It’s that time of year again folks: President’s day. A day when banks are closed and we as Americans honor the founding fathers of our great country by either having to work anyway or being annoyed that your kids don’t have to go to school.
During this holiday, we should all take a moment and realize that both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were an integral part of our freedom as Americans to watch, analyze, critique, obsess and complain about sports. If Washington had told a lie, would we be this sports crazed as a society? Your guess is as good as mine.
In honor of America’s past great law makers, I have anointed myself President of Denver Sports for the day. That’s right, I’m in charge. I get to either veto or propose something new for each of Denver’s major sports franchises. While admittedly these teams have more than one issue that need to be addressed, for the sake of having material to write about every week, we will just focus on one for now.
My first order of business is to use a veto on the Denver Nuggets; aimed at head coach George Karl in particular.
It’s time for Karl and the Nuggets to let go of the “we don’t need a superstar” mentality. Quite frankly, they do. People are always quick to complain about a selfish player on the court; however teams that have those guys tend to win. Yes, the Nuggets win, but not big games and not in the playoffs.
For the most part, the current Denver Nuggets are a young, hard working group of guys with positive attitudes. They certainly have heart and have been playing quite well this season at home in the Can. However, when it comes to the tough road games, they lack the maturity at the end of the game to dig in and get it done.
With the NBA trade deadline looming on February 21st, it’s time for Karl to give up the no stud philosophy and get a super star to come in and take control of this Nugget team; especially at the end of the fourth quarter.
My Presidential reign continues with the team everybody loves to complain about, our Colorado Rockies. While an entire series of articles could be written solely on things that the Rockies should be doing or not doing to improve, today’s proposal is based on an easy inexpensive fix that would at least work towards a boost in morale .
Get rid of Dinger.
It’s bad enough that no one takes the Colorado Rockies seriously as a franchise, but throw a purple dinosaur as your mascot in the mix, and it’s an uphill battle. I do realize that changing the mascot to something that appeals to fans beyond the age of 5 will not solve the pitching or hitting issues. However, a hip, fun and athletic character would give folks another reason to come to games besides the sunshine and beer.
Since spending money to upgrade the team seems to be an issue for the Rockies organization, a rebranding of the mascot could be an affordable way to move in a positive direction and get the fans excited about Rockies baseball again. The team name lends itself to a variety of indigenous animals associated with the Rocky Mountains that would work better than Dinger. Perhaps a moose, elk or marmot? How about a caribou? Heck, I would even take a mule deer over that ridiculous purple dinosaur.
Stay the Course
When it comes to the Broncos, Elway has done such a successful job in the Presidential role that there is not too much to pick apart this offseason. His free agent wheeling and dealing last year were an enormous part of the Broncos fantastic ride in 2012.
This offseason should be used for tweaking and fine tuning the roster in preparation for another potential run deep into the playoffs.
My proposal for the Broncos is to continue with the win now attitude. It is uncertain how much longer Peyton Manning will be in PFM mode, so they need to plan the 2013 season around a ticket to New York for the Super Bowl.
After placing the franchise tag on Ryan Clady this week, the Broncos will have roughly $9 million to work with. Bringing a solid veteran guy like Ed Reed or Charles Woodson to beef up the secondary could make a huge difference for Denver’s defense. Giving up those big plays in the playoffs killed the Broncos and cannot continue to happen in 2013 if they want a shot at the Lombardi trophy.
As far as the Avs go, it is common knowledge that they need to spend more money in order to see any improvement and be a legitimate contender in the league. Well, based on the track record of the Kroenke organization, that’s not happening anytime soon. So instead of harping on the same points that have been covered as nauseum, let’s focus on the fan experience.
First of all ticket prices are too high, period. After fans had to go through another lockout at the beginning of this season, these teams should be bending over backwards to make sure they are happy and continue to bring in revenue.
To compensate for the 113 day lockout, the Avalanche made a meager effort, offering a buy one get one deal for tickets on opening night. Really? After making an already jaded fan base wait that long, there should have been everything short of a ticker tape parade to welcome fans back this season.
The rest of this short season should be laden with giveaways and specials to make fans want to shell out the cash to attend a game. Maybe the possibility to win future tickets or merchandise if the player assigned to your section scores a goal would be incentive to attend a game? Whatever marketing gimmick they come up with is fine, as long as these NHL fans get some love back from their team for sticking it out.
As I reflect on the State of Denver Sports this President’s Day, it would appear that it’s somewhat of a mixed bag.
The Broncos are and probably always will be the shining star of the Denver sports world. The Nuggets seem to be right on track for their usual one and done in the playoffs. While the Avalanche have a great nucleus and bright future ahead, they are currently struggling and most likely will not make the post season. The Rockies are just getting under way for the season, so until the losses start, there’s always hope, right?