Friday, February 27, 2009

Remembering The Rocky

We hear the overworn cliché “woven into the fabric of our lives” so much these days. Colorado’s Rocky Mountain News was part of that fabric. 150 years old, it will end its run today, another victim of the changing face of news delivery and a sour economy.

The Rocky thrived at giving the state’s sports fans what they wanted: concise reporting, an easy to read format, stats, some laughs and debate. The section was routinely ranked in the top 10 in the nation.

I have a stack of Rockys that I’ve kept as keepsakes throughout the years (can’t fold up a webpage for a momento can you?) and a bigger memory of old Rocky features.

A smiling Alferd Williams as CU captures their only football national championship is tucked safely away in the attic. Bob Kravitz and his Sunday “half truths” column used to illicit some chuckles. The paper’s campaign to bring baseball to the state in the early 90’s, and finally getting that team. I saw the logo and Rockies’ hat for the first time on the front page.

My roommate in college used to read the sports section at breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Over and over he would read the same stories. We used to quiz him on the most minute detail from some obscure transaction or game summary, and he would usually nail it.

The Rocky had great headline writers, and sports frequently made page one. A pumped up Yorvit Torrealba circling the bases in the rain with the headline “Pouring It On” was one of my favorites. Just last fall, smiling Buff receiver Josh Smith is carried off on student’s shoulders with the headline “King Of The Mountain” after CU beat West Virginia in prime time.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? I taught my ten year old yellow lab to navigate the freezing mornings and grab my Rocky when it was just too cold for her wussy owner. She obliged but not after tearing off a few pages after refusing to give it back.

Columnist Sam Adams’ trips to a wayward bar in Nebraska for each Buff-Husker game was always a must read the Saturday after Thanksgiving. During every Stanley Cup run the entire paper was redubbed the “Hockey Mountain News” and back in 1996 the stories helped this hockey novice understand a little more about the game. “Roy Hoo!” bellowed the headline as the region won its first championship in 1996 with Lord Stanley's hardware coming to Denver.

A Simple “Yes!” greeted readers as a jubilant Todd Helton celebrated the final out of the 2007 NLCS. “Buffaloed” as CU crushed Nebraska in 2001. “Score!” as the Nuggets brought in Allen Iverson. “Sacked” when CU fired Gary Barnett.

And you can’t talk the Rocky without sports cartoonist Drew Litton. Every Denver sports fan can name their favorite comic of his. John Elway peering in Joe Sakic’s bedroom was a particular classic.

BG Brooks’ coverage of the Colorado Buffs was pure professional, always reporting the straight facts of the going ons in the People’s Republic.

Back in the day, I helped a friend deliver the paper (when paper boys were actually boys, not men in vans) and there was one house that had astroturf on their front patio. We always practiced our best football celebrations while dropping off their Rocky each morning

And yes, the small tabloid style was great for carrying about, reading in cramped spaces, and while in “the library” as many people call the toilet.

The heart and soul of the Rocky sports section was just like the state it covered, the Denver Broncos. Great beat writers, a bevy of stats and color photos. The sadness of the four Super Bowl losses, each one feeling worse as the team, and city, seemed to take their lumps. Then the headline “El-YEA!” blasted as the team won their first Super Bowl and brought a region joy. A couple days later the photo of Elway and Terrell Davis raising the Lombardi Trophy to 650,000 fans in Civic Center Park on a crystal clear Colorado day.

If you look close at the Rocky’s photo of Elway circling Mile High Stadium’s field for the last time after beating the Jets in the AFC Championship in 1999, you can see The Commish following a few steps behind.

It was at McNichols Sports Arena in January 1998 and I was reading The Rocky's story about the Broncos’ playoff victory over the Chiefs. For some reason in mid-story I happened to look up and for the first time gazed upon someone who would change my life forever- the future Mrs. Commish.

Fast forward eleven years later and I have the last Rocky I ever saved with a headline about Carmelo Anthony’s broken hand. Not particularly historic, but to me it was as beautiful day as there ever was and another life changer- the birth of my daughter.

