This and That

Each week I'll give my thoughts on the world of sports:

• I cannot begin to thank the people at the Indianapolis 500. It was the thrill of a lifetime to be the Grand Marshal at the race's parade. Then to run in the pace car at around 120 MPH, with 300,000 screaming fans in attendance, it was one of the biggest thrills of my lifetime. Wow, it is really a special event with so many passionate fans there. I know basketball fans in the state of Indiana are something else, but the race fans who adore the Indy 500 are in a class by themselves. I met so many wonderful people during the few days I was there. It was something I will cherish the rest of my life.

• The San Diego Padres are on fire, baby! Nine straight wins and last week they made headlines because they were ready to trade pitcher Jake Peavy. My friends, does anyone realize how good Adrian Gonzalez is at first base. This team is hot, and it is still well behind a Dodgers team that is missin Manny Ramirez.

• Even with a loss Sunday, I like the Yankees' chances to win the AL East. They seem to get clutch hits and come-from-behind wins all the time. They have more pitching depth this season and the return of Alex Rodriguez has meant Mark Teixeira gets to see better pitches.

• The Denver Nuggets had a chance to take the series lead against the Lakers. Kobe Bryant and company found a way to win game three in Denver as the Nuggets struggled shooting their trifectas. In crunch time, Bryant is the best finisher in the NBA. Phil Jackson's team enters this week up 2-1 but this is still a tough, physical series.

• Congratulations to Todd Helton of the Rockies on his 2000th career hit. I think he made the right choice playing professional baseball. Remember, he was also a quarterback at Tennessee around the same time the Vols had a young man named Peyton Manning.

• How about a salute to Alabama sophomore Kelsi Dunne, who became the first player to throw back-to-back no-hitters in NCAA postseason softball play. Dunne held Jacksonville State hitless back-to-back days in a 9-0 softball victory Saturday. She led the Crimson Tide to a Super Regional championship and a spot in the Women's College World Series. The two no-hitters ties the NCAA postseason record. It was Dunne's fourth of the season and gave her a school-record six for her career. Talk about a special performance.