Colorado Rockies: Carlos Gonzalez discusses a significant Opening Day
Today (Friday, weather permitting) marks the 10th consecutive Colorado Rockies home opener where the same #5 will be manning the outfield grass right in front of the Rockies out of town scoreboard.
When the Rockies signed Carlos Gonzalez on March 8, they knew the type of player they were getting. CarGo has been at the forefront of the Rockies franchise for a decade and has given Rockies fans some of the greatest memories in the franchise’s history. The signing of CarGo gives the Rockies more of a veteran presence in the outfield and allows the franchise to continue to groom some of their younger outfielders in Triple-A this season.
CarGo signed a one-year deal at the beginning of March after one of the craziest offseason in MLB history. With all the late signings that came at the end of February and beginning of March, players like CarGo weren’t sure if they were going to have teams to play for as the 2018 season began. Luckily for the Rockies, CarGo was still there at a time where the team needed to add another outfield presence and another solid bat to the lineup.
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Even as the offseason wore on and Gonzalez was still without a team, he never let the thought of not playing in 2018 creep into his head. Gonzalez discussed what this offseason was like in comparison to the others and even talked about the idea of the Rockies winning a championship in an interview with Rox Pile and other media members inside the Colorado clubhouse.
"“Well, I mean that’s the worst-case scenario. For me, I stayed positive. I knew things were a little different then in the past. You know there’s still a lot of good players out there without jobs so that’s really sad, but I’m excited that I’m getting the opportunity to play. Like I said, I put that in the past so I’m moving forward with my teammates. I think we have a special group here and last year was unfinished business … we obviously want to go deeper this time and we want to win the championship.”"
CarGo continued to put in the work and ultimately it paid off as he’s back in a Rockies uniform and is about to embark on his 10th home opener in Colorado. CarGo’s preparation for this season has been a little different then the others just because he didn’t have a team before spring training started. Mentally though, CarGo says he feels stronger then ever.
"“It’s just another year for me. I always try to make it as simple as possible. Being at home in Florida, just working out and preparing myself for another season. I know it was different because when everyone else was playing in spring training, I was still at home. But, I remained focused doing the same things — good diet, working out everyday, imagined myself playing in spring training without playing games … I was obviously not able to get a lot of at-bats during spring training, but I was able to go to the minor leagues and my body is in great shape. Mentally, I feel strong.”"
The best part of that quote is the part where CarGo talks about mentally being strong. After the struggles he had at the plate for most of last season, it’s good to see his mind is in a right place heading into what looks to be a promising 2018 season for the Rockies.
Even with today being CarGo’s 11th home opener, 10th straight in a Rockies uniform, he discussed how the day still holds the same amount of importance to him.
"“It’s special, man. For me, whenever you’re driving around the city and you’re getting close to the ballpark, you can see the excitement. Everybody’s just outside waiting for the game, so that gives you the extra motivation to play for the people that are excited to see baseball back. Like I said, I think it makes it easier when you have a good group. There’s a lot of good, talented players around me, so it makes it easy to go and battle together.”"
This home opener has the potential to be a special one with how the weather is shaping up. The players aren’t blind to the conditions, and CarGo is going to be sure he has his cold gear on today
"“I know it’s going to be cold. So hopefully we get this win today. And, if not, we’ll just keep moving forward like I always say.”"
Next: Looking at the differences in the Rockies between the 2017 and 2018 home openers
CarGo is right. Today will certainly be cold, but on a day where the Colorado weather changes like usual, one thing is sure to stay the same … and that is the same #5 patrolling the right side of the Rockies outfield for yet another Coors Field home opener.