Maybe the “fabric” of our lives is just a little lighter today.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lendale: Whip It Good

Denver native and Tennessee Titan running back Lendale White’s off-season regimen:

-Checking out old school Hip Hop shows looking for name plate belt buckle.
-Walk around every big Nuggets’ game like he owns the place, scarfing down “onion rings doused in ranch dressing.”
-Shopping the Stock Show for belt buckles.
-Eat. Rest. Repeat.
-Calling Chris Johnson’s cell phone and asking for “that Titan running back backup, bitch.”
-Attending wrestling matches looking for large belts.
-Counseling Vince Young.
-Watching videos of himself stomping the Terrible Towel.
-Hitting up local nutrition and weightlifting stores looking for belts.
-Belittling Jeff Fischer’s mustache to his crew.
-ARC and Goodwill Bric Brac sections: the great untapped belt resource.
RELATED: King Tee f/ Tha Alkaholiks - "I Got It Bad Yall" - "On the mic I hold a belt, now I know no one could spank me"


Monday, February 23, 2009

Rolling Strikes in Wheat Ridge

That's what we get, got it good
Since you understood, would you
Stop scheming, and looking hard
I got a great big bodyguard...

Scanning the dial this weekend I stumbled upon a bowling tournament and upon scanning the crowd I noticed guys in Colorado pullovers, Bronco hats, Avs’ gear, and even a Denver Post columnist looking strikingly out of place in the front row.

Upon hitting info and scanning the PBA website, it was revealed the Kingpin set had settled into Wheat Ridge, a sleepy suburb of Our Town for a tour stop.

More research revealed that in this particular tourney the bowlers were required to use “throwback” equipment, mainly plastic balls that were the rage in the 1970’s heyday of bowling.

(Ah yes, and the NFL will be using leather helmets for on weekend this year. Can anyone get Craig McTavish and his helmetless crew to skate in the NHL again? Someone get Roger Federer a wooden racquet dammit!)

The old school element of the tourney also reared its head when I relived the nostalgia of my old apartment, which was located just a few scant blocks from the alley. It was there that the “Commish” moniker was perhaps born, as we held our first Fantasy Football draft there. That crappy apartment also saw marathon Bill Walsh College Football sessions, hand-me-down couches and futons, mass amounts of mid-90s Hip Hop, and cheap beer by the case load. Raise your Keystone Lights in celebration!

RELATED: Organized Confusion - "Stress"; Crooklyn Dodgers - "Crooklyn"; Digable Planets - "9th Wonder"


Friday, February 20, 2009

Sit Down Francis

These record labels slang our tapes like dope
You can be next in line and signed, and still be writing rhymes and broke...

The old saying goes "in Spring Training there's a pennant behind every palm tree." In the Rockies' case it shoud be "in Spring Training there's disappointment behind every cactus."

Day one Rox full squad workout: day one of the bad news we could be seeing until October. "Ace" starter Jeff Francis was shelved for the whole year when his shoulder was deemed just a smidge crappier than it would've been last summer and he will go under the knife.

Francis, step it up! Rambo took care of his shoulder by ramming it against a tree! (How cool would it be then to see Francis just go ape shit and wreck shop on the whole complex? Disguising himself under the dirt at 2nd and just stabbing the hell out of Tulo when he runs by? Or sharpening some bats into wood splints and stabbing Clint Hurdle in the knees?)

Most Rockies' hard core fans saw this coming, as the addition of every pitcher from Jason Marquis, to Josh Fogg, to Greg Smith to Gaylord Perry was about covering their collective asses when (not if) Francis goes down. Dude, seriously, your name is Gay Rock!? But we digress...

Alot of the hard core fans aren't crying in their Monfort killed beef as the candidates to replace Francis might actually be a substainial step up from the dribble that he gave in 2008. Franklin Morales in particular could be primed to become the next thing. Jason Hirsh may be ready to match his power forward size with power numbers, and even Fogg and his ridiculous 'Dragon Slayer' moniker could be ready to play with his eight sided dice and inning eating numbers.
But as per the Rockies usual MO, they will face more injuries, the bullpen will meltdown, or the penciled starters will falter (JorgerDe La Rosa? Really?) Better bring the body bags.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vonn Thumbs Up

I get mines the fast way, the ski mask way...

Vail’s Finest, skier Lindsay Vonn, is tearing up the World Cup Ski circuit. Literally, as she swooshes down the mountainsides past snooty Euros and “wooooo” cheering ski bums.

