Just a warning, this will be a long one.
I think at some point, we all believe that there’s this one song that was written about us. It fits everything; it’s perfect in every way and describes your mood, the way you feel, like that song and that moment were destined to be together.
Like the lyrics:
You’re hot then you’re cold
You’re yes then you’re no
You’re in then you’re out
You’re up then you’re down
While I’m not a big fan of this song in the first place, it seems to reflect the way the Rockies are playing as of late.
I had the privilege of going to this entire series against Atlanta, and those lyrics pretty much describe exactly how the Rockies played during that series. So, let’s rewind to day one.
I was scheduled to meet Tom, we would catch some batting practice, and then head to the dugout to try and get some autographs. As usual, I was running late and got to the gate to find Tom waiting for me. We picked up some Rockpile tickets and headed inside. Batting practice was pretty casual, unlike Don, I’m not coordinated enough to catch a ball that isn’t coming right to me (or maybe even catch a ball in the first place, I haven’t been posed with that opportunity yet), so Tom and I just kind of hung out, but ready to catch a ball. They opened up the rest of the stadium and we headed over to the dugout.
It was Tom’s mission to get Todd Helton’s autograph on his picture of the 2000th hit. I had the fortune of being set up with a pretty amazing shot of Garrett Atkins, courtesy Mr. Walsh. Both of us were lusting after these players’ autographs, and lo and behold, neither of us got it.
We sat in some pretty spectacular $4 seats and sat back to watch the amazingness that is the Rockies.
Unfortunately, Cook was a little “cold” that night and was struggling to get outs. He would last 5.2 innings and give up nine hits. However, our hitting was “hot.”
Tom and I were discussing Garrett Atkins and Ian Stewart, and Tom said that Stewart’s bat needed to come alive tonight, since it appeared he’d been struggling. Stewart didn’t fail to deliver, hitting a longball and driving in Tulowitzki. Well… guess Stewie overheard Tom.
It didn’t take long while all this was happening for me to find none other than Garrett Atkins sitting in the dugout.
You should’ve seen this one coming.
The game rolled on, and for me, this next moment was the defining moment. Stewart walked, and a pitch hit Iannetta, then, Garrett Atkins came up. “Oh please, Atty, I know you’re good for it.” A lot of people have lost confidence in Garrett Atkins, if you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you would know that I haven’t, and you would know that I’ve said that over and over with the secret hope that Garrett Atkins will come across it some day.
And Atty, well, he didn’t let me down. In the bottom of the eighth, he doubled to deep left and brought in Stewie and Iannetta. It was epic. No “FAIL” on Atty, take that world, Rockies are now ahead, and they would end it coming out on top. Also, as you can see, I was a little too excited for my own good that Atkins was up and couldn’t hold my camera still.
After the game, I couldn’t wait to get back to the ballpark the next day; I was practically counting down the minutes.
So the next day rolled around, and off I was to go meet Mr. Walsh once again. I was also meeting a couple of other friends there; it was a t-shirt giveaway of one of our All Stars, Brad Hawpe. My friends wanted to catch batting practice so we headed over to the Rockpile gate to meet them so I could give them their tickets. Well, there was someone working there who took their job very seriously and wouldn’t let us get in line with our friends. That turned out to be okay because it was necessary to try and get that Todd Helton autograph for Tom.
We got into the stadium and grabbed our Brad Hawpe shirt and headed down to the dugout. Iannetta, as usual, was the first one out. Tom gave me some points on being aggressive to get autographs, I’m way too shy for life. But, I managed to land three:
and Ian Stewart.
Then, what was this? Garrett Atkins was in the dugout and appeared to be signing some things for people.
“Go over and ask him to sign your picture.” Tom had confidence that I could get Atkins’ autograph, I did not.
“Go quick! He’s signing stuff!”
Our conversation was somewhere along the lines of that. So, I headed over to the dugout and was way to shy to try and get Atkins autograph, then the National Anthem started and I was S.O.L.
“You probably coulda had it if you headed over like… five minutes earlier.”
Curse my shyness and me.
Well, yet again Todd Helton’s 2000th hit went unautographed, as did my picture. We headed over to right field to find my friends.
For the night, our pitching was “yes” but our hitting was “no.”
Ubaldo Jimenez pitched six innings, which doesn’t sound impressive, but had eight strikeouts during those six innings.
We lacked in run support and our only run on the board came from a homer from ol’ reliable, Todd Helton.
