Thursday, November 29, 2012

Coping with College Basketball and Who is Best Match Up for Broncos?

In this week's pod, Spen reveals that he's been filling the hole in his NHL heart with college basketball of all things (doesn't hurt when your school is ranked). Later, they guys discuss looming match ups for the Broncos in the playoffs and why the Baltimore Ravens defense participates in witchcraft.

Coping with College Basketball and Who is Best Match Up for Broncos?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Best Broncos Team Since the Super Bowl Teams?

In this week's pod, we discuss whether this Denver Broncos team can be regarded as the best team since John Elway was under center. Plus, what is the outlook for the playoff contenders? We finish up with some Nuggets talk as we try to figure out if the first few weeks of the season actually mean anything.

Best Broncos Team Since the Super Bowl Teams?


Friday, October 19, 2012

Lackluster LCS & Broncos Projections

On this week's pod, Spen and Kieran discuss how the awesome baseball playoffs have really fizzled out and appear headed towards a rematch of the 2006 World Series (...and we all remember that one). Later, Spen simplifies the NHL lockout for all you n00bs, the guys touch on where the Broncos are heading and Kieran offers his thoughts on the Nuggets. *Choppy audio brought to you courtesy of Skype.

Lackluster LCS & Broncos Projections

Monday, October 8, 2012

Clean Up at 20th and Blake

How the Colorado Rockies can transform their roster this offseason to yield a more competitive team

The Rockies' front office is a mess and the team on the field is an insult to professional baseball. The 2012 Colorado Rockies, everybody! Yes, this is the same team that was a sleeper pick to make a run at the playoffs as recently as March. It must have been that sweet Arizona air and all that delicious (and relatively inexpensive) Summer Shandy they serve on tap at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Yes, optimism was in the air as the Rockies torched Johnny Cueto and a full Cincinnati Reds squad on March 25th. That's the great thing about spring training. You lose and it's, "it's just practice, it doesn't really matter." But if you win it's, "they looked really good out there, I wouldn't be surprised to see this team playing relevant games in September." But optimism and lemonade beer were only delaying the inevitable truth: the Rockies sucked.

What's clear to me about watching the Rockies religiously since 2006 is that the offense will always pack a punch no matter who is out there. The team scored the third most runs in the National League with a lineup that featured a multitude of injuries to key players like Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Helton and Michael Cuddyer. The major issue, as it is with all major league teams, is run prevention. It's no coincidence that the five best NL teams were in the top-six in terms of runs allowed:
  1. Nationals: 3.33
  2. Dodgers: 3.34
  3. Reds: 3.34
  4. Braves: 3.42
  5. Giants: 3.68
  6. Cardinals: 3.71
     16. Rockies: 5.22

All those who had the misfortune of following the Rockies this season are well aware of the team's pitching struggles. But take a look at the other side of the coin for run prevention: defense. There's a stat called Fielder Independent Pitching (FIP) that is an adjusted ERA if a league-average defense were fielding the ball. The Rockies FIP in 2012? 4.59. Which basically means, with balls in play being turned into outs at an average rate, the Rockies ERA would have been around a half-run better. Half a run per game over a 162 game season equates to 81 less runs given up which equates to a 76-win season (instead of a 64-win season). While this is a loose argument, the point remains that the defense did no favors to Rockies' pitchers, leading to an additional 12 losses. 

Now, who are the culprits? And how can the Rockies improve this over the offseason?

