“I wonder what it’d be like to live in a world where it was always June.” L.M. Montgomery
Right now, that’s the question that’s been stuck in my brain. It’s been a wonderful month of June for the Rockies, and a warm welcome after the tragedy that was May.
The Rockies managed to really turn it around this month winning 20 of their last 26 games, a total 180 from May where they won 12 of 29.
During that month it was tough to think, “it’s still early, they can turn it around.” It was a hopeful belief, but the way things were going, it was hard to find the confidence to believe such a thing. Well, the Rockies seemed to have no trouble proving the thought right and the doubt wrong. It’s been beautiful, three of the top four NL win leaders from the month of June are coming from the Rockies: Aaron Cook, the winningest Rockie; Jason Hammel, who posted a 1.99 ERA during June; and Jorge de la Rosa, who didn’t have a win until the month of June rolled around.
The only series of interleague play that didn’t really look spectacular was against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Rockies swept the Mariners, took the Tampa Bay series, lost the series to the Angels, and most recently swept Oakland.
The Oakland sweep was bittersweet, while it was good to see Matt Holliday again, it was sad to see him sporting the green and yellow jersey. As much as I wanted to see him succeed at the plate, I wanted to see him fail. I wanted to see him hit that longball, but I wanted to see Carlos Gonzalez chase it down. I enjoyed Huston Street pitching (although I wanted him to have an off day before he headed to LA) but I wanted to see a match up between the slugger we lost and the essential closer we gained. While I missed Matt Holliday, the guys we got have proved themselves indispensable, well, at least the ones I’ve seen. I don’t know how Greg Smith is doing.
While in Oakland, Gonzalez had seven at bats, four hits, and two walks. While he is having so much success, it seems that Dexter Fowler has begun to struggle with a bat. Of Fowler’s nine at bats, he has five strikeouts and one run.
Today when Jim Tracy changed up the lineup, I wasn’t too happy. After the success that Ryan Spilborghs had the first game and Garrett Atkins the first two, I was a bit surprised not to see their names. But, who was I to question the skipper? Jim Tracy is 21-7 since he took over the Rockies and that 21st win came tonight. Well, it’s not like I haven’t said it before, but I’m still pulling for Atkins and Spilborghs.
As we approach this series against the Dodgers, hopefully the month of June will continue to stay kind to the Rockies who are now 7.5 games behind the Dodgers.
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?
Now that the trade with Matt Holliday is pretty much official, there’s another thought looming over the minds of Rockies lovers: what will happen to Garrett Atkins? Nothing official yet. He still has two seasons in his contract, but the odds that he’ll be sticking around here seem to be slimming as the days drag on. The prognosis of this situation: well… not good. But that’s not how it should be. In fact, keeping Garrett Atkins would be optimal for the Rockies.
I understand the need for pitching. It makes a lot of sense, in fact. Pitching is like 90% of the game. But do you really want to get rid of your strong players? The one’s who brought you to the World Series? That seems ridiculous. And Garrett Atkins has been an incredibly strong player. His stats reveal it. Like all players, he’s had his up and downs, but his career stats are beyond stunning. In 2005, he had 89 RBI’s. Ten less than he had this season. But this season was pretty bad for everyone. As you know, the Rockies fell from being the NLCS champions to ten games behind. 2006 was absolutely his best season, he had 120 RBI’s and 29 home runs. Not only that, but his OBP .409 and his slugging average is .556. Amazing stats. His 2007 stats fell a little, but not much. With 111 RBI’s, 25 home runs, and a slugging average of .486. This was the season that the Rockies went to the World Series. This past season, his stats took a small beating. Made 99 RBI’s, 21 home runs, and a slugging average of .452. Yes, his stats fell, but that doesn’t make him an inconsistent player.
What you’re losing is so much bigger than just a player. Garrett Atkins was signed into the organization as an amateur. It was through this very organization that he grew into such a phenomenal player. For me, getting rid of Atkins is getting rid of a piece of history. I know what you’re thinking, “in 2004, getting rid of Larry Walker was getting rid of a piece of history, and some how fans got over it, you’ll get over this.” That is where you’re wrong. This team compromises my life. There’s nothing that I know better than this team, it’s my life, it’s what I can talk about with people, it’s why I started a blog dedicated to this very subject.
