With the 2009 season upon us, I couldn’t help but pull out my personal copy of 21 Days: The Rockies Run for the Pennant.
Even today I get chills when I see highlights of Todd Helton drilling a walk-off home run over the right field fence off of Takasha Saito and racing around the bases before throwing his helmet and leaping into his mob of teammates.
Goosebumps spread throughout my body as footage shows Matt Holliday diving headfirst into home to score the game winning run to send the Rockies to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.
Reminiscing about those memories will bring a grown man to tears.
I don’t care what type of team is put on the field or what anyone says about a team’s chances in a given year. Watching and remembering what the Colorado Rockies did in 2007 gives any fan the optimism that this is their team’s year.
The beauty of Opening Day is that it is the only time that your team is guaranteed first place.
Everyone is 0-0. It’s a fresh start.
The Rockies’ run at the end of the 2007 season will go down as one of the greatest streaks in baseball history.
Manager Clint Hurdle later stated, “Man cannot script what sport can create.”
It transformed hearts and turned Denver into a baseball town—even if they were bandwagon fans and it only lasted that season.
The feelings and emotions accompanied with the run brought more joy to me personally than any other sports moment. It made me concentrate my full attention on the game and lose focus on my schoolwork and everything else surrounding me.
It was an improbable run. Something I will be telling my children and grandchildren about 50 years from now.
Ernie Harwell, the narrator of the documentary, said, “In the end, the Rockies’ run for the pennant will be remembered as a band of brothers. Believing when no one else believed, reaching a level that no one thought they could reach, but meeting all challenges with the confidence, resiliency and spirit of a champion.”
Many are already writing the 2009 Rockies off. Vegas is giving the Rockies 75:1 odds of winning the World Series—good for fourth worst in all of baseball.
Obviously most don’t believe it can happen.
I’m convinced, however, that our offense is better than it has been in years. Players will be running around the bases on a consistent basis this season. Our defense will support the pitcher and our base running is improving each day. Our bullpen is rock-solid while our starting rotation has some young arms that have plenty of potential.
And what better way to head into the new season than closing out spring training on a three-game win streak and winning seven of their final nine games?
21 Days closes with several Rockies’ players reciting an inspirational quote once written by Vince Lombardi:
“A man can be as great as he want to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive, and if you’re willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.”
Some say I have blind love for the Rockies, but I’m ready for another improbable run.
It can be done.
** For an article highlighting the joys and feelings of Opening Day for baseball fans, please visit my Opening Day article. **
This article is also featured on View from the Rockpile.