  1. Either get Carlos Gonzalez out of left field or get him to wake up out there. Unbeknownst to ROOT Sports announcers, CarGo actually played terrible defense this year, posting a defensive efficiency rating of -8.5, or as Fangraphs rates it, "below average-to-poor". Two years removed from a gold glove and in the prime of his career, CarGo posts his worst defensive season yet. The Rockies parked  CarGo in left field all season, possibly a culprit for his demise. He has proven himself at all outfield postions in the past. Perhaps a change of fields from game-to-game will keep him interested. 
  2. Trade batter WAR for pitcher WAR. What is more valuable, a batter who produces three additional wins of production or a pitcher who produces three additional wins of production? In my book the pitcher is more valuable even if the numbers look the same. The reason being is that bats are more easy to come by. Pitchers are rare. A pitcher will not come to Coors Field by choice so you have to trade for one. Swap batting for pitching. On the block: Dexter Fowler (as much as it pains me), Jordan Pacheco and Michael Cuddyer.
  3. Outfield switcharoo. Rumor has it, the Rockies may be looking to move Fowler or Cuddyer this offseason. In the event the Rockies move Fowler, they will likely plug in Eric Young Jr. and Tyler Colvin into his spot in CF. Luckily for EY, I will not tear him apart because I did a little research and saw that his defensive efficiency has improved greatly since he has exclusively become an outfielder. Pull CarGo out of LF and put him in center where he can use his wheels. 
  4. Middle infield defense. Josh Rutledge was a valuable replacement for Tulo at shortstop, but didn't perform nearly to the injury-prone star's level. If Rutledge prepares himself for a full season at second base, he and Tulo could form a formidable double play combo. 
  5. Jason Giambi: Player-Manager. While I can't make any fancy number-based arguments about this, having Giambi as a Player-Manager would be sweet. Just imagine him calling his own number as a pinch hitter late in a game. Giambi says he still wants to play. I don't think there's much of a market for him outside of Colorado. The Rockies are a weird organization as it is. After the four-man rotation experiment, would this be so far fetched? 
Unlike most Rockies critics, I am actually providing some solutions that don't include "fire everybody", "sign Josh Hamilton", and "we need new owners!" There's a reason that the Rays and A's can have success on minuscule payrolls. They have a system that they trust and they stick to it. The Rockies may be troubling to watch, but hey... at least they're not the Pirates, Royals, Astros or Cubs.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Baseball Playoffs Take a Front Seat

In this week's pod, Spen and Kieran dissect each series in the MLB playoffs and offer their thoughts on the new one-game wild card system. Later, they touch on who they trust most in these playoffs; it's not about season-long stats anymore... some no name player can step up and make it big! Oh, and we initiate the #UnfollowNHL initiative.

Baseball Playoffs Take a Front Seat


Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Pod is Back! Week Four Picks

After being locked out of the podcast all season (it was in the fine print of the ref deal), we are back for more suboptimal sports banter. This week, Spen and Kieran are joined by n00b Danny to discuss their credentials for becoming an NFL referee. Kieran introduces a new segment as he may or may not have sold his soul...

Friday, September 14, 2012

NFL Picks for Week Two

Greeting exalted readers. No podcast this week as I have continued to procrastinate purchasing a new wifi router that can handle the new, supposedly lighting-fast Comcast modem. My podcast co-host Kieran has expressed his disappointment with me, scolding me with some harsh words (or at least I think they were harsh, I couldn't really hear him over my crappy Skype connection). I give myself until week five to actually buy a new router. This will surely piss Kieran off (cue angry face).

I'm sticking to picking games this season without the line included. While this is the cowardly to pick NFL games, I'd like to avoid the wrath of my boss^9, Roger Goodell. He sent a nice email to everyone outlining the rules and regulations around wagering on games, so I am just going to avoid talking about the subject altogether (cue Kieran's lonely face). But fantasy football is still allowed; it makes the world go round after all

So lets start 'er off with some week two picks. Home teams are in CAPS.

BILLS over Chiefs

Both of these teams looked awful last week, especially the poor Bills whose quarterback was signed to a $59 million dollar contract last October and has proceeded to go 2-9 since that point. My favorite part about statistics is that there is a statistical argument for any point you want to make, for or against somebody. My other favorite part about statistics are when the numbers back one argument, you pick against them anyways. That's what I'm doing here.

BENGALS over Browns

When people are reporting your franchise is doomed (again) just one game after your 28-year old rookie quarterback makes his first start, you are in bad shape. Poor Cleveland.

Vikings over COLTS

While it would be cute for Andrew Luck to get his first NFL win in his first home game, it's not happening. I forsee headlines such as "Surprise Vikings off to first 2-0 start since 2009." I also forsee Skip Bayless debating whether the Vikings can hold off the Packers for the division crown, if Andrew Luck is a bust, and if the Colts made a FRANCHISE CRIPPLING mistake by drafting him. Simmer down Skip.