She also tearing it up, as in her thumb ligaments. Not on a ski pole, a Wide World of Sportsesque crash, or snapping herself into her skis. Rather Vonn cracked her thumb open while opening some hooch in a post race celebration.

Clint Barmes carrying dear meat ups the stairs and Brian Griese falling down Terrell Davis’s driveway both think that is cool.

More importantly, Ms Vonn, we here at SG Land, noted connoisseurs of liquid goodness and Colorado sports, wish to extend the newly created position of Slushy Gutter Queen to you. Your propensity for all the Gutter exemplifies is impressive, and we would be honored if you accept. We’ve been in your shoes; I got a nasty gash on my lip trying to cut a hole out of a beer can with my teeth back in 95. Besides, you can’t let that drunk Bode Miller have all the fun.

RELATED: Wu Tang Clan - "Triumph" - "Olympic torch flaming, we burn so sweet, The thrill of victory the agony of defeat"


Monday, February 16, 2009

All Star Phoenix Rising

I'm in this rap game so I'ma aim to be best
It's fresh, but off the head it's like the dunk contest...

Slushy Gutter Nuggets notes from the All Star Game:
--The NBA should’ve just had a two man show down in the Dunk Contest, as it was apparent everyone involved wanted Dwight Howard versus Nate Robinson. The Nuggets’ JR Smith’s fist dunk on two bounces was the best dunk in the round, yet was scored low by the judges. Mini mite Robinson had to step on some dude’s back to get his into the hole, yet still ended up in the finals.

--Chauncey Billups had a minimal impact on the game, dishing out a few assists and hitting a trey in 18 minutes. No shame there, as resting in this game might be more important to the Nugs fans. No all out effort, no hard defense, no dancing with Jabowockee, or Jamoriquoi, or Jackal, or Jack Bauer, or whoever the hell that was. More importantly is the manner in which Chauncey represented not only the Nugs, but the city and state all weekend. If there is pro athlete that’s prouder than Billups to rep his city, find him.

--With AI shaving his braids off, that leaves Nene as one of the last players in the league with the cornrow look. Since the NBA is a copy cat league, expect the Nugs’ big man to maybe forgo the braids and go instead with the Michael Cage 1984 look. Oil Spill!!!

--All the guys on the Nuggets and in the league to help you with a dunk and you choose Sonny Weems? Really? Anthony Goldwire was unavailable?

--It was glaringly apparent in the game that Melo was totally snubbed. He belonged out there, injury or not. Will it serve as “motivation” in the 2nd half of the year? Or is that a totally overrated notion?
RELATED: Ice Cube - "Wicked" - "...pass me the pill and I'll slam dunk ya like Shaquille O'Neal"


Friday, February 13, 2009

Drum Roll Please

Getting the big spins in SG Land right now is P.O.S. and his release Never Better. The Ryhmesayers' MC has again crafted a punk rock vibe with precise lyrics. Furious and chaotic drum beats are perfectly matched by P.O.S. throughout the joint, with some intellectual lyrics, dap to the Doomtree crew, and for us Mitch Hedberg fans' an ill reference to "search party for DuFrain, party of four."

While Never Better isn't a protypical boom bap release that is usually in favor in these parts, it is a very nice distarction and- dare we say - alternative to the standard underground fare.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where Brooklyn At?

Spread love, it's the Brooklyn way...

Every Febrauary like clockwork the past 20 years, we've waited for the SI Swimsuit Issue with bated breath, and alas yesterday my mailbox contained the Bar Refaeli covered annual. But it wasn't the cover gal that piqued the interest, but rather Brooklyn Decker's picts throughout the mag.

Brooklyn Queen. Super Brooklyn. Brooklyn Zoo.

We will forgive Ms. Decker for being linked to Husker Douchebag Andy Roddick for the time being. (Insert "play with my fuzzy yellow balls" joke here.)

Brooklyn's Finest. No Sleep Till Brooklyn. Brooklyn's Don Diva.

Brooklyn: Go Hard. Exactly.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Kanye: Grammy Griper

If you don't know me by now I doubt you'll ever know me
I never won a Grammy, I won't win a Tony...

