Ending the decade the way the Colorado Rockies did, doesn’t initially lead to the most thankful spirit in the last Thanksgiving of the 2010s. But really think about it. Some of the best Rockies teams ever have played in this decade and even after a season that didn’t meet expectations, there is still a lot to be thankful for if your a Rockies fan. Here are a few things to be grateful for on Thanksgiving 2019.
This decade is arguably has seen it’s best teams in franchise history
Yes, I realize the Rockies didn’t go to the World Series this decade. The 2007 season was the most important season in franchise history. It gave this town more legitimacy and brought a fever around baseball that Colorado had never seen before. But the same is true of the 07 and 09 seasons that were true about this year’s World Series winning Washington Nationals. They weren’t the best team in the field and they had to overcome some historic odds and terrible starts while riding insane streaks just to make make it to the postseason,
Remember the 2010 Colorado Rockies season? If it wasn’t for a historic collapse in the last two weeks of the season they would have made the playoffs. Carlos Gonzalez had a coming out party in likely the best season of his career. Just look at this stat line.
Todd Helton showed his first signs of aging that season but Troy Tulowitzki was the best shortstop in the game hitting nearly 30 homers and Dexter Fowler proved to be one of the best leadoff hitters in Rockies history. I’ll argue to the day that I die that it was the best team the Rockies ever fielded.
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This decade is the worst in terms of winning percentage in franchise history though. So how could it be their best? While the next few years seriously jeopardized the future of this club in which they didn’t have a winning season until seven years later, going to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons is one of the greatest accomplishments that this franchise has ever seen. While it doesn’t quite make up for the dormant years, Rockies fans have seen some of the best talent this decade.
Nick Groke of The Athletic put together an excellent piece on the Rockies All-Decade team. CarGo will forever be one of the greatest Rockies. Same with Tulo. While injuries eventually caught up to him, he is still the greatest shortstop in club history playing most of career in a Rockies uniform this decade. That’s not to mention Trevor Story who has a legitimate shot to take Tulo’s title very soon. Charlie Blackmon is the essence of the Rockies and the club’s greatest leadoff hitter. Jorge De La Rosa created the blueprint to have a long career in Denver as a pitcher and became the all-time winningest pitcher in franchise history. DJ LeMahieu is the best second baseman for the Rockies somehow surpassing Clint Barmes and Eric Young. Someday we’ll get over not resigning him. Then their is Nolan Arenado. He speaks for himself.
Many of the outcomes weren’t how Rockies fans would have liked them this decade. There were some incredible lows this decade. But those highs were so much sweeter when you were seeing home grown talent bring the Rockies to a place in the playoffs that we’ve never seen before. The highs were that much sweeter because it was built the right way. Seeing some of the best talent and teams in franchise history is something to be thankful for concluding this decade.
Jon Gray reformation leads to no trade rumors
For something to be thankful for more recently, look to Jon Gray. After a disappointing 2018 season, Gray reinvented himself and was the Rockies best pitcher in 2019. He added more off-speed pitches so he no longer has to rely solely on his fastball. Thomas Harding of MLB.com reported that Jeff Bridich and company have no intentions of trading Gray after arguably his most productive season. He’s had four seasons of double-digit wins. In most other cases it would be good to get the most value back after a dismal season.
But when homegrown pitching talent is at such a premium, Gray is one of the best success stories this club has ever had. To get rid of that while still building on a homegrown core pitching staff would be a premature mistake. Thankful this isn’t happening. If Gray can come back, German Marquez and Kyle Freeland are more than capable of replicating bounce-back seasons. They’re just as good if not better, and to have a capable home grown nucleus of pitching has never been built like this in franchise history.
McGregor Square shows club’s investment in Denver for years to come
The Texas Rangers are opening a state of the art air-conditioned ballpark right next to their old one. On first look, the Rangers are already playing in a great park and the new park seems redundant at best and wasteful at worst. But then if you’ve ever watched a game in Arlington in August then you know why this park is so important. But it goes beyond that. I promise this has something to do with the Rockies.
If you visit the Rangers ballpark today, you can experience their ballpark village that is similar to the baseball heaven that is St. Louis. The experience rivals anything in the country and makes it feel worthy to be part of the Texas Live! experience right down the street from Jerry World (AT&T Stadium) and the Dallas Cowboys. Most importantly this keeps baseball in Texas for at least 36 years.
All of this to say McGregor Square has a similar allure. It creates an atmosphere where anyone came come and be a part of something bigger. It means the club and the city is willing to invest in baseball for a long time to come. When the Rockies lost nearly 100 games in 2012, I don’t know about you but it felt baseball was fleeting in Colorado. Sure McGregor Square might rival Rooftop fans who don’t care much about the game but it makes the Rockies more relevant in this seemingly one sport town. It shows the city’s investment in baseball and insures the viability of the club even if they aren’t great. This is another step in becoming a bonafide baseball town even if it looks glitzy on the surface. More people caring about baseball in Denver is something to be thankful for. Keeping baseball in Denver for year’s to come is even better. Not to mention the square will be next to one of the best parks in the majors.
No explanation necessary. If you need more to be thankful for, our friends at Purple Row put together another list.Happy Thanksgiving Rockies fans!