Saints over PANTHERS

Cam Newton and the Panthers, a sexy pick to go over 7.5 wins make the playoffs make those who wagered on it those who picked them to make the playoffs very nervous by falling to 0-2. The Saints pick up that "much needed win" in a game they don't play well in because "that's what good teams do."

Texans over JAGUARS

Catch the thrill, Jaguars fans, Blaine Gabbert finally made a highlight for something he actually did well! Didn't matter, as they ended up losing anyways... as they will this weekend.

DOLPHINS over Raiders

The mysterious power that prevents west coast teams from travelling east and playing well in an early game will strike again. The Dolphins win their home opener in front of a half-full stadium that is somehow deemed "sold out."

PATRIOTS over Cardinals

My analysis: Kevin Kolb is starting for the Cardinals. Patriots win.

Buccaneers over GIANTS

This isn't as much about the Bucs as it is about the Giants. A juggernaut in the playoffs, the Giants cease to impress in the regular season. While many see this as a bounce back game, and a game for which the Giants have had ten days to prepare, I expect a last second game winning field goal by Bucs.

Ravens over EAGLES

I outsmarted myself again thinking Michael Vick could revert back to his miraculous self. The Baltimore hype will reach unprecedented levels after the Ravens crush the Eagles and the Orioles firm their grasp on the AL East. An overlooked pick for the Super Bowl this season, the Ravens odds are sure to... will likely gain steam as a Super Bowl pick after week two.

Redskins over RAMS

In a slop-fest that the NFL Redzone channel will seldom show, much to the chagrin of people screaming "SHOW ME RG3!!!", the Redskins eek out a victory on a late field goal set up by the defense, no less.

SEAHAWKS over Cowboys

Suck it Dallas. The Rockies former draft pick, Russell Wilson will lead the Seahawks to glory in their new neon-inspired, Oregon Duck-like uniforms. Fact: Tony Romo is still haunted by that dropped field goal hold in the 2006 playoffs.

Jets over STEELERS

Tim Tebow Mark Sanchez takes advantage of a suspect Steelers secondary that even Tim Tebow managed to torch for 316 yards and two touchdowns. I see this game as a blowout either way.

CHARGERS over Titans

I was trying to come up with something to say about this game, when I realized the fact that I don't have much to say about it means it will likely be one of the most exciting games of the day. This is not statistically proven however.

49ERS over Lions

Ah yes, Sunday Night Football! This matchup pits the unstoppable force the Lions offense (I'll give them a mulligan for last week) against the immovable object, David Akers. The 49ers have to be thanking the schedule makers for giving them two straight opponents who made the playoffs last season. That way they can prove the "regression to the mean" statistics nerds wrong. I can picture Jim Harbaugh screaming at his team before the game, "All their stats are meaningless in the face of a 240-pound crazy Patrick Willis!"

Broncos over FALCONS

We've been on a Star Wars kick lately at my casa, and a popular theme in the movies is apprentice vs. master. Word has it that Matt Ryan has studied Peyton Manning's no huddle offense from afar, becoming a sort of no-huddle apprentice. It's been awhile since Broncos fans have seen a real quarterback under center. Not since Jake Plummer have Broncos fans seen a seasoned quarterback run an elaborate offense (as elaborate as the bootleg offense is...). Jay Cutler ran the throw-it-as-hard-as-you-can-to-Brandon-Marshall offense, Kyle Orton ran the stupid-dump-off-pass-offense, and Tim Tebow  ran the RUUUUNNNNNNNN!!!!! offense. Watching Manning orchestrate the no huddle while wearing a Broncos jersey was a sight for sore eyes. Obi Wan wins.

There you have it. Week two picks without the spread. Since picking without the spread is inherently easier, I will establish a winning percentage of 62.5% (equivalent to a 10-6 record) as the .500 benchmark. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

NHL Overtime, Like Nothing Else

In this week's pod, Andy joins me to discuss his Rangers success in triple overtime against the Caps. Later, Kieran joins on to discuss early-round action in the NBA playoffs.

NHL Overtime, Like Nothing Else

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What's Going on in the NHL Playoffs!?

In this week's pod, Spen and Kieran go in depth into the NHL playoffs with a goalie-by-goalie discussion and figure out if suspensions and fines are worth the mental toll they place on the opposition. Later, the guys dive into the upcoming NBA playoffs and why Metta World Peace is playing the wrong sport.