As per normal, The Grammy Awards were a huge downer for Hip Hop. The powers never seem to get the right nominees or simply take the top sellers in the genre for that year. The rappers that get all the critical and real Hip Hoppers love seem to get the shaft. But it is expected, as it's been going on for 20 years.

However, Kanye West is always a treat at the awards, as he can never stop complaining about something. Dude is selling records beyond most artists' dreams, getting mad dap from many corners, and yet still finds an opportunity to bitch. This time he slipped in that he should've won 'Best New Artist' during the presentation.

That wasn't all he had to complain or crow about either:

--When told that Chris Brown had been popped by the LAPD, he responded that he was popped by the Army National Guard earlier in the week. When told that Chris Brown had scored six TDs versus Nebraska, he said that he scored eight TDs versus the 1985 Bears.

--Kanye claimed M.I.A.’s outfit was made from his screen door.

--He was upset that Allison Krauss and Robert Plant won awards, because Kanye had a duet with Jimmy Page and John Bonham a few years ago. When told Bonham had died in 1980, Kanye said “that’s what was so cool about it, I can do a guest spot with the afterlife.”

--Kanye claimed the Grammy was not a phonograph, but a scale model of a dump he took in the Viper Room’s bathroom.

--He heard A-Rod was using steroids and Kanye admitted that he disguised himself as a beef cow, went throught the whole steroid/beefing up process, then escaped from rendering by using bovine karate.

--He was upset that there was no Bo Diddley type tribute to him, that BB King and crew owed the formation of blues, Memphis BBQ, and guitars to his intellect and the Bo Jackson commercials were originally supposed to be “Bo, you don’t know Kanye!”

--He claimed that Lil Wayne’s tribute to New Orleans was a tribute to him, as Kanye controls the weather patterns in the entire southeastern United States.

--When informed about how TI’s upcoming stint in jail might afford the Atlanta rapper a chance to reinvent himself and sell more records, Kanye said that he planned to be captured by the ancient Romans, who would then put him in a tower which would be surrounded by sharp thickets and dragons for 1000 years.

--He complained that Coldplay shouldn’t have won anything because they were British, and Kanye defeated the British in the 18th century.

RELATED: Diamond D - "Best Kept Secret" - ("Girls, get the panty and even wit a fanny and I might win a Grammy and, maybe I won't so I'll chill like the pope, see I'll neva mope cuz ya know my shit is dope")


Friday, February 06, 2009

Buffs Are Mad As Hell

Cause I'm a player, doin what the players do
The package store was closed, okay my day is ruined...

A few highlights from the CU recruiting class and the Recruiting Luncheon:

--Clark Evans, a 6-5 230 lb QB from California could be the real deal. Many comparisons to a certain Florida QB, and we aren’t talking Jeff Garcia. At a size like that, Mr Evans could be resembling Big Ben by 2013.

--Offensive lineman Ryan Miller and Max Tuioto Mariner have been granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA. This is good news not only because they are tremendous players, but I like shortening Max’s name to MTM, and that fills my head with images of Mary Tyler Moore playing guard.

--The mood of the team can be summed up in one word: pissed. Tired of finishing around 500, tired of losing in the Big 12 North, tired of the Slushy Gutter Crew showing up all drunk and belligerent to the games. I made that last thing up.

--CU will play two Thursday Night games this year, making the following Fridays a hazy-headed start to the weekend.

--While the staff lost out on a few WR prospects on signing day (Diante Jackson- where ya head at?) they did manage to pull in three receivers with 6-3 height or more. Terdema Ussery from the Dallas area looks especially nimble.

--Top Colorado prospect Nick Kasa (DE) was a man among boys in his highlights. He simply overpowered, and more importantly- outspeeded, the opposition. I don’t think outspeeded is a word, but maybe we can make it one. Think Jared Allen-esque (minus the beard.)

--Coach Bill McCartney is the muthf*ckin man here in CO. When he spoke, the whole damn crowd listens. Plus, the man still has a healthy hate for the cornshuckers to the east, disparaging them numerous times.

--Coach Hawk reads a lot of books. His presentation featured a bunch of positive thinking titles that would make Tony Robbins proud.

