Sports

Hopeful thoughts of an optimistic editor

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Well I’ve been missing for the past two weeks and totally spaced out my writing. It happens. Isn’t the summer semester over already?

Anyways I really have nothing to rant about, so I’ll touch on a few things I have opinions about. And really, my opinion should be your opinion because I’m right about 90% of the time.

With my Rockies playing well over .500 baseball post-All-Star Game, they’ve got me very optimistic. Not blind, optimistic.

If we beat the teams we’re supposed to within the next two months, the playoffs aren’t out of the question. Two weeks ago, I had a few conversations with various people about the state of my Rockies. After coming out of the gate 9-1 after the All-Star Break including a sweep of the Reds on the road where we suck, I made the bold prediction that we would be in first place by mid-August.

With series’ then coming up on the road against Pittsburgh (48-57 going into the series with the Rockies), Florida (57-51), and then we come home for a long home-stand with four-games against the dreadful Washington Nationals (41-70) and San Diego Padres (43-69). After the Padres we get a test with the NL West leading Arizona Diamondbacks. They aren’t much better than us, and as long as we don’t have to face Brandon Webb and Dan Haren both in the same series, we should take 2 of 3 at home. We then go back on the road to face Washington again to take us into the latter part of August.

If the remaining games of the stretch go the way they should/could, I see us going 9-4 (including the loss on Monday night), which should bring us within a few games of first place in the weak division.

With the LA Dodgers acquiring one of the top 10 hitters in baseball in Manny Ramirez and giving up basically nobody, they solidify themselves as the best team in the NL West. However, it is the Diamondbacks that pose the largest threat in the playoffs with Webb and Haren. Pitching wins in the playoffs.

I’m hopeful the Rockies still make a move to acquire another starting pitcher to help them down the stretch. With the trade deadline passed, it will have to be a waiver-wire deal, which is complicated.

Everything that I hear shows the Rockies have interest in Pittsburgh’s Ian Snell, Cleveland’s Paul Byrd, Seattle’s Jarrod Washburn, Washington’s Tim Redding (who beat us Monday), and Cincinnati’s Josh Fogg (who helped the Rockies down the stretch last year). With some team’s wanting too much for their chuckers, it looks like Fogg is the probable pitcher to come to Colorado.

Editor’s Note: A day after I wrote this, the Rox claimed Livan Hernandez off the waiver wire.

The Olympics are four days away and I’ve already used the “What I’m Excited For” column. With all the buzz over the last two weeks about the Olympics, I’m now stoked for a few more sports.

Baseball – The Rockies will send two of their organization’s players to Beijing. Rockies’ Opening Day starting second baseman, now Sky Sox starter, Jayson Nix will represent the USA along with Dexter Fowler, a centerfielder who is expected to be called up to the big leagues at anytime.

Beach Volleyball – Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh will look at repeat as Olympic champs this year. Who can forget the two women hugging, rolling in the sand after their gold medal four years ago? What will happen in the encore?

Gymnastics – I’m comfortable enough with my man-hood to admit that I’m looking forward to watching gymnastics. Remember the Hamm brothers from four years back? Last I heard, Paul was injured and was replaced, but he’s still on the roster at NBC.com.

How about Shawn Johnson? She’s only 16 years old and stands at 4’9″! Johnson comes to the Summer Games as the all-around champion.

A couple of interesting facts:
#1 The only two US All-around Olympic champions, Mary Lou Retton and Carly Patterson were also just 16-years old.
#2 Johnson’s coaches Liang Chow and Liwen Zhuang are Beijing natives.

Swimming – I’ve already talked about how proud Michael Phelps makes me, but what about Amanda Beard. She’s back for her fourth Olympics, and will compete in the 200m breaststroke. She said she was just competing in the Olympic qualifiers for fun, and said if she qualified it would be a bonus. She took 2nd place and qualified. How can you not be excited? Oh yeah, and she’s good lookin’.

Katie Hoff is the female version of Phelps. She’ll be competing in six, maybe seven events in Beijing. Four years ago, when she was 15-years old, she had what she said was a disappointing showing in Athens. She said the pressure got to her, and will be more focused this year.

Dara Torres holds the records for oldest woman to win Olympic gold. She was 33 when she last won, and the new mother, now 41 will look to up that mark this year. Her first Olympics was back in 1984 in Los Angeles, where she won gold…before I was born.