Happy Thanksgiving! My goal was to create a list of the top ten things we Rockies fans should be thankful for this year, but the Rockies are so great I ended up with eleven. Don’t eat too much turkey.
Yep, the mullet made the list
The mark of a good manager or coach is the ability to get the most out of his players. There are different formulas for achieving the result, but Jim Tracy’s methods obviously get the job down. He is the perfect manager for a deep and flexible team like the Rox. He isn’t overbearing – like a previous manager who shall go unnamed – but he holds players accountable and demands that they remain focused. Also, many Dodger fans hate him, which is a nice bonus.
I’ve never been a huge fan of the Monfort brothers, but things could be much worse. We could have an owner like Donald Sterling or whoever the hell owns the Pittsburgh Pirates. At least the Rockies try to win. Basically, the Monforts make the list because they aren’t the worst owners in baseball and we have to be thankful for that. With that said, let’s hope they open their checkbooks this off-season and give us a winner in 2011.
The period spanning the mid-90s to early-2000s was considered the Golden Age for shortstops in professional baseball. Players like A-Rod, Jeter, and Nomar Garciaparra were a new mold of shortstop built from the likeness of the great Cal Ripken Jr. Gone were the days of the soft-hitting defensive specialists. These guys were big and athletic; they swung the bat with authority. It’s funny how quickly this “Golden Age” went away, once steps were taken to eradicate steroids from the game. Now most shortstops have fallen back into that light-hitting, productive defender form, but one still reigns supreme over all the others: Troy Tulowitzki.
Though Troy has struggled with injuries the last couple of seasons, he remains the one big league shortstop that can do it all – the Last of the Mohicans if you will. He can run, has an absolute laser for an arm, possesses great range and can swing the bat with anyone. We are blessed to have the opportunity to watch him play in Denver eighty-one times next year. (Notice the optimism. Eighty-one, that’s all of ‘em.)
Troy Tulowitzki’s Mullet
Has a more kickass mullet ever existed? No way. Tulo’s curly locks have become a fan favorite and for good reason. Troy grows out his hair for a charity called Wins for Kids. They assist various children’s charities around the Denver Metro area. As long as people donate, Troy grows his hair. I couldn’t be more grateful. His mullet has its fair share of business, but the party is bountiful. The haircut is perfectly accented with Vanilla Ice type lines shaved into the sides. Keep up the good work Tulo – on the field and with your appearance.
How can we not be thankful for the greatest pitcher in Rockies history? Ubaldo busted onto the scene during the original Rocktober, but last year he took the next step and became one of baseball’s best. Ever since this franchise was founded, fans have longed for a pitcher like Ubaldo. He is the hardest throwing starter in baseball and hitters rave about the late movement on all of his pitches. He is also a groundball inducing machine and we love that in Coors Field. I think it goes without saying, but we are very grateful that he will be pitching for the Rockies at least through 2014.
Denver is blessed to have such an innovative, inviting and beautiful ballpark. One important aspect is its Downtown location. Many modern stadiums are colossal, over-done suburban mega-domes. They are surrounded by acres upon acres of parking lots and little else. The result is an atmosphere where fans feel cut off and the team loses the identity of the city it represents. Coors field is the opposite of that.
Perfectly situated at 20th and Blake, our stadium is a fine representation of the City of Denver. From different points in the stadium, one can see the Rocky Mountains and the Denver skyline. Many of the city’s finest establishments are within walking distance. It is a terrific place to watch a baseball game and needs to be appreciated.
A healthy Huston Street
The Rockies recently announced that Huston Street pitched the entire 2010 season injured. Street was a little sketchy down the stretch and the Rox really need him to return to form in 2011. So it’s encouraging to hear that his poor performance last year was the result of injury. Let’s just hope that 2010 was a fluke and not the norm for the former Texas Longhorn.
Helton is in the twilight of his career. There is no doubt about that. But what a career it has been – fourteen seasons, a .324 career batting average, four Silver Sluggers, and three Gold Gloves. It all adds up to the greatest Rockie of all and hopefully the Hall of Fame. Appreciate the time Helton has left folks. One day, you will tell your kids you watched him play. He is one of those guys.
You would be hard pressed to find a Rockies fan that wasn’t upset when Matt Holliday left town. If we had known who the Rockies were getting in return, we would have been ecstatic. Carlos Gonzalez is a cheaper, more athletic version of Holliday. With a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger, CarGo’s 2010 season was one of the greatest in Rockies’ history. He is only going to get better. Billy Beane made a giant mistake when he traded Gonzalez for Holliday. Without Gonzalez, the Rockies could not play meaningful games in September.
We take our beer seriously in Colorado and we should. If the Monforts wanted to make fans happy, they would pull all the domestics from Coors Field and fill the taps with beers from Great Divide and Avery. Does anyone else take offense to paying $6.50 for a Coors Light at Coors Field? They call our area the Napa Valley of beers and rightfully so. We love our porters, IPAs, blondes, stouts, browns, and wheats. Folks around Denver brew better beer in their basement than most of America drinks. If bingeing is your thing, then by all means, enjoy your twelve pack of watered down and flavorless suds. If you want a real beer, come to Denver.
Admit it. Deep down you like that purple triceratops. He is a triceratops, right? I’m not sure what he has to do with the City of Denver, the State of Colorado or the Rocky Mountains, but there is a long track record of success with purple dinosaurs – years of beautiful tradition from Dino on the Flintstones to Barney. When all else fails, throw a purple dinosaur out there. People will eat it up.