Luke Graham: The Rockies, ESPN and my shiny head

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Luke Graham

Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Luke here.

— I'm exhausted.

With the fall prep sports season rapidly approaching (well, golf is already nearing mid-season), it's a frantic time.

I'm busy trying to figure out who's going to be good, meeting new coaches and trying to encompass each team in a season preview article.

That's why you're getting the "notes column" today.

The notes column is a journalistic trick used when a writer doesn't have enough on a particular subject to write an entire column. I could have written about Michael Vick, but what really needs to be said? Even Pacman Jones thinks Vick is messed up.

Anyway, The Denver Post's Jim Armstrong has made a living doing notes columns. Here's my best effort (and only my third one in a year).

- My beloved Rockies, where have you gone? The wild card was ripe for the picking. Three games against the wild card-leading Padres, and the Rockies get shut out, win one, then give up eight runs in an inning - all with two outs - and end up losing two of three. Nothing's going right with the rotation, the lineup is inconsistent, and the bullpen - once a strong point - is showing signs of wear. On the plus side, we're talking about the Rockies in August, and it doesn't begin with, "Looking ahead to the 2008 season."

- ESPN, where have you gone? The Worldwide Leader has really fallen off. SportsCenter has become almost unwatchable. It's become a gossip magazine for sports. Although "Who's Now" was horrible, it's being eclipsed by the network's so-called experts. My least favorite is Sean Salisbury. With the way Salisbury criticizes and talks about players, you'd think he's in the Hall of Fame. He's not. Here are his career numbers: 40 games played, 19 touchdowns, 19 interceptions and 3,824 yards passing. He's no Montana. Heck, he's no Brian Griese. I'm OK with Mike Ditka telling it how it is, or even John Clayton, who has worked a football beat for years, but Salisbury criticizing NFL players is like me taking pop shots at sportswriters like Red Smith, Shirley Povich and Rick Reilly.

- I love football season, but I really hate the injury report. Or at least how it's labeled. I'm fine with players being listed as doubtful or questionable, but it really irks me when they're listed as "day to day." I mean, who in God's name isn't day to day? Maybe the best approach to this was at the University of Colorado, where football coach Dan Hawkins isn't so privy to players who are day to day. If a player has to sit out of practice, Hawkins sends him to the dirt pile. This is where players who aren't practicing shovel dirt into a wheelbarrow and move it to another location. Once all the dirt has been moved, it's moved again. So far, players say they'd rather practice than work the dirt pile.

- Speaking of Colorado football, the Rocky Mountain Showdown is less than three weeks away. The back-and-forth between myself and my uneducated farming friends from Colorado State already has begun. State's got Kyle Bell back from knee surgery - he ran for a 49-yard touchdown during Saturday's scrimmage - and Colorado's actually got a semblance of a passing game. This game is always good (make sure you wake up early Sept. 1 for the 10 a.m. kickoff) and is usually decided by less than 10 points. That said - sorry future State kicker and Steamboat Springs senior Ben DeLine -Buffs roll, 31-10.

- Finally, when they say someone has a face for radio, they might have had me in mind. Along with our football preview in Sunday's issue, talented video and Internet czar Matt Stensland put together a video package. He asked me to do a little standup for it. After 17 takes, we got something. I took a class in college called broadcast for print journalists and thought to myself, "This is easy." It's not. Check it out at www.steamboatpilot.com for yourself. Click on the "videos" link at the top of the homepage. And please keep in mind that the camera adds 50 pounds. Like my uncle Bob says, Graham in Gaelic means "shiny head."

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