Posted on: August 20, 2011 1:13 pm

A True Fan of the Game

Last night I attended the Dodgers vs. Rockies game at Coors Field. Now while the game got fairly ugly, fairly quickly, for us home town Rockies fans as the Dodgers spanked us 8-2. For a team that appears to have given up on the season and perhaps worse, appears to have burned out on their manager Jim Tracy. Only time will tell what the off season holds for this franchise as they were expected to make a serious run for the division title but currently sit well below .500.

Even though the game was a bust, my buddy and I had the pleasure of talking to someone who can only be described as the front runner for one of the biggest Rockies fans of all time but also a true fan of the game of baseball. This guy has had season tickets for the Rockies at least since Coors Field opened in 1995 and sits right behind the left field wall in the first row always wearing a baseball glove looking to catch the next home run hit in his direction. I have seen him on TV and see him every time I'm at the ballpark. The man's closet must be completely filled with baseball jerseys as it looks like he wears a different one to every game. These aren't just Rockies jerseys either. Yesterday he was wearing a Montreal Expos jersey and commented to us that he had just ordered a Boston Braves jersey that will don the name Ruth on the back. How cool is that?

Now I need to run through some of this guy's statistics. Since sitting in left field this guy claims to have caught 81 home run balls over the years and over 2,700 batting practice balls. His daughter, who attended the game with him last night was attending her 403 Rockies game and was no older than 9 years old if I had to guess. What an incredible record!! 81 home run balls. In my baseball watching career I have felt incredibly lucky to have snatched up 3 foul balls. I can't imagine catching 81 home run balls.

In 2000 he caught balls on back to back homers and later received a letter from the commissioner of baseball saying he had people check and couldn't find another person who had caught two home runs in one inning. He also caught three home runs by one hitter in a game. He has caught several home runs that were the first of someone's career or other milestone hits and has traded those balls for signed memorabilia like bats, jerseys, etc.

It's pretty obvious that this guy loves the game of baseball, but even more he is a die hard Rockies fan. I heard him say last night during our conversation that if he had the opportunity, he would throw every home run ball he has caught by the opposition back into the field of play if it meant the runs come off the board. Here in Denver we need more fans like this guy. Even though there was 44,000+ people at the game last night to watch two sub-par teams play a game, I have always had a feeling that Denver is mostly full of fair weather fans that only really love a team when they are successful, which is tough cause most of the sports in Denver have not been very successful lately. If all the fans can show a real dedication to a team and stick with it through good times and bad that might translate to the front office and then they might demand more from the team than they have been getting.

I recently spent a day at Fenway park and as much as I hate Boston and all of their professional sports teams, their fans know how to cheer for their team. Granted the teams in Boston have been incredibly successful over the last decade and I'm sure that relates to the amount of serious fans, but while I was in Boston and at Fenway I watched the Kansas City Royals beat the Red Sox. The fans were louder than I have ever heard fans at Coors Field and they all stayed for the whole game no matter what the score was. Teams around the league could learn something from their dedication and I can only hope for more fans to show up to Coors Field and root on our team like the man in left field looking to catch his 82nd home run ball.
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 16, 2011 12:35 pm

Thome Joins the 600 Club

Last night the Minnesota Twins' Jim Thome hit his 600th career home run in a 9-6 win over the Detroit Tigers, becoming the 8th player in the history of the game to accomplish such a feat. As I look at the 8 players in the 600 club I begin to wonder if the club is tainted. Sure, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Babe Ruth did it the good old fashion way. The Babe did it on beer, hot dogs and cigars so if those are considered PEDs then I guess we can bring his homers into question. The other 5 players on the list I'm not so sure about.

Barry Bonds, who is the current home run king definitely used some steroids to help get him there. Now I know that hasn't been proven yet but c'mon seriously? The guy had to have been juicing for most of his career in San Fransisco. I also believe he will never make the Hall of Fame because of it.

Ken Griffey Jr. is the next guy I want to talk about. This guy was my childhood hero. I loved watching him play for the Mariners and was happy that he had such a great career. Now I do believe that Jr. never did take the juice and most likely joined the 600 club on his natural talent and strength. It worries me that he played in the heart of the steroid era and makes me skeptical but his constant injuries help me think he stayed clean.I hope he does make the Hall and I am pretty sure that he will.

Next is Sammy Sosa. It's safe to say that he helped save the game of Baseball at the turn of the millennium but I am also under the impression that he didn't do it naturally. In 1997 Sosa hit 36 home runs, the next year he hit 66 and then didn't hit less than 50 until 2002 when he hit 49. How do you naturally begin to double your average home runs hit a year? The answer is you don't.

Alex Rodriguez is the next on the list and in my opinion the next home run king. He still has enough time left in his career (if he stays healthy) to surpass Barry Bonds' home run record. Unfortunately he will be another tainted king as he has admitted to using performance enhancing drugs. His admittance might give him penance and an eventual acceptance into the Hall but only time will tell.

