Todd Helton insists that the way things are this spring is the way he likes it: nobody expects anything from the Rockies. He believes that is when the team has been at its best over the years, and he is probably right.
Lots of teams try to ride the “nobody believes in us!” train to success, and it is often laughable. Most recently, in a different sport, Ohio State’s men’s basketball team tried it out in their run to the final four. You know, as a #2 seed in their region. Whatever.
But if the Rockies feel that nobody believes in them, the evidence suggests that they are on to something. Start with the print publications. Sports Illustrated has them 4th in the NL West, as does ESPN the Magazine.
How about the online predictions? Let’s take a look:
- HardballTalk had four writers predict division winners and the two wild cards from each league. The Rockies make exactly zero appearances.
- SI.com had eight writers project the division winners and wild card teams. Not a single one picked the Rockies to make the playoffs.
- Yahoo! Sports had three experts make predictions. Jeff Passan has the Rockies second in the west with a tasty 84-78 record, but alas…no playoffs picks.
- Fansided’s own Call to the Pen had ten of their writers give their season predictions. And we have a division winner pick! Thanks Justin! That’s 1…
- Finally, ESPN had 49 people make predictions. I don’t know what to call them besides “people,” because they aren’t all writers and they certainly aren’t all experts. Anyway, we have two more playoff picks. Aaron Boone picked the Rockies to snag one of the wildcard spots, and fantasy writer A.J. Mass picked them to win the NL West.
Of course these picks are far from reliable. We often look back at preseason predictions, scoff, and wonder what everybody was thinking (see: 2011 Colorado Rockies). But consider the implications when nobody picks you in 2012. For one thing, the National League seems to be relatively wide open. The picks for the NL are quite varied, especially when compared with the AL picks which almost universally consist of a combination of the same 6 teams (Yankees, Rangers, Angels, Red Sox, Rays, Tigers). This is not the case in the NL; if an expert ever wanted the chance to get cute with a pick, they had it. And still almost none of them picked the Rockies…
Secondly, there is an extra wild card this year. An extra spot to insert the Rockies, whose only two playoff appearances in the last 10 years were furious runs that snuck them into the one wild card. If ever somebody wanted to be like “Well hey, why not stick the Rockies in there?”…this was the perfect place to do it! Yet it was only Aaron Boone who did as much. For whatever that is worth…
You want low expectations? You got ‘em.