Mark Knudson’s Three Strikes Blog: Rockies hat matters; Should CFB teams plan for wins or eyeballs? And should the Nuggets be on Ben Simmons?


First attempt : The baseball cap matters.

It matters – A LOT – that the plaque that will be hung in the Baseball Hall of Fame, the one with the image of Larry Kenneth Robert Walker on it – will feature the five-time All-Star and 1997 National League MVP wearing a baseball from the Colorado Rockies cap.

It will be the first – and so far the only – one-of-a-kind.

The Rockies are in their 29e year of existence, and they’ve finally arrived on the map, so to speak. Colorado finally has a substantial MLB history that has nothing to do with attending or perceiving “tainted” batting titles.

There is nothing “Park Adjusted” about Larry Walker. It’s a Hall of Famer.

Yes, it took him a decade of eligibility to enter. Yes, it took the Baseball Writers of America voting members to seek over 3,000 hits (which he didn’t get) or a 500 home run milestone (which he didn’t hit) to see Walker’s true worth as a player. It took detailed scrutiny and a willingness from voters to look at things like “Win Over Substitution” and other advanced analytical metrics to see Hall of Fame numbers. But they were all there. Despite an overabundance of injuries that kept him off the field, and despite the stigma that his success was a by-product of playing at altitude (which the numbers prove it wasn’t) ), Walker succeeded. The Rockies did. “Today I’m not saying I have a cap in Cooperstown, I’m saying WE have a cap in Cooperstown,” Walker told the crowd at Coors Field at the shirt removal ceremony.

So despite the fact that he started his career in Montreal and ended it in St. Louis, Walker entered Cooperstown as the Colorado Rockie. The hope is that instead of being an outlier, Walker’s induction sets a precedent.

Todd Helton is on the doorstep. In his third year of Hall of Fame eligibility, the Rocky Mountain mainstay – who played his entire 17-year career in Colorado – garnered a touch of less than 45% of the vote. The five-time All-Star has seen a big increase from 16.5% in his first year. He’s definitely on an uptrend, and with seven years left, his chances of getting the necessary 75% are now decent.

Walker’s induction should give Helton’s chances a solid boost.

As for the future, he will also be very useful if Nolan Arenado – already six-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner – continues to thrive, especially offensively, away from Coors Field. Arenado’s first eight seasons were spent in (mostly) huge numbers as the Rockie, with the ever-present “Ya, but Coors Field” stigma hanging over his head. Change its mailing address in St. Louis this season – and continue to set up over 30 routes and over 100 product points while not playing their home games a mile above sea level – should help change the perception that guys who do great things with purple stripes are less deserving than those who play ‘baseball’ in other towns “.

Walker has done his part. Helton can only watch and hope. Arenado can keep hitting home runs and playing for a playoff squad and help erase the stigma for good.

Fans of the Rockies are expected to cheer Arenado loudly this postseason. He can still be an aid for the home team.

Hit two: After four games – including two against Power Five teams – the Colorado State Rams are 1-3 with a tough outlook for the rest of the season. After two horrific losses early in the season, the Rams have shown well over the past two weeks… but as they say, you are what your record says you are.

Meanwhile, an hour north, their big rival Wyoming is 4-0 and in great shape to play a bowl game for the fourth time in six seasons.

Make no mistake, the Cowboys are a better football program than CSU right now (although the Rams currently own the Bronze Boot.) But how these two teams have achieved their respective records so far is very different. This begs the question of what the best planning philosophy is – plan for wins… or plan for eyeballs.

Wyoming played a mellow non-conference slate, with games against Montana State (ranked 13e in FCS), Northern Illinois (2-2), Ball State (1-3) and UConn without a win. Not exactly Murderer’s Row. CSU faced South Dakota State (national title finalist last season currently ranked No.2 in FCS), Vanderbilt (an SEC team, albeit lousy) a very solid team from Toledo (which they have inexplicably beaten) and fought Iowa in fifth place in the Big Ten.

