Welcome to the second edition of the Mailbag! Once again, thank you all for your questions, and please join the group MAIL...THIS if you haven't already done so. Wtnelson's Mailbag will still be around, I just don't know that it will be a weekly publication. I have decided to keep it as an opinion forum for myself, so if you have questions about Denver sports or sports history, keep sending them. If they are better suited to the other group, I will send them on to NCshvDavid. Enjoy this week's blog and video!
1. Should we bring in a salary cap into baseball, and what would be the consequences good or bad if they did? - eylesy
Let me start this by saying that this will never happen. The MLB Players' Association is the most powerful union in the world, and they will never allow a salary cap to be instituted. I honestly don't think that a salary cap is necessary, but I wouldn't be opposed to it. If there were a cap, it would make for more of a level playing field in the free agent business, but it would have no effect on teams such as the Florida Marlins (actually, it's now the Miami Marlins, in case you weren't aware) that try to keep payroll as low as possible. I firmly believe that baseball is in dire need of a salary floor rather than a cap. Having a floor would require teams to spend money to be competitive. The Yankees/Red Sox/Cubs and their spending doesn't hurt baseball. What hurts baseball is the fact that many team owners can't or won't spend the money to field a competitive team, which can easily alienate a fan base.
2. How do you think an NFL team would fare against a CFL team playing with CFL rules and field? - Baun-ded
That's an interesting question, only because I would expect to hear it worded the other way around. I don't believe that the field size would have too great of an impact, but the rules differences might. NFL teams are used to 4-down series' and 3 timeouts per half, while the CFL employs 3-down series' and 1 timeout per half. I think that the 12th man on offense would favor the NFL team, and the unlimited motion as well. In all honesty, I don't think that a CFL team would stand much of a chance, all things being equal. The best football players and best coaches in the world are in the NFL. If they get a week or two to prepare for the game and get used to the rules, I do think that an NFL team would win without too much difficulty. That being said, the times that I have watched the CFL, I have really enjoyed it. The nuances of the Canadian game make it very entertaining. I don't mean to knock the CFL, but I do think that the NFL team would win.
3. Obviously the Broncos need to draft defense next year. Are there any specific players you would target in free agency, and what defensive position(s) should be the top priority in next year's draft? - Mondo Jay
The Broncos this season remind me an awful lot of the 1995 team that went 8-8, Mike Shanahan's first year in Denver. That team had a great offense in place, but a suspect defense, with money to spend. The Broncos currently have the 27th highest payroll in the NFL, so they do have some money. One guy that I would target is Julius Peppers, assuming the Panthers don't slap the franchise tag on him. The biggest glaring weakness for the Broncos is on the defensive line, where they need a pass rusher, and he's obviously one of the best. As far as the draft goes, the Broncos will have 9 selections in next year's draft. I do think that one of them will be spent on a running back, but defensive end, safety, and middle linebacker are the positions that the Broncos need to focus on, in that order.
4. What ever happened to the Montreal Maroons and the New York Americans? - Appleseed
The tale of both of these teams is a sad one. The Maroons won a Stanley Cup in 1926, but the economic realities of the Great Depression essentially forced them into folding. They were the little brother of the Montreal Canadiens, so when fans didn't have the money to support two teams, they supported the Canadiens. The team went dormant in 1938, and Habs' director Len Peto took over. He got the team transferred to Philadelphia for the 1946-1947 season, but Philly didn't have an arena that could support them, and they never actually played a game in Philadelphia before completely folding. The Americans (or "Amerks") have a different story that ends in the same way. Theirs is a tale of broken promises and hard economic times. They weren't as successful as the Maroons, but they brought the fans to the box office at Madison Square Garden. Garden owners had promised not to put another team in, but after seeing the Amerks' success, they founded the New York Rangers one year after the Amerks began play, and the Rangers would have more success than the Amerks ever did. It didn't help that the Amerks were run by Bill Dwyer, New York's most prominent prohibition bootlegger. He went broke in the 1930's, and the NHL took over the team in 1937, giving control to Red Dutton. When Canada entered WWII in 1939, many of the players went to fight for their country. In 1942, the Amerks suspended play for the duration of the war. However, the NHL reneged on promises to reinstate the franchise, and the franchise was canceled. They are officially listed as having "retired" in 1942.
5. What do you think that the Colorado Rockies need to do to get back on track? - Redwing19
There's a lesson to be learned here - if you send me a question about the Rockies, it's bound to get answered. Really, baseball questions in general are bound to get answered, because I love talking about baseball. The game is so rich with history, and my favorite team has frustrated me over the years, so it's easy to talk about. In all honesty, I think that the Rockies are still on the right track. It took a long time, but they figured out how to draft and develop the "system pitchers" that you need at Coors Field. You need to have sinkerballers, not power pitchers that are prone to the homerun. They have developed that recently in Aaron Cook, Jeff Francis, and Ubaldo Jimenez. The main area of focus has to be the bullpen. While I wasn't thrilled with the Matt Holliday trade in the least, I think that the offense will be just fine, even if Todd Helton's back gives him problems again next season. The addition of Huston Street will be solid for the bullpen. As long as they can have a respectable middle relief corps next season, I do think that the team will be just fine, and will contend for the NL West title all season long.
Thanks again for all of your questions! If I didn't get to yours, I may answer it in the future. Keep sending them in! This week's Video Of The Week features one of the greatest hockey goals you will ever see. Greg Pankewicz is a right wing for the Colorado Eagles of the Central Hockey League. He played in the NHL for the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames, but has spent most of his career in the CHL. He is the CHL record-holder for goals and points. This is one of his best. It's entitled "Greg Pankewicz Should Be On Sportscenter". Enjoy!