The scary moment of the night wasn’t the lightning, but was when Alan Embree had a ball driven into his leg. He was on the ground, shaking and sweating. He was taken off the field and the Rockies were back to business. Embree ended the night, and possibly his season, with a broken tibia. Although Tracy said he’s making a go
od recovery and may even be back by the end of the season, it’s still up in the air. Get well soon, Alan.
On Saturday, it was time for the Rockies to bounce back, and they did… well… almost.
Jason Marquis was pitching, however, his pitching was “out” and hitting was “in”… kinda.
Maybe it was the All Star nerves, or the relaxation of being the first pitcher this season to get 11 wins, but Marquis was certainly not on his game. He struggled for six innings and ended the night with 97 pitches.
The Rockies runs didn’t come until the seventh inning, that’s when the bats started to come alive.
Troy Tulowitzki homered to deep left, that kick started the excitement.
Ian Stewart doubled into deep left center, after which Seth Smith would single to center, driving in Ian Stewart.
Garrett Atkins singled moving Seth Smith to third and on a wild pitch, Smith made it home.
That would be the end of the rally, and yet again, the Rockies would take another beating from the Braves.
I went to the game with my mom that day and she scored us some Wells Fargo Club Level seats. Although it was nice to sit up there, I found the area to seem… off. The woman next to me had on pearls, and not that there’s anything wrong with wearing pearls, but they go with a specific type of outfit, so you can guess that she wasn’t in a baseball jersey. Not only that, but she was drinking wine. Maybe it’s just me but… really, who drinks wine at a ballgame? That’s like all those girls who come wearing CFM heels and mini skirts. Who does that?
While I appreciated club level for what it was, I found the setting as a whole to be rather pretentious. Pretentious may not be the right word, but it’s the word that comes to mind. I didn’t really feel comfortable yelling at Jason Marquis or telling the ump he was clearly blind.
I went to bed Saturday night thinking that I wasn’t going to the game the next morning. My wonderful mother had other plans in store for me.
Thanks to StubHub, she had scored us tickets 16 rows behind the Rockies dugout. I arrived at the game, eager to find where we were sitting and see who was playing. To my surprise, Todd Helton was out of the lineup, and who was at first… literally, right by where I was sitting? That’s right, Garrett Atkins. It was… amazing. Having confidence that Atkins would be in the lineup, I wore my Atkins shirt four days in a row, and I was glad to see him so close to me.
Sunday was an afternoon that our pitching was “down” but our hitting was “up.”
Jason “Stop – Hammel Time” Hammel had found some great success with the club and was starting to get into the groove of things, except for that day. That day, he looked like an over zealous rookie.
Jason Hammel pitched a total of three innings and gave up five runs. It was a rough afternoon for him, no doubt.
The Rockies lineup, however, would make up for it. Starting with our All Star Hawper who homered to deep left field.
Atty would bring in Barmes.
Troy Tulowitzki hit a longball to deep right.
The Rockies decided to put in Chris Iannetta and take out Yorvit Torrealba. In the meantime, Ryan Spilborghs did some catching… which looks weird. But, it was the closest I’ve ever been to Spilly.
Seth Smith would hit a longball and bring in Barmes with him.
Ryan Spilborghs came into the game, not as a catcher, and doubled to deep right center, driving in Ian Stewart.
In the middle of the ninth, the game was all tied up. Huston Street came in to pitch, and he held off the Braves.
The rest of the game, well, that was up to our All Star, and he proved why he is an All Star bringing Seth Smith home on a center field walk off double. It was a phenomenal game.
What a way to see off Brad Hawpe.
The Rockies and winning and the Rockies and I, well, I guess it seems like, “we fight, we break up, we kiss, we make up.”
Well, we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses, drivin’ fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat
When Brad Hawpe takes the field to hit, he arrives at the plate with that song blaring. The lefty gears up for a swing and more often than not will produce a hit. He’s one of the best players on the Colorado Rockies, he’s got the strongest and most accurate arm in our outfield, he’s a rockstar for the Rockies, and now, he’s going to be an All Star.
On July 5th as the Rockies were being introduced, the announcer said, “2009 All Star Brad Hawpe!!” I was stoked, my Hawper was in the All Star game!! As he took the field I yelled, “Yeah Brad Hawpe!! I voted for you 250 times!!” The guy in front of me looked at me at first like I was crazy, and then nodded approvingly. I sat at my computer and voted 250 times because in my eyes, no one deserved the All Star game like Brad Hawpe. I didn’t really expect Hawpe to hear me tell him that I voted for him 250 times, and maybe if he did, he would think I needed a life (which is true), but I sure hope he knows that he deserves it.
