Arts & Entertainment

  • GameWorks

    Best Skee-Ball

    GameWorks

    According to Kevin Smith's 1999 religious farce Dogma, the almighty God regularly descends from the heavens (taking on the corporeal form of Harold and Maude actor Bud Cort, of all people) to indulge in one of his few vices: Skee ball. No, seriously. And though we haven't been a regular visitor to church in decades, we can at least share… More >>
  • Enchanted Island Amusement Park

    Best Kiddy Amusement Park

    Enchanted Island Amusement Park

    Kids seem so appealing on paper. Someone to carry on the genetic line, to worship you like a god (until they're 5), to support you in your dotage. In practice, at about noon on any given Saturday afternoon, with the weekend yawning eternally in the distance, the attraction starts to wane. This is why a lot of very smart people… More >>
  • Shooter\'s World

    Best Shooting Gallery

    Shooter's World

    Got an itchy trigger finger, ace? The high-caliber staff at Shooter's World knows just how to scratch it. If you're not packing your own piece, this west-side pistol palace can let you exercise your Second Amendment rights with firearm rentals available for $10 for the first handgun, $6 for each rental after that (shooters must be 18 and over to… More >>
  • Desert Classic, South Mountain

    Best Nature's Roller Coaster

    Desert Classic, South Mountain

    Mountain biking at night seems crazier, in theory, than it actually is. Just as in the daytime, it requires zooming up and hurtling down steep dirt tracks, all the while flanked by cholla cactus and pointy boulders. It sure isn't any safer at night, but it's not as risky as you might think if you have a burly lighting system.… More >>
  • Ram Rods at Castles-n-Coasters

    Best Bumper Cars

    Ram Rods at Castles-n-Coasters

    It's confession time: We indulged in a rather nasty bout of road rage the other day, and it wasn't pretty. Our dirty driving deed went down after some schnook sideswiped us rather abruptly, causing our blood to boil. Instead of declaring, "Live and let live," as any sane person would've done, it was decided that a little roadway revenge was… More >>
  • Best Chance to Drink on the Go

    Phoenix Hash House Harriers

    Running is one of the most physically exhausting activities one can engage in: Your feet are punished, muscles taxed, and electrolytes drained. Usually after a jog or a sprint, it's recommended that one replenishes one's burdened body by drinking ample amounts of liquids. If you're the average sort of runner, that means many thirsty gulps of water or sports drinks… More >>
  • Best Alleycat Race

    The Dagger Death Race

    To win the prestigious Tour de France race an astounding seven years in a row, cyclist Lance Armstrong endured seven grueling treks lasting more than 20 days and 2,000 miles each. It was a triumph of heroic skill, athleticism, and willpower, demonstrating that man can conquer any challenge set before him. But as epic as his victories were, we found… More >>
  • Best Local Alternative to The Amazing Race

    The Great Urban Race

    It's time to face some hard facts. You're never, ever gonna be cast as a contestant on The Amazing Race. No matter how many times you mail in your cute and clever videotape, the producers of the Emmy-winning CBS reality show (which involves a global scavenger hunt and race for $1 million) aren't going to be calling you back anytime… More >>
  • Best Place for Pickup Basketball, Downtown

    Coronado Park

    Situated in the Coronado historic district is this spacious, urban park with two lighted basketball courts. One slab of concrete usually has families and kids playing around while the other one features fast-paced pickup b-ball. A men's league (complete with referees and a scorer's table) reserves one of the courts on Monday and Wednesday nights, but some teams are often… More >>
  • Best Place for Pickup Basketball, East Valley

    Freestone Park

    Nestled at the east end of this 65-acre park are four regulation-size, rim-rocking basketball courts with some of the most competitive games around town. Each court is lighted for nighttime hoopin', and the lanes are painted purple and orange (an ode to the Phoenix Suns), which kind of makes you feel like a pro. If you get tired of balling,… More >>
  • Best Place for Pickup Basketball, West Valley

    Sueño Park

    Sueño, a Spanish word for "dream," is exactly that when it comes to pickup BB at this west-side park. Students and alumni from neighboring high school basketball powers Trevor Browne and Carl Hayden flock to the lighted courts, which makes for some serious games. The park is infamous for hosting games with the ankle-breaking skills of the Brown family —… More >>
  • Best Skateboard Park

