Thursday Rockpile: More Jim Tracy reaction; Rockies to battle for hearts and minds of Albuquerque next Spring

Troy Renck has compiled the overwhelmingly positive reactions from Rockies players toward Jim Tracy and his extension and notes that his three year deal is north of $1 million per season.

The Rockies should be a high quality club over the course of that contract, so Tracy has definitely found himself in a better situation than he did with his last gig in Pittsburgh. I don't think anybody has shown that they can predict managerial performance with any accuracy beyond what we would expect the team itself to do, which is a large reason why I feel that the manager is less important to the regular season than a lot of fans, but I do think at a very basic level that it's important to have a guy that has the trust and confidence of the players. The Rockies did not have that with Clint Hurdle, they do now with Tracy, he's earned it (and the extension) and let's hope he keeps it.

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While the Rockies full Spring Training schedule for 2010 has yet to be announced, press releases from other teams/venues this week have shed some light on who and where they will be playing. For instance, we know that there will be five games against the Diamondbacks, four in Tucson and one in Hermosillo, Mexico.

We now also know that the team will be finishing its Spring schedule in Albuquerque, where they are set to play two games at Isotopes Park against the Mariners. Albuquerque remains a valuable prize as far as the expansion of the Rockies brand is concerned, but the Dodgers affiliation with the Isotopes, and the added bonus of the Manny Ramirez PED suspension drama that played out there last year, has suggested that the Rockies might be losing some branding ground with Colorado's neighbor to the South. I don't know how far two exhibition games will go in rebuilding our base down there, but they certainly don't hurt.

Part of why the Rockpile this morning is so late was that the Hermosillo and Albuquerque exhibitions got me to thinking of where the Rockies would seem to be a natural fit as favorite or second favorite MLB team, or where the brand has the most promise of expanding. Outside the state of Colorado, Albuquerque has to be first or second on the list depending on how one views Salt Lake City, which seems to have a bit more of an antagonistic element toward Denver and its teams as a result of the spillover of the Jazz/Nuggets and MWC rivalries. Outside those two cities, I would think the entire cattle/energy corridor that roughly follows the I-25 in the US and extends to Calgary/Edmonton in Alberta and down to Chihuahua in Mexico would be where the bulk of Rockies fans get nurtured.

Yeah, that last one is really the reason for most of the delay. I just never really thought about Chihuahua the city before. I think I avoided thinking about it because of the connection with those annoying little wheezy dogs (except for Russ's of course, those that don Rockies gear get immunity from my bias) but I ended up reading a lot about the history and development of the city that really had nothing to do with the Rockies at all. So, uhm, sorry about that. Hey, it's the offseason. But really, somewhat back on track, the sister city of Pueblo should be a natural fit for Rockies fans. I suggest Purple Row organize an advertising expedition to head there at once. Russ, what's our budget for that?

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