The Colorado Rockies begin their regular season tomorrow at 5:05 pm Mountain Time in Houston. They will face the Astros in their home opener which will be broadcast locally on Root Sports (formerly Fox Sports Rocky Mountain).
Handling pre and post-game duties for the cable TV network will be Tracy Ringolsbly AKA "Cowboy" and Joel Klatt. Klatt will replace the enormously popular Tom Helmer who's contract Root did not renew for 2012.
Apparently Joel Klatt is willing to work cheaper.
Klatt was a walk-on for the University of Colorado in 2002 and went on to start at QB for the football team for straight seasons (2003-2005). He never entered the NFL - but prior to his career at CU he was a professional athlete.
Klatt was drafted by the San Diego Padres out of high school. He languished in their minor-league system and, when he failed to make the progess he hoped to, decided to return to football, which his father, Gary had coached at Pamona High.
Despite his tilt at a hardball career, football was Joel's sport. And it still is - as evidenced by the fact that he talks about it more than any other game on his radio show, which he hosts every morning with Mike Evans on 104.3 the Fan.
Even though the Rockies get rolling tomorrow, Klatt, who will now be paid to cover them for Root Sports, spent the majority of his show today talking about the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal and the audio clips that were released of former coordinator Gregg Williams commanding his players to injure the 'Niners. The snippets came from a team meeting on the eve of the NFC Championship game and were very worthy of conversation. But should it have been the Rockies new pre-game guy discussing them - on the eve of his debut?
Joel takes the position that what Gregg Williams did - and asked his players to do - is commonplace in the NFL. To paraphrase him: "everybody does it. The Saints got caught. Everyone is making too much of it." Klatt's opinion is not popular and it is not shared by Peter King of Sports Illustrated. King told Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk Live today that he seriously doubts any other defensive coordinator in football ever incorporated any kind of cash pay-outs to incentivize injuries.
So...who are we to believe? Joel Klatt or Peter King - who spends virtually every waking moment engaging people at the highest levels of the NFL?
Joel's stance on "bounty gate" isn't his only controversial one. He, like Les Shaprio, has tried to make a name for himself constantly bashing on Tim Tebow. Perhaps he truly believes the things he says about number 15 ... or perhaps not. He could just be envious of Tebow's success.
Klatt has also gone on mic in the past advocating for baseball's steroid era - as we discussed with David Martin of Rockies Review on this weeks edition of the South Stands Denver Fancast. It's another stance Klatt might just have taken in order to make himself attract ire. It's difficult to tell. It seems like Klatt will say anything contrary for the sake of being a contrarian.
All this makes Klatt an odd replacement for Tom Helmer. Helmer has found outlets to talk baseball this week even though he's no longer working for Root. He's not been talking about Tim Tebow or the New Orleans Saints.