--The class finished in the 40s by most services, but it addressed the two biggest needs: defensive line and wide receiver. Added to Kasa is stud DT Edward Nukols. But the biggest “need” was the addition of a kicker. The two-star kicker brings down a class rating, but perhaps could be the biggest pull.

--Wheat Ridge standout Parker Orms, penciled to be a DB in college, is becoming a folk hero in these parts before even donning the Black and Gold. Whether he can crack the two-deep in his time in Bolder remains to be seen, but he will be a crowd favorite.

--By 11:55am, most tables at the luncheon had finished their lunch and were nursing coffee or ice water. At our table, representing with eight SG Awards, there are no less than nine empty beer bottles. Slushy Gutter, indeed.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Spurred Stars

People spread gossip and believe what they must
while I slam dunk chumps and make em bite the dust…

All the billing yesterday was for the battle in the Western Conference between you Nuggets and the dreaded Spurs. After halftime, the showdown became an exhibition game as the top stars were bound to the bench.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made a curious decision to not play Manu Floppy Ginolbli, Tim Who Me Duncan, and Tony Oui Oui Parker. While the Nugs were without Kenyon Martin who was suffering with tonsillitis and Chauncey Billups with a bum ankle in the 2nd Half.

What resulted was a game better suited for October as the Spurs had some cat named Roger Mason, or Roger Staubach, Desmond Mason, Mason Crosby, or Roger Troutman…some dude jacking up 30 points. There was some red head guy out there, some guy who looked like former NBAer Kurt Thomas, I think the midfielder for some Croatian soccer team, and Jacque Vaughn all played for the Spurs.

And the Nugs still let it get too close, as an ugly game that the Powder Blue Patrol never put away. Melo came through as the offense slowed without Billups and JR Smith chucked more bad shots than your 21st birthday. In the end, a key win as the team embarks on a massive nine game road trip and perhaps a chance to pick up some steam in the rugged Western Conference.


Monday, February 02, 2009

The Donk in the Mirror

The architect, bringing you the art of wreck
You used to hate my click, now you want a part of it…

Time to look in the mirror Bronco fans: this team is light years away from the Lombardi trophy. The Steelers showed us a regimented approach, a staunch defense, and veteran moxie. The damn schedule makers did us no favors this coming year, through in a young coach and his mismatched hodge podge staff and 6 wins might be lucky. A defense that is just plain putrid and whose best player may have just lapsed into the downside of his career. There’s no Big Ben at QB, rather a misguided young man who seemingly has no leadership or voice in the locker room. His top target is a typical wide receiver prima donna, the running game is stuck on stupid, and the offensive line is anchored by a 36 year old. Your 2nd tight end earns so much money he’s eating away at the salary cap, and your depth is non-existent. Your kicker can’t get it right on the chip shots and the rest of the special teams look like a high school team in all phases. And then there’s the AFC comp: the world champion Steelers. The Patriots and there two stud QBs and system. The Chargers have a gunslinger QB, the Chiefs hired the right guy from New England, there’s still that Manning guy in Indy, and that Ed Reed dude in Baltimore. Oh, and the league’s best record in Tennessee. That’s a long ladder to climb and a lot of teams to jump over.

Time to look in the mirror Bronco fans: this team isn’t as far off as we think from the promised land. That was the 9-7 Arizona Cardinals just a few minutes away from the championship. The Broncos purged one of the league’s youngest and brightest minds from the Belichick system and he surrounded himself with veteran coaches. The defense has identified their ills and will reshape the unit, including getting their best player back from injury. Jay Cutler enters his fourth year as one of the NFL’s brightest QBs, and he already has that swagger. At his disposal is one of the league’s best wideouts and young tight end, as well as a veteran OL and up-and-comer in Ryan Clady. The RB position will be stabilized and expect fresh legs with the bevy of backs to choose from. Our new special teams coach will pick and choose our best players and drill them into a fine unit on all the phases of special teams, and we have a kicker who can boom it from 50 plus yards. The AFC is shifting: New England will have the Brady v Cassel thing, the Chargers will be in flux with LT, Peyton and company will have a new staff, and Kansas City still lacks talent. Baltimore will have a 2nd year QB and lose Ray Lewis and can anyone expect Tennessee with Kerry Collins to have the best record? Suddenly, the top of the ladder doesn’t look so daunting.