “Uhhh… Yeah that Mercilus kid is a beast” is silly and pointless.

(And yes, I realize in the grand scheme of things all sports talk radio is silly and pointless but with other topics people can at least engage in interesting and relatively substantial debate).

The best analogy I can come up with is the weather.

Arguing over draft picks is like arguing over what you think the weather will be like next summer. “No way bro, it’s gonna be cooler than usual with more rain than we’re used to!” “Yeah right dude I bet we set record highs like each week!”

Can you imagine getting really pissed off or really pumped because you see a weather report for like 12 days from now? People have a general idea of the way things may pan out, but a lot can happen and a lot can change. And sometimes meteorologists are just flat-out wrong.

I can’t predict the future, you can’t predict the future and Merril Hoge can’t predict the future.

The draft is important. When building an organization in any sport, the draft is the single most important tool to success. The instant judgment and analysis, however; is just dumb, regardless of what ESPN tells you.

We all need to get over it.

My Favorite Rocky Mountain Showdown Memories

The view from Folsom Field

Note: (August 2013): This post was originally published Sept 16, 2011. There are numerous references to “thirties” and “bottles” which was an intentional reference to what was the name of my blog at the time. It’s also interesting to see how my writing style has subtly changed in the last two years. It’s the same post, but I am adding a very important update from the year 2011 and a few more pictures. Hope you enjoy.)

The annual outdoor kegger known as the Rocky Mountain Showdown starts bright and early again Saturday morning.  I went to my first Showdown in 2006 and I’m looking forward to attending my sixth consecutive Showdown this weekend; I’ll be providing a thirty and a bottle. I have a feeling some of the other 65,000+ attendees will bring some libations as well. I’ve been a CSU fan for as long as I can remember, so I recall the big time moments. I remember watching the Bradlee Van Pelt head spike on TV. I remember the Marcus Houston goal line stand. I remember the tear gas. I was a kid for those. The CU game took on a whole new meaning to me when I started to go in person.

I’ve had a blast at each of the last five contests between the Buffaloes and the Rams, although some years have been more fun than others.

My eyes were opened to the awesomeness of this game in 2006. My freshman year at CSU, a random mix of kids from 3NW Parmelee Hall piled in my bright red ’95 Buick Skylark (may God rest her classic soul) and headed down I-25. We didn’t know exactly what we were getting into. The traffic and parking thing was kind of a disaster but we settled into some good seats before kickoff. Surprisingly, I wasn’t much of a drinker at this time so we bypassed the tailgating experience, which seems like a heinous crime today.

Anyway, during the game I was blown away by the passion, intensity and vulgarity of the student section. The “Dir-Ty-Hipp-ies” chant never seemed to end. I remember thinking, “I can get down with this.” CSU won, 14-10 behind a 20-23 effort from Caleb Hanie and a big touchdown grab from Korey Sperry. Dan Hawkins was 0-2 as CU’s coach after losing to Montana State the previous week. Some CSU fans wore Blue and White Montana State shirts. Driving back to Fort Collins I kind of knew I wasn’t going to miss too many of these games.

In 2007 the TV networks rewarded our not-so nationally prominent programs with the coveted 10 a.m. kickoff slot. I wondered what the tailgating scene would be like at 7 in the morning. It was not hindered. We pulled up to see beer pong games already in hotly contested double-overtime. Thirties and bottles were being torn apart before most of the state’s alarm clocks had gone off. The game was exciting but disappointing. Down 31-28 in overtime, Hanie threw an interception in the end zone to end the last game Sonny Lubick coached against the University of Colorado.

One of my best friends got punched in the face in 2008. This might be my favorite off-field memory of these games. By this year, we were all-in, tailgating veterans. Grill. Truck. Music. Multiple thirties. Plenty of bottles. Prime Location. And the time-slot, though on a Sunday, was an ideal 5:30 p.m.