    Chandler Skate Park at the Snedigar Sportsplex

    To the uninitiated, Chandler's Snedigar Park looks like an abandoned water park in post-apocalyptic-drought Phoenix. There's an empty swimming pool with a ladder, giant concrete steps to nowhere, and what appear to be several kiddy pools surrounded by towering palms. But to anyone with a worn left sneaker and a full deck, this is a playground of the imagination. Those… More >>
  • Best Lappy Hour

    Duck and Decanter

    Remember that time you spilled beer on the floor and Spot got totally wasted? Yeah, that isn't going to happen at Duck and Decanter's Lappy Hour. On the other hand, if you're tired of meeting new friends who turn out to be — gasp! — cat people, then this once-monthly event might be for you. Guests are invited to bring… More >>
  • Best Place to Cool Off Your Dog

    Fountains at Arizona State University

    Even when it's hot, our retriever-Lab mix Rosy still needs exercise and something to relieve the boredom of the same old smells coming from the patch of grass in the backyard. But taking her for a walk in the summer is a form of animal abuse unless you adhere to certain rules.Like the vampire dogs in I Am Legend, our… More >>
  • Best Hike with a Big Dog

    Waterfall Canyon Trail

    For those who don't favor their pooches large — or, God forbid, don't even own a canine or two — there's not a lot worse than getting bumped off the trail on a meditative nature hike by someone struggling to maintain control of their over-excited old Lab or fearsome-looking pit bull. But we've found a spot where big dogs (on… More >>
  • Best Hike with a Little Dog

    Piestewa Peak, south entrance

    So you love your little rugrat of a dog, and you want to expand his (we'll make him a "he" here) world to the great outdoors. And even though you know he's spunky as hell, those little legs won't do well on, say, Camelback Mountain, and you're afraid that he'll sniff too close to a rattlesnake, scorpion, or other varmit… More >>
  • Best Micro Hike

    Hayden Butte

    If Piestewa Peak and Camelback Mountain had a baby, it would be Hayden Butte, a.k.a. "A" Mountain. This pint-size peak next to Arizona State University's Sun Devil Stadium provides a quick fix for nuts like us that can't stand flat ground. The best way to start the hike is to take College Avenue north toward the mountain to where the road ends… More >>
  • Best Moonlight Hike

    Green Boulder Trail

    We once knew a chick who broke an ankle hiking at night and wouldn't step off asphalt from that day forward unless there was light in the sky. What a shame for her, 'cause any knowledgeable trekker'll tell you that the best desert hiking is nocturnal, and it's twice as good in the summer. Our favorite after-dark delight is this… More >>
  • Best Blair Witch Hike

    Flume Trail

    We're a human compass. It's innate. Until we met this befogging jaunt, no map was too complex, no maze too maze-like for our superhuman route-finding ability. Perhaps the hike's transitional setting, between lowland desert and upland scrub, had something to do with it, but after about an hour of head-scratching trekking, we felt as though we were running around in… More >>
  • Best Off-Trail Hikes

    Estrella Mountain Regional Park

    There's a moment when you reach the southwest extremity of this park's Pedersen loop trail that you stare into madness. The glimpse into the vast vacuum of central/western Arizona is the sort of horizon-less view you see in the movies, where some poor sap's got himself lost in the trackless desert, and now he's shuffling along like a zombie in… More >>
  • Best Badass Hike

    The Flatiron

    Are you one of those nauseating people who conquer Camelback Mountain in an hour-10 without breaking a sweat? Are you so filled with self-love that you then preen before the opposite sex at the bottom of the trail, flipping your hair and stretching your muscles and stuff while we lowly sweathogs are still grinding up those damned log steps? Well,… More >>
  • Best Bouldering

    Echo Canyon Trail

    Bouldering is nothing more than rock climbing without a rope on short boulder faces. You don't need a lot of gear to do it — just a pair of good rock shoes and gymnasts' chalk, to dry up the sweat on your hands. Even those two items are optional, though the experience won't be as fun without them. By focusing… More >>
  • Best Rock Climb and Rappel

    The Hand and Razor's Edge

    The Hand is a gorgeous, freestanding pinnacle of prehistoric lava in the Superstition Mountains that almost looks as if it belongs on Easter Island. It more resembles a finger as you hike toward it along Treasure Loop trail, though from the side it does really look like a hand, complete with a short thumb. One of the reasons we love this… More >>
  • Best Rock Gym

