This time last year, Nolan Arenado was still on the Colorado Rockies. This time last year, the Rockies were coming off a disappointing season, albeit only a 60-game season. At the end of the day it was an anomaly of a season and there was still some sliver of hope that they could put it together over a “normal” year … whatever “normal” means these days. There was hope that getting back in the stands at full capacity would bring us all closer together and make a huge impact on the field.
Of course, none of that magic happened.
That’s why the best thing to look ahead to for the 2022 season is having absolutely no expectations. The best thing in 2022 isn’t going to be even having low expectations. The best thing that happened this year was the All-Star Game coming to Denver for the first time since 1998. Even if you disagreed with the strict voting laws in Georgia that were passed right before the season started, it was hard to believe that the MLB would move the game from Atlanta the year Hank Aaron passed away.
Seeing the greatest player ever honored at Coors Field was one of the best thing that happened in Denver sports history. He was honored in the best way with the Atlanta Braves winning the World Series this year. Having no expectations of the All-Star festivities coming to Denver made the game that much more thrilling. Being in that stadium at full capacity to see Pete Alonso hit bombs and Shohei Ohtani throw gas after hitting bombs was one of the best sports moments of a lifetime if you live in Colorado.
Heck, even if you don’t live in Colorado, not knowing if the crowd could be there and then it happening at full capacity was all that more thrilling. The event was even better because of having no expectations of it happening. It felt like the most delicious gravy on top of having baseball back. That’s not to mention we got to see Larry Walker’s jersey retirement in person after getting inducted into the Hall of Fame. None of that was guaranteed certainly after he just passed the 75 percent threshold all the way back in 2019 which was the last year of his eligibility. Something we didn’t expect became one of the biggest blessings of the season.
All of that to say is that great things happened last year when we had no expectations for the season. Now there are no expectations of the Colorado Rockies to be good. There are no expectations of them to be really really bad. There were no expectations for the team to look outside of the organization for general manager candidates. There are no expectations of them to make any moves to legitimately compete in the NL West, let alone for a championship. What if they do make a move? Since we didn’t have any expectations, any move will seem like a big step forward. Based off the seasons for the NFL, NBA, and NHL right now, there are no expectations when fans will be in the ballpark or not.
Think of the 2021 and 2022 seasons similarly to the 2014 and 2015 seasons. There was a new inexperienced general manager. The Rockies were just coming off losing their greatest player in retirement after the 2013 season. Nolan Arenado was good his rookie season but finished seventh in voting for rookie of the year. In 2013, the Rockies were an uninspiring 74-88, but that was a 10-game improvement over the year before and it is the exact amount of games they won in 2021.
No one expected Ryan McMahon to play as well at third base as he did last year. No one envied his position trying to replace Arenado, but he didn’t try to replace anyone. He played his own game and became a legitimate Gold Glove contender. It was thrilling to watch his game progress.
Now we get to see the next generation of talent develop just like we did in 2014. The gap until the team is good again will likely take much longer than last time but hopefully seeing Brendan Rodgers play at his natural position will speed his progression. We still get to see another year of progression of one of the best staffs ever assembled at a mile high. That is an underrated feat.
Seeing that development and what is next is going to be one of the best things to happen in 2022 for Rockies fans. Being in the ballpark again is going to be on of the best things in 2022. Even if we aren’t, we still have baseball. Having no expectations gives the opportunity for this game to surprise you all over again, even when your favorite franchise keeps pulling inexplicable moves. Isn’t that magic what baseball is all about in the first place?
Happy 2022 and a safe New Year to all!