Somewhere, Clint Hurdle is sitting back and smiling, thankful the Colorado Rockies don’t have the same standards as the other teams in town.
Maybe Hurdle really is sitting back and smiling, but stories like this Brian Howell piece in the Longmont Times Call will raise the bile of Rockies fans. Of course, that's exactly what Howell's design was, so I'm not sure if I necessarily appreciate being manipulated into an emotional rise. Still, it should be clear, and Howell apparently doesn't see this, that there should be no excuses for a losing season for the Rockies in 2009. I don't care if people think that without Holliday, this will be a "rebuilding year", it's not, at least not entirely. As Russ's wRAA charts pointed out yesterday, there is no denying that Holliday has been the biggest part of the Rockies offense over the last two seasons, but if you are looking for the real difference between why the Rockies were successful at scoring runs in 2007, but not so much in 2008, it becomes clear that in our pennant winning year, the team had multiple offensive weapons and wasn't just relying on our slugging left fielder to carry the load.
In 2009, the team should have multiple weapons at its disposal again: rebounds from Tulo, Atkins and Helton should be expected. Iannetta and Spilborghs should be greater offensive positives in increased roles, and so long as either Seth Smith or Ian Stewart also prove ready to be a plus, the Rockies should be able to make up in solid quantity on offense what they are lacking in that one impact bat. What's more, our pitching on paper should be at least as effective as our 2007 staff was, perhaps even better with continuing maturity from Jimenez and some of the team's other young pitchers. If the Rockies don't rebound, I personally think management should carry the responsibility.
One thing I want to make clear with all of my optimism is that we can't as fans give management the out of "rebuilding" this season as an excuse. Look at the projections, and expect our team to meet them. If the Rockies don't, we have every reason to demand that someone step up and take responsibility. This is a talented team, the Rockies need to know that, we as fans need to know that, and everybody needs to proceed as if we expect that talent to shine through this year. If not, we should have every reason to expect and demand change at the top.