An interesting notification came up on my iPhone via the MLB.com At Bat app on Monday afternoon. More often than not, lately, when I receive a notification from the pro baseball app, it’s that once again, the Colorado Rockies have lost a game.
When the Rockies turn sour sometime around early June seemingly every year, I usually turn the app off. I don’t need to be told night in and night out that the Rockies are no good…that they are, perhaps, the worst team in the National League.
This year, despite the constant barrage of notifications that the Rockies do, indeed, suck, I have been too lazy to go into my iPhone’s notification settings to permanently shut the app off. Laziness. A deep baseball depression. Whatever. My disinterest in the Colorado Rockies is so strong that I can’t even turn off a notification system that tells me every time the Rockies lose, which happens to be a lot.
Anyway, my phone dinged on Monday afternoon to let me know that the May 22 Giants-Rockies game that was suspended due to weather will resume on Sept. 1 at 2:20 p.m. The notification brought me back to a happier time in my life. A time of enjoyment. Baseball was alive in Colorado. It was a time of hope.
I remember the May 22 Giants-Rockies game well. It was game three of a rubber match between the two teams. Tied at 2, with two outs in the sixth inning, a runner on first base and Troy Tulowitzki at bat, the umpire crew for the game was forced to suspend the game because of heavy rain, wind and the usual Colorado springtime tornado warnings.
I remember sitting on my front porch listening to the radio broadcast of the game, enjoying a great series between two of the National League West’s top teams. It wasn’t the World Series by any means, but man did I want the Rockies to win the third game of that series. I was hopeful that the Rockies could continue to prove themselves one of the top teams in the National League – that their impressive start wasn’t just a fluke.
At that point in time, the Rockies were truly one of the best teams in baseball. Sitting at 26-21 and only three games behind the division leading Giants, the Rockies were exceeding everyone’s expectations.
At one point in time, during the games leading up to that May 22 suspended game, the Rockies had more RBIs than any team in baseball, more doubles and more home runs. They also led all of baseball with on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Third baseman Nolan Arenado was the talk of the national sports media with his consecutive game hitting streak that eventually ended at 28. Yes, times were good here in Colorado, for a while. It was refreshing to hurry home from work every day to turn on the radio and catch the Rockies’ uplifting action.
For whatever reason, it seemed the May 22 Giants-Rockies game that never ended really marked the beginning of the end for the Rockies this year. Following a number of crucial injuries, poor pitching performances and sloppy defense, the Rockies now find themselves with the worst record in the entire National League at 44 and 67 (as of Tuesday). They went from being just three behind the division, leading Giants to a full 18 games behind the Giants. It’s as monumental of a collapse as you can have in any sport, for that matter. This year’s Rockies’ collapse makes me sick to my stomach. And what’s worse, it’s the second year in a row Colorado has gone in the wrong direction after a surprisingly good start.
Injuries, especially pitching injuries, are a start. According to The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders, the Rockies have used 14 starters this year – the most any team in baseball has had to use. Arenado, who was white hot for a while, went down for an extended period of time with a hand fracture. Carlos Gonzales can’t seem to find a way to stay healthy, and hasn’t been much of a positive factor in the Rockies lineup all season.
The Rockies remain an offensive powerhouse, but for whatever reason they can’t seem to do it on the road. According to The Post, the Rockies .279 team batting average is the best in all of baseball by 20 percentage points. The team’s 123 home runs (as of Tuesday) is the best in the National League. Those two numbers, however, are skewed, because of the gap in home/road performance. Colorado’s .240 road batting average ranks 11th in the National League and, according to The Post, the Rox have averaged 3.6 runs per road game, which, in the National League, only San Diego is worse.
I know I’ve said it in the past, but I’m not sure Manager Walt Weiss is the guy to lead the Rockies to victory. He seems to get his players ready for the start of the season but not the entire season. Is it a managerial problem? Or is it really just a string of bad luck for Weiss in his first two years as manager for the Rockies?
I do think the Rockies ownership and General Manager Dan O’Dowd were being cheap when they picked up Weiss from a high school team a few years ago. It was a cheap move, and it’s cheapened the Rockies. I really want to like Weiss. I think he’s a good guy. A likable guy.
But he hasn’t proven to anyone in Colorado that he can take what seems to be a great group of players and make them winners. Just how do you do that? I don’t know. If I did know, I would have submitted my resume to O’Dowd and the Rockies years ago.
For me, the second year in a row of being let down deserves an entire reorganization. O’Dowd should be sent packing and a new GM should be hired. If that GM likes Weiss, than Weiss can stay. If not, Weiss packs his bags and returns to the high school diamond.
Thank you MLB.com At Bat app. You’ve helped me remember how much hope and positive feeling I had for this year’s Rockies, only to be let down yet again. I’m starting to sound like Eeyore here.