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Monday, March 26, 2012

A Walk through the Waldo

A slideshow of a walk along the Waldo Trail, Colorado Springs, Colorado, on March 25, 2012, accompanied by some soothing classical music. We had unseasonably mild weather. Wear some comfortable shoes for this journey, we'll be walking over 6 miles and going up over a thousand feet in elevation!

Looking west, we see Pikes Peak and some nearby mountain tops.  Directly to the east, in that endless plain, is Colorado Springs.  The road beneath us is the only way out of Colorado Springs into the mountains - it is known as "the cut" or "the pass."  To the south, visible in some shots, is Cheyenne Mountain.  That zig-zag road you see to the south is a famous road finished in 1926 up Cheyenne Mountain.  Cheyenne Mountain, of course, is partly off limits due to SAC headquarters, which is very difficult to visit.

The entire region was once submerged under an inland sea, which accounts for the striations in the ancient sediment that now forms the sides of the mountains.

The white rock at the end is known as Pikes Peak Granite.  There is an awful lot of shale on the paths, testament to the oceanic origins of the entire area.

Cave of the Winds is in the next valley to the south, and just beyond that is Garden of the Gods (I have pictures of both on my Random Pictures site).  Up the road to the west is the gambling mecca Cripple Creek, and further on, Aspen, Vail, and all those good places.

My idea of getting lucky....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tebow's Great Blunder

Tim Tebow
Tim Tebow seeks divine guidance

Word is that Tim Tebow told the Broncos to trade him to the Jets instead of Jacksonville.  I believe this was a huge mistake on his part.

First, preliminarily, ponder for a second that Tebow was a First Round pick with a year of experience in the NFL.  He started during the string of victories that got the Broncos into the playoffs and the playoff win that the Broncos won because of his long touchdown throw in overtime against an overwhelming favorite.

And all the Broncos could get for him was a fourth-round pick, a sixth round pick and cash?

Something is wrong there.

A young, experienced, successful starting quarterback in the NFL normally should go for much more value than that.  Very, very few first-year quarterbacks get that much experience.  Yet, the entire league basically said that his value had gone down this year, not up.

The combined wisdom of the NFL decided that Tebow does not deserve to be starting anywhere.  A fourth-round pick does have value, so they also decided he belongs in the league.  But not as a starter, as a back-up.  Maybe forever.

Given that premise, Tebow had the choice of either going to Florida, where he went to college and no doubt has a legion of fans, or going to New York City.

I know a little bit about New York City.  I grew up in the suburbs and lived in Manhattan for a long time.  I also know about other places, having lived in suburban Colorado for a decade.

Tebow made a huge mistake choosing the Jets.  The stated reason is that he thought they "wanted him more."  If true, that is just fuzzy thinking on his part.  The coaching staff may have been more welcoming, but that isn't going to matter when it's September and he is throwing like a girl.

Nobody in New York City is going to give a hoot about his career or his progress.  The Big Apple has its share of Christians and the sort of people Tebow attracts, but it also has way more than its share of godless heathens, sports haters and malicious gossip mongerers.  Destroying athletes who have pretensions of any kind and don't deliver is a spectator sport in NYC.

Nobody probably remembers a fellow by the name of Eddie Lee Whitson.  He was just like Tebow.  A good, though far from great, player who achieved his success in a fairly rural/suburban environment, San Diego.  He had a moderately good year as a starting pitcher and then became a free agent after the 1984 season.

He got the opportunity to play in New York. Big money beckoned.  The team there wined and dined him and lured him in.  Whitson signed his name on the dotted line, convinced that because the team wanted him so much that success was assured.

The team Whitson signed for was the Yankees.  They were in need of pitching, not having made the playoffs in several years despite having spent a huge sum (for the time) to get free agent Dave Winfield.  Whitson and his moderately good numbers were like a life boat to a sinking team.  If he performed that well, there was no way the Yankees wouldn't make the playoffs for years to come and revive the glory days of 1976-1981.

