by Jimmy Boegle
As the Best of Tucson® 22 hits the streets, sports are on the minds of many Tucsonans.
Some people are mourning the loss of our Triple-A baseball team to Reno, Nev., a town not quite half the size of Tucson. Others are fretting over the potential collapse of spring training in the Old Pueblo, with the turncoat Chicago White Sox heading for greener (as in dollars, not foliage) climes in the Phoenix area, and the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies putting out feelers for new homes.
But the news is not all bad. The UA football team could be bowl-bound this year (although that loss to New Mexico was quite embarrassing). The UA basketball team should be pretty good this year, despite all of the drama surrounding the program in the wake of Lute Olson's sudden leave of absence and his cranky return. Numerous Tucson-related Olympians recently came back from Beijing with, at best, medals around their necks, and at worst, a sense of pride after representing their country well. High school sports football and other interscholastic sports are underway, and groundskeepers will soon be preparing Hi Corbett Field for the return of minor league baseball and the Toros in 2009.
Yeah, the Toros will be an independent, shorter-season team. But so what? It's the Toros, at Hi Corbett Field—just like the old days.
And that leads us to our Best of Tucson® theme this year: The Games We Tucsonans Play.
The fact is, sports have long been on the minds of many Tucsonans. Within these pages, youll find eight mini-features, written by Dave Devine, each chronicling a story from Tucson's sporting past—going all the way back to 1924, when the UA played for the national championship in polo (yes, the kind with horses).
Of course, you'll also find what most of you came here for: the winners of the Best of Tucson®.
Thanks to the dozens of people who pitched in during the six-month effort to put this issue together. Adam Kurtz, our art director, has put in countless hours working with the photographers (Daron Shade and longtime BOT shooter Kelly Rashka) and this year's illustrator (Matthew Diggins) to make this issue look good—and I think you'll agree that it looks damn fine. Irene Messina was integral in helping get all of the copy assigned, coordinated, turned in and making sense.
Before we even got to the picture-taking and copy-writing, Annie Holub was there, counting all of the print-version ballots—which, considering how horrendous handwriting can be these days, is NOT an easy task. Some 30 Weekly writers chipped in to write blurbs (which also isn't easy; try summing up, say, a really good restaurant in 120 words). And all along, the members of our crack design staff—Duane Hollis, Alex McGrath, James Werner and Greg Willhite—have been doing things, big (like designing ads) and small (like adding in that missing comma), to make this issue the best. John Banks and the folks at DesertNet deserve props for taking all of these words and images and making them look good online.
Of course, all of this writing, art-making and comma-adding costs money, so the Best of Tucson® would not be possible without Jill AHearn and our fantastic advertising department.
Ultimately, however, this issue all starts and finishes in the hands of the most important group of Best of Tucson® participants: you, the readers. A sincere thanks to all of you who took the time to visit tucsonweekly.com to vote, or who put pen or pencil to newsprint and completed a print-version ballot. After all (staff picks aside), you pick the winners; all the Weekly staff does is count up the results, plug in the data and write up the blurbs.
And even if you didn't vote, and just picked up the issue to check it out: Thanks to you, too, for enjoying all of our hard work, and honoring all the people, places and things that make Tucson so great.
Welcome to the Best of Tucson® 22: The Games We Tucsonans Play!