What's Going on in the NHL Playoffs!?

These ex-Avalanche players have led the Blues to the 2nd round

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rockies Starts by the Numbers

The 2012 Colorado Rockies are off to a solid start after 15 games sporting an 8-7 record, sitting in second place in the NL West behind the red hot Los Angeles Matt Kemp's and within arm's reach (1/2 a game) of the second wild card spot. The starting pitching has been inconsistent with the only starter with a respectable ERA being Jamie Moyer (2.55), and three of the five starters carrying an ERA over six. The Rockies' staff as a whole is 14th out of 16 in the National League with a 4.76 ERA. One of the challenges for the Rockies' starters so far has been working deep into games. So far the starting staff is averaging just under 5.2 innings per start, leading to the weak underbelly of the bullpen to be more exposed than the team would like. Look for Jeremy Guthrie, a proven innings eater amassing 200+ innings pitched in each of his last three seasons, to work deeper into games moving forward and the ongoing development of Drew Pomeranz to lead to better starts for the lefty. The Rockies pitching is going to be a question mark all season. The key will be to avoid big innings for the opponents so that the team's potent offense can have a chance to score more meaningful runs.

The Rockies' offense as a whole has been solid, scoring 72 runs (a 4.8 run/game average), good for third overall in the National League. Individually, however, there are a number of players off to hot and cold starts that look to regress or improve. This means when Michael Cuddyer's batting average slips below .300, don't panic! Granted, the live-and-die with every pitch Twitter audience will question his inevitable decline, but those who understand that a 33 year old outfielder with a lifetime average of .273 will probably finish with an average closer to that number than the .353 average than he currently employs. Again, don't panic kids. Carlos Gonzalez, a notorious slow starter (April has been his worst month through his career), is bound to heat up and improve his .240 average. Baseball is a balancing act. Players will get hot, players will get cold. Over the course of a 162 game season, things will even out and the Rockies will finish where they are supposed to.

A lot has been written about the Rockies age. The additions of Marco Scutaro and Ramon Hernandez to the everyday lineup have prompted manager Jim Tracy to be conscious of resting older players throughout the season. The thought is that a day off in April will keep players like Todd Helton fresh for the more important games in the late summer. The practice is good in theory, but in practice Tracy tends to rest starters all on the same day leading to an angry fan base pissed off they are seeing lineups that feature Jonathan Herrera, Chris Nelson, Eric Young Jr. and Tyler Colvin. These player are not bad individually, and they can be successful in short stints, but to start them all at the same time is a recipe for disaster when an offense as high-powered as the Rockies is short circuited by singles hitters (in the case of Herrera, Nelson and Young).

By the numbers, the Rockies are on track. If the offense continues to score at a 4.5+ run/game clip and the pitching staff can improve, even slightly, on its shoddy ERA the team will be knocking on the door of the postseason. Once the season shakes out and we find out if the Dodgers are for real (my vote is no; two offensive studs does not an offense make) and if the Giants and Diamondbacks will battle it out like they did last year, we will learn whether the NL West crown is within reach. Otherwise, the Rockies will pray for the wild card... those one-game playoffs sure are exciting.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rockies Stay Relevant, We Stay Happy

Yes, the rumors are true. Tupac lives. But since this is not a rap podcast, we dive into the early makings of the Rockies season. Facts from the pod: who is to blame for Tulo's early defensive struggles? What will happen to Michael Cuddyer's toenail? Is Jonathan Herrera destined for the home run derby?

Rockies Stay Relevant, We Stay Happy 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

MLB Fantasy and Season Preview

It's Opening Day and it's a beautiful day! Join the Spen and Kieran half-hour of power and immerse yourself in some fantasy baseball nonsense and some stupidly bold predictions about the season.

MLB Fantasy and Season Preview

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Here's One for Me, and One for My Homie Tebow

Will he rise again? Kieran and Spen cope with the fact that Tim Tebow is no longer a Bronco as he was replaced by Peyton Manning (in a Broncos jersey, that still sounds weird).

Here's One for Me, and One for My Homie Tebow

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Potentially the Worst Bracket Ever





In this week's pod, brought to you from rainy (WTF!?) Northern California, Spen and Kieran create what may go down as the worst bracket in history. Now, we don't take all upsets, but we certainly have our fair share of Cinderella runs and a theory about the First Four that you cannot miss!