Maybe Atkins was being nice when he said that he wanted to spend his entire career here. Who wouldn’t? A great club, great friends, and thousands of fans who love you. Trading Atkins away is something that I’d never get over. Losing Holliday was bad enough, and yeah, it was like losing a piece of my soul, but Atkins would take a far worse toll on me. It would be like losing a part of my life. Once again, I can picture you saying, “oh, don’t be so dramatic.” But it’s true. Garrett Atkins and Ryan Spilborghs compose my wallpaper (on my computer, just to clarify; it’s not like I’m one of those teenage girls who puts their posters all over my wall… although if they made them… ha ha, just kidding). Any one who knows me knows that this team is my life, these guys are what I know.
We’re in need of a closer. Why not keep Huston Street? Manny Corpas has proven that he is not going to be a good option for a closer. Taylor Buccholz, although a good option, lacks the experience to be put into such a high pressure position. Huston Street has the experience, and despite the set backs he experienced last season, he would still make a better closer than Manny Corpas. It sounds like the Rockies are looking to trade away Huston Street and possibly throw Garrett Atkins into that deal. Boo. That’s all I have to say to that.
You’re throwing away a player who has spent his entire career with the Rockies. Even Clint Hurdle said it was ridiculous to think that we’d be getting rid of two of our strongest players. That’s right, our strongest players. Yes, it’s “part of the business” to trade players and move them around, but it’s also true that you’re getting rid of a piece of history; someone who has spent their whole career with a franchise. Someone the fans know and love.
I don’t expect Garrett Atkins to read this and be like, “oh, someone out there loves me.” No, that’s a completely stupid idea. As much as I would love for him to realize how much he means to his fans, it’s not going to happen. Just like Dan O’dowd won’t read this and be like, “hmm… this person’s right, Atkins is a great player.” No, that’s just as stupid. But I wouldn’t mind if someone realized it. I just want to reassure myself, I guess, that if Garrett Atkins goes, he left leaving at least one person with a heavy heart. Bleh, what a chick thing to say. If Atkins goes, it’ll be yet another devastating move that O’dowd makes to a team that has already suffered a huge loss.
So I did want to dedicate a blog to Garrett Atkins, which may sound pathetic. But I wanted the world to know, that yet another piece of Rockies history may be lost this off season. And whoever will pick up Atkins, if and when he is traded or a free agent, will be one luck son of a… gun.
This day was bound to come. In the slightly skewed words from V for Vendetta, “Remember, remember, the eleventh of November.”
It’s time for Rockies fans to say goodbye to that famous number five uniform. After hearing about the talking, the dealing, the speculation for so long, the day has finally arrived. Imagine seeing one of our biggest stars put on an Oakland A’s uniform for the first time. The new face of the Rockies will now be nothing more than a memory and a phenomenal player in a green uniform. The A’s have no idea how lucky they are.
In this exchange, we’re receiving three players from the A’s: Greg Smith, Huston Street, and Carlos Gonzalez. We’re in desperate need of starters. Greg Smith could be an excellent addition to the team. Although he has an ERA of 4… something, he’s young. The fact is, we’re not just in need of starters, we’re in need of pitchers in general. Huston Street could be worth it, despite that the Rockies are talking about trading him away as well. In fact, if you’re going to keep a reliever, it better be Huston Street over Glendon Rusch. In my opinion, Rusch isn’t anything special, and Huston Street is a better prospect than he is. Carlos Gonzalez is a very young player, and very new to the scene. He could easily be molded into a great player.
To search for the silver lining in such a deal almost seemed impossible. Yeah, we were getting three guys for one, but that one is one of the best in the business. Ryan Spilborghs, who I have to admit is one of my favorite players, will hopefully be put into a starting position in left field. With more playing time, that could develop him into a better player; one that, could never replace Holliday, but be good in that position. The next thing that I have to keep telling myself is that free agency is just one year away. There’s possibilities that we’ll realize we made a mistake and want Holliday back. He’ll come at a price, but it’ll be for one of the best in the business. If we don’t get him back… well, I’d prefer not to think of that. But maybe he’ll take the EY approach and retire here, not that he’s anywhere near retiring. It’s really early to start thinking like that.
