In this edition of Sunday Sit-Down, Richard Bergstrom joined us to discuss Rockies, B list celebrities, and foul balls hit way too hard.
Richard Bergstrom (@RockiesZingers) is the Founder/Editor/Head Writer over at Rockies Zingers, the Espn sweet spot blog dedicated to covering the Rockies. Whether it’s witty sharp articles, a great Twitter game, or a podcast featuring the one and only Jake Shapiro, Rockies Zingers definitely has made their voice heard in the Rockies blogging world. Rockies Zingers has a roster of highly talented writers, I hope you enjoy their work and this second installment of our Sunday Sit-Down.
ROX PILE: First off, you gave me my start in Rockies blogging, so I thank you for that. In my time with Zingers I was 0 – 2 on my predictions, Chacin and Rosario. How have your predictions gone? What were they?
Richard Bergstrom: I haven’t kept too close of an eye on predictions and there have been quite a few of them. Last year I had the Rockies pegged at 80 wins and I figured this year’s team was a win or two better. We know how last year went and I’ve adjusted my expectations down to a 78 win team for this year. I think I hit well on feeling last year’s rotation was the best in Rockies history and it still wasn’t that good. Probably my most disappointing player prediction was Nicasio (who I always liked more than Chacin), though now he’s having success with the Dodgers.
I think Matzek will still be good and I like what Hundley has been doing so far. Sadly, I think I’m right on Kendrick and I’m hoping Butler gets a bit less hittable though I guess now, he’s just getting wilder.
Troy dubbed me “mashed potatoes”. I feel initiated!
This is your second year in the clubhouse are you more comfortable, what’s it like and why are you called mash potato?
I’m still feeling my way through since there are quiet a few unwritten rules that I haven’t read up on. One of the advantages of not being in the “breaking news” game is that I can be patient and make sure I don’t get in a way of the other reporters and journalists. It’s ironic because as other new bloggers are coming into the clubhouse, they’re looking to me for advice. Still, at least from a player perspective, they’ve done a good job humoring me as I bumble about and seem to enjoy talking to me.
Mashed potatoes… I went into the clubhouse to interview some players about what rain delays are like and approached Drew Stubbs who gave some great responses to my Back To School Special from last year. Troy Tulowitzki was nearby and offered a deal “For every question you ask, we’ll ask you one back.” I enjoyed playing along. Drew asked what we did in the press box during rain delays and I said something to the effect of “It’s a great time to learn from the other people from people at Root Sports, Patrick Saunders and Nick Groke at the Denver Post and Thomas Harding from MLB.com. Besides that, we generally eat dinner though I’m probably not eating tonight.”
Turns out, mashed potatoes was on the menu and I have an odd little phobia about it dating back to childhood. So Troy dubbed me “mashed potatoes”. I feel initiated!
Your blogger panels have been a huge hit it’s kind of the Thanksgiving dinner that brings the bloggers together. When’s the next one, who can we expect to be there and will there be gift bags?
The panels have been a blast. Not only the actual panel, where I get into good debates with other knowledgeable baseball bloggers, but I also getting to meet people face-to-face that I’d only been talking with online. Sometimes we even forget to start the actual panel because we’re having so much fun talking beforehand!
I try to do the panels once a month during the season so it’ll be mid to late May at El Charrito’s who have been very gracious hosts. Even I don’t know who will end up being there but we usually end up with quite a few surprises each time out. In April, Ryan Spilborghs and Thomas Harding came out.
Anyway we can get an autograph session with Jake?
Sure, come to a bloggers panel and bribe him with baseball cards.
When can we expect a purple Rockies Zingers jersey?
Never, Purple DinoPodcast would rake me over the coals for copying their color scheme.
“I’m a hugger not a handshaker and gave me a big bearhug”
How was your trip to New Mexico to watch the isotopes? you have a pretty cool Glenallen Hill story, what was it? Did you get to talk to him?
The trip was very fun and quite educational. I drove down to Albuquerque with Jake Shapiro and you can imagine the many different directions the conversation went in, including potential roster moves (Bettis, Lyles, etc) which all broke during our trip. Once we were there, it was neat to meet Chris Jackson, Geoff Grammer and the Roxpile’s Troy Olsen. One of the topics we chatted about included how the Rockies front office and ownership have visited Albuquerque more than previous parent clubs. There was also a buzz in the air because it was Carlos Correa’s AAA debut. From my own perspective, it was also interesting comparing the Isotopes park and the Sky Sox’s previous home.