Many more people, including a few domestic viewers, watched the Rams’ highs – the victory over Toledo and the relentless loss to Iowa – and the lows, including those miserable performances in their first two home games. And CSU had a nice salary in Iowa City.

All the while, having dodged OT by stopping a late two-point conversion to UConn without a win, Wyo remains undefeated… and pretty much unnoticed.

If the times were reversed, Wyoming would likely be 2-2, while CSU could be 3-1. And neither would likely be a sure thing for a bowling alley.

CSU’s need for attention and money led the administrator to try to fill his magnificent young stadium with renowned non-conference opponents. Since the new stadium opened, the Rams have won a few of those games, beating Oregon State to open Canvas Stadium in 2017 and Arkansas in September 2018. But just as often – as in the case. recent TV debacles against SDSU and Vandy – the plan didn’t work out exactly as they had hoped. While the stadium remains a wonderful addition to the program and to the campus as a whole, having viewers watching the fans pour in at halftime is a bad aspect no matter what.

Wyoming will have some good televised games once the conference kicks off, and of course a lot of people will be watching bowling season. This can be more profitable on the recruiting trail than having high school prospects watching your team get beaten at home in September.

On the flip side, if any of those programs audition to attend bigger conferences – and CSU is considering moving sideways to the American Athletic Conference – then getting noticed, even if lost – is likely. better for the long term profile.

The bottom line is this: Wyoming has the best sense of self-awareness. They know who they are and don’t seem overly concerned about trying to be much more than that. Overall, they seem to be comfortable in their own pigskin, so to speak.

It is not a force that the State of Colorado shares. The CSU administrator – and his supporters – don’t just stay in their five-way group. And it cost them in the column of gains and losses.

The new Fort stadium was a must. It is a fantastic facility and a great addition to the campus. It’s a shame that CSU sees the need to plan to try and fill the seats.

Hit three: Ben Simmons won’t be a Denver Nugget. It became crystal clear.

Simmons – the former top pick in the NBA Draft – asks the Philadelphia 76’ers for a trade. Denver is not on the published shortlist of potential destinations, but has been mentioned as a “sleeper” in trade negotiations.

The Nuggets have done their best to quell those rumors, especially after Aaron Gordon’s recent re-signing, and the details of what it would take to make the deal work financially paint a very different picture of the future. Denver if they tried to absorb the remainder of Simmons’ five-year, $ 170 million five-year contract (roughly $ 146 million)

That would mean taking a hammer blow to the Nuggets’ current core, possibly including having to include Michael Porter Jr. and possibly Jamal Murray in the trade.

So this agreement does not take place.

But should he? Or at least one like that? Should the Denver Nuggets be ready to drastically shake up a roster that has produced two outstanding seasons (but no championships) in a row?

Right now, while other organizations – like the Los Angeles Lakers for example – are making big moves (LA acquired Russell Westbrook and what’s left of Carmelo Anthony this offseason), the Nuggets have been content with resign Gordon (a very important move) and count on first-round draft pick Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland to make a very good team (which won’t have Murray for the first half of the season) even better in a immediate future.

Going big – like acquiring a defensive guard and an exceptional 6’10 ” playmaker at Simmons – is not in the plans. Not at the moment anyway.

Certainly, the current group of Nuggets deserved the chance to participate in what will finally be a “normal” NBA season, both in terms of duration and schedule. They should be rested and ready to compete for the top spot in the ultra-competitive NBA Western Conference and ask Jokic to defend his MVP crown.

But it’s the job of guys like Connelly to not only explore all the list options available, but to have backup plans in place in case things don’t go right. The Nuggets rely heavily on MPJ to take a big step forward as an All-Star starter. He has all the physical tools to do it. Someone has to step in in the first half of the season as Murray recovers from a serious knee injury. At some point, Denver also needs to be able to give Jokic more rest.

Simmons would significantly change the appearance and play of the Nuggets. If there was a way to team him up with Jokic and Murray (because MPJ should definitely be part of the trade the other way around), Denver would immediately be among the few favorites to win the NBA title.

Fantasy Basketball, are you interested?

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