Picture this moment from the future in your head. Trivia players are sitting around a bar competing for prizes and the quizmaster asks a question about a Colorado Rockies pitcher.
And it’s not just any question about any pitcher. It’s a moment in Colorado Rockies history that contains an answer that could well stump those in attendance.
Do you know the answer to this Colorado Rockies trivia question?
The quizmaster asks, “Who was the last Colorado Rockies pitcher in franchise history to get a base hit?” Players mutter to themselves and each other, thinking about the 2021 baseball season. You know, the last one before the National League embraced the designated hitter and pitchers were no longer asked to step to the plate. The trivia players banter back and forth, throwing out the names of Germán Márquez (the former Silver Slugger winner, don’t forget) and Kyle Freeland, the Colorado native who could do everything from pinch hit to play right field when needed.
Time ticks down. The contestants decide to go with Márquez as their answer.
“Oh I’m sorry,” the quizmaster says. “The correct answer is … Daniel Bard.”
A hush falls over the crowd. Did he say … Daniel Bard? The late-inning guy? The pitcher who has six career at-bats to his name?
Shortly after former Rockies manager (it is the future, by the way) Bud Black leans over from his seat at the bar and says, “That’s baseball,” one of the contestants pulls out her phone and Googles the box score from the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks game on October 3, 2021.
She sees that, in what was a bullpen game to end the 2021 regular season, Bard entered the game in the fourth inning in relief of Ashton Goudeau. With Black needing Bard to throw two innings and the pitcher’s spot due up in the top of the fifth, Bard walked up to the plate for his first and only at-bat of the season, and his first at-bat since May 18, 2012, when his Boston Red Sox were at the Philadelphia Phillies.
The trivia contestant will also read that Bard took a 1-1 pitch from Arizona pitcher Humberto Mejia to left field for a single, raising Bard’s career average to .333 at the plate (1-for-3).
That at-bat could well represent a number of final franchise moments for Rockies pitchers at the plate. The last at-bat (pinch hitters were used in the pitcher’s spot the rest of the game). The last hit. The last run scored by a pitcher (Bard was brought home on an RBI triple by Brendan Rodgers).
Sure, we may all be surprised and the DH not be a part of the National League in 2022. Yes, in the most unlikeliest of circumstances, a Rockies pitcher could shock us all by not only pinch hitting in a DH-filled lineup, but also coming through at the plate in that moment. However, we’re not holding our breath for either of those scenarios.
Will Rockies fans get the answer to that pitching/hitting trivia question in a decade or so? We’ll see you at the bar to find out.