Rockies Fans Can Expect An Exciting 2008
The Colorado Rockies in the past were an exciting team. Unfortunately, they lacked one thing that would have made them exciting where it really counts. In the postseason. It wasn’t always the same one thing, either. For the first 8 years of their existence, you could say they were missing a manager, but you would be wrong. It was worse than that, they had a manager who was so bad that they would have been better off with no manager at all. During several of those years, the Rockies had the talent to go to the postseason and do some serious damage. They even made it one year, 1995, because the season suddenly ended due to the player strike, too soon for the anti-manager, Don Baylor, to blow it. He was able to blow it in the playoffs, however, turning sure wins at home into defeats with horrible, inexplicable managerial decisions. After he left the Rockies, he finally reached his true potential, leading the Chicago Cubs to the worst season in that franchise’s woeful history.
The Rockies were exciting and they were also wildly popular, continuously selling out the cavernous Mile High Stadium through the first two years, then the smaller Coors/Molsen Field on Blake Street. You could feel the air start to leak out of the big purple balloon when they blew the playoffs in 1995 and Baylor arrogantly refused to learn from his boatload of mistakes. Crowds began to diminish until virtually the entire city became oblivious to the existence of baseball except on those rare weekends when the Nuggets, Avalanche, Broncos, Rapids, Mammoth, or Crush were not playing. Revenues began a steep descent as the brilliant management responded by relentlessly raising prices, changing managers, dumping the most popular star players, and finally killing the greatest feature of Coors/Molsen Field, the Monster Homer by soaking all the baseballs in brine. Then, all of a sudden, the Miracle of ’07 happened and people are excited about the Rockies again.
Through it all, though, the Rockies were an exciting team, even though they played horrible, undisciplined, losing baseball, primarily because they had a clueless front office, and with the exception of Jim Leland and Buddy Bell, the worst managers in the history of Baseball.
This year’s team will bring more excitement than any other, because there will be huge crowds of crazy fans eager to cheer the team on to the World Series. After last year, where the team was on the verge of being eliminated and yet held on for the Wild Card by winning 95% of their remaining games, the fans will believe the Rockies still have a chance in 2008, no matter how far behind they fall.
Unfortunately, this year’s group has nearly as many canyons as it has mountains. They may have the most potent offense in Baseball, and a great statistical defense. But they also have a pitching staff that is extremely suspect, particularly the starters, along with a starting catcher that can’t throw out runners, a rookie at second base, a leadoff hitter who can’t hit, a left fielder that can’t play left field, a buffoon for a manager, and a front office that thinks stumbling around in the dark is innovation. Also, other teams made sure not to waste their best pitchers on the Rockies in the past, but now they will all be gunning for them. Hitting may keep them from falling into the cellar, but unless the entire pitching staff has injury-free career years, they won’t have much of a chance of winning the division, although San Diego, Arizona, and Los Angeles have significant weaknesses as well. We won’t even mention the Giants. The Rockies may ride their offense into the playoffs again, but they won’t be as lucky as last year, when they got to face weak teams in the playoffs as a result of other miracles. In 2008, they Mets or whoever the Central division champs are, will probably beat the Rockies easily.
Staying close and making the playoffs is really all that is called for this year. Dropping low in the standings with no postseason will send the fans scurrying like rats to attend the aforementioned Denver Sports Teams.