Sunday, December 21, 2014

spotlight blog

Ian Kennedy


A year ago, Ian Kennedy was largely unknown to rank-and-file Arizona Diamondbacks fans. The D-backs were coming off two straight last-place finishes in the National League West, and few players were generating breakout buzz.

Things couldn’t be more different this year. As the team kicks off its 2012 season, Kennedy takes the hill as one of the best starting pitchers in the National League, and expectations for both him and the Diamondbacks are the highest in years.

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Tex Earnhardt

Auto Dealership Owner

Interviewing Tex Earnhardt feels a bit like stepping onto the set of one of his iconic TV commercials. Dressed in his trademark Western garb – boots, blue jeans, long-sleeved printed shirt and wide-brimmed hat, which he immediately removes to reveal an impressive silvery mane – Earnhardt looks and sounds like the same straight-shooting cowboy he plays on TV. Then there are Hal and Jim Babe, Tex’s sons and fellow TV pitchmen, who are roped in for a cameo appearance after Tex spots them walking down the hallway. The only thing missing is one of the massive longhorn steers that Tex sits on when he declares, “And that ain’t no bull.”

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Karen Frye

Sports show host
In a medium that typically features men yelling at other men about men, Karen Frye stands out. She’s the creator and host of Girlfriends Talk Sports with KFrye, an online sports-talk show in which she and two lady co-hosts dish about everything from college booster payola to players’ tattoos to UFC. Her qualifications? She’s spent 28 years raising Suns center and power forward Channing Frye.

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Boxer Jose Benavidez Jr

When people think of today’s boxing elite, images of Floyd “Money” Mayweather burning $100 bills, or Manny Pacquiao and his bustling 200-person entourage, can’t help but come to mind.

Life is a little different for 19-year-old Jose Benavidez Jr. The reigning prince of Arizona boxing is rousted from his modest west Phoenix apartment every day at 4 a.m. by his father-trainer, Jose Sr. They run up South Mountain, then head to the iconic Central Boxing Gym for a grueling workout.

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Goran Dragic

It’s a familiar Phoenix storyline: Young, foreign point guard struggles to forge identity on Suns bench, gets traded to Texas rival, blossoms into starting point guard then returns home to lead wayward, rebuilding club.

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