No one else comes close. In his eighth season with Colorado, Todd Helton, the rock of the Rockies, remains the team's most consistent hitter and a Gold Glove candidate at first base. When he batted .358 last year with 33 home runs and 117 runs driven in, he became just the second player in big-league history to hit at least .315 with 25 homers and 95 RBIs in each of his first six full seasons. The other player? Guy by the name of Joe DiMaggio. Helton's lifetime average of .337 is the best in both leagues, and his .616 slugging percentage leads all players who've gone to the plate at least 3,000 times. Rox general manager Dan O'Dowd keeps experimenting with the secondary parts on the team's faulty baseball machine, but he never messes with the engine: Number 17, Todd Helton. To watch the perennial All-Star and sometime NL batting champ play is a privilege Rockies fans savor even as the team flounders summer after summer.


Like the team itself, the Colorado Avalanche's staunch captain, center Joe Sakic, has had his ups and downs this season. But as the playoffs approach and coach Tony Granato's much-battered troops try to get past the Steve Moore/Todd Bertuzzi trauma, put Peter Forsberg and Alex Tanguay back together again and prepare for battle with the NHL's top teams, it is their 34-year-old leader who has emerged as their most consistent, fiercest competitor. Thanks to an incredible scoring surge in mid-March, Sakic could win his first-ever league scoring title. To be sure, the Art Ross Trophy would look good next to Sakic's pair of Stanley Cup rings, his world and Olympic gold medals and his other NHL trophies -- the Hart, the Byng, the Patrick and the Conn Smythe. Sakic is the oldest player on the team, and he remains its heart and soul come crunch time.
Like the team itself, the Colorado Avalanche's staunch captain, center Joe Sakic, has had his ups and downs this season. But as the playoffs approach and coach Tony Granato's much-battered troops try to get past the Steve Moore/Todd Bertuzzi trauma, put Peter Forsberg and Alex Tanguay back together again and prepare for battle with the NHL's top teams, it is their 34-year-old leader who has emerged as their most consistent, fiercest competitor. Thanks to an incredible scoring surge in mid-March, Sakic could win his first-ever league scoring title. To be sure, the Art Ross Trophy would look good next to Sakic's pair of Stanley Cup rings, his world and Olympic gold medals and his other NHL trophies -- the Hart, the Byng, the Patrick and the Conn Smythe. Sakic is the oldest player on the team, and he remains its heart and soul come crunch time.


Ralph Backstrom, the ex-Montreal Canadiens great and former coach of the DU Pioneers, has enjoyed great success in his first year as principal owner of the Colorado Eagles, the new minor-league hockey team that plays at the Budweiser Events Center (aka the Bud Barn) near Loveland. For every game, the arena is packed, the hockey is relentlessly rough-and-tumble, and the mascot is perfect. Meet Slapshot, a huge, yellow-beaked Eagle with compact-car-sized feet and claws Godzilla would envy. The big fellow is not always surefooted out there on the ice -- he's taken a couple of falls and had a time of it getting back up -- but the kids adore his goofy, large-scale pranks. So do we.
Ralph Backstrom, the ex-Montreal Canadiens great and former coach of the DU Pioneers, has enjoyed great success in his first year as principal owner of the Colorado Eagles, the new minor-league hockey team that plays at the Budweiser Events Center (aka the Bud Barn) near Loveland. For every game, the arena is packed, the hockey is relentlessly rough-and-tumble, and the mascot is perfect. Meet Slapshot, a huge, yellow-beaked Eagle with compact-car-sized feet and claws Godzilla would envy. The big fellow is not always surefooted out there on the ice -- he's taken a couple of falls and had a time of it getting back up -- but the kids adore his goofy, large-scale pranks. So do we.