The title, maybe it was a little over dramatic, but it’s also true. To see one our best players go, it hurts. But there’s hope in the future. I’m excited to see one of my favorites, Spilborghs, play at a full time position. We’re in need of pitchers, and free agency is one year away.
Oh wait… there’s more. With all this buzz in the air about the one and only Matt Holliday, what will happen with Garrett Atkins? The best hope is that he’ll choose to stay with a fine franchise and will develop into an even better player than he is now. The prospect feels small, with Helton returning after surgery and Ian Stewart not backing down at third, will there be a place for Atkins? The man has only shown improvement throughout his career, the very thought that he might be in a trade deal almost seems… ludacris. To loose one our best was bad enough, but two? Yeah… it would definitely be like dying a litle inside.
I didn’t think that my last blog was going to be a part one. In fact, I didn’t design it that way at all. Quite the contrary, I thought it would be: here’s my thought, end of story. However, like a naive person, I didn’t quite have all the facts. In fact, things have changed so much, that I almost feel as though my call to loyalty was out of line. Not that I don’t believe in loyalty to a team, but the way that I presented it was not necessarily in the best manner possible.
How has the opinion suddenly changed? Well, I guess I can blame the management for that one. First, I need to figure out the details on paper… or computer. Although the previous blog was about Matt Holliday, this one needs to begin with Mr. Todd Helton. Todd Helton is a fantastic player, in fact, he’s probably the most well known player on the team, the second being Holliday. His contract with the Rockies ends in 2011, and he has a no trade agreement. Throughout his career he’s had 310 home runs, 1,116 RBI’s, and .574 slugging average. He’s a great player is pretty much how it is. Good enough that even the Red Sox wanted him. However, he is also the cause for the Rockies not resigning Matt Holliday.
I don’t want this to sound like I’m actually blaming Todd Helton for not resigning Holliday. But, he does have something to do with it. With such a long contract and the no trade agreement, the Rockies realized that they made a terrible mistake. A ten year agreement? It’s up there with Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. What adds on to the mistake is the no trade agreement. To me, it almost seems that the Rockies would ultimately like to take Todd Helton off their roster; unfortunately they can’t do that. This makes them hesitant to sign Matt Holliday to such a long agreement.
The Rockies offered Matt Holliday a six year agreement, he wants an eight year. This creates a problem. The Rockies are very hesitant to resign any player to such a long contract after realizing their mistake with Helton. Not that Helton is a mistake, that’s not what I’m saying. He’s obviously a great player. But the mistake came from his contract. Holliday’s agent, Scott Boras is known as being… well… since this is an opinion, I guess I can say what I want. Boras would like to claim to that he looks out for his players and that he works for them. I must say, I disagree. I believe that Boras is known for being more interested in the money rather than the betterment of a team. My guess, is rather than compromising, Boras is looking for the most that he can get out of the deal.
What would be best for the team? If Matt Holliday did sign an eight year contract, but he had a no trade agreement or if he signed a six year contract, like the Rockies offered, with a no trade agreement. Six years really isn’t that long of a time. Holliday’s career stats include 128 home runs, 483 RBI’s, and a .552 slugging average. He’s a great player. Like I said before, he could get with any team that he’d like. Unfortunately, because of such a mistake with Helton’s contract, the Rockies are cautious about any “risks” they might be taking.
So what does this mean for the previous blog? It’s not completely out of the picture. A six year agreement is still good. If you prove yourself a valuable player, then who wouldn’t resign you? It should also make you want to prove yourself. Prove that you’re worth the contract you signed and more. That you could probably kick anybody’s *** on the field. Is *** an appropriate word to use? Meh, it’s my blog, I can say what I want… hopefully.
