As the ground thaws in baseball cities around the country, including in Denver, home of the Colorado Rockies, optimism is never in short supply. Every team, no matter how long the odds, is a World Series contender in early March.
Because of this, it is not uncommon for hyperbole to dominate headlines during spring ball. It will almost surely be the “best group of guys” for one team, the “closest-knit group” for another, and the “hungriest team” another city has seen in years. Needless to say, every team is ready for the upcoming 2018 campaign and hopes to contend.
For the Colorado Rockies, however, I think this season is of vital importance for two main reasons. One is to establish themselves as a perennial contender league-wide. The other, which we will dive into in a moment, is to garner some long-overdue respect from the mainstream media.
Becoming a Perennial Contender
I was born a few years before the Rockies arrived in Major League Baseball. I certainly consider myself a lifelong fan who has been through the highs and lows of baseball in Denver since it arrived. As all Rockies fans know, it hasn’t always been easy. In 24 seasons, there have been just four postseason appearances: 1995, 2007, 2009 and 2017.
Of course, only one of those postseason trips culminated in a trip to the World Series (2007), and none of them in a world championship. That part in and of itself is not something to be too disappointed about. In reality, about half of Major League Baseball is currently in a longer World Series drought (CLE, TEX, MIL, SD, WAS, SEA, PIT, BAL, DET, NYM, LAD, OAK, CIN, MIN have all gone longer without a WS title). That being said, I think it’s time to start stringing those playoff years a little closer together.
To be clear, I am certainly not calling for a World Series appearance every season, but this season is extremely important for the Rockies in establishing themselves as perennial contenders for a playoff spot. Teams like the Giants (2017 excepted, holy cow that was a bad year) and Dodgers in the NL West, the Cardinals and Cubs in the Central and the Nationals out east are good examples of teams who, year in and year out, are at or above .500 and fighting for a playoff spot. These are teams who are more often than not reloading and re-tooling at the trade deadline and every off-season, rather than rebuilding.
This season is a chance for the Rockies to place themselves right back in the thick of things where they left off a season ago. It’s time for other teams to get used to seeing the Rockies on the schedule and knowing that’s a series against a playoff-caliber team. Making the playoffs two years in a row obviously wouldn’t grant us the “perennial power” title just like that, but it’s a start.
Establishing that tradition of playing good baseball starts this year. It would not only be a blast for Rockies players and fans everywhere, but would also potentially assist the Rockies in landing some of the bigger name free agents down the line, who today tend to always seem to end up in New York, Boston, Chicago and LA, where they see themselves having more success.