Sometimes I wonder if people have some sort of psychological need for an unseen enemy to keep them wary and alert and prepared for the random events in life. This theory has been playing out on Purple Row the last couple of days as Rockies fans' hand-wringing has shifted from the Giants to the Braves as most feared remote competitor. On a bigger scale, this kind of cautiousness has a clear use for the protection of our society as long as it doesn't disrupt other important parts of life (as the Rockies and their fans in this AP article about heightened security/alert levels attest) but on a scale with the triviality of a baseball playoff chase, to me it seems sort of silly.
If the Braves really are good enough to pull off the kind of rare, once in a lifetime type of run (which thanks to a team we're all familiar with, we've already seen once in our lifetime) needed to overtake the Rockies and get to the playoffs this year, more power to them. We've got to chalk that up to the random cruel twists of fate, and fretting over it is a bout equal to fretting over a giant doomsday meteor colliding with the earth. You can't really prepare for it, you can't really send Bruce Willis out with some nukes to stop it, you're better off worrying about a pack of organized bears jumping out and eating you while you go jogging.
Last night was one of five catch-up games that the Giants and Braves needed before they can once again start competing for the wild card. They still need four more, the Marlins still need five. Anytime they lose or the Rockies win, that moment of honest competition, where their performance once again is measured on an equal standard to the Rockies performance gets delayed. Right now, it's not their better vs. our better, it's their best vs our mediocrity, and until and unless the standard gets even, the fretting over their cupcake schedule or our more difficult one is moot.
The Rockies in a way are doing the seasonal equivalent of putting in Juan Rincon with a five run lead. They are being extra cautious with minor injuries, toying around with the rotation to see who would be best suited for starting in the playoffs (possibly not Jason Marquis). I would like it more, actually, if they were doing more of this. For instance, giving rest to Yorvit Torrealba, who's previously fresh but now tired legs had to have been some benefit to his hot streak.
While the cheapest Rockies tickets are going up in price for the playoffs, it seems that the Rockies are one of several teams to be lowering the price of their most expensive seats relative to what they cost during the regular season. What this means for overall revenue for the club is unclear, but there clearly won't be the same playoff windfall that there was in 2007 without more home games.