    Phoenix Rock Gym

    When the rocks outside get too hot to touch, climbers have two choices: Head north or head indoors. For the latter option, you can't do better than the Phoenix Rock Gym (which is actually located in Tempe, near Arizona State University). The place has a good mix of walls for beginners and advanced climbers, and a good mix of people,… More >>
  • Best Road Bike Ride Up a Mountain

    East Valle Vista Road, Phoenix

    You may have heard about the hilltop residents who tried to block access to Valle Vista Road at the upper foothills of Camelback Mountain. Ticked-off homeowners said they were tired of speeders, loud noises, break-ins, public sex, and other high jinks sometimes committed by visitors to this scenic road. But the city chose not to install roadblocks, and the nearby residents,… More >>
  • Best Mountain Rescue

    Superstition Mountains, March 2008

    It's inevitable that a few people end up dead or seriously hurt each year in the Valley's semi-wild mountain parks, given the crowds those parks attract when the weather's nice. Fortunately, we have volunteer groups like Superstition Search and Rescue, or its larger cousin, the Central Arizona Mountain Rescue, to keep the body count as low as possible. Last spring, the… More >>
  • Best Overlooked Area for Outdoors Enthusiasts

    San Juan

    San who? Exactly. Even we die-hard outdoorsfolk spent many a wasted year in ignorance of this under-utilized section of South Mountain Park before a wrong turn turned out right. Our happy misadventure started at that big fork in the road where nobody turns west 'cause everyone's headed east to the top of the range. And who can blame them? The top… More >>
  • Best Underdog Park

    Papago Park

    One recent Saturday morning, we drove past the Camelback Mountain trailhead at Echo Canyon, and our hearts went out to the scores of hikers making the one-mile trudge from the overflow parking lot on 44th Street to the Camelhead. Mind you, we didn't feel for the poor wretches because they had to pound a little pavement. We pitied them because… More >>
  • Best Escape to Japan

    Japanese Friendship Garden — Ro Ho En

    Sakura, the Japanese word for "cherry blossom," holds an extremely important cultural significance in Japanese culture. Each spring, the sakura trees begin blooming in the southwest reaches of Japan and steadily move toward the northeast. During this time, it's popular for natives and tourists alike to buy a bottle of sake and partake in viewing the blooms before they vanish… More >>
  • Best Place to See Butterflies

    Desert Botanical Garden

    Feed your inner butterfly. Even the toughest of men can appreciate the quasi-supernatural experience of walking among thousands of butterflies of all shapes, colors, and sizes. Okay, even if the men don't like it, their kids will. For eight years now, the Desert Botanical Garden has hosted butterfly exhibits in a greenhouse pavilion — generally, twice a year (spring and fall;… More >>
  • Best Place to See Hoop Dancers

    Heard Museum Hoop Dancer Competition

    Think of a Hula-Hoop times 50 and you got a whole lotta shakin' going on. Every spring, the world-class Heard Museum hosts the world championships for Native American hoop dancing. It's like a slam-dunk contest for dancers, except that these folks must don traditional dress before they shimmy, contort, and gyrate for cash prizes and the glory of being the… More >>
  • Best Place to See B-Boys and Breakdancers

    Foot Klan's Underground Hotspot at Khalid's Martial Arts Academy

    Since the '90s, this west-side collective of b-boys, hip-hoppers, and mind-blowing breakdancers has preached, in its words, true "H.I.P. H.O.P." (Higher Inner Peace Helping Other People). Every Wednesday beginning at 10 p.m., you can see what they mean when they open up their practice space to the public. The group's professional dancers, DJs, models, and musicians basically throw a big… More >>
  • Best New Dojo

    The Lion's Den

    Former UFC and WWE star Ken Shamrock has been training fighters in mixed martial arts for years at his Lion's Den dojo in Reno, Nevada. This year, Shamrock opened a location in Scottsdale, boasting 8,000 square feet of training space, including a boxing ring, a fighting cage, and a fully equipped weight room. Shamrock handpicked the instructors for the Scottsdale… More >>
  • Best Place to See a Homegrown Rodeo