Finally we have Jim Thome. He has had a great career and should have solidified his ticket into the Hall last night with his 600th bomb. i only hope the PED conversation doesn't come up with his name attached. He played most of his career in the heart of the steroid era and has always been a heavy hitter. I personally haven't heard his name come up in the performance enhancing drug conversations and I hope it stays that way. The game needs clean players to continue to pursue records and milestones in order to dilute the nasty taste the steroid era has left on the game.

Don't get me wrong. I understand it is incredibly hard to hit a home run off of a major league pitcher. It takes great skill in eye-hand coordination. Not every home run hit by a guy using PED's is in direct correlation to using those drugs. But, how many of those home runs might have just ended up a deep fly ball to center? No one will ever be able to know the answer to that question and I strongly believe that every player admitted or who has tested positive and denied using PED's or HGH gets a big fat * on their career stats. I only hope the next player to hit the 600 home run club does it the old fashion way.
Posted on: October 13, 2009 12:36 am
Edited on: October 15, 2009 6:54 pm

Choke Job Ends Season

\Well, its all over. The best season the Rockies has ever had was ended by the Phillies today in Denver. The Rockies, down 2-1 in the 8th put up three runs and took a 4-2 lead. Then what do they do? They bring in one of the most successful closers of the season Huston Street. Now Huston gave up the game in the 9th yesterday as well, which put us in this season ending position. Street who apparently will face the same guys who owned him the night before, why not give Morales a chance at these lefties? Anyways I don't feel like getting into all of it but Street blew it again and then we couldn't tie it up with the heart of our order and there you have it, they choked and we lost. Season Over. Man that sucks.

There is always next year. It's just a game. I've heard it all but this hurts. As a fan I always want a win, who doesn't. But having the lead and then blowing it with 1 out left to force a game five (in which I felt the starting pitching matchup in game 5 favored the Rockies as well) really really hurts. As for next year I am not sure what we can expect. We are going to have to deal with the Dodgers all over again, as well as the Giants who I'm sure won't be going anywhere either. Right now I just don't feel like projecting our finish next season.

We will have Jeff Francis back into our rotation but that leaves one guy out? Hammel? Marquis? De la Rosa (I hope not). I'm not sure what will happen. Will Helton be back? Hawpe? Atkins? Only time will tell. I guess I will write more then...

Depressed in Denver...

I also have to give credit to the Phillies, as much as I don't want to but congrats and I hope you beat the Dodgers cause I at least hate them more then you guys. But I have a feeling no one is going to get past the Yankees.

Great Season Rockies I wish you could have gotten back to the Series and then most likely been swept again but at least we would have been there. I really hope we keep Jim Tracy as the Manager, he deserves manager of the year, I will see you guys in Tucson for spring traning.

Category: MLB
Posted on: September 10, 2009 7:06 pm

Can The Rockies Win If They Make The Playoffs?

So, I know there are still 21 games left in the season and I might be getting ahead of myself but now that the Rockies are 21 games above .500 and have won 7 games in a row, I am feeling a little confident. The Rockies, who beat the Reds this afternoon 5-1 just wrapped up a 10 game home stand and went 9-1. Thats an exceptional record for any team. With that 9-1 homestand they are currently 2.5 games behind the Dodgers for the division title and 4.5 games up on the Giants for the Wild Card. Their record is 81-60! They now have 7 more series this season. They are as follows:

*3 games @ San Diego- I think the Rockies need to take two out of three in this series, San Diego has had a rough season so far but they have started to play decent baseball as of late, so the Rockies should not head into San Diego tonight thinking they are facing a bad team.

*3 Games @ San Fransisco- The Rockies wrap up their season series against the Giants in San Fransisco. The Rockies, who got swept not that long ago in San Fransisco need to focus on their lead in the Wild Card and try to aviod the sweep once more. As long as they win one game they should be ok, but if Tim Lincecum is still hurting the Rockies need to take serious advantage of that. This is a big series and the Rox need to treat it as such. (The Giants have to play the Dodgers, Rockies, Dodgers, the next three series, so who knows, if they faulter they could be done in by the next 9 games)

*3 games @ Arizona- The Diamondbacks are another team like the Padres, they have had a rough and long season so far but a lot of their injuries are now healthy and they are starting to play a lot better. Any game when Dan Haren is on the mound is tough one for the opposition. The Rox will also be finishing their season series against Arizona in hostile territory but with a 9-6 record against the D-Backs gives me hope we can take 2 out of 3 from them and finish strong, a sweep might be crutial at this point but I am kind of hoping for the Giants and Dodgers to really beat each other up during these first 9 games towards October baseball.

*3 games vs. San Diego- The Rox return home to finish their season series against the Padres, A sweep would be nice, as well as probable, but 2 out of 3 is a successful series.

*3 games vs. St. Louis- WOW! The Cards have been on fire since they aquired Matt Holliday, and he will have his first trip back to Denver since we traded him last year. If we have to go up against Adam Wainwright who is the league leader in wins with 18, I think we are in trouble. I still think we will need to win this series, and take 2 out of 3 from them to ensure a playoff birth but this will be our second hardest series left. Lets not forget that Pujols has 48 home runs at the moment, and I suspect that he will hit atleast two in Denver. Our offense has to be wide awake for this series.

