According to some of the experts, it sounds like they are already predicting the Rockies to not only make it to the World Series, but to take it as well. Hands down, no hesitation, I want the Rockies to make it to the World Series, I believe they can, and yes, I want them to take it, I believe they can too. However, when it comes to experts and their predictions, I tend to be one of those people who doesn’t like to count their chickens… or… eggs? Count their eggs before… their chickens lay them…? Whatever, you know what I mean.
When we look at spring training and regular season, we’re looking at two very different ballgames (haha, yeah, I did just make that joke). I don’t honestly think you can make any assumption before you see a regular season game played. I mean, why do you think the Cubs always say, “this is our year” before the season starts (that was mean… but true… but still mean)? If you recall the beginning of the Rockies’ 2009 season, no one would have predicted them to go anywhere, and look at what they did.
Now, like I said, I believe the Rockies can make it to the World Series; I’ll hope for that every year. But there are a lot of factors that are going to contribute to the success of this team as well as ones that raise questions.
No doubt the Rockies have an incredible lineup filled with young guys who have shown they can play the game. Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler are going to continue to produce. They’re young, talented, and well on their way to becoming five tool players. Gonzalez did some incredible things in winter ball this past season and Fowler has continued to work on his game. Not only that, but the dangerous, defensive combination of these two significantly shrinks the outfield. Todd Helton, despite his age, can also produce hits. While he’s no longer in his prime, the important thing is that he can still play the game and has the passion to do so as well. A lot of stress will also be taken off his shoulders with Jason Giambi as a back up, and Melvin Mora able to cover first. I’ve also really liked what I’ve seen of Brad Eldred this spring training, I think he could play an important role later in the season. Troy Tulowitzki, well, no questions asked, he’s one of the best – young and an elite force on the team.
The Rockies, undoubtedly, may have the best bench in the history of this team. This includes Giambi, Ryan Spilborghs, and Seth Smith. All three can come up with big hits, especially Smith. He was an immense force for the Rockies and came up as a pinch hitter, an incredibly important role. I’ll be honest that I never knew too much about Melvin Mora or Miguel Olivo. While I still don’t know much about Olivio, I like what I’ve seen with Mora. The epitome of a utility player, third base, short stop, second base, and the entire outfield.
Here’s where the Rockies are going to run into some problems. The first and biggest problem is our closer Huston Street has found his way to the DL. Although he hopes for a return on May 1, the Rockies trainer isn’t making any promises. This means that the Rockies need a replacement, with Franklin Morales, Manny Corpas, and Matt Belisle in the running. I’m not big on any of these options, but one has to be chosen. Franklin Morales acted as a sub last season when Street went to the DL, and while his performance managed to get the job done, I just didn’t feel comfortable seeing the ball given to him in the ninth. Manny Corpas needs to get back to his 2007 self if he wants to be a really, truly viable option; however, he could also be considered as a set up man for games. Matt Belisle could also be an option if a few righties are coming up to bat.
Jeff Francis is also heading to the 15 day DL. While he hasn’t made a pitch in a major leaguegame since September 18 of 2009, I was excited to see him start. I really trust Jim Tracy and if he had Francis in spot number two of the rotation, then I was going to let it ride. I am, however, very excited to see the potential of Greg Smith. When we acquired Street, Gonzalez, and Smith in the trade for Holliday, I knew we had to be getting a good deal. That paid off as far as Street and Gonzalez; and while I’ve wanted to see Smith make his debut with the Rockies, it has yet to happen. We’ll see how things go.
Here’s what could make the Rockies dangerous: discipline. They need discipline at the plate, discipline in commanding pitches and focusing on the pitch at hand rather than worrying about the runner, and discipline when it comes to stealing bases. That will make the Rockies a truly threatening team for this upcoming season.
This blog is long overdue, I apologize.
In this day and age, it seems harder and harder for us, as fans, to trust and respect a player. We hear commentators talk about future Hall of Famers like Alex Rodriguez or Manny Ramirez, Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds. We hear the rumors of steroids, PEDs, and for some, fertility drugs. While it appears that this is a trend that the world of baseball cannot seem to escape from, every once in a while, we find a few shining stars.
Every once in a while, we’re lucky enough to find a player who lives up to the hype, lives up to the demands, lives up to the expectations of the fans – which for no player is an easy feat. We find a player who is a class act, one with a good work ethic, and one who would sacrifice their own stats to see the team succeed.
The Colorado Rockies are lucky enough to have a class act like Todd Helton as the player who represents those demands.
On July 22nd, 2009, Todd Helton joined an elite club as the 50th player to make 500 career doubles and the 19th player to attain this accomplishment with the same team.
After his 2000th hit, ESPN’s Baseball Tonight dismissed Helton’s accomplishments as a product of the thin air in the mile high city, not because of the phenomenal hitter that he is.
In reality, a player like Helton hardly gets the respect that he truly deserves. Although for most fans, when he arrives on the field, he commands respect, not because he’s a player who believes he is god’s gift to baseball, but because he truly deserves the recognition. Helton is a humble player, not one to make a play and strike a pose. If you were to pick up a paper and read about Todd Helton, the article wouldn’t start out as “Todd being Todd.”
In an article I read, someone mentioned that Todd Helton joined an even more elite group of Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Stan “The Man” Musial as the only players with 500 doubles, 320 homers, and a .325 batting average since 1900. Now, I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s well worth the mention if it is.
Helton has had the power to return to the game after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to relieve pressure on a bulging disc in his back. He’s not just had the power to return, but he’s come back as better than ever, and as far as anyone is concerned, he has more baseball in him.
He is the shining star of the Rockies, usually the only player that any bandwagoner can name, and now, he’s accomplished an act that only 49 others before him could. A class act like Todd Helton deserves more baseball, deserves more respect, and as a Rockies fan, it’s an honor to have him play for our team.
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!!
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?
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?