Naturally, it was our duty to accost and harass anyone who came through our parking lot in a gold shirt. After a few hours of drinking, Matt 3 (that’s just his name, don’t ask questions) decided a CU fan deserved to have some Keystone Light dumped on his head. Not like a celebratory, waving/spraying of beer, just a calm three-second pour as if the kid was balancing a cup on top of his head and Matt was just topping him off. The Boulderite shockingly did not appreciate this gesture and cold-cocked 3 (below, shirtless) right in his cheek.

Our 2008 tailgate was full of shenanigans.

Things got interesting at our 2008 tailgate for Matt 3 (shirtless) and Andrew (arms out, clearly intoxicated). I have no idea who the two females are.

Somehow a random CSU girl managed to calm Matt down– not a particularly easy task– and the situation did not escalate. It helped that she was a certified bombshell. Maybe she was an angel of peace. Anyway, the CU kid had some friends in green and gold that kept the rest of us from throwing down in fisticuffs, as Ron Burgundy would say.

That was the same year we saw people (not in our group) throwing full, unopened cans of beer at CU kids. That was the same year I had my brother Andrew’s (above, tongue out, one eye unintentionally closed) ticket. I never gave it to him and when we were going into the stadium he was nowhere to be found. He got into the game without a ducat, although he’s not sure how. I’m still waiting for him to pay me for that unused ticket. He did receive a different kind of ticket before the game, this one for public urination after relieving himself on someone’s CU flag that was laid on a grassy knoll. Looking back, that was quite the tailgate.

Inside the stadium ,things were equally chaotic for CSU in Steve Fairchild’s debut. An uninteresting 38-17 loss. There were back-to-back kickoff returns for each team, which was kind of cool I guess. Whatever. We left dejected and already hungover.

The game was in Boulder my senior year. A lot of CSU students didn’t go as some sort of stupid protest or something. It was a true road game, so there were no deals for CSU student tickets. My friends and I each dropped about $70 to get into Folsom. It was worth every penny. For the first time in the series, I admittedly drank a little bit too much, but I still remember the good parts.

As our group of about ten was walking into the stadium, we encountered a girl from CU. If I drank a little too much, she drank way too much. As her boyfriend looked on in embarrassment, she tried to fight a couple of us. She was stumbling forward attempting to land absolute haymakers on one of my friends. He calmly ducked under them as the rest of us were just cackling with laughter. She had a legitimate audience and, even though she didn’t know it, she was killing the crowd.

Andrew decided to come to the tailgating festivities this year without a ticket again. Naturally, by game time he had enough liquid courage to attempt to get into the game without one. After a few security guards had turned him away, his friend Travis, who was already inside, did something hilarious. Forgetting that he had his face painted in green and gold lettering, he found a yellow security jacket, put it on and tried to tell another security guard that Andrew had to come with him. It may have been the painted face, the plaid shorts, or the sandals, but that didn’t work. Andrew eventually found a ticket-taker who didn’t care enough to fight off a sea of drunk kids. He gave him a ticket that was already scanned and the dude let him in anyway.

CU Fans

The blurry picture I took of the CU Fans watching me dance on the midfield logo at Folsom Field.

Inside the stadium, things went pretty well. CSU jumped out to a 17-0 lead behind two John Mosure touchdowns. The Rams held on for a 23-17 win and the CSU students who are not lame left our seats and celebrated with the team on Folsom Field. We rushed the hell out of that field, and it was one hell of a party. Dancing on the midfield logo. “C-S-U!” chants. Waving to the gold-clad fans in their season-ticket seats as they angrily watched in disgust. Snow angels (minus the snow) in the endzone. That experience is probably once-in-a-lifetime and I was pretty lucky to be a part of it.

Last year was my first game as a graduate, but I went disguised as a 5th-year senior. This one was pretty uneventful. We got to the parking lot early and grilled and drank. I remember pouring 16 ounces of Vodka (Burnette’s of course) into a cup because I didn’t want to walk around with an open container. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I shared it with strangers who seemed to appreciate my kindness. The game was a blowout. Pete Thomas threw three pics; Tyler Hansen accounted for three touchdowns. We left pissed off sometime in the third quarter as CU handed us a 24-3 ass kicking.

