Best Rockie 2012 | Troy Tulowitzki | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

It's about to get all baseball nerdy up in here: In 2011, star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki posted the second-best WAR of his career. The obscure stat — also known as Wins Above Replacement — measures the amount of wins a player is worth to his team. In fact, according to this stat, Tulo was more than twice as valuable as any other member of the Rockies. So, thanks, baseball geeks, and thanks for not mentioning his hair.

Readers' Choice: Troy Tulowitzki

Julie "Angela Death" Adams is a wrecking ball of a lead jammer with both the Green Barrettes (her Denver Roller Dolls home team) and the Mile High Club traveling all-stars squad. But it's the "Look out, here I come!" grimace she assumes as she's breaking away from the pack in her speed-skater's crouch that has also made her one of the most frequently photographed skaters in Colorado. Seriously, get out of her way.

Roller derby names have the dual requirement of striking fear in the hearts of lesser opponents while making them giggle. Boo Boo Radley, aka Deirdre Sage of the Denver Roller Dolls, accomplishes both — and manages a To Kill a Mockingbird reference, to boot.

Tracy Akers, aka "Disco," started skating with the Denver Roller Dolls in 2005 and is now a co-captain of the Mile High Club, DRD's traveling team. She won 2011 Triple Threat pivot/blocker/jammer honors at the Roller Dolls' year-end awards ceremony for her all-around talent, but what puts her ahead of the pack is her head for in-the-moment strategy during the game itself, which has gotten more involved as roller derby's rulebooks have grown up over the last few years. "Akers is tough, physical, strong and athletic, but what separates her is her game awareness," says Justin Campoy, bench coach of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby team. Which won the 2011 Women's Flat Track Derby Association Championships at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield in November. "She's the Kasparov of roller derby. She'd be very good at chess boxing if she took it up."

Readers' Choice: Brandi Homan

Why bother choosing local league loyalties when the best roller derby team in the world this year featured skaters from both the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls and the Denver Roller Dolls? Portia "Frida Beater" Hensley, a star of the RMRG 5280 Fight Club traveling team, led Team USA into battle as a co-captain when the squad rolled into Toronto in December for the inaugural Blood & Thunder Roller Derby World Cup. She was joined by her pseudonymous 5280 Fight Club teammates Amanda Jamitinya, DeRanged, Psycho Babble and Urrk'n Jerk'n, plus two of her crosstown rivals — Tracy "Disco" Akers and Heather Juska, of the DRD Mile High Club — as well as top skaters from leagues across the country. The rest of the world wasn't quite ready for all that: Team USA decimated squads from New Zealand, Scotland, Australia and Canada in a series of show-no-mercy victories on the way to winning the World Cup. The next World Cup is in 2014, which should give the other teams plenty of time to let their bruises heal.

The massive new 40,000-square-foot Arvada Skate Park was designed and built by the skater-owned Team Pain Skate Parks crew and overseen by local skater James Hedrick as part of the first phase of development at Gibbs West Community Park. Approximately 97 percent of the $2.1 million price tag was funded by grants from the Tony Hawk Foundation, Colorado Lottery, Great Outdoors Colorado and Jefferson County Open Space, and it was worth every penny. The park caters to skaters of all levels and persuasions, featuring bowls both big and small, a long and flowing snake run, granite ledges, handrail/stair sets, and some of the most innovative, sculptural features and architectural landscape designs we've ever seen, including a few that we weren't sure what to make of until we started seeing local skaters getting creative out there. Even if you don't skate, this is worth a look.

Readers' Choice: Denver Skatepark

Bucky O'Connell's long-awaited It's Always Sunny in Colorado transcended skate-shop loyalties when it premiered last year. The video helped bring the Denver skateboard scene together by featuring team riders from the rival 303 Boards and Denver Shop crews, among others, with additional standout skateboarding by Greg Piloto, Aaron "Jaws" Homoki, Trevor Uriona, David Reyes, Nial Frederickson, Sean Frederickson and Jon Brownlee.

This year, we watched 303 Boards' CLFX team skater Julian Christianson win just about every skateboard contest that came through town, including the Denver stops of the Element Make It Count Tour, the Maloof Money Cup Skateboard Road Tour, and the Hometown Heroes Amateur Skateboard Tour. He picked up a one-year sponsorship deal with Element Skateboards after winning the national Make It Count finals, and won the Hometown Heroes overall title after qualifying to skate on the X Games' seventeen-street course in Los Angeles. But his web edits with local filmer Tristan Minton, of Royal Stain Productions, were even more impressive, providing regular reminders of just how great Colorado's local spots and skate-park landscape have become and laying down blueprints for how to make the most of it all. Stay tuned for Minton's film H-DTS: Down to Skate, due out this summer, with a full part from Christianson in the mix.

Hockey doesn't get as much attention as other professional sports in this town, but not because of a lack of passion, something that is always on display when Peter McNab and his broadcast partner, play-by-play man Mike Haynes, get together. Haynes usually gets a lot of props — he's won this award several times — and deservedly so. But McNab should earn equal praise for a balanced blend of intelligent insight and enthusiasm. He references his esteemed playing career without shoving it down viewers' throats, and he knows the area well — not just from his lengthy stint with the Avalanche, but from his collegiate days at the University of Denver.

Readers' Choice: Dave Logan

The Blake Street Tavern is big fun. At its large, newish home, there are seemingly acres of asphalt where you can party before opening day at Coors Field, just a block away; a huge country-Western dance floor in the basement where you can learn to line dance; a vast arcade area with shuffleboard, Skee-Ball, foosball and Golden Tee; and a huge bar where you can enjoy two happy hours a day while watching the game on an overhead TV. But what pushes Blake Street several notches above other sports bars is how seriously they play the game in the kitchen. The expansive menu offers everything from the standard burgers and wings to manly salads and hearty entrees, as well as kid-friendly meals. But the real surprise is chef Ernesto's top-of-the-town green chile, available in mild, spicy and vegetarian versions.

Readers' Choice: Stoney's Bar and Grill

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