Potentially the Worst Bracket Ever

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Confessions of a LeBron-Hater



This confession comes with the bitterest of tastes in my mouth....

It also has been years in the making....

(sigh....)

(longer, prolonged sigh....)


Lebron is the best basketball player on the planet since MJ, he is BY FAR the best player in the league right now, (cut to Kobe fans loading their weapons...). This fact has been sitting in the back of my head for some time now, eventually I knew I would have to accept it, but my long-tenured hatred of LBJ and overwhelming pride in that hatred had kept me from admitting the truth. I must defend myself first by stating that I have been a LeBron hater since he entered the league, solely because of my affection for the Nuggets and Carmelo. They entered the league together and battled for the rookie of the year with LeBron (rightfully) edging out Melo. Ever since that season I have rooted against Lebron with a passion that is unrivaled towards any other player...even Manu Ginobli....and I freaking HATE that guy.

(additional time-buying sigh....)

That being said what LeBron has be doing this year is simply astounding and deserves praise. Just look at his stats: (27.7 pts / 6.7 ast / 8.4 reb), he's shooting 55.5% from the field (4.5% better than his career best), all while playing 37 minutes per game. Those stats alone are enough to amaze any basketball fan, but consider this: LeBron is THE REASON Miami has been playing defense at the level they have been playing this season, he is THE REASON players like Joel Anthony are able to start for a championship caliber team, he is THE REASON why Miami is the best team in the league and if you even think for a second that he isn't the MVP name one other player who affects the game more on both ends of the floor....(go ahead...I'm ignoring any of you currently saying Kevin Durant or Kobe, remember the MVP is Most valuable player, not the scoring title).

Before you say it, yes I understand that the Heat have Wade and Bosh, but LeBron is the heart and soul of that team on defense, he defends every position on the floor and is probably the best perimeter defender and the second best interior defender in the league behind Howard. And he has to be, watch any Miami game and you'll see it...they have the smallest front court in the league with Bosh and Anthony, Bosh is a finesse player who struggles against larger big men, and Anthony is only 6' 8". LeBron plays his ass off on every defensive possession, guarding his man, playing help D in the lane, stealing passes, there aren't 10 other guys in the league that play defense at 100%. So when the subject of his "clutch-gene" is brought up I take issue with it because the by the end of the game the guy is SPENT, he has just spent 40 minutes playing the role of defensive stopper against the other team's best wing player, help defender in the lane, playing point guard and creating offense, scoring almost 28 and snatching 8 rebounds, by the time the end of the 4th quarter hits, he's dead, he's the reason that his team is even in the game at that point! What has become obvious to me over this season is LeBron is the reason Miami can build leads and close leads throughout the game, he is their best offensive player, best defensive player, best rebounder, best distributor, best help defender and most efficient scoring option, and with all that being the case why is it necessary for him to also assume the role of closer? Dwayne Wade has a championship ring, he has a Finals MVP trophy, he has the ability to shut games down that LeBron has yet to display at this point in his career, so its obvious to me that Wade should be taking the ball and the responsibility and saying to LeBron, "you got us this far, I'll finish it". LeBron is like an ace starting pitcher who can consistently take you 8 innings deep into a game, who also hits .300 with 100 RBIs, if he also is saddled with the responsibility of closing games then his situation goes right back to what it was in Cleveland, a transcendent player with pieces that cant get it done. At some point Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh need to step up their game in crunch time and take the weight off of James.

That being said....I remain a hater.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Peyton Manning Destination Odds and NHL Playoff Preview

In this week's podcast, NHL & Altitude Sports insider Andy Steinberg joins Spen and Kieran to discuss where Peyton Manning may be headed, the justification for the Yankees economic model and we throw Corey Hart under the bus, again.

Peyton Manning Destination Odds and NHL Playoff Preview

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Twittervision

Why Twitter is the new TV remote control

If you listened to Bill Simmons' discussion with Mark Cuban at this year's Sloan Conference, you will understand that Cuban is a big proponent of community-driven events. By community, in this sense, I mean the people with whom you share the event experience with as it is happening live. I'll relate all this to sports, the premier event-industry, but the same principles can be applied to anything else happening live: the Academy Awards, American Idol or a political debate.