Yes, I was pushing and pushing to get Brad Hawpe into the All Star game, it was something I put up on Twitter, Facebook, and advertised in my blog. Even if he isn’t a starter, I’m so proud of him for making it to his first All Star game.
Another face we’ll see in the All Star game is Jason Marquis. As of tonight, the first pitcher in the majors this season to win 11 games. Last season, that was the number of wins he had… total. The mesh between the Rockies and Marquis has been unbelievable, and it’ll be exciting to see what he can do for the National League.
In other news, I finally got my own camera!! And… I went a little trigger happy at the games. I ended July 4th and 5th with a picture count of 194. I didn’t take any pictures of the fireworks because I killed my battery taking so many pictures.
On July 4th, I caught one of my favorite guys from FSN, Jeff Huson, doing the Rockies Pre-Game Show… it’s now possible that he thinks I’m stalking him. I was really just trying to get a good picture of him, but then every time I was looking over that way, he happened to look my way, and once he gave me a weird look. He might think I’m a weird creeper now. But just so you know Jeff Huson, I’m not.
Obviously I didn’t put in all 194 pictures, but here are some that I thoroughly enjoy. I’m still working out the kinks of the camera, trying to get the pictures to a smaller size. Until then, enjoy!!
Not quite, in fact… it might even be better.
Well… better isn’t really the right word, but if your average Colorado bandwagon fan’s faith is being restored, you know that the Rockies are doing well… or sensational. In the last 17 games, the Rockies have won 16, and it’s been glorious. Sweeping St. Louis, Milwaukee, Seattle, and now Pittsburgh, the Rockies have been on fire!
After an 11 game winning streak, the Rockies suffered a loss to Tampa Bay, but that didn’t slow them down, winning every game since that, the Rockies seem to be an unstoppable force.
Huston Street has 16 saves in 17 opportunities, despite a very different ERA, those are the same numbers as Jonathan Papelbon (someone who I would consider one of the best closers in the majors).
Seth Smith has become a clutch player with the best pinch hitting BA in the majors with a .455;
Ian Stewart has some spectacular defensive plays as well as a few homers to back up his offense, he leads the Rockies in longballs (also, look at this hilarious picture… at least it’s hilarious to me);
Clint Barmes has been sensational since he moved to the two hole with eight RBIs in the last ten games;
Troy Tulowitzki’s bat has started to warm up;
and Ryan Spilborghs has made some incredible defensive plays, and with some consistency, can do some pretty staggering things with a bat.
So… who has been taking notice? Not a whole lot of people, especially when it comes to the strides our players have been making.
For example, without a doubt, Brad Hawpe should be on that All Star roster, but do you see his name?
Didn’t think so. I voted 250 times, I sat at my computer, unchecked all my friends e-mails for “send me information on my team” (or at least I tried to) all 25 times, and voted 250 times… and I didn’t make a dent in that All Star roster.
Last I checked, Brad Hawpe was batting somewhere in the area of .414 with runners in scoring position, the best in the majors. He’s got 36 extra base hits, 1.005 OPS, seventh best BA in the majors with a .332, tenth best on base percentage in the NL with a .406, and fourth best slugging in the NL with a .599.
So… let me get this straight, Manny Ramirez, a fertility drug taking, 27 game playing, cheater is number six on the list, and Brad Hawpe can’t even make it into the top 15?! Does anyone pay attention?! It’s not going to be the All Star Game, it’ll be… like… “here’s some people you voted in who don’t necessarily deserve to be here, but are.” I just want to make a note that I was almost tempted to say “All Star lame,” then I was like, oh god, those would be some of the worst words uttered from my mouth.
The point is, I’m aware that the All Star Game is kind of a popularity contest. It was like being in middle school where you knew who the class president was going to be because they were the most popular kid in school. So… is everyone who’s voting still in middle school? It’s called talent, and it’s something that the Rockies have a lot of, and yet, everyone is continually overlooking them, overlooking their capacity.
While the Rockies may be playing like their ’07 counterparts, apparently, it’ll take so much more to get the attention of anyone.