    Lost Dutchman Days at the Apache Junction Rodeo Park - CLOSED

    We lost our rodeo virginity this past year during the 44th annual Lost Dutchman Days and we can't imagine a more perfect place to lose it. The Grand Canyon Pro Rodeo Association, based in Winslow, programs rodeos throughout the Southwest, including this three-day shindig, which headlines the Old West carnival out in AJ each President's Day weekend. The biggie events… More >>
  • Best Place to See a National Rodeo

    Helzapoppin' PRCA Rodeo at the Helzapoppin' Rodeo Arena

    This ain't no podunk rodeo, uhear? Never has been (the "Singing Cowboy" Gene Autry participated in 1938) and probably never will be, as long as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) continues to bring this nationally sanctioned spectacular to town. The Buckeye Chamber started Helzapoppin' Days back in nineteen of thirty-five (that's 1935 for those of you who aren't country),… More >>
  • Best Place for Horse Lovers

    Arizona Horse Lovers Park

    We have friends "back east" who truly believe that we saddle up our horses every morning, jump on from the back, and giddy-up our way to work down the stagecoach trail, which we quaintly call the interstate. Truth is, a lot of people "out here" do love their horses. And we haven't found a better place than this refuge from… More >>
  • Best Local Alternative to Tombstone

    Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass

    Kitschy? Yes. Cliché? Sure. Silly? No doubt. But this most accessible of local theme spots is celebrating its 37th year in the business of "providing quality 1880s-style family entertainment" for a reason — it works. Rawhide didn't miss a beat last year when it moved across the Valley from Scottsdale to the Wild Horse Pass on the Gila River Indian… More >>
  • Best Place to Splatter Your Friends

    Westworld Paintball Adventures

    When asked for the best method of removing fresh paint from clothing, many homespun experts swear that fiercely scrubbing rubbing alcohol or hairspray into the stains will do the trick. If those remedies are to be believed, then your friends had better stock up on both drugstore staples, since you're gonna be covering their asses with more pigment than a… More >>
  • Best Place to Disintegrate Your Friends

    Stratum Lasertag

    Your friends have really been getting on your nerves lately. If they aren't ringing you up at all hours of the day or asking to borrow some money, these so-called buds like to stop by unannounced, raid the fridge, and swipe your DVDs. Enough is enough. It's time for some payback, big-time. Invite your pals to Stratum, where you can… More >>
  • Best Waterpark

    Big Surf

    We don't admit to much these days (other than occasionally fudging on our taxes or taking an extra helping of chocolate cheesecake), but we'll gladly cop to the fact that we're totally reliving our childhood whenever we go to Big Surf. Many a hot afternoon was spent during our pre-pubescent days riding the waterslides or getting sunburned while swimming in… More >>
  • Best Resort Pool

    Arizona Grand Resort

    The Pointe at South Mountain wasn't too shabby, but $52 mil can buy some killer upgrades and an awful lot of water. That's why the remodeled luxury hotel, now called the Arizona Grand Resort, was a shoe-in for the best pool in town. Actually, calling the Arizona Grand's Oasis Water Park a pool is a bit like calling the Desert… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Verde Hot Springs

    If you're the adventurous type, but also kind of lazy (and we are both), the Verde River/Verde Hot Springs camping area is the perfect weekend getaway. Only 127 miles from the Valley, it's an escape from city life. And though it's certainly popular (there's no fee to camp), 45 minutes down a rocky, unpaved road tends to keep the killjoys… More >>
  • Best Spot for Old-School Parking

    The Road to Troon

    This one goes out to those of you who remember the romance of necking in cars, or actually may have been conceived in a car — not that there's anything wrong with that. We would suggest that local possibilities still remain for exercising your lips (we refuse to endorse anything more), and some of the Valley's finest "parking" sites can… More >>
  • Best Bingo

    Reflections Bingo

    This ain't your granny's bingo. Far from the dark, crowded, stinky bingo halls of yesteryear, Reflections Bingo is a blissfully smoke-free building with a snack bar, card room, and video bingo. Specials and hours change throughout the year, but most nights there's traditional bingo at 7 p.m. The game is the same, but the players have changed. Bored singles and… More >>
  • Best Ride for Thrill Seekers

    Fighter Combat International

    Before Tom Cruise became a maniacally mindless automaton of L. Ron Hubbard, the Risky Business star was kind of the shiznit. Whether he was working a pool table in The Color of Money, zooming around a racetrack during Days of Thunder, or shooting through the skies for Top Gun, everyone dreamed of being a blockbuster badass like Cruise. In fact,… More >>
  • Best Go-Kart Racing

