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All they wanted was a little thanks
By Dave Krieger
Rocky Mountain News
November 2, 2007

So much to be thankful for, so little space. As always, The Dude's thanks follow mine.

I am thankful for Barry Bonds because these columns don't write themselves, you know.

I am thankful for Travis Henry because you can't make this stuff up.

I am thankful for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who called out the Knicks for their poor play. I'm especially thankful he doesn't have anything else to worry about.

I am thankful for Scott Boras, the only player agent in baseball who can kick Scott Boras to the curb. First Alex Rodriguez, then Kenny Rogers. Boras tried to drive a wedge between both players and their existing teams, where both, as it turned out, wanted to stay.

"He enjoyed playing in New York," Boras smugly told the New Yorker after opting A-Rod out of his contract, before Rodriguez went back to the Yankees on his own and negotiated a new deal.

I am thankful for the Patriots, who are seriously cutting into bookies' profits by routinely obliterating the spread, no matter what it is. Trying to recoup, oddsmakers have installed them as 231/2-point favorites against the 5-5 Eagles this week.

I am thankful for Priest Holmes, one of football's class acts. He retired Wednesday with all his parts in working order.

I am thankful for the seamheads, who thought defense was really important when they voted for National League MVP, but not important at all when they voted for NL Rookie of the Year. Unfortunately, they cannot quote Ralph Waldo Emerson about a foolish consistency because they are under the impression he was a Double-A shortstop.

I am thankful for baseball's managers and coaches, who think the best fielding percentage and most total chances are too simple a basis upon which to award a gold glove. You just keep thinking, guys. That's what you're good at.

I am thankful for any sports movie that doesn't follow the mind-numbing formula for commercial success (rag-tag team with no shot comes together inspirationally to win the big one against all odds). For example, Quantum Hoops, which premiered earlier this month at the 30th Starz Denver Film Festival. Cal Tech has had dozens of Nobel Prize winners. Also, perhaps the worst college basketball program ever. Throughout the course of this documentary, all it's trying to do is win a single game.

I am thankful for Rich Rice, the No. 2 wretch handler for the Rocks last season and winner of my fifth annual Tommy Sheppard Media Relations Award. Alas, he was too good to be a No. 2 for long. The Rangers made him their No. 1 earlier this month. On the bright side, since the award is metaphorical, he won't have to have it shipped.

I am thankful for Sonny Lubick no matter what they say.

I am thankful for Todd Helton, whose final blog post after the World Series was headlined, "Proud to be a Colorado Rockie."

I am thankful for Yakhouba Diawara, who is pioneering a hitherto unknown concept for the Nuggets - perimeter defense. If T.R. Dunn could start for Doug Moe, Diawara can start for George Karl.

As ever, I am thankful for The Dude, who went off to college this year and left me with all these frozen waffles. Man, that went fast.

Here's his list. If some of his thanks puzzle you, keep in mind that he is an avid fantasy football player, although not as avid as he was before midterms.

"I am thankful that the NBA basketball season starts with my favorite player in my town and looking good, posting 35 pts, 14 asts, and 7 stls in AI's first game this season. If he and Carmelo can balance the points and get help from the other guys, they could go all the way this year in a weaker West. Just watch out for the Celtics once you get to the Finals, guys.

"I am thankful that the baseball team from my town is finally on the map after the most remarkable Rocktober in the history of baseball. Even though the voters for all the awards still don't recognize us and we still will probably not be picked to win the West, it's still good times on Blake Street.

"I am thankful for the tight football salary cap and the late-round sleepers that the amazing scouts continue to pull out of the Mississippi Valley states so as to make the league increasingly competitive. You never know who will be great and who will not be, unless you have God on your side like the Patriots.

"Even though my Niners are circling the drain and Ocho Cinco has taken a back seat to TJ in Cincy, the tradition of watching football on brisk fall Sundays with leaves blowing everywhere makes every weekend more anticipated. Then football plus Thanksgiving - what could be better? No matter where this world goes, we'll always have football on Thanksgiving.

"I am thankful for Marshawn Lynch, not just because he has become the Lynchpin of my fantasy team, but because of his bruising running style and big-play potential. I have found another player to be right up there with Frank Gore and Chad Johnson as my favorites. I like Adrian Peterson, too, but I'm always partial to the under-appreciated, and Marshawn is one of the most unsung stories of this year.

"Last but not least, I am thankful for Sweet Lou Piniella. I now have a strong hope for the Cubbies making it to the Fall Classic and winning for the first time in 100 years, even if a few umpires have to take the temper tantrums so horrible that they make them want to go home to their screaming babies."
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