Listen, people, Carmelo or no Carmelo, you can still pay less than face value for Denver Nuggets tickets. True, the days of the ten- dollar, weeknight, center-court, lower-level NBA ticket are over (at least for this season), but Willie still can hook you up. He's the ringmaster of the ticket-scalping circus happening outside the Pepsi Center before and during the first quarter/period of Nuggets and Avalanche games. You can't miss him: He's an African-American gentleman, about 6' 3", who usually wears a long leather coat with a faux-fur collar. He's also the guy shouting, "Yeah, what?" to all the other scalpers crying out, "Hey, Willie!" For the Nuggets, pay no more than $30 for lower-level corner seats, $60 for centers. That's still about fifteen to thirty bucks less than face. Buying tickets for the Avalanche on the street is a different game entirely, however. You may have to actually pay more than face value, which is illegal in Denver, but, hey, it's a thrill. And you should always go to Willie: He bargains fast and hard, but he's the fairest of the lot.
Listen, people, Carmelo or no Carmelo, you can still pay less than face value for Denver Nuggets tickets. True, the days of the ten- dollar, weeknight, center-court, lower-level NBA ticket are over (at least for this season), but Willie still can hook you up. He's the ringmaster of the ticket-scalping circus happening outside the Pepsi Center before and during the first quarter/period of Nuggets and Avalanche games. You can't miss him: He's an African-American gentleman, about 6' 3", who usually wears a long leather coat with a faux-fur collar. He's also the guy shouting, "Yeah, what?" to all the other scalpers crying out, "Hey, Willie!" For the Nuggets, pay no more than $30 for lower-level corner seats, $60 for centers. That's still about fifteen to thirty bucks less than face. Buying tickets for the Avalanche on the street is a different game entirely, however. You may have to actually pay more than face value, which is illegal in Denver, but, hey, it's a thrill. And you should always go to Willie: He bargains fast and hard, but he's the fairest of the lot.


CEO John Elway's struggling arena football team managed to win just two of sixteen games in its first year (neither of them at the Pepsi Center), and halfway through the debacle, you half expected old Number 7 to suit up and spark a couple of comebacks himself. But this season, the Colorado Crush has gotten off to a sparkling 5-2 start, thanks to new coach Mike Dailey and a welcome return to form by veteran quarterback John Dutton, who had led the San Jose SaberCats to an ArenaBowl championship in 2002 and picked up MVP honors in the big game. A record-setter at the University of Nevada, Dutton was originally drafted by the NFL's Miami Dolphins in 1998, and he had cups of coffee with the Atlanta Falcons and the Cleveland Browns. For better or worse, the 29-year-old finally found himself in the pass-happy, touchdown-crazy indoor game, where his 6' 4" height, quick release and dead-on short-throw accuracy became matchless assets. So far this season, he's tossed 22 touchdowns.
CEO John Elway's struggling arena football team managed to win just two of sixteen games in its first year (neither of them at the Pepsi Center), and halfway through the debacle, you half expected old Number 7 to suit up and spark a couple of comebacks himself. But this season, the Colorado Crush has gotten off to a sparkling 5-2 start, thanks to new coach Mike Dailey and a welcome return to form by veteran quarterback John Dutton, who had led the San Jose SaberCats to an ArenaBowl championship in 2002 and picked up MVP honors in the big game. A record-setter at the University of Nevada, Dutton was originally drafted by the NFL's Miami Dolphins in 1998, and he had cups of coffee with the Atlanta Falcons and the Cleveland Browns. For better or worse, the 29-year-old finally found himself in the pass-happy, touchdown-crazy indoor game, where his 6' 4" height, quick release and dead-on short-throw accuracy became matchless assets. So far this season, he's tossed 22 touchdowns.


Now in his third year with the Colorado Rapids, defense-obsessed mid-fielder Pablo Mastroeni has revealed a new taste for attack, but there's no one better in Major League Soccer as a stopper. Just 5' 9" and 150 pounds, the Argentine native moved to Phoenix when he was four and played college soccer at North Carolina State. Those who previously didn't know him -- or the game itself -- took notice in 2002, when Mastroeni became a vital part of the U.S. National Team that shocked perennial powers like Portugal and Mexico at the World Cup before that tough loss to the Germans. Once again, National coach Bruce Arena has picked Mastroeni (and Rapids teammate Ritchie Kotschau) for his roster, but Rapids fans will get to watch the feisty, dogged defender all season long at Invesco Field.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of