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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best performance by a Rockies starting pitcher

In three seasons as a Rockie, ace Pedro Astacio has never pitched a shutout, but he came within one teammate's error of doing it June 3 in Milwaukee. After scattering three hits and striking out seven over the first eight innings, the Dominican righty gave up a leadoff single to Geoff Jenkins in the ninth, threw a wild pitch and then saw the runner advance to third on a throwing error by Colorado catcher Scott Servais. Ex-Rockie Charlie Hayes then singled Jenkins home to tie the game 1-1. Alas, Rockies reliever Stan Belinda lost the game in the 12th, 2-1. Hard luck for Pete, but a splendid start nonetheless. Five hits, one unearned run, no decision.

Best gift for the sports fan/architect

Who cares about what's in a name. What really matters is what's inside. Which is why the blueprints for the Denver Broncos' new, still-under-construction stadium make the perfect, if slightly pricey, gift. But then, who's counting? Certainly not the Metro Football Stadium District, which is selling two kinds of numbered, limited-edition blueprints. The larger framed version (32 inches by 42 inches) shows the stadium's south and west sides and includes a conceptual color photo of the stadium at night, for only $299.95. The smaller framed version (17 inches by 21 inches) shows the same things, along with a color photo of the actual stadium model, for $199.95. Proceeds go toward the MFSD's public art and education programs. Oh, and the right to name the stadium is still for sale as well. It'll cost you a little more, though.

Best gift for the sports fan/architect

Who cares about what's in a name. What really matters is what's inside. Which is why the blueprints for the Denver Broncos' new, still-under-construction stadium make the perfect, if slightly pricey, gift. But then, who's counting? Certainly not the Metro Football Stadium District, which is selling two kinds of numbered, limited-edition blueprints. The larger framed version (32 inches by 42 inches) shows the stadium's south and west sides and includes a conceptual color photo of the stadium at night, for only $299.95. The smaller framed version (17 inches by 21 inches) shows the same things, along with a color photo of the actual stadium model, for $199.95. Proceeds go toward the MFSD's public art and education programs. Oh, and the right to name the stadium is still for sale as well. It'll cost you a little more, though.

Best new sports venue

That drafty old barn where the University of Denver Pioneers pounded the puck for half a century has been replaced by beautiful Magness Arena in the new Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, a $70 million Italianate vision in Hansen sandstone, limestone and copper. Seating 6,200 for hockey, 7,200 for hoops and up to 8,000 for concerts, lighting and high style, thanks to architect Cab Childress of Denver's Davis Partnership. The hallmark of the Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, which also houses a second ice arena, a practice gym, a fitness center and a natatorium, is, of course, the soaring Carl B. Williams spire, finished in gold leaf.

Best new sports venue

That drafty old barn where the University of Denver Pioneers pounded the puck for half a century has been replaced by beautiful Magness Arena in the new Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, a $70 million Italianate vision in Hansen sandstone, limestone and copper. Seating 6,200 for hockey, 7,200 for hoops and up to 8,000 for concerts, lighting and high style, thanks to architect Cab Childress of Denver's Davis Partnership. The hallmark of the Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, which also houses a second ice arena, a practice gym, a fitness center and a natatorium, is, of course, the soaring Carl B. Williams spire, finished in gold leaf.

Best use of parking spaces

You haven't really seen softball until you've seen it played by athletes in wheelchairs -- it's a whole new ballgame demanding ample space and smooth ground for all the sharp turns and attendant maneuvers required. But the Colorado Rockies Wheelchair Softball League is covered: The Colorado Rockies baseball organization not only provides monetary support, it's also opened up the north parking lot at Coors Field for league practices, games and clinics. Meanwhile the League, sponsored by Paralyzed Veterans of America Mountain States Chapter, has grown from three members to 500 in only five years, making it the largest such organization in the country.

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Best performance by a Rockies starting pitcher: Pedro Astacio, June 3

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