    F1 Race Factory

    All go-karts are not created equal. It takes just one trip to F1 Race Factory to learn this. For starters, the go-karts at F1 peak at about 45 miles per hour and handle like mini-Porsches. Racers don aerodynamic helmets, racing jumpsuits, and gloves. Once they're suited up, racers can choose from two air-conditioned indoor tracks, which occupy about a third of… More >>
  • Best Bowling

    AMF Squaw Peak Lanes - CLOSED

    Real bowling alleys have a little grunge to them. They're not too slick, not too clean, cavernous but friendly — the kind of place where Walter and Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski might feel comfortable bellying up to the bar and knocking down some pins, where the pizza, fries, and wings are just-right greasy and the beer is good and cold.… More >>
  • Best Miniature Golf

    Fiddlesticks Family Fun Park - CLOSED

    Miniature golf really is the perfect sport. It requires more luck than skill, people of all ages can play together, and it's fun even if you suck at it. Tilting at windmills against a golfing pro can be annoying though, which is why we love Fiddlesticks. The park has two 18-hole courses; one is an easy course with traditional cute-ass… More >>
  • Best Golf for Slackers

    Disc golf

    Kickball has dominated the realm of sport for people who really just wanna get fucked up and mess around for far too long. But it's a little too first-year-out-of-college, binge drink-y for our taste. Luckily, we were introduced to the world of disc golf — a more laid-back way to drink, smoke, and still feel as though you're getting some… More >>
  • Best Public Golf Course, West Side

    Aguila Golf Course

    Not only is Aguila the newest, fanciest municipal golf course in Phoenix, it's incredibly cheap. You can walk the course for $16 (or $12 after 11 a.m.) or rent a cart for $27 (or $23 after 11 a.m.). Designed by Gary Panks and opened for business only 8 years ago, Aguila has an 18-hole championship course and a nine-hole par… More >>
  • Best Public Golf Course, East Side

    Dobson Ranch Golf Course

    Dobson Ranch may sound like the name of a private golf club, but it's not. The city of Mesa owns and operates the course. This year, there's no contest in this category: The storied and scenic Papago Golf Course in Phoenix is currently closed for a much-needed $8 million renovation (expect a beautiful new course at the historic Papago when… More >>
  • Best Private Golf Course

    The Golf Club Scottsdale

    In a golf-centric metropolis like ours, one private club was designed with purists in mind: The Golf Club Scottsdale. Like any other private club, membership is limited (to 350 members in this case) and expensive ($110,000 gets you in the door). But it's what The Golf Club Scottsdale doesn't have that sets it apart — a fairway lined with homes. True,… More >>
  • Best Batting Range

    Home Run Stadium

    We played all sorts of sports in our younger days, but when it came to baseball, strikeout was our middle name. That's until Daddy took us to Main Street, Mesa just west of Gilbert Road to this batting range (which was called Danny's Dugout at the time — now we're really dating ourselves), where a friendly fellow took us into… More >>
  • Best Place to See a Spring Training Game

    Scottsdale Stadium

    We feel the need to say that all the stadiums used by Cactus League teams are nice. We have no major complaints about any of 'em. But, there's a big difference between "nice" and "best," and a couple of key elements make Scottsdale Stadium just a little bit better. Start with grass in the outfield and a nice view of… More >>
  • Best Spectator-Sports Smokin' Deal, Men's Division

    ASU Sun Devils men's basketball

    Not so long ago, a ticket to a Sun Devils b-ball game had all the value of Confederate currency circa 1866. But those were the dark days when the Devils were the perennial lapdogs of Lute Olson's Arizona Wildcats. The worm began to turn in 2006, when the hopeless Rob Evans was replaced by Herb Sendek, late of the North… More >>
  • Best Spectator-Sports Smokin' Deal, Women's Division

    Phoenix Mercury

    Ours is a basketball town, and our WNBA franchise is the first pro-basketball team in Valley history to bring home a world championship. Ponder that for a sec. The Phoenix Suns have been scratching and clawing for 40 years, but a gang of burly chicks that's barely a decade old steals their thunder. That's gotta sting for Steve Nash, the Big… More >>
  • Best Place to Spot Spring Training Players Off the Field

