• NBA playoffs: Suns Steve Nash promises to – yawn – win Game 6

    Sat, May 29, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Joe Namath was a revolutionary. He promised – gasp! – the New York Jets would upset the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl. This was wild behavior in the ancient days of the late 1960s.

    Super Joe started a trend. Now, it’s the norm to promise victory.

    Steve Nash has said his Suns will beat the Lakers in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.

    Of course that’s what Nash said.

    That’s what everybody does.

    Here’s a look at Nash’s words and the reaction from the Lakers:

    http://www.denverpost.com/sports/ci_15186364

    I’ll be posting late on Sunday. Will be covering golf in Parker and will try to post by mid-afternoon.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  • NBA playoffs: Artest proves me, and others, wrong

    Fri, May 28, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    When the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Ron Artest, I expected disaster. Artest is one of the most goofy, volatile basketball players ever, even in a basketball history jammed with goofy, volatile players.

    The Lakers seemed to have everything, and just what they didn’t need was an eccentric player who took weird shots and provided endless avenues of distraction.

    I was wrong. Artest has settled nicely into the world of Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who is blessed with the ability to persuade virtually anyone to play nice in his me-last, team-first approach.

    Artest still takes weird shots. He took two in the final minute of the Lakers dramatic win over the Suns Thursday night.

    But he still plays industrial-strength defense. And he made one of the biggest shots of the last decade in the final instant of Thursday’s game.

    Never thought I would say this, but I’ll say this:

    Good move, Lakers.

  • CU basketball: The cautionary tale of Louis Amundson

    Wed, May 26, 2010 by David Ramsey with 2 comments

    Louis Amundson is all the rage. He’s the long-haired, free-spirited, slightly unhinged man off the bench for the Phoenix Suns, one of the prime reasons the Suns have resurrected in their Western Conference Finals battle with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    A little background on Amundson: He grew up a 15-minute bike ride from the University of Colorado campus. He was a star at Monarch High School.

    And he was not recruited by the Buffs. And I mean that literally. Ricardo Patton, then the CU coach, never talked to Amundson.

    I spoke with Amundson’s in 2006 after he had finished a superb career at UNLV. He was laughing as he talked about how CU treated him.

    “I’ve never seen Ricardo one time, never talked to him, never had a conversation, never got a letter. Nothing. I’m not bitter about it at all. It’s just kind of one of those things that are kind of, ‘Oh, well.’”

    New CU coach Tad Boyle can’t allow those “oh, well” things to happen.

    Colorado does not boast the best high school basketball scene. The state isn’t jammed with high-level recruits.

    That’s why Boyle can’t let the rare elite recruits escape the state.

    Departed coach Jeff Bzdelik botched the pursuit of Palmer star Reggie Jackson, who took a long journey to Boston College. Patton failed to persuade Denver-area superstar Matt Bouldin to travel to Boulder. Bouldin instead chose Gonzaga.

    The Buffs have a chance to revive. After a sorry run of more than a decade, CU looks ready to climb in the Big 12.

    Boyle has to build on the momentum. One of the keys to his construction is to persuade the best recruits in Colorado to stay home.

    Amundson wanted to stay home, but was instead forced to spend his college career in a God-forsaken desert in Nevada.

    There, he grabbed rebounds and played a brand of defense that went somewhere beyond intense and developed into an NBA player.

    If you’re a CU fan, it’s a sad tale.

    And if you’re Tad Boye, it’s a cautionary tale.

    Here’s Benjamin Hochman’s feature look at Amundson from The Denver Post:

    http://www.denverpost.com/nuggets/ci_15154943

  • AFA sports: How long does it take to revive an Air Force program?

    Tue, May 25, 2010 by David Ramsey with 5 comments

    During Mike Hutcheon’s seven-season ride as Air Force’s baseball coach, the story remained the same. Today was tough, but tomorrow would be better. Today was full of losses. Tomorrow would be filled with victories.

    Tomorrow, obviously, never arrived for Hutcheon.

    Same was true for Ardie McInelly and her AFA women’s basketball team. The same has been true of Jeff Reynolds and his basketball team.

    How long does it take to revive an AFA team?

    Athletic director Hans Mueh is a big believer in patience.

    “We’ve had success being loyal and giving people a chance, and the chance around here is probably 10 years,” said Mueh in August. “If that’s being overly loyal, so be it.”

    It is being overly loyal.

    Just look at history.