I’m the fan who wants it all and, like any fan, my way: I don’t want to see Willy Taveras resigned, I wouldn’t have any problem trading Jeff Baker away, I don’t mind bringing up players from the minor league if it means we get to keep the big names. I have a lot on my mind right now. But the biggest thing I want: Matt Holliday and Garrett Atkins. It would damn near kill me to see them go. Weird, baseball is supposed to be relaxing and yet, it almost seems to be one of the biggest stressers in my life.
Well, this blog may seem contradictory to itself or my previous one, but I just need to figure some things out.
First of all, that was the best title I could come up with.
What is going on? I feel like there should be some loyalty to a team. If you have a dream that you can make it to the World Series, you should be willing to take a team all the way. It’s the personal responsibility of every player to do what they can to promote the potential greatness that a team can achieve. YOU could be part of something bigger. This almost sounds like some army recruitment thing, but it’s not. No, this is about the team that I know better than anything else in my life and the team that I love.
Let me begin by saying, it’s come to my attention that in my life I really have nothing useful to talk about. I’m incredibly awkward during phone conversations and the only conversations I can have with people are, “so… do you like… stuff?” There’s only one thing in this life that I do know, and that’s baseball. Get me started on baseball, I could talk for hours. Even in a drunken state, I could talk about the Red Sox or the Rockies or why Tim Lincecum’s pitching is so freakishly awesome. Baseball is the only subject that I care about. It’s what I want my career to be, a baseball sports psychologist. This is what I talk about. That’s why I started a blog specifically for baseball. I can be wrong, but it’s where I get to deconstruct any thoughts that I have.
Now, what I would really like to deconstruct my thoughts about. Matt Holliday and Garrett Atkins. We’re going to lose both, aren’t we? Matt Holliday wants a club that can get him to the World Series, he wants a club that at least shows a chance of becoming something great. Think back, back to when you saw that throw to Todd Helton. hink back to the feeling you had when Matt Holliday scored that run, what told them they were going to the World Series. Think about the way it made you feel. Amazing, right? I get goose bumps everytime I see that moment. That commercial where Holliday eats that donut thing and then at the end, they say “Holliday is in! The Rockies are headed to the World Series.” That sheer moment of utter ecstatsy in that team. Yes, the point of playing is to make it to the World Series, but should it come easy?
I’ve been working my tail off trying to get contacts for the Rockies to try and see what I can do about sports psychology. Let me tell you, it’s not coming easy by any means. After the 1980 US Olympic hockey team beat the Russians, there was pure rejoicing on their face. The Russians would later say that it was almost as if they forgot what winning was like. They didn’t have the heart that the Americans did and when they won, the joy wasn’t reflected in them as it was in the Americans.
Everybody wants to win. There’s no doubt about that. But wouldn’t it mean more to bring a team that has so little to something great? The Rockies aren’t a big club. They can’t pick up the big names and that makes it difficult to recruit talent. Everybody comes at a price. But there should be a drive to become something great, regardless of how much you’re making.
I have incredible respect for Matt Holliday. The man is completely phenomenal in every aspect of the game. I know it’s totally the chick thing to say “he has the nicest butt I have ever seen,” but that… really has nothing to do with what I’m trying to say. Apparently the alcohol is affecting my writing skills. Matt Holliday was a part of something great. Something completely miraculous. You may not always be the team that makes it to the _LCS or even the World Series, but shouldn’t the feeling of being something so astounding, so fantastic, so incredibly out of this world make you want to stay? This goes for Garrett Atkins too. Greatness is never achieved through easy means. You have to work hard to get exactly what you want most in life. I definitely need to take my own advice. That’s not the point though.
There’s nothing wrong with testing the waters of free agency. The hope though, is that some part wants to stay loyal to a team where everyone recognizes you. Matt Holliday is good enough to get with any team he wants, same with Atkins. The point of this was to understand that something so small could turn into something so great. That the effort, the drive, the motivation that one person puts in can drive a team to want to be better, to want to be more, to want it bad enough to do whatever it takes to get it (including hiring an awesome sports psychologist 😉 ).
So, since it seems loyalty to a team is lacking, and people want more than the feeling of achieving something so great by something so small, the question is, how’s it gonna be?