    Don & Charlie's Steakhouse

    Hoping to see some spring training major-leaguers off the field? Best odds are to hunker down between the Giants' stadium in Old Town Scottsdale and the Oakland A's' stadium near Papago. With only four miles between the two stadiums, the concentrated area of high-end restaurants and shopping in this quadrant is prime hunting area. Fans in this zone are nearly… More >>
  • Best Place to Run into an NBA Star

    The Ritz-Carlton

    If you're tired of seeing the Suns lose, but you still want to see an NBA star in person, we've got just the place for you. We have it on insider knowledge that most visiting NBA teams and some NFL teams stay at one and only one hotel in Phoenix — the Ritz-Carlton at Camelback and 24th Street. We've seen Phil… More >>
  • Best Class Act in Local Sports

    Suns point guard Steve Nash

    What can we say about Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash, except that he's like a really fine wine: aged to perfection. Last year, it looked as if he'd slowed down a little, but that was because his dunderheaded former coach played him as if he were a 24-year-old. That's just not any way to treat a fine Cabernet. He… More >>
  • Best Disappearing Act in Local Sports

    Former Suns Coach Mike D'Antoni

    We're kicking ourselves lately for giving Mike D'Antoni last year's coveted Best Pro Coach award. We marveled at his run-and-shoot offense, how he had brought a fast-paced European style of play (he was a star player and coach in Italy) to the NBA. Well, the experiment with his brand of small ball is over, and it failed miserably at bringing… More >>
  • Best Male Pro Athlete

    Suns power forward Amaré Stoudemire

    Amaré Stoudemire's a specimen: 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, all muscle and tattoos. A puma in short pants. He can jump out of the gym, gimpy knees or not. As far as sheer athleticism, nobody on the Phoenix Suns can touch him. Few in the NBA. Certainly nobody in Phoenix sports. Stoudemire's a guy who came off microfracture surgeries on both knees… More >>
  • Best Female Pro Athlete

    Mercury guard Cappie Pondexter

    Diana Taurasi may have the college records and may be considered by hoops experts to be the best WNBA player ever, but she certainly didn't show it in last season's league championship against the Detroit Shock. She wasn't bad, but you know who was great? Cappie Pondexter. Maybe it was because Taurasi was double-teamed, maybe it was because she let… More >>
  • Best Pro Coach

    Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt

    We predicted last year that the 2007 Cardinals would have their best season in modern times (with 8 wins and 8 losses). Damned if we weren't on the money! And we said this success would be inspired by new head coach Ken Whisenhunt, he of Pittsburgh Steelers grit and grime as offensive coordinator of that team's championship in Super Bowl… More >>
  • Best College Coach

    Sun Devils women's basketball coach Charli Turner Thorne

    Female coaches, along with women's sports, so often get overlooked, even by us. And we're supposed to be an "alternative" publication. Not this year, baby: We're giving our Best College Coach nod to the incredible Charli Turner Thorne, the winningest coach in Arizona State University history. Yeah, you heard that right, in freakin' Sun Devil history, with a record of… More >>
  • Best College Team

    Arizona State University women's softball team

    Not long ago, the question was, would the ASU women's fast-pitch team ever beat archrival Arizona in a regular-season game, much less win the conference championship and, gasp, the 2008 NCAA College World Series? After all, it was the Wildcats who were two-time defending national champs going into this year's Division I playoffs in Oklahoma City. Even after ASU had… More >>
  • Best Reason to Believe the Suns Are Still a Contender

    Suns GM Steve Kerr

    Steve Kerr has long been one of the best minds in basketball, even if he did sign ancient center Shaquille O'Neal to a run-and-gun team last year. We thought that was a bad move from the start, but we realize that the Suns were never going to win a championship with the small-ball Shawn Marion squad. And, frankly, Marion was… More >>
  • Best Diamondbacks

    Starting pitchers Brandon Webb and Dan Haren

    The great hopes for the Diamondbacks this year have been a couple of pitchers: Brandon Webb and Dan Haren, the team's All-Stars in 2008. After winning the 2006 Cy Young Award with a 16-8 record and 3.20 ERA in 33 starts, Webb has gone on to be arguably the best pitcher in the National League. At press time, he had… More >>
  • Best Reason to Believe the Diamondbacks Will Someday Win It All