The first game, unfortunately, went in a poor direction. It was Matzek’s AAA debut and the best way to put it is that Jon Singleton had 10 RBI. The second game was more fun though and the Isotopes won. As a side note, I also ran into Austin House’s stepsister who mentioned that Austin lives in Albuquerque in the offseason and she said he talked about what it’s like to be a minor league player at her kid’s school on “Career Day”.
Lee Van Horn, the baseball information manager slash public relations guy for the Albuquerque Isotopes was able to get us some time to talk with Glenallen Hill. Before the Albuquerque trip, I’d met Glenallen Hill twice. The first time was last September when he was in the Rockies clubhouse after the Sky Sox season had ended. Then I told him my story.
I was 23ish, new to Denver and still a Chicago Cubs fan, and still had that fleeting dream of trying out for a major league team. I went to a Rockies/Cubs game in 1998 and as a Cub, he was at the plate. He hit a ohmigosh that’s so high towering flyball to where I was sitting near the right field foul line. I caught it, and after that, I knew I couldn’t play baseball because I knew I could never hit a ball that high. I told him that story back in September in Denver and said I wanted to shake his hand. He said “I’m a hugger not a handshaker” and gave me a big bearhug. This time around on the Albuquerque trip before our interview, congratulating him on the anniversary of his Waveland Ave. home run earned another wide smile. He was gracious and insightful throughout our questions.
May 9, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; A general view of the Colorado Rockies dugout at Coors Field. The game against the Los Angeles Dodgers was cancelled due to weather. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Hot Topic this week is the main stream media from the Denver Post and their take on the Rockies. what do you think of them and what is your response to Woody Paige and his invitation to debate Rockies with the bloggers?
Patrick Saunders and Nick Groke along with virtually all of the mainstream media have been amazing to me. It’s not just that I learn a lot from watching Patrick or Nick interview players or how they spend almost every second of the 10 hours at the park typing, but that they are overly courteous and do not seem the slightest bit annoyed when I ask them my newbie questions like “How do you let Walt Weiss know that you’re chatting with him versus when you want something on the record?”
Just like our blogosphere, there are different voices and Woody Paige is one of those voices. Being relatively new at writing, I can’t fathom the decades he’s spent honing the style of his writing. I may not agree with what he writes at times, but I can appreciate the effort he makes to appeal to what he has identified as his audience and it is a significantly sized audience. We’re talking about someone who has been able to keep one foot in print yet another in television and radio. You have to respect that.
Then again, as I have learned, there are certain things bloggers can bring to mainstream writers that helps to enhance their perspective. I’m looking forward to helping to increase his understanding of us. I’d like to show him that we are critical fans, able to disagree with what our team is doing while still enjoying watching the baseball game. I’d like him to read some more of the blogs to see the kinds of things we do discuss.
I responded to his invite and their executive producer is going to get in touch with me. We’ll see how it goes from there.
Hate to ask again, but what’s it like to work with the artist known as Shapalicious?
The guy blows me away with baseball knowledge and it’s intimidating to be the boss of a minor celebrity. But he puts up with my mashed potato jokes so that’s in his favor. In all seriousness, he’s a highly talented writer who matches my mentality and temperament and has been a welcome addition to our roster.
If you were Rockies GM what moves would you make?
I’d trade or sign a good pitcher. An Ian Kennedy type who has had success at Coors Field and can show it can be done. We don’t need just an “innings eater” but a quality innings eater. There aren’t many holes on the offense side of the ball so it’s hard to do any kind of upgrade there. CarGo may go at some point but it’s not a necessity, especially if we’re still resorting to the likes of Rafael Ynoa in the outfield or Daniel Descalso at first base. Along those lines, we still have curious depth issues among position players. Free Kyle Parker Redux, perhaps? We should have better options if Arenado gets hurt than we did last year or if Dickerson’s foot issues continue to linger.
We also need to change the mentality of the organization so that we’re no longer throwing spaghetti at the wall, trying to find someone who sticks. We need an organizational philosophy where a prospect does so well that he forces his way into the major leagues.
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Special thanks to Richard Bergstrom, make sure you follow him and all the other greats writers they have on staff over @RockiesZingers.
Check out the ESPN weekly Power Rankings and the breakdown they give on the Rockies
Plus, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the next Rockies Bloggers Panel hosted by Richard and Co.
We hope you enjoyed… check in next Sunday. You won’t want to miss it!