Papelbon photo courtesy: www.sonsofsimmons.com
No, no, no, no, no. The Rockies cannot I repeat, cannot, get rid of Garrett Atkins. The idea that they’re re-thinking it is completely ridiculous. They’re about to close a one year deal with Glendon Rusch, for what? Some mediocre pitching and a lack of real talent? As I’ve stated before, I understand this need for pitching, but pitching isn’t going to get you everywhere if you don’t have the hitting talent to back it up. You get rid of Atkins, you’ve gotten rid of two of our BIGGEST sluggers. The idea is absolutely ludicrous that getting rid of Atkins is even a prospect. Now, the Rockies have said that they are going to need a killer deal in order to get rid of Atkins, so if he goes, I’m going to expect the Rockies to win a World Series this upcoming season. Yeah, so, no pressure.
Here are our next biggest sluggers: Brad Hawpe, Chris Iannetta, and Jeff Baker. Brad Hawpe and Chris Iannetta have multi-year deals with the Rockies. Jeff Baker was someone who I would have put up for trading value, but whatever. Hawpe tied Matt Holliday this season in home runs with twenty-five. The next closest (if you exclude Atkins) is Iannetta with eighteen and Baker with twelve. I’ve also highlighted this point before, but Todd Helton’s health is in question. He could get out on the field and realize, “oh crap, I’m not totally healthy.” What then? You can draft up the minor leagues, but they’re not going to put up the runs that a big slugger can. Man, for once, I thought that someone might be listening to me. What was I thinking?!
When it came down to the 2009 season, the Rockies realized they had a decision to make: Matt Holliday or Garrett Atkins. They didn’t choose Matt Holliday, but they didn’t choose Garrett Atkins either… at least, not yet.
What I had originally thought was the whole reason for the discussions of those trades was because the Rockies didn’t have enough money in their budget to resign both players. Well, now they’ve gotten rid of one, and in return, they received an unstable closing pitcher, an injury prone starting pitcher, and an outfielder who may be sent down to AAA. Now, in my opinion, they could’ve gotten something better for a big name like Matt Holliday. So the Rockies traded away Matt Holliday, but they still haven’t officially chosen Garrett Atkins.
I thought that was the problem that they were facing when it came down to who they wanted to stay… or get rid of… or trade away. Whatever the case, it sounded like the Rockies could only keep one, and from the way they were putting it, they actually wanted to keep one. That’s not the way it sounds so much anymore… but shouldn’t it be?
This may sound repetitive to my previous blog, but I just can’t get over what I keep trying to figure out. It’s something that I keep thinking about and that I have dreams about. Yeah, it is a little sad; fanhood can be sad though.
Todd Helton is recently coming off the DL. In a season of 162 games, he played 83 of them; about half. At this very moment, he’s in a serious rehab training trying to get back into shape. His rehab training is incredibly restrictive, he hasn’t done any weight training yet, just tread mills and bikes. He has plenty of time though, spring training is a little more than four months away. But he does have a lot of work to do, even he will admit that. I’m not a doctor, so everything I know about the surgery that Helton had either came from my making it up, or things that I heard. One of the good things about arthroscopic surgery is that since it’s not very invasive, the recovery time should be faster, but like any surgery, it’s dependent on the person and where the procedure itself took place.
The basic hope is that Todd Helton will be back to his normal self come spring training. He is the epitome of a leader. Like Rod Smith of the Broncos and Joe Sakic of the Avalanche, his leadership skills are reflective both on and off the field. Like I said before, it’s a hope that Helton will be back to normal, the question is, will he be? What would happen if he wasn’t? Well, we’d probably have Ian Stewart at third, Troy Tulowitzki at short, Clint Barmes at second, and… who would be at first? Omar Quintinilla typically is seen at short or second. The problem doesn’t come just defensively, but also offensively. Essentially, what is necessary is a player who can commit in both fielding and batting. Not only that, but by losing a player on the field like Helton, it’s necessary to have a leadership role. That would have been Holliday, but now he no longer exists in the lineup.
I’m pretty much going to have to say it again, but the best leadership role is Garrett Atkins. Of the team last season, he had the most at bats, led the club in RBI’s, comes in second for HR (behind Brad Hawpe), and is ranked third in batting average in the club. He’s a good player. I’ll just sum this up with a question that’s been plaguing my mind: we just got rid of one of our very best players for some injury prone, inconsistent, possibly AAA worthy players; why get rid of our next best?