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Last Thursday, the Indy's own A&E and sports czar Owen Perkins snagged the first foul ball cleanly caught in the press box at Coors Field in Denver in its five-plus years. The awesome snare occurred during a game between the Rockies and the Mets, and the ball came off the bat of the Mets' Mike Piazza while Greeley native Shawn Chacon (formerly of the Sky Sox) pitched his first major-league victory for the Rockies. Perkins said the guy who runs the press box told him that usually when foul balls come zinging toward the press box, the other sports reporters (read, wussies) duck. But not Owen. He prepped for the big moment. "It was hit to my left and I had to leap up, dive to my left and catch it with both hands," he recounted. "Oh, yeah, it stung. I may not be able to write for a month." For his effort, Owen got a special clean catch pin, and lots of collegial handshakes. "This was the biggest thing to ever happen to me; I'll cherish [the ball] for the rest of my life." Way to go, big man.

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On Tuesday the Rocky Mountain News dropped the big one on Colorado Speaker of the House Doug Dean, a Republican who represents northern Colorado Springs but has been living in Denver with his girlfriend, pharmaceutical lobbyist Gloria Sanak. According to the Rocky, and paperwork filed in the Denver courts, Dean was slapped with a temporary restraining order last Friday after Sanak unexpectedly dumped him on the last day of the Legislature. In an extensive story, written with soap opera-style drama, the Rocky reported that Sanak told him she would leave a suitcase of his clothes on the front lawn for him to pick up. At 1 a.m., Dean jimmied a basement window of her house, reportedly to retrieve his cell phone charger. Sanak allegedly arrived home a short while later, to find Dean rifling through a clothes closet. "I knew she would freak out if she thought there was an intruder there," Dean was quoted saying. "So I just quietly said, 'Gloria, it's me,' and she screamed and ran out." Dean chased Sanak as she ran to the neighbors, where she contacted the police. Dean, the paper reported, denied any violence against Sanak and was not arrested. While at the neighbors, Dean noted his former girlfriend kept repeating, "It's going to ruin your political career."

At least one highly-placed Republican thinks that Dean's latest antic certainly could have repercussions. "Many of us were happy because Doug seemed to be settling down," said the GOP strategist who would speak only on condition of anonymity. Dean, who has maintained a reputation as a party boy since he was elected to the House of Representatives seven years ago, was divorced from his wife last year and reportedly planned to marry Sanak this summer. "There has been talk of Dean running for [state] treasurer," the strategist said. "Now, who knows? Some guys just don't think with the right head."

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Local gun guy Bernie Herpin got his shorts in a bunch last week when the Colorado Springs media dared not give front-page, lead-story status coverage to a kid the National Rifle Association is sending to summer gun camp for two weeks. Herpin, chairman of the local Friends of NRA, was miffed because the media didn't show up to cover a congratulatory party for the local high school junior. In a "shame on you" letter to Colorado Springs media, Herpin pointed out that Colorado Lt. Gov. Joe Rogers was on hand to congratulate the young shooter, as was state Rep. Dave Schultheis, County Commissioner Duncan Bremer, County Treasurer Ken Kile and about 100 members of the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition.

Of course, Herpin suspects a conspiracy.

"Could it be because this was an event held by pro-gun rights organizations?" he demanded in a letter sent to the media. "Had this been a Million Mom March, SAFE Colorado, or Hand Gun Control meeting, would you have shown up? Had this been a story about a teen bringing a gun to school, would you have shown up? Had this been a teen calling for more restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms, would you have shown up?"

Could it be, Mr. Herpin, that these kind of contrived grip and grin shows, complete with self-aggrandizing politicians, are simply intrinsically journalistically boring?

-- degette@csindy.com

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