Colorado’s question: deal or no deal |

Colorado’s question: deal or no deal

Devon O'Neil/My $0.02

Strange time for Rockies fans right now.

For most of this season, Colorado has bordered on pitiful – which normally wouldn’t be all that unusual, but then your short-term memory reminds you of Rocktober and how much fun it was to hitch a ride on that bandwagon, and so now pitiful sounds much more disappointing.

Except … wait. No, the standings must be full of it. There is no flippin’ way the Rockies have been as wretched as they’ve been and still have a shot.

Or maybe they do? Hmm. Fourteen games under .500 ” a 43-57 record buoyed by a weekend sweep of Pittsburgh ” but still only six games back in the NL West?

Pardon the rest of baseball for hissing, but that’s true. The West really is that unsightly, what with Arizona and Los Angeles leading the division at 48-50.

All of which makes right now an even stranger time for Colorado. Last autumn proved how possible miracles are: All you have to do is not lose for a month. But even if you have done so, can you honestly build a future around such obscenely long odds?

We’re about to find out. In Matt Holliday (.332, 16 HRs, 55 RBIs, 13 SBs) Colorado holds the trump card to this year’s rapidly approaching trade deadline.

Of course the team would love to keep him forever, but the Rockies only hold his rights through the end of next season. After that he’ll surely opt for the money a larger-market team will be able to afford.

Should the club trade him now while his value is at its peak, thereby giving up on this season (and maybe even next)? Or hold on like a farmer whose lettuce is already yellowing, in the hope that it might yield just one more quality crop.

Me, I’d take the odds and let Holliday play out his deal. There’s always next year. …

Oh, Tour de France field, ye of little staying power. In the wake of last week’s doping news ” what gives, Cobra? ” a possible solution:

The labs HAVE to find a way to boot guys right after they’re tested. If pregnancy tests can be instantaneous, then so should doping tests. Riccardo Ricco, after all, tested positive after the fourth stage, then won the sixth and ninth stages before being booted prior to the 12th.

He would’ve been a 104-pound blip on the radar if we’d known he was positive immediately after he tested as such, but instead he had time to “strike!” and “strike again!” thus staining the event in the manner he did. …

On a related note, word has it the Cobra was caught using an advanced version of EPO. Super EPO, aka CERA – used by patients who have gone into kidney failure ” stays in the blood much longer than Regular EPO, thus enhancing its effect.

The good, albeit unrelated news? Now you can go to jail for up to five years in France for taking (or being caught with) doping products, a law that went into effect just this month.

If you think professional cyclists don’t like their name tarnished when they get caught, wait until they start having to serve hard time for a few extra seconds gained on the road. Then we’ll see how dumb they really are. …

Phil Liggett is like a walking Tour de France media guide. The guy, quite simply, knows everything. …

Headline of the Week comes from the British Open, as posted on “Nicklaus wonders if money has made golfers soft.”

Uh, that’s an affirmative, Mr. Golden Bear. …

Lost in the swirling sports news cycle of the past month has been the alleged disturbing circumstances surrounding the death of Central Florida football player Ereck Plancher, 19, who died after collapsing during a workout in March.

According to details unearthed by the Orlando Sentinel, which interviewed players who witnessed Plancher’s death, coaches cursed at Plancher for falling down during sprints, shortly before he collapsed. Doubt George O’Leary ” who, in a juvenile move, still won’t let his team talk to the Sentinel ” is sleeping well these days. …

Stat of the Week: Olympic beach volleyball favorites Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor have won 17 straight tournaments and 96 straight matches, both records, after sweeping to another AVP title in Coney Island, N.Y., Sunday. …

In parting, I give you reason No. 45 why Phil Mickelson will never be considered one of the true great ones. Last week was his 16th appearance in the British Open, and yet he has finished in the top 10 only once, taking third in 2004.

” Breckenridge resident Devon O’Neil’s $0.02 column runs Tuesdays. He can be reached at