Drew Goodman has been a reliable play-by-play man for ages, but he really proved his value during the Colorado Rockies' 2007 season. When the team started off poorly, he kept things in perspective without ever turning into a paid apologist — a skill he honed as a witness to years of Rockies ineptitude. And he maintained this same admirable balance once the tide began turning, properly reflecting the enthusiasm this unexpected twist engendered even as he resisted the temptation to root like an out-of-control fan. Goodman's professionalism is a real asset, whether he's calling contests by a cellar-dweller or a World Series combatant.
In baseball, they call it "strength up the middle." The term refers to a team whose second baseman/shortstop combo gains a reputation for vacuuming up everything that comes its way. And last season, the Colorado Rockies were strong up the middle and everywhere else, making .98925 percent of their plays given 6,326 total chances. In fact, the Rockies made history as the best fielding team ever, beating out the 2006 Boston Red Sox, who racked up a .9891 fielding percentage. A bittersweet prize considering they lost to the Sox in the World Series, but one worth remembering.
The Falcons seemed sure to take a dip in 2007 thanks to turmoil at the top: Fisher DeBerry, who made headlines two years earlier after suggesting that a bowl-game loss could be traced to AFA's dearth of "Afro-American players," stepped down before the season started, ending a 23-year run as head coach. But Academy grad Troy Calhoun, who'd coached in the NFL for the Broncos and the Houston Texans, came home and immediately set things on the right path. In the end, gutsy signal-caller Shaun Carney guided his squadron to a totally unexpected 9-3 record and an appearance in the Armed Forces Bowl, which the team might've won had the QB not gone down with a knee injury. With Calhoun back for a second season, the Falcons' outlook is sky-high.
Could it be anything else? Early in the 2007 campaign, after the Rox lost a series to the woeful Kansas City Royals (at home, no less), at least one website demanded that owners Charlie and Dick Monfort sell the franchise to someone who might actually invest in making the team better. But then something funny happened: The Rockies' talented young nucleus of Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitzki and others began living up to their potential, then exceeding it. As a result of the slow start, the Rockies needed a miracle to reach the World Series, and they got one: a stretch of 21 victories in 22 games. Granted, this fairy tale didn't have a happy ending; it was as if Cinderella tried on the glass slipper and accidentally amputated several toes. But the core Rockies are back, and so is the suddenly realistic prospect of even better things to come.

Best Sunday Afternoon Bike Ride Destination

Heron Pond

Tucked behind an old water-treatment plant (now Northside Park) and a recycling plant, quiet Heron Pond is the perfect place for solitude and stellar bird watching. Located on the South Platte River Greenway going north from downtown, the park is home to a huge variety of birds, including herons, avocets, kingfishers and red-tail hawks, as well as numerous kinds of water fowl. And because it's so quiet here, they aren't likely to be scared away by a dog let loose by an inconsiderate condo-dweller. There may be more scenic rides around town, but when it comes to Sunday solitude, Heron Pond soars above the rest.
The story goes like this: Rocco was a French pilgrim who traveled around northern Italy during the Middle Ages, risking plague-ridden towns to care for the ill. He eventually became the patron saint of pestilence, and the Potenza Lodge has honored him annually for more than sixty years at the three-day Feast of St. Rocco festival. Modern-day patrons can take part in games of chance as well as near-continuous raffles for home-baked cakes, salami, capicola and provolone. Attendees also vie for cash prizes at booths featuring pickle cards and an old carnival-style Big Six wheel. Both games have a house edge that would make the casinos in Black Hawk drool. But after a few pizzelles, Italian sausage sandwiches and cheap Coors Lights, a little risk in the name of pestilence doesn't seem so bad.
A good night of trick or treating requires several things: closely-spaced homes that cut down on walking and result in more candy gained; good lighting, but not too good; some large, well-decorated spooky houses; a safe neighborhood; and, most important, wealthy homeowners who give out the good stuff. While there are plenty of areas that combine these elements in Denver, Seventh Avenue Parkway has them all and more. Just ask the vanloads of kids from other neighborhoods who swoop down each October 31 like vampire bats and then disappear in the ghoulish night.
Video games are quickly ascending to a place of cultural dominance, joining movies and music in terms of earning power and cultural cachet. One of the biggest and best websites covering this transformation is Denver-based www.kotaku.com, which includes live coverage of key events, such as the recent Game Developers Conference, and original features on nearly every important thing in gaming. Managing editor Brian Crecente, a longtime veteran of the Rocky Mountain News, runs the megablog, continuing a tradition of delivering top-notch coverage.
Keyo the baby zebra was special and the snow leopard was certainly cute, but the two sets of golden lion tamarins were clearly the best Denver Zoo babies, for a couple of reasons. First, they are soooo cute, and the parents, Rosy and Simao, look like fuzzy three-headed monkeys as they move around with their babies on board. Second, the tiny tamarins — fuzzy, long-tailed Brazilian primates — are highly endangered (there's only about 1,000 left), and the zoo has had a lot of success with them. In fact, there were two sets born — Annie and Alex on June 25, and two as-yet-unnamed babies on March 10 — which tripled the Denver population. Here's to the happy family.

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