Hello again, FanNation. It has been a long while since I've more than lurked around the site. I do hope that those of you that happen to have been regular followers of the Soapbox over the years are doing well. I have found myself incredibly busy ever since the calendar flipped to 2010, and I must say that I am enjoying every second of it. I am currently in my senior year at Colorado State University preparing to do my semester of student teaching in Agricultural Education, likely in the tiny mountain town of Walden, Colorado, home to 800 people and known as the "Moose Capital of America". I also found out recently that the oldest of my seven siblings will be a father to my first niece or nephew, certainly exciting news for the family. Every day, I seem to come to a new realization about how blessed I am, and I hope that you all do as well. Life is crazy, confusing, exciting, and downright wonderful all at the same time, even when it isn't.
This past Saturday was Ag Day at Colorado State University, an annual tradition for the first home football game of the season. Up until 1958, the Colorado State Rams were the Colorado A&M Aggies, and the school's colors were pumpkin orange and alfalfa green. Today, the green and gold of the Rams dominates Ft. Collins, Colorado. Once a year, though, the school pays homage to its Aggie heritage, which warms the heart of this CSU ag student. Ag Day is my favorite day of the year. Prior to the game, the south parking lot at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium is home to tents, music, and a barbecue that would make any Texan jealous. Colorado-grown agricultural commodities are served, and all proceeds from the barbecue tickets go to scholarships for students in the CSU College of Agricultural Sciences. This year's menu included lamb, pork ribs, beef, sweet rolls, Colorado potatoes (the state's #1 agronomic crop), onions, apples, ice cream, milk, organically-grown salad, flowers, and Pepsi products. Guests can take any or all of the above as they wander from tent to tent and read about Colorado's agricultural production of each commodity.
This year, the Rams donned the Aggie orange for the first time in many, many years, and took on the Vandals from the University of Idaho. The school honored CSU alumnus and late Colorado Rockies president Keli McGregor, an All-American football player from CSU in the 1980's who unexpectedly passed in April due to a rare heart virus at the age of 48. The Aggies snapped a 12-game losing streak with a 36-34 come from behind victory on the strength of a last-second field goal by kicker Ben DeLine. It was a great day for Colorado State.
Over the summer, I took up driving a semi hauling sheep over the road as my full-time summer job, and I have continued that habit on the weekends since school started in mid-August. I have burned up many thousands of miles of blacktops and seen truck stops, salebarns, and ranches in such places as Clifton and Monte Vista, Colorado, Deerfield, Quinter, Garden City, and Copeland, Kansas, Glenrock, Casper, Wheatland, Douglas, and Lusk, Wyoming, and Billings, Stanford, Three Forks, Bozeman, and Lewistown, Montana, and every town in between. I have come to the realization that satellite radio may be the greatest invention ever. I have been fortunate to be able to listen to MLB and NFL games on Sirius/XM radio, as well as listening to the likes of DJ's Bill Mack and Wade Jessen on the various country music channels that Sirius/XM has to offer.
My favorite broadcaster that I've recently become acquainted with is the voice of the Dallas Cowboys, Brad Sham. Sham has been with the Cowboys for over 30 years, and he is simply outstanding. I'm not a Cowboys fan, but I am sure to listen to their broadcast from the cab of my 18-wheeler when my beloved Broncos are not playing. The crew on gameday just has fun during the game, and I appreciate that in a broadcast. During yesterday's game, after an injury, Sham asked the sideline reporter if she'd seen any signs from the Cowboys sideline, and she responded, "'Fire Garrett', seven rows up on the 50-yard line." Also, a couple of weeks back, in reference to the Cowboys apparent aversion to picking up a fumble, Sham uttered one of the best lines you'll ever hear: "They took to it like bacon in a synagogue - they just weren't interested." (Full disclosure: Sham is Jewish.)
San Francisco Giants broadcaster Jon Miller made headlines in Denver over the summer by saying that there have been rumblings that the Colorado Rockies have been sneaking balls that haven't been stored in Coors Field's humidor late in the game when the Rockies have needed to rally late in games. Tim Lincecum added fuel to this fire a couple of weeks ago by saying that he thought that one of these "juiced" balls made its way to him during a recent game. While this Rockies die-hard has strong feelings about these accusations, Silverblood of SB Nation's "Purple Row" responded to them better than I ever could have last week. I encourage you to read her entry on the accusations. She is an outstanding writer, and she sums up my feelings perfectly. It is interesting that these "rumblings" have come from Miller and Lincecum, and only Miller and Lincecum to date.
My view is obviously biased, but I really believe that these accusations are ridiculous. All the same, I recognize that it may be true. It is a situation that MLB obviously needs to monitor, though they cannot dedicate a full-time staff member just to that position. Integrity of the game can never be compromised, and any and all measures should be taken to ensure that it isn't. However, I am well-versed enough in all things Rockies to know that Jim Tracy and Dan O'Dowd, not to mention Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki, are very, very honest people, and they would rather die than have the integrity of their organization called into question. Not only that, the late Keli McGregor was the very embodiment of an upstanding, honest leader, and I can't find it in myself to believe that any member of the Rockies would do anything that McGregor would disapprove of. It should be noted that the humidor itself has long been under 24-hour surveillance, and there is always a camera on the bag of gameballs in the home dugout in Coors Field. Also, umpires and pitchers know baseballs well enough to know when they are even a little bit different from any other ball that they receive during the game. It is an interesting situation, but I am confident in saying that there is nothing to it beyond a heated division race.
Who knows when I'll post again, but I hope that you'll always be on the lookout for more from the Centennial Soapbox. Good to talk to you again, FanNation!