    1) In 1979 Ken Hatfield took over a football program that had lost 40 of 54 games, compiled four straight losing seasons and inspired Bill Parcells to resign in frustration after one season.

    In 1982, in his fourth season, Hatfield and the Falcons finished 8-5, including a bowl victory.

    2) In 2000, Joe Scott took over a basketball program that had struggled to 19 losing records in 20 seasons and lost 67 of its previous 78 conference games.

    In 2003-2004, his fourth season, Scott directed the Falcons to 22 victories, the Mountain West title and the NCAA Tournament.

    3) In 1997, Frank Serratore took over an Air Force hockey program that had won only won 12 of its previous 64 games.

    In his first season, Serratore  almost doubled the team’s win total, going from eight to 15, and by his third season the Falcons had a winning record, finishing 19-18-2.

    AFA history offers a clear lesson:

    It doesn’t take forever to revive a program.

    It doesn’t take a decade.

    It takes four seasons to see if a coach can win at the academy.

    And, remember, Reynolds is headed into his fourth season.

  • AFA baseball: Goodbye to the Hutcheon era, part one

    Mon, May 24, 2010 by David Ramsey with 6 comments

    In 2006, fresh off a 1-23 finish in the Mountain West Conference, Mike Hutcheon said words that should never again be said by an Air Force coach.

    “We’ve really kind of concentrated on other things besides winning,” Hutcheon said. “More of the focus was on cleaning up the program internally and then winning would be a byproduct. Winning was kind of third or fourth on our list at the time. We’re in year four and we feel that we’re at a point where the program is healthy.”

    Wow.

    Winning can’t be third or fourth on the list of any college sports program.

    Concentrating on things other than winning leads to losing.

    Hutcheon departs Air Force with 15 Mountain West Conference wins.

    And 156 losses.

    Tomorrow: How long does it take to turn around a program at AFA? We’ll take a look at history.

  • NBA playoffs: What a boring, depressing mess

    Sun, May 23, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Been watching the NBA Playoffs since 1969, when I defied my bedtime and stayed up late to watch the Celtics beat the Lakers in the Finals.

    This is the worst NBA Playoffs I’ve ever witnessed and, I would suggest, the worst in NBA history.

    LeBron surrenders. The Suns throttle the Spurs. The Lakers throttle the Suns. The Celtics devour the Magic.

    Little drama. Strangely uninspired performances by big-name players – LeBron, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan.

    The worst in a long, long time, if not in history.

  • Will Ted Sundquist ever return to Air Force Academy?

    Sat, May 22, 2010 by David Ramsey with 2 comments

    In 2007, I talked with Ted Sundquist for several minutes in the Denver Broncos locker room. This was a happy day. The Broncos had just won, and Troy Calhoun was reviving the football team at Sundquist’s alma mater, the Air Force Academy.

    I asked Sundquist, then the Broncos general manager, if he would ever want to return to the Academy.

    “I’d love to,” he said.

    And he obviously meant the words.

    Sundquist was fired by the Broncos after the 2007 season. He’s living in Parker.

    Here’s an update on Sundquist from Irv Moss of the Denver Post:

    http://www.denverpost.com/classics/ci_15105919

  • Landis and Bonds and believing when there’s really no reason to believe

    Fri, May 21, 2010 by David Ramsey with 1 comment

    Most of us want to believe. We don’t want to condemn.

    We don’t want to believe Floyd Landis cheated his way to victory in the 2006 Tour de France. Or Barry Bonds cheated his way to his ridiculous home run totals. Or Mark McGwire cheated his way past Roger Maris. Or ….

    The steroids era has been jammed with all kinds of sadness, but the saddest slice has been the cheaters willingness to cynically take advantage of their fans’ belief.

    Landis raised millions of dollars from fans who believed the French were persecuting their American hero. Sure, these fans were gullible, but there are worse things than being burdened with a soft heart.

    Landis even lied to his own mother, who attended his hearing in 2007 wearing a bonnet. She sat beside her husband, who brought his Bible to the proceedings each day. The man lied to his own parents.

    Bonds will someday come clean. Roger Clemens will someday come clean. It may take a long  time, maybe even another decade, but the cheaters/liars always get around to telling the truth, usually when telling the truth is to their advantage.

    I don’t feel much pity for the cheaters. Yes, they faced pressure. Sure, they were cursed to live in an era when there was great temptation to do the wrong thing.

    But we all face pressure to do the wrong thing.