Whether you're a fan at a game cheering along with complete strangers, a student watching the gamecast of an MLB game over the shoulder of the kid in front of you, or you are chilling on your couch with the game on the big screen and a live Twitter stream in your hand; all forms of keeping tabs on a game are communal. This is why I have a big peeve about some people's insistence on recording a live game to watch later. I understand that people are busy, like to skip commercials and want the same entertainment value spoiler free, but there is something inherently wrong about this to me. The interaction with Twitter, texting friends while the game is going on, and the overall sense that everybody is watching is lost when a game is taken in after the fact. This is the same reason that while I have decided to be a Tottenham Hotspur fan, I still lack any emotional attachment to the team because it is so difficult to wake up early and take in a game and I have no one to share it with.

My parents often tell me that they are going to get rid of cable. "It's $80 per month! Everything we watch on TV is available on Netflix," they say. To which I reply, "What about sports?" Ah yes, the convenience of subscribing to the MLB online game plan, grabbing a laptop, selecting a game and waiting for it to buffer before hopefully catching the important part... way easier than pressing "665" on the remote and seeing the bases loaded with nobody out in the bottom of the 9th. My point is that live sports are the driving force to keeping TV live. I suggest reading Cuban's blog post on how the TV business is getting stronger (and the misconception that online video is killing traditional TV).

Now to the point of this blog post: the Twittervision revelation. Remember the days before all TV's had to be attached to boxes? You know, where you had the cable that could directly plug into the back of your TV and actually used the remote that your TV came with? I mean, it was only a couple years ago... I could go through every channel in a matter of minutes to see what was on. Press "channel up" and boom, next channel. None of this guide stuff, none of this digital buffering. Just straight up flying through the channels. Then the cable company decided to "convenience" us with the cable box. Sure, it's great to be able to search through 1,000 channels in the matter of 25 minutes, but with all that information, how can we figure out what to watch!? Let's see, do I want to watch Pawn Stars, Hardcore Pawn or Pawn Queens?? Here's where the Twitter machine comes in. Twitter offers the answer to the age old question, "What's on tonight?" If your Twitter following is properly catered to your personal interests, one scan of the timeline is all the information you need. If your favorite baseball team is getting crushed but you see that MLB Network is showing a slugfest, you pop on over to MLB Network to catch the thrill. If Jeremy Lin is throwing down, again, and you're sick of watching Point Break for the 15th time (but we all know, it is impossible to get sick of Point Break), voila! Twitter tells you to switch over. But there are always dead nights on the Twitter. This usually happens on a Tuesday, because we all know, Tuesday nights suck. Fear not, a dead Twitter means you are in the clear to watch your favorite reruns of The Hills, and you won't be subjected to the scrutiny to missing something important.

You see, Twitter and television are the perfect complements to each other! Let me know your thoughts by commenting below or messaging me on Twitter @Spen_CR

Monday, March 5, 2012

5 Reasons To Experience Spring Training in Scottsdale, AZ

Sit in the outfield law at Colorado Rockies' Salt River FIelds at Talking Stick. When you're there, try frowning. I'm serious. It's impossible. (baseball-fever.com)

You wake up, crawl out of bed and take a look out your window. What do you see? Six inches of cold, wet snow and your ugly neighbor taking out the trash. You think to yourself “This sucks. It was like 70 degrees yesterday!” March in Colorado can be a bit of a dick, but fear not, I have the cure to baseball cabin fever: Scottsdale, AZ. I first experienced it last year while in Phoenix, and it was awesome. Here before you lie 5 reasons why Scottsdale/Phoenix is the cure for your literal hangover from drowning your baseball sorrows with alcohol and watching highlights of last year on the internet.

1. The weather: No time of year is uglier than late winter in Front Range, Colorado. The temperature is 55 and windy as hell, so it feels like 35. Scottsdale this time of year is 73 without a cloud in the sky. Your near transparent skin will turn a strange shade darker, its called a “tan”. Weird huh? Pack your flip-flops and sunglasses.

