Wednesday, October 10, 2007

ROCKtober


Anyone who knows Denver, knows it's a great (and crazy) sports town. They've got it (practically) all: football. Baseball. Basketball. Hockey. Soccer. Lacrosse. Sports bars. Drunk tanks.
And no shortage of sports writers -- good, bad, indifferent, worse than bad -- to tell us all about what we see, hear, and think or what they arrogantly think we need to think about it all.
At a time that our talked-up, rebuilt Broncos are faltering badly at 2-3, and the Nuggets and Avalanche are just getting started, something really weird in the fifteen year history of the MLB Colorado Rockies is going on.
They're still playing. In October.
About mid-summer, many a sound, rational individual hereabouts wouldn't a thunk it. Not after their 'eh' start, and especially not after one of their more disastrous ten game road trips whereon they went 1-9. At that time, it looked like business as usual. And adding to it, some key injuries started cropping up amongst the starting pitching rotation, causing the team to have to dip down into the triple-A (and further) ranks, to piece together a chewing-gum-and-baling-wire rotation as the season wound through August and into September. A time the Rockies were, with one exception in their third season, little more than a spoiler or a free spot on a bingo card. So it was starting to appear to a lot of reasoned, rational folks and sports writers in September, 2007.
(Refrain) If they did bother asking the Rockies what they thought about it, they didn't tend to take the opinions of the players and coaches seriously.
Came the latter half of mid-September, and the Rockies were several games back in both the division and wild card races. With fourteen games to play, many a sportscaster said it almost as one: "they have to win out to have a chance". Again, a lot of reasoned, rational folks and sports writers, reviewing the season and history, didn't give the Rockies much chance of that.
See Refrain.
The LA Dodgers came to Coors Field for a four game set. They were swept by the Rockies. Then the Rockies -- a so-so road team at best -- went to San Diego, at that time sitting in the catbird's seat for the NL Wildcard, for a three game set. They were swept by the Rockies. Then the Rockies went on to again play the LA Dodgers, for a three game set in LA. Conventional logic suggested that the Dodgers would gladly repay the Rockies for being swept in Denver. They were swept by the Rockies.
Then came the final series of the regular season: the Rockies, at home against the NL West leading Arizona Diamondbacks. When the Rockies lost the first game, a lot of fans had a moment of *uhhhh*. Especially since in the wildcard race, San Diego -- having stumbled themselves into a statistical tie with the Rockies -- had won their first of three games in Milwaukee.
Then the Rockies won the next two games against the Snakes. And San Diego....lost the last two to Milwaukee. Coupled with the Mets slipping and the Phillies surging out of and into the division lead in the East, it gave the Rockies one more chance: a one game playoff with the Padres. In Denver.
Now, much of the bandwagon was overcrowded with Rockies fans: new, old, fair-weather and through-thick-and-thin. And even some of the most dour of sports media were grudgingly starting to come around.
On a memorable night in Denver at the end of September, 2007, more than 50,000 fans had their cardio health tested to the fullest, as the game ebbed and flowed, and wound up in extra innings. In the middle of the 14th, the Rockies were down two runs. At the end of the bottom of the 14th...there were no non-believers left in Coors Field. People in North Dakota could hear Coors Field erupt, without a TV or radio.
It was probably the greatest game in Coors Field history, that gave them the chance to face the reality of the NL East champs, the Philadelphia Phillies. In the East, sports writers were lukewarm to the upstarts from fly-over country.
See Refrain.
The Rockies went to Philadelphia for Games 1 and 2. They were swept by the Rockies. Then came crucial Game 3 in Denver: they were swept out of the playoffs by the Rockies.
The Cinderella story continues.
Granted, I'm one of those folks who was never much of a fan of the game of baseball. But even I can't help but listen to the games, or eagerly check the scores in the early hours of the next day. This is something I never thought to see from this team as summer ground toward September (see refrain). For some, this may perhaps prove to be the sports happening of a lifetime, as the Rockies are two series wins away from, perhaps, becoming the equivalent of the 'Miracle of Lake Placid' in 1980, and maybe the Cinderella story of the first part of the budding 21st Century.
I'm not a prophet or a psychic (if I were, I have a powerball win in the bag, but I digress); I have no idea how this wild ride will end. But I will say this: Snakes and AL fans, bet against the Rockies if you want. Just remember: they're 17-1. Oh, and uh...see refrain.
UPDATE: The Arizona Diamondbacks were swept out of the playoffs by the Rockies. Now the Rockies are 21-1, and await the winner of the AL. To quote Dave Logan (850 KOA), "Are you kidding me?!! How about it, Denver?!" Now even sportswriters in NYC have to come to the conclusion that there's a little more to Denver than just cows and arguments over pot. The wild ride continues for the month of ROCKtober.

3 Comments:

Blogger mom2five said...

Well, I am a Dodger fan, but since my team sucked it up again this season, I have been rooting for the Rockies (they do have an awesome young team!) I think it will be Rockies and Red Socks in the World Series. :O)

12 October, 2007 10:56  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

You've a lot of agreement in this neck of the woods! Sox and Rox ;)

12 October, 2007 11:19  
Blogger Karen said...

The Rockies are on a roll... let's have one more win tonight then we'll go to the series. The Rockies rock!!! :-D

15 October, 2007 16:32  

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