A problem developed, though.  It turned out that Whitson didn't like New York, but that wasn't the cause of his undoing.  The problem was that he couldn't win.  Despite being perfectly healthy, he went out every five days and got shelled.  The man on whom so many high hopes were placed started off 1-6 with a 6.23 ERA.  Believe me, it seemed worse than those numbers indicate.

Their dreams of playoffs dashed, the fans turned on Whitson.  They would yell and scream and throw things at him.  If they could have beat him up, they would have.  New York fans are like that.  If you produce, you are their boy.  If you fail, they will make you earn every last cent of that big free agent contract many times over.

It got so bad that Whitson refused to let his wife attend games.  That was a wise decision.  In later years, fans would throw batteries and dump drinks on the wives of players who didn't perform or who just irked them.

Whitson did not improve.  In fact, he regressed despite being completely healthy.  The manager, Billy Martin, was beloved by the fans because he was just like them, with an absolute burning need to win.  Martin's anger over Whiton's failures built and built over the course of the year, and finally he had had it.  One night, Martin got into a screaming match with Whitson, chased him through their hotel and decided to beat him up.  They both suffered broken bones, Martin was fired, and Whitson was out for the rest of the year.

Martin was a winner, and everybody knew it, so later he was rehired.  Whitson, well.... 

Whitson just got worse after that.  You could see the fear in his eyes, people said.  His final year, this highly touted starter went to the bull-pen as a mop-up man and had an ERA that was higher than his height.  Finally, the Yankees pulled the plug and sent him back to San Diego for, basically, a broken bat.  He lasted a while longer there but his problems took years to straighten out, beginning 11-20 as a starter.  His reward for returning to New York to face the Mets was a death threat.  Bravely, he started after being escorted to the game by the Commissioner of Baseball and a security team.  He gave up six runs in a little over three innings.

Whitson's experience was hardly unique.  Anyone interested should go look up the strange case of AJ Burnett from the last few years and they will find almost the same sequence of events.  Oh, he didn't break any bones, he just got a mysterious black eye one night.  The broken bone happened only after he left.

The point is, Tebow does not have the goods, and he is going to a city that absolutely, positively requires production.  If he does not produce, they won't give a rat's patooty about his fine upstanding morals or his fervent beliefs or his saving himself for marriage.  All that will only mean they throw Bibles at him instead of hot dogs.  In Florida, he stood a chance, because he still has fans there and there are many, many people in places like that who will support someone because of what they represent.  For Tebow to think he doesn't need that kind of fan support is a major, major blunder, and perhaps the first step in his complete downfall.  That mistake ultimately flows from his own hubris, in thinking that he can produce when the entire NFL has just decided he can't.

I fear the worst for Tebow.  Honestly, though, I am so glad he is gone from Denver that I hope he wins ten Super Bowls in New York.  Just so long as I don't have to listen to the locals here fawning over him any more.

UPDATE APRIL 29 2013: The New York Jets announced today that they had given Tim Tebow his unconditional release.

UPDATE June 11 2013: The New England Patriots announced that they had signed Tim Tebow as a backup quarterback to Tom Brady. Anything has to be better for him than playing in the media circus of New York


Everybody Stand Back....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Advantages of Blogger

I used to have a full-blown website. You know, my own domain name, a web hosting service, the whole nine yards. Recently, I decided there really wasn't any point. Sure, I suppose there is an ego boost to having your own site bearing your own name and completely under your control (well, insofar as you can get the hosting service to do what you want). But Blogger is a simple set-up, there are no annoying bills to pay for it, it come ready to go like spam in a can, and it provides easy access to other google features. It also is a lot less hassle, not having to worry if your domain is pointing to the right place, that you are using the right code. My host also would go down at night sometimes for maintenance and at other times I would experience inexplicable problems with the site resolving. All sorts of little things are taken care of on Blogger. Another benefit is the feeling of community you can get from knowing there are others using the same service, which kind of hooks you all together. Nice to see other blogs using the same service and seeing what they are doing with it. I would recommend Blogger to anyone else starting out in the blogging field, go on your own only if you really do need more control over a bigger, fancier web site.

You Were Born an....