    I do feel pity for the true believers, the fans who ignore the evidence while remaining faithful to their heroes.

    Landis collected  and abused thousands of these true believers. He persuaded his followers to believe a lie.

    They trusted him.  They kept trusting, ignoring a mountain of evidence.

    He kept lying.

    And that’s the most despicable of his many, many mistakes.

    I’m now on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me:

    http://twitter.com/davidramz

  • Floyd Landis is guilty, but I’ve known that for a long time

    Thu, May 20, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Floyd Landis has, finally, come clean.

    He admits he employed red blood cell boosting EPO, testosterone, human-growth hormone, blood transfusions along with female hormones in his pursuit of cycling victories.

    When Landis was busted in 2006 and stripped of his Tour de France title after his miraculous – too miraculous – ride through the Alps, I applauded. We all win when cheaters get busted.

    This started an avalanche of angry e-mails and phone calls. I have never written a more unpopular column, and that includes the times I shared my thoughts on North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux controversy.

    I heard all kinds of theories.

    1.) The French had ruthlessly taken down Landis because he was an American and the French didn’t want to see Americans winning their race.  (I heard that one more than a few times.)

    2.) Landis is a pure country boy who would never cheat. (I heard that one a few times, too.)

    I heard from dozens of Landis supporters. Couldn’t I see, each one asked, that poor Floyd is innocent?

    Landis, cynically and cruelly, exploited the feelings of his supporters. He raised millions for his defense. He wrote a book. He misused and abused his supporters. Nobody – and that includes me – wanted to see Landis’ storybook Tour victory get shredded. Nobody wanted to see his thrilling, unlikely triumph get turned into something ugly and counterfeit.

    Landis still, strangely enough, denies he was cheating at the time he was caught in 2006. He was just cheating at every other time. Sure, Floyd. That really sounds plausible.

    Here’s the encouraging thing about the truth:

    It  sticks around. It doesn’t go anywhere. It lingered even while a cheater named Floyd lied and moaned.

    Landis is a cheater. He’s not alone, even if he does stand alone as the man most intent on proclaiming his innocence.

    A fake innocence, as it turns out.

    Here’s Bonnie Ford of ESPN’s story on Landis. She spoke to Landis about his cheating:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/cycling/news/story?id=5203604

  • Broncos: Please, let’s get this straight right now: Tebow is no Elway

    Tue, May 18, 2010 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Been reading Woody Paige since I was a teen. Over the past 35 years,. Woody has been part of my reading life. Still remember sitting in my high school journalism class at Denver South, reading Woody.

    Sometimes he made me laugh.

    And sometimes he left me  trying to figure out what the hell he was talking about.

    Still trying to understand Woody, who has recently been at his most baffling.

    Woody, the Denver Post columnist and ESPN personality, is intent on comparing Tim Tebow to John Elway.

    “He has that same aura Elway had as a rookie,” Woody recently wrote.

    And that might be true. Tebow might have the same aura.

    Problem is, he doesn’t have the same arm. Elway was a once-in-a-lifetime quarterback, a once-in-a-lifetime talent, a once-in-a-lifetime personality.

    And, as I’ve said before, a once-in-a-lifetime quarterback comes around, yes, once in a lifetime. It’s ridiculous and unfair and silly to compare Tebow to Elway.

    Aura doesn’t have much to do with solving NFL defenses.

    Elway was the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft and one of the best QB prospects ever.

    Tebow was the No. 25 pick in the NFL draft and generally considered a reach. Coach  Josh McDaniels is, like Paige, smitten with Tebow. We’ll soon see if McDaniels is cluelessly smitten. Tebow is a run-first quarterback, and run-first quarterbacks don’t succeed in the NFL.

    Of course, Tebow could become the pioneer.

    There is no position in sport more difficult to play than NFL quarterback. There is no position in sport more difficult to predict. Ryan Leaf was, on paper, the best quarterback prospect since Elway, and we all know how Leaf turned out.

    Tebow has a chance. He could surprise me and many others and become a quality NFL starter.

    Tebow  never will become another Elway. Never. Ever. It will not happen.

    Tebow won’t come close to becoming another Elway.

    And you can count on that.

    Here’s Woody’s look at Tebow:

    http://www.denverpost.com/broncos/ci_14980266?obref=obinsite

    And here’s Dave Krieger’s more clear-eyed look at Tebow (and Elway):

    http://www.denverpost.com/krieger/ci_15106536