I’m planning on taking a more grown-up approach to this game (I even bought my first non-student-section ticket!), but that might fly out the window after slamming a couple beer bongs and imbibing some Jim Beam. Just like that first game in 2006, I never know exactly what I’m getting myself into at the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

Very important update (8/31/13): 

“I’m planning on taking a more grown-up approach to this game.” Ummm… yeah. In 2011, we partied pretty hard and the tailgating was a blast. A couple specific moments stick out enough for me to share them with you.

Our group was posted up with a few cars on the edge of one of the CSU parking lots. Beyond the lot there is a curb, and a grassy hill that leads to a sidewalk. The hill is probably about 15 feet high and the sidewalk is probably about 25 yards from where my group was primarily positioned. Naturally, over the course of the tailgate, this sidewalk is a major thoroughfare with heavy pedestrian traffic from fans of both teams.

Eventually, we decided it was time to harass some folks in yellow shirts. Not sure why; I guess we were just sick of looking at that horrible color. At some point, somebody suggested to my friend Todd, that he take a hot dog off the grill and try to hit a CU fan with it. This quickly became the moment when Todd stole the show. We’ve known Todd for years and he’s a good dude, but there is no doubt at all that this sequence of events is truly his one shining moment.

There’s always a handful of unused burgers and dogs that go uneaten, and Todd grabbed one. With a smirk and an uncontrollable boyish giggle, Todd actually throws the damn thing. I think this was unexpected by most of us. Whoever suggested this brilliant idea probably didn’t think he would actually do it. But he did. He grabbed the dog with his thumb and forefinger and flung this wiener end-over-end on a high, looping arc, similar to that of the opening kickoff a couple hours later. The throw turned out to be an unbridled success as Todd hit the pretend bullseye on this grown man’s chest. He was clearly surprised that a cooked Oscar Meyer had come out of nowhere to bounce of his chest, but he kept his cool and didn’t really look over.

We had a subdued reaction. Mostly it was turning our backs and stifling our uncontrollable laughter. That was pretty awesome, but that was just the build up.

A little while later, someone suggested to Todd that he try the same feat, only with a burger instead of a dog. At this point it should be no surprise that Todd accepted this challenge. He grabbed a cooked patty that wasn’t going to be eaten and picked his yellow-clad target. Again most of us were surprised that he was actually doing this.

So as our large group looked on in excited anticipation with a sense of wonder, Todd flings this thing like a frisbee. Not an across-the-body, backhand frisbee throw, but an off-to-the-side, submarine style frisbee throw with a dip of the shoulder.

The flight of this hamburger is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen, and I say that without hyperbole.

Keep in mind Todd’s intended target was about 25 yards away and up a 15-foot hill. Initially the burger is tailing to the right and it looks like this will be a letdown following the tremendous hot dog incident. But then… the burger starts to curve… like an intended hook on a golf ball or a frisbee floating on a gentle breeze….

HolyShitThatMightHitThatGuy…

NoWay…

LookAtThis…

Ohhhhhhhhhh….

And then…

BOOM!

The hamburger catches this dude precisely on the temple and absolutely explodes upon impact. Our tailgating group also exploded upon impact. Ohhhhhhh! There was about 12 of us jumping around like we were all on Maury and learned we arrrrrrrre NOT the father. Todd immediately rolled right into the “Cat Daddy” dance (fellas, you’ll want to click that link). Seriously though, the reaction was the best part of the entire day and it was eerily similar to this:

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I mean, it was EERILY similar to that.

CSU lost that year, by the way.

Since I’m on the topic, here are some pics of my favorite tradition, The Group Shotgun. Pictures tell me it began in 2010. It will never die.

2010b copy 2011a copy2012a

Top 2010, Middle 2011, Bottom 2012.

Thanks for reading. Go Rams. Hope to see you all tomorrow.