*3 games vs. The Brewers- Although their season is pretty much done, the Brewers are still a very good team. You might notice a trend but we need to win the series and at least two out of three at home. Beware Fielder, and Braun cause they can really ruin a playoff run (just ask the 2007 Padres). I'm suprised that they are not in playoff contention. Thank Holliday moving to St. Louis.

*3 Games @ L.A. Dodgers- This is the biggest and hardest series we face the rest of the season, although it could be completely irrelevant as well, I would put money on the chance that these are big games, and could possibly result in either team winning the division or even making the playoffs. I have no idea what we will need to win this series and the Dodgers have had our number this year but the smell of the division title might just fuel the Rockies past them and into October. 2 out of 3 might be necessary, maybe even a road sweep, but thats unlikely to happen.

So, I have the rockies going 13-8 in the rest of the season (94-66), which should be enough for the wild card and possibly the NL West. It would be the best the rockies have ever finished in their history, but here comes the real question:

Once we make the playoffs can we win?

Lets say the Rockies win the Wild Card, I will assume St. Louis finishes with the best record in the NL so there for we would have to play them in the first five game series. I am not sure that we can take 3 of 5 from the Cards with only two games at home. This is the scariest scenario for me.

OK, so now lets say that the Rockies win the Division, then we would most likely play the defending champion Phillies. This is also a scary situation because their offense is extremely potent, and their rotation is very solid. On the bright side, we have experience playing them in the playoffs and in case the Phillies forgot, it did not go well for them. If I recall we swept them 3-0 in the first round in 2007. Unfortunetly I think the Phillies are a much better team then in '07 and who knows if our team is capable of getting past them.

If we do get past the first round against either one of these teams I suspect we will just have to play one or the other in the second round. Then a whole other challenge rises up and we will see if the Rockies can get to the World Series twice in three years. I can't wait to find out.
Posted on: August 20, 2009 7:14 pm

Rockies to start biggest 10 games of season!

So... Is it just me or are all you die hard Rockies fans just absolutely in love with the chase that the team has suddenly found itself right in the middle of? Even at the all star break, when the Rockies were playing some of the best baseball around, I didn't think we had a chance at catching the Los Angeles Dodgers. As of right now (4:50pm Mountain, 8/20/09) we are only three and a half games out of the division lead and a game ahead of the San Fransisco Gaints in the wild card. Who Knew? And... after we hopefullu sweep the Washington Nationals and head back home after a 4-2 road trip, we will really see what this team has got.

Starting tomorrow, (Friday 8/21/09) our next ten games will be against either San Fransisco, or Los Angeles. 7 of these games will be played at home, at Coors Field, where the Rockies are 32-23 so far this season. Just stop and soak it in real quick. The COLORADO ROCKIES are currently 15 games above .500. 15! Ok, now that you all have taken that in and realize this is not the team it used to be. Blame it on the humidor, but I would like to think that our recent success has come from home growing this talent for the most part, and then realizing where they need the most help and then filling those holes via trade or free agency. But let's get back to the business of the next ten days and where we might stand come the first day of September...

The matchups for the next four game series against the Giants here in Denver favor us in my opinion. Jonathan Sanchez, who has thrown a no hitter this year, I know, starts tomorrow against Aarron Cook. The last time Sanchez was in Denver he got lit up and going against one of our vets, despite his struggling last start, on a Friday night, in a most likely sold out stadium has definitely got to put the Rockies as the favorite for the ball game. After that, on Saturday Jorge De La Rosa starts for the Rockies who has been nothing but a pure beast on the mound his last 9 or 10 starts. He goes up against Joe Martinez who is a fill in for the Giants injured rotation. He has decent numbers (3-1 with a 4.76 ERA) but I still think the Rockies should be favored to take the first two games and increase their wild card advantage another game.

The big match up is Sunday afternoon, Tim Lincecum vs. Ubaldo Jimenez. This is a heavy-weight battle and I actually think the Rockies will probably have to get lucky to win this one. The last game of the series has the NL wins leader Jason Marquis on the mound. San Fransisco hasn't announced who their starter is, but I suspect it will be one of two guys. Barry Zito (who should be getting the start), or Matt Cain. I think they might jump Cain up a spot in the rotation if the Rockies have already won the last three games, and if thats the case the Gaints will absolutely need the win, so Cain could get bumped up.

After that four games, and with either a split or a Rockies win of the series, the Rockies could very well be looking at playing for the Division lead the very next series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have played pretty well at Coors Field and against the Rockies recently but both seem to be different teams then they were last time they played. As soon as that series is over the Rockies then have to travel to San Fransisco for a three game series. What a week or rather ten days its's going to be for the fans of any of these teams. I know we are all starting to sweat as well as taste the post season. Just another month or so and all the questions will be answered...
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