When I was a kid, I was a major NY Yankees fan. Unfortunately, the teams I followed featured the likes Horace Clarke, Fritz Peterson and Jake Gibbs. In other words, they weren't a very good team.
Every year, I'd watch Old Timers Day, and see Dimaggio and Mantle and Ford. The glory they represented was just a distant memory, and meant nothing to me. I was a kid who had cast my lot with a 5th place team, while my buddies on the school bus were crowing about the Mets winning World Championships.
Then came 1976.
I was there the night Chris Chambliss took Mark Littell deep to win the ALCS series. It was utter mayhem. We stormed the field and hugged strangers. I took a piece of right field grass and my mom planted it by the side of the house.
Suddenly, I knew what it was like to see your team blossom into a winner. It was amazing.
If I think real hard about that year, I also remember that the Yankees were swept in four games by the Cincinnatti Reds. I say I have to think hard because, about a week after the series ended, I had utterly forgotten about it. All I knew was that the team I so dearly loved had finally, finally turned the corner and better things lay ahead.
I experienced what it was like to win a world series the next season. And the next.
Young baseball fans throughout the Rocky Mountains are in the process of experiencing the very same thing. memories of this series will fade quickly. What will they be left with?
Images of Matt Holliday sliding into home, Kaz Matsui hitting that grand slam, Todd Helton leaping into the air while Eric Byrnes lay face down in the first base dirt. And the players they love giddily pouring champagne on one anothers heads.
The corner has been turned. The old Rockies are dead. And, when those kids -- and we old timers - look back on 2007, our memories won't be about this series. Instead, we'll remember 2007 as the year the Rockies became champions.
Better things -- much better things -- lie ahead.
And oh yeah, pitchers and catchers report in 3 1/2 months.