2. Scottsdale is the epicenter of Spring Training Mecca: No other sport allows fans from all teams this side of the Mississippi to congregate in one area to watch them practice and play. Unlike the dumb east coast Grapefruit League, all Cactus League teams play in the same general Phoenix metro area. Scottsdale is the nice part of town. Here, you’ll find hardcore fans proudly repping their hood via jerseys and hats. These people know their stuff too. They aren’t the ignorant assholes who ask you, “What ever happened to Larry Walker? That guy was sick.” These are stats-loving, baseball 24/7 minded people who don’t mess around. Simply walk 10 minutes to your teams stadium to enjoy a game. Then follow them as they go on a two day road trip… all just blocks away from your hotel.

3. All the fun without emotional baggage: Just like meaningless sex, you get to watch your favorite team play where the score means absolutely nothing. You don’t get angry at the umpire if he makes an awful call. You don’t get mad at the other team’s fans. Your life isn’t over if your closer blows a 5 run lead. None of it matters! The sun is out, the beer is flowing, and everyone is smiling. I’m not kidding, literally everyone is happy. You remind yourself that this is just a game, at least until Opening Day, then it becomes life and death again.

You're still smiling, aren't you? (Denver Post)

4. ASU is right around the corner: Wanna chill with students from the public university with the highest (85%) acceptance rate in the nation?Leggo. ASU is one of the biggest party schools in America and winter/spring time is like their summer. They too have sat inside all day, not waiting for summer, but for winter. That means they’re all trying to get their partying in before its 120 degrees (what they claim to be a “dry heat”) outside. Why not join in after a game?

5. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is unreal: The Rockies/D-Backs new training facility is the best in baseball. If your really crazy, you can go hang out hours before the game or even days when there is no game and watch your favorite players take BP, field grounders, or perform bullpen sessions. The best part about the stadium is the grass lawn outfield seating. The grass feels like a cool, green carpet. The best part of the lawn is that during BP, you can literally sprint after home run balls to catch because there are no seats to dodge, just little kids who think they can catch a ball over you. And once you get that ball you look at the kid with the oversized glove and say, “I earned this ball, theres no way in hell I’m giving it to you.” And you don’t. Ever. Never give game balls to little kids. Thats communism.

So there you have it; 5 reasons why you can’t call yourself a fan if you don’t check out Spring Training, Cactus League style. Enjoy the sun, get stoked, cause in less than a month it’s back for real, the Dark Ages will be over!

Notes: Average Spring Temperature in Scottsdale, AZ: 77 degrees (www.scottsdalecvb.com).

Arizona State University ranked no. 3 party school in the nation in 2011 according to Playboy behind Penn State and CU Boulder.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Clint Dempsey, American Hero & We Just Can't Let Braun Go

On this week's pod, Spen and Kieran continue to hash out the Ryan Braun situation, Clint Dempsey defeats those flopping Italians for the first time ever and we revisit the Malice at the Palace.

Clint Dempsey, American Hero & We Just Can't Let Braun Go

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Braun Set Free; Landeskog the New Forsberg

In this week's pod, Spen and Kieran discuss the non-suspension of Ryan Braun and hash out who is this week's Friend of the Pod: JR Smith vs. Gabriel Landeskog. Later, 303 Sports Basketball Correspondant Josh Farestad-Rittel joins Kieran for some Denver Nuggets talk.

Braun Set Free; Landeskog the New Forsberg

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Linsanity Cometh and the NL West is Wide Open

Jeremy Lin has arisen to guide us through the dark ages of February. Life drags on, but the little Harvard kid that could is bringing everyone to their feet. Then we are joined by our resident Rockies expert Christian Thomas to slap some sense into Kieran's stupid Rockies opinions.

Linsanity Cometh and the NL West is Wide Open

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jeremy Lin is on Fire & Some Competitive Rockies Banter

I this week's episode, Spen and Kieran discuss their post Super Bowl hangover and how to avoid the "lock" bet in the future. Later, a full background check on the New York Knicks Jeremy Lin is conducted and the guys fill Spen's Rockies void by discussing who the "most chill" Rockies player will be this year.

Jeremy Lin is on Fire & Some Competitive Rockies Banter

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

SuperPod XLVI

In this, the Super Bowl edition of the 303 Sports podcast, the guys talk about what prop bets stand out (stay tuned if you love touchbacks) and whether or not someone other than Tom Brady or Eli Manning will throw a pass in the game. Want real analysis? Watch ESPN. Want biased analysis based on gut feelings? You've come to the right place!

