Rockies Review: Forging forward on the purple path

Good evening, Rowbots. I apologise for the lateness of this edition, and also for the fact that we will be going in a slightly different direction tonight. It's still spring training, so I figured this was the best time to do so. (Hey, we don't really want to rehash all the pain of our latest entanglement with the Royals, do we? God, I can't believe we have to play them again this year). Arriving at the end of one part of my life has gotten me thinking about the importance that baseball is going to play in the next part of it, specifically the Rockies. They've been involved in my life in a bigger way before, and will be so again.

So if you feel like delving into something that's not specifically game-related, but is important to me and has to do with how much our favorite team is really part of who I am, then join me after the jump.

I've spoken candidly in the past about my struggles with severe depression during the year 2007, and how much the Rockies became part of both the crash and the recovery. Probably too candidly, come to think of it, but that was how it was. I feel that one of the beauties of sports is that they're not just games. That's why I always defend the fan's right to say "we." We pour so much of ourselves into this that it becomes a mirror for our own small dramas. The players, obviously, live it all the time, but every production needs an audience. It's a two-way conduit. We give as much as they do, albeit in different ways. We're not the ones who have to be at practice every day, spend half our time away from home, log up long miles, miss our kids growing up, and give everything we have to play a game we love for money that makes us richer than 99% of the rest of the world. But we, as fans, give our heart and soul. For better or worse. It's a little like a marriage, particularly when it gets abusive. Go figure.

It's not necessary to go into all the details, but my life is in the process of some major changes. I'll be graduating from college in May and moving halfway across the country, to a city where I'm very eager to live, but know approximately two people. It's a crazy thing to do. It's a leap I'm constantly worrying about my ability to make. It's also one I'm very excited for. One of the chief reasons for this is the fact that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I will indeed be working for the Asheville Tourists. That's really what I was hoping to get out of my trip down there last week, and I'm proud to say that persistence appears to be paying off.

I can't overstate how much I want to do this. The idea of working in minor league baseball is one that nourishes me, because I love the game and I love this team. I don't care if I end up picking up garbage or scrubbing down a souvenir stand, late at night with the crickets shirring in the distance and the parking lot all but empty, the stadium waiting for another night and young men that dream of endless green outfields and light racks over LoDo. I checked the box that said I'd take any job. This will be the place that, while I'm in the middle of leaping out of the net, I'll always know myself.

My sister, Squeaky, is coming down to Asheville with me over the summer. She is doing this because we've been best friends for life, because she wants to support me, and because she's ready for something new too. But Asheville was always my place, not hers. She would be happy there, but she was looking beyond. She still is. She's got a lot of big dreams. But when we arrived at McCormick Field this past Tuesday, this charming little stadium tucked into the side of a hill just outside downtown, that was when she said, "Oh." That was when she fell in love with the place. We had baseball, the promise of long summer nights and $7 tickets and the game that's the same anywhere you go. When she saw that field, she knew she could live here.

Baseball is proving to be the constant in our lives right now. Again, it's not necessary to go into the details, but my parents are going to have to sell their house and move downtown. Since we've moved out and have our own lives (or are in the process of acquiring them) it's not something that we will be immediately touched by, but it's really hard nonetheless. I've lived here since I was nine years old, and when I go this Sunday, I'm never coming back. I'm sitting in the living room right now, looking at all the empty spaces.

I arrived home two days ago, right in the middle of the one snowstorm all week that they had to have, right when I was flying in. I'm fortunate enough to have two weeks of spring break, so I'm spending the second one here, trying to unwind. Once I leave Colorado again this Sunday, I don't know when I'll be back. This was sort of a last-minute thing, so I could come back and bid a proper farewell to all my old places.

Because of the snowstorm, my parents couldn't get out of the house to come pick me up. I had to work out the bus system on the fly, get out of DIA in a snowstorm and ride into Denver so my older sister, the one who works for the Rockies during the season, could rescue me and take me to her apartment. I wasn't very pleased about this and I was already in a strange mood; I've been working my ass off this semester and worrying so much about the end of my college career and the beginning of my new life, no matter how much I'm looking forward to it. There's so much to do and I don't know how, though I'm still working it out. I have to let go of the idea that it will only work out if I know how it does.

So I was on the bus. It was snowing, it was miserable. We arrived in downtown Denver, but it didn't even look familiar; we were coming up a way I'd never driven. I was still thinking. But then I saw that we were on 20th Street. Then I saw we'd passed Champa. And suddenly, I knew where I was.

I saw it, up ahead. It's not yet time for it. It was cold, it was undoubtedly empty. It was enshrouded in the snowstorm that it pleases Colorado to call springtime. But when I saw Coors Field, it was suddenly -- just for a second -- all right.

It's okay, I thought.

I'm home.

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