Open Mic: The Colorado Rockies Disappointing End in 2007
Many people watched the New England Patriots quest for perfection with excitement and a sense of wonder. They saw it as an amazing streak, one that would be an incredible page in NFL and sporting history.
Sure, it would have been something to marvel at. It would have been an amazing feat that would have taken an incredibly skilled team. I couldn't help but root against them.
I've got a love affair with Cinderella stories. The improbable comebacks, and seeing the unlikely happen. No one thought the NY Giants even had a chance in the Super Bowl, and with their victory, it became my favorite NFL playoff game in recent history.
This underdog sympathy led me to become an instant fan of the Colorado Rockies in 2007. Heck, they weren't even supposed to make the playoffs, and all the sudden they were taking the NL's best teams apart, piece by piece.
First, they swept the Philadelphia Phillies in the Division Series, and then they dismantled the Diamondbacks in the Championship series.
The Rockies' path to the World Series seemed like something that could only happen in Hollywood. Going an incredible 21-1, forcing a one-game series against the Padres to make it to the playoffs, and then beating the Padres on a death-defying slide by Matt Holliday.
Rookies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki seemed to be the natural-born leader, destined to lead the Rockies to the franchise's first World Series victory. He showed how much he wanted to win with the last play of the NLCS, turning a difficult play with ease, as if he was urging his team to follow him into World Series greatness.
It seemed that Tulowitzki and his Colorado Rockies were unstoppable. A team that had floundered for years at the bottom of the National League West had finally found its savior in a 23-year-old shortstop that must have some relation to Ozzie Smith.
As the tears welled up in Todd Helton's eyes after their NLCS victory, it seemed like the Rockies were the real deal; that they had a passion that couldn't be stopped and a will to win that was simply unmatched.
And then they ran into "The Nation". Personally, there wasn't a doubt in my mind that those Rockies couldn't be beaten. That not only was their passion unmatched by a Red Sox team that had won a World Series in 2004, but that the baseball gods were intervening on behalf of the Rockies.
Behind the veteran leadership of Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett, the Red Sox trounced the Rockies, showing that even with all the passion the Rockies had shown on their incredible road to the World Series, it was simply no match for a more experienced and more skilled Red Sox team.
All the buildup for this amazing Rockies team was quickly scattered by the hot bats and talented pitching of the Boston Red Sox.
The gifted, young players on the Rockies would have to wait at least one more year to bring a World Series back to Colorado.
And then the worst happened. The Rockies have been miserable in 2008. If you're looking for them in the standings, it seems that the 2007 season had them missing their place at the basement of the NL west.
The chants of "Tulo! Tulo!" have been quieted by a horrible start of the season for their star shortstop, batting a miniscule .152 in the first 26 games of the season before an injury that sidelined him on May 3.
After signing a sizable contract with the Rockies, wrapping him up until 2009, Matt Holliday also suffered an injury, sidelining him for 16 days.
The real surprise is how miserable their pitching staff has become. They rank 15th in the league with a 4.74 ERA. Jeff Francis, a shutdown pitcher in 2007, has a 2-6 record and a 5.45 ERA in 2008. Manuel Corpas was a lights out closer in 2007, but this year has only four saves in nine opportunities and a 6.21 ERA.
Something has happened to the Rockies. This isn't the unstoppable team we saw at the end of the 2007 season. It seems that after the Rockies wasted their last blessing, the baseball gods will no longer intercede on their account. Or maybe something has changed in their team, something is simply not clicking like it did last year.
Either way, it seems that this fall, Rocktober will have gone back to the mountainous cavern it came from, and we will simply return to October.
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