Strike One: Winter and Spring…

Jan. 8, New York – Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson – benched for the last two regular season games over a contract dispute with the team – is named as an alternate for the upcoming Pro Bowl Games. He joins teammate Justin Simmons on the squad as the only representatives from the 8-9 Broncos, who missed the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season. Broncos fans remain so upset with the lack of a postseason appearance for the team that an online movement begins calling for a boycott of the Pro Bowl event.

March 17, Indianapolis – For the first time in more than a decade, both the Colorado State Rams and the Colorado Buffaloes earn spots in “March Madness.” The 20th – ranked Rams, who defeated CU back in November, earn a No. 7 seed and will play 10th-seeded Virginia Tech in the first round in Charlotte, North Carolina as part of the Midwest Regional. The Buffs, who came on strong near the end of their final season of the Pac 12, finishing second in the conference tournament, earned a No. 9 seed and will face eighth-seeded Grand Canyon in Brooklyn, New York. Buffs standout freshman Cody Williams announces he will be skipping the NCAA Tournament in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA Draft.

April 5, Denver – Lefthander Austin Gomber gets the start on the mound for the Colorado Rockies in their home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays at Coors Field, and pitches well enough to help his team to an exciting 6-5 win. At 3-5 after eight games, the Rockies put themselves on pace to win 61 games, which would be a two-game improvement over last season. “Progress,” says team general manager Bill Schmidt. “That’s what we are all about this season.”

April 18, Boulder – On the eve of the sold out Spring Football game at the University of Colorado, Buffs head coach Deion Sanders makes two announcements: First, he’s opening up a new store at the corner of 28th and Arapahoe called “Prime Time” which will exclusively feature all CU “Prime” merchandise, plus products that Sanders endorses, like Blenders sunglasses and California almonds. There will also be two kiosks, one will be operated by Smoothie King – endorsed by Sanders’ quarterback son Shedeur – and the other a promotional station for Restore hair transplants.

The second announcement has to do with the spring game itself. The slightly altered format will feature the starters, who will wear black jerseys with “Prime” across the front, against the back-ups, who’s white jerseys will feature “Sub-Prime.” Shedeur, wearing a green jersey with “Google” on the front and coming off a serious back injury, will only participate in plays that are run inside the red zone – for both squads – and will be off limits to defenders.

April 26, Detroit – With the 16th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select quarterback J J McCarthy from Michigan. The quarterback of the nation’s top-ranked team entering the College Football Playoff reportedly impressed the Broncos brass during his pre-draft workouts. “He’s a good processor,” noted Denver head coach Sean Payton. “He’ll do what I tell him to do.”

May 30, Minneapolis – Anthony Edwards scores 36 points and Karl Anthony-Towns adds 28 as the top-seeded Minnesota Timberwolves end the repeat title hopes of the Denver Nuggets with a 129-125 Game 7 victory in the NBA’s Western Conference Finals. The third-seeded Nuggets, who exceeded their regular season win total from the year before when they won their first ever NBA title, played the series without injured star Jamal Murray, who aggravated a season-long hamstring injury in Denver’s grueling seven-game conference semis win over second-seeded Oklahoma City.

Timberwolves executive Tim Connelly, who was the original architect of the Nuggets championship roster, was asked if he felt any satisfaction in defeating his old team.

“That’s a great organization over there,” he noted…before adding. “I did feel like maybe I should have gotten one of those cool rings they handed out last summer.”