    Manager Bob Melvin

    Bob Melvin toiled for eight major-league franchises as a player, including the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox, and the San Francisco Giants, but was never much of an offensive player. A backup catcher during his career, he finished his playing days with a batting average of .233 and 35 home runs. But he has been a hell of… More >>
  • Best Sports Celebrity

    Suns Center Shaquille O'Neal

    We know, we know . . . Shaquille O'Neal is over the hill, or certainly he's crested the top of it and is heading down. Still, he's got a lot of gas left in the ol' tank, and he proved it during the 2007-08 season, producing double-figure points and rebounds in most games. What do you naysayers expect the Big… More >>
  • Best Sports Gimp

    Suns small forward Grant Hill

    We love Grant Hill. He's cool; he's friendly. But he's too gimpy to play major minutes as the Suns' small forward. He definitely shouldn't be the starter anymore. Coming off the bench would be this gimp's speed nowadays, and hopefully new coach Terry Porter will use him effectively in this role this season. Hill adds character and leadership to the… More >>
  • Best Sports Phenom Out of ASU

    Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia

    Dustin Pedroia may be the best major-leaguer to come out of Arizona State University since (dare we say!) Barry Bonds — and he hasn't resorted to steroids (we think). Consider these stats from the Woodland, California native, former Sun Devil, and current second baseman for the defending champion Boston Red Sox: a .317 batting average in his first full season… More >>
  • Best Sports Entertainer

    TNT's Charles Barkley

    Chuck, run for governor of Arizona instead of Alabama. Please! We need you in this state, where all but a handful of Democrats are Democrats in name only. We know you used to be a Republican, but then you denounced that party for its B.S. You would inject some life into the political scene here, just as you have into… More >>
  • Best Sports Commentator from the Valley

    TNT's Doug Collins

    We wish he were the new coach of the Suns, but let's give Terry Porter a chance. Doug Collins has head-coaching experience out the you-know-what, having led a young Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls and an old Michael Jordan with the Washington Wizards. He also coached the Detroit Pistons, played on the 1972 U.S. Olympic team, was a first-round… More >>
  • Best Sports Executive

    USA Basketball's Jerry Colangelo

    We've had our differences with Jerry Colangelo over the years. There were times when we felt the Valley public sector was bending over frontward to financially enable this sports entrepreneur/developer. But, Jerry, we've forgiven you, because you are indeed a pillar of not only our sports community but the world's. You proved your prowess as a sports executive beyond compare… More >>
  • Best Sports Embarrassment

    Suns forward Boris Diaw

    How many times did we see Boris Diaw drive to the goal and then, inexplicably, pass the ball back out? Way back out? How many times did we see him wide open for a lay-up yet nervously not take the shot, instead choosing to pass to an incredulous teammate. (That is, the teammate couldn't believe his eyes when Boris refused… More >>
  • Best New Face on the Valley Sports Scene

    Suns big man Robin Lopez

    For Alvin Adams' sake, he's 7 feet tall and he's a defensive specialist! Could this 255-pound bruiser out of Stanford University actually be playing for the Suns? Well, you freakin' betcha! General manager Steve Kerr went out and got the team a big man, to spell not just the aged Shaquille O'Neal but Amaré Stoudemire, as well. His being a… More >>
  • Best Sports Criminal

    Ex-boxing manager Danny Carbajal

    As the Springsteen lyric goes, "Man turns his back on his family, well, he just ain't no good." Which some in his family say describes legendary former Phoenix boxing manager Danny Carbajal. The confidant and trainer of brother Michael Carbajal, the world champion Phoenix flyweight and silver medalist in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Danny was sentenced in February to almost… More >>
  • Best Superfan

    Joker, fan of all things roller derby

    If you've been to an Arizona Roller Derby or Arizona Derby Dames match, you've seen Joker. Or heard her. She's the chick with the glasses and curly Mohawk who positions herself behind a team bench or right out on the rink, screaming her head off. Sometimes, she's dressed in the colors of a particular team (with face paint to match),… More >>
  • Best Sports Legend

    Ted Williams' head

    Now, we've got lots of sports legends living in the Valley: Muhammad Ali (he's still alive, isn't he?), probably the greatest athlete of all time; Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player ever; mouth-from-the-South Charles Barkley; Iron Mike Tyson. And quite a few sports legends have died here: George Mikan, the first legitimate NBA big man, and baseball's Kirby Puckett. But… More >>
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