SuperPod XLVI

Monday, January 30, 2012

For your latest Colorado Rockies news from an entirely Mile-High biased and unprofessional source, read Christian Thomas' work.

303 Sports and Christian Thomas have finally joined forces. Christian knows more about the Rockies than any dumb ESPN analyst. So check out the link. It is worth your time.
Original article available at: http://www.ultimatesportstalk.com/MLB/?p=6079

Rockies Organization Catches Its Breath. Prepare for Scottsdale.

It’s getting to that time of year. The SuperBowl is around the corner and us baseball fanatics enter a period known by many as the “dark ages”: the time between the end of the football season and the start of spring training. Nothing on TV but college basketball and the occasional hockey or NBA basketball game. These, however, are not baseball. So start watching those highlights from last year (though there were few) and get stoked, because Rockies’ nation is in for a crazy 2012 ride.

This has been arguably the most hectic offseason in Rockies’ history. Players have been signed and traded even before putting on a jersey (Slowey). The front office actually pursued veteran talent to accompany rising stars. GM Dan O’Dowd and his stats geeks have put before us a rag-tag group of champions that they believe will give us a shot at the title. Let’s see who we’ve signed.

The biggest signing was that of ex-Twin, Michael Cuddyer. The outfielder batted .284 with 20 homers and 70 RBI in 2011, and that was in pitcher-friendly, Target Field in Minneapolis. Coors Field will give a nice boost to his offensive production. The Rockies dealt him a 3 year, $33.5 million deal on the table and he gave his agent a big “Oh hell ya!”. Seth Smith couldn’t hit lefties enough to stay on the team, so the Rox gave him the finger and sent him to Oakland for pitchers Josh Outman and Guillermo Moscoso. The rest will hopefully be history. Cuddy is projected to bat fifth behind Cargo-witzki and play right field.

The Rockies lackluster offensive production from second base was improved through trading pitcher Clayton Mortensen for Red Sox’ Marco Scutaro. Marco is a career .270 hitter, but more importantly has a .338 OBP, which will be great for batting second in the lineup. At 36, he’s no stud at second defensively, but his offense should be solid enough to keep him there. That and the $6 million, one year deal.

Two more old guys were brought on to help the Rockies youth filled team. Former Dodger, Casey Blake, signed a one-year and will play third until rookie sensation, Nolan Arenado, preps for the big show via deep hits of Lodo Magic ’til his eyes bleed. The other veteran is 49 year old, Jamie Moyer, who just won’t die. You may know Moyer from N64 games such as Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball ’97. You think Helton is old, Moyer’s got 10 years on him. He is here to teach our young studs like Nicasio, Pomeranz and White a thing or two about playing some hardball.

So amongst the chaos of the offseason, let’s see the projected lineup and pitching staff as the Rockies head to Scottsdale, AZ: 1. Dexter Fowler CF 2. Marco Scutaro 2B 3. Carlos Gonzalez LF 4. Troy Tulowitzki SS 5/6. Michael Cuddyer RF 6/5. Todd Helton 1B    7. Ramon Hernandez C 8. Casey Blake 3b

Be stoked for: Cuddyer, Scutaro, Nolan Arenado call up.


Rotation Candidates: Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa (late May), Juan Nicasio, Drew Pomeranz, Jason Hammel, Jamie Moyer, Guillermo Moscoso, Tyler Chatwood, Alex White.

Be stoked for: Chacin, Nicasio, Pomeranz.

Bullpen Notables: Closer Rafael Betancourt, Rex Brothers, Matt Belisle, Matt Lindstrom, Zach Putnam, Josh Outman, Matt Reynolds. Be stoked for: Brothers, Putnam, Reynolds.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

NFL Playoffs: It's Tebow Time

Thirty minutes for the rest of our lives! Tim Tebow knows how to close (and I'm only talking about football) and Spen and Kieran know how to double team a playoff preview podcast. We give our picks for each of the four NFL playoff games this weekend and pay homage to the Baby Jesus. Later, Kieran talks to Spen (his sponsor) about his gambling addiction.

NFL Playoff Preview