Former Greeley Central High School and Colorado Rockies standout Shawn Chacon is at the center of what the national media has treated as the biggest Major League Baseball story of recent days: an altercation with Ed Wade, general manager of Chacon's current team, the Houston Astros, which ended with the pitcher allegedly grabbing Wade by the neck and tossing him to the floor. Yet even after the Astros put Chacon on waivers on June 26, the Denver dailies have been surprisingly stingy with their coverage. The Rocky Mountain News ran a smallish Associated Press report deep in its June 27 sports section, and while the Denver Post at least placed a photo of Chacon on page one of sports, the accompanying article was extremely brief.
Perhaps the Denver dailies will change this approach if Chacon resurfaces with the Rockies, as at least one prominent baseball prognosticator thinks he might.
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That personage is Peter Gammons, lead baseball analyst for ESPN. During a June 27 ESPN Radio appearance, Gammons conceded that Chacon may have killed his career when he went for Wade's throat -- but if any team might pick him up, it'd be the Rockies. After all, Gammons said, Chacon had the best years of his career dressed in a Rockies uniform. Additionally, the Rockies clearly need a new arm.
And a lot of other things, too, by the way.
How likely is it that Chacon will soon be coming home? The odds are fairly slim. Yes, the Rockies could use another hurler, and Chacon would certainly come cheap -- and while he's made no shortage of mistakes in the past, he'd have lots of incentive to stay on the righteous path this time. Moreover, Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd was a big supporter earlier in Chacon's career, as was noted in Word on the Street blog linked above. Lately, though, the team has made a point of only acquiring players who supervisors consider to have good character, and that'd be an ultra-tough sell when it comes to Chacon right now. Besides, Chacon hasn't been throwing all that well lately (when he's not throwing general managers, that is). He might have been sent packing by the Astros even if he hadn't decided to treat Wade like a bat he needed to choke up on.
Then again, stranger things have happened. Like, for example, the Rockies spending the first half of the 2008 season in the tank after forging such a brilliant second-half record in 2007. -- Michael Roberts