The foundation for all that might be in the Colorado Rockies' uncertain future, first baseman Todd Helton is one of the greatest players in baseball -- a perennial Gold Glove candidate whose .339 lifetime batting average is highest among all active players and whose .616 slugging average (the number of total bases divided by the number of at-bats) is the fourth-highest in major-league history -- even better than Barry Bonds's number. Signed through 2011 with a club option for 2012, the eight-year veteran from Tennessee remains the rock on which the young Rockies are built. Call them Todd and the Toddlers.


The foundation for all that might be in the Colorado Rockies' uncertain future, first baseman Todd Helton is one of the greatest players in baseball -- a perennial Gold Glove candidate whose .339 lifetime batting average is highest among all active players and whose .616 slugging average (the number of total bases divided by the number of at-bats) is the fourth-highest in major-league history -- even better than Barry Bonds's number. Signed through 2011 with a club option for 2012, the eight-year veteran from Tennessee remains the rock on which the young Rockies are built. Call them Todd and the Toddlers.

What can you say about the National Lacrosse League's all-time leading scorer as he plays his fourteenth and final season, except that he is the standard by which all other players are measured? Having led the Mammoth since the team arrived in Denver from Washington in 2002, Gary Gait is the Michael Jordan of his sport; he's been the NLL's most valuable player six times, a seven-time goal-scoring champion and a seven-time points leader. Every year, he's been selected as a first-team All-Pro. Gait began his pro career in 1991 with the Detroit Turbos (he was Rookie of the Year), and will finish here in Denver. "This game, this team and this town have been great to me," he says. "Now it's time to say goodbye." Lacrosse fans will never see another like him.


What can you say about the National Lacrosse League's all-time leading scorer as he plays his fourteenth and final season, except that he is the standard by which all other players are measured? Having led the Mammoth since the team arrived in Denver from Washington in 2002, Gary Gait is the Michael Jordan of his sport; he's been the NLL's most valuable player six times, a seven-time goal-scoring champion and a seven-time points leader. Every year, he's been selected as a first-team All-Pro. Gait began his pro career in 1991 with the Detroit Turbos (he was Rookie of the Year), and will finish here in Denver. "This game, this team and this town have been great to me," he says. "Now it's time to say goodbye." Lacrosse fans will never see another like him.

One of Major League Soccer's staunchest play-breakers and a leading attacker as well, Argentina-born defender Pablo Mastroeni is, at age 29, one of the league's most respected players. Named the Colorado Rapids' team captain last year, the 5'10", 170-pound speedster has split time between the Rapids and the U.S. National Team since arriving in Colorado in 2002, and his peerless work ethic earned him the team's 2004 Black and Blue Award, given to the player who best exemplifies the team's never-say-die spirit. He played his college soccer at North Carolina State.


One of Major League Soccer's staunchest play-breakers and a leading attacker as well, Argentina-born defender Pablo Mastroeni is, at age 29, one of the league's most respected players. Named the Colorado Rapids' team captain last year, the 5'10", 170-pound speedster has split time between the Rapids and the U.S. National Team since arriving in Colorado in 2002, and his peerless work ethic earned him the team's 2004 Black and Blue Award, given to the player who best exemplifies the team's never-say-die spirit. He played his college soccer at North Carolina State.

The Colorado Avalanche may have seen the last of its beloved two-time Stanley Cup hero, Peter Forsberg. This year's National Hockey League owners' lockout has driven hundreds of NHL players to Europe, including former league MVP Forsberg. He was playing for Modo in his native Sweden's well-respected, finesse-oriented Elite League until a serious concussion felled him earlier this month. "Foppa" had announced last September that he would remain in Sweden for the entire season, even if part of the NHL schedule was saved. But the latest injury to the 31-year-old star is likely to end his career altogether.


The Colorado Avalanche may have seen the last of its beloved two-time Stanley Cup hero, Peter Forsberg. This year's National Hockey League owners' lockout has driven hundreds of NHL players to Europe, including former league MVP Forsberg. He was playing for Modo in his native Sweden's well-respected, finesse-oriented Elite League until a serious concussion felled him earlier this month. "Foppa" had announced last September that he would remain in Sweden for the entire season, even if part of the NHL schedule was saved. But the latest injury to the 31-year-old star is likely to end his career altogether.

What a sublime moment for Colorado's two dominant college hockey teams to rise to the top of the national standings. While the National Hockey League cools its skates off the ice, last season's surprising NCAA champions, the Denver Pioneers, are seeded second in the sixteen-team NCAA tournament field; their hated rivals from Colorado College are -- wouldn't you know it? -- number three. The Pis (28-9-2) and the Tigers (29-8-3) split the four games they played this season, and DU beat CC 1-0 to win the Western Collegiate Hockey Association title. Next, it's on to the NCAAs and the renewal of a bitter rivalry that dates back to 1949 and encompasses 254 match-ups.

What a sublime moment for Colorado's two dominant college hockey teams to rise to the top of the national standings. While the National Hockey League cools its skates off the ice, last season's surprising NCAA champions, the Denver Pioneers, are seeded second in the sixteen-team NCAA tournament field; their hated rivals from Colorado College are -- wouldn't you know it? -- number three. The Pis (28-9-2) and the Tigers (29-8-3) split the four games they played this season, and DU beat CC 1-0 to win the Western Collegiate Hockey Association title. Next, it's on to the NCAAs and the renewal of a bitter rivalry that dates back to 1949 and encompasses 254 match-ups.

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