Fan Confidence and Winning on the Road

"Troy, you just won me $10 with that homer. Had a prop bet going with Runnells." NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies is congratulated by manager Jim Tracy #4 on his seventh-inning home run against the New York Mets at Citi Field on April 14, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

At the bar tonight, the bartender had ESPN on the talkbox, and the ESPN analysts pointed out the top 3 12-game starts in Rockies' history: 8-4 in 1995, 9-3 in 1997, and now, 10-2 in 2011. They also pointed out that the 1995 Rockies made the postseason as the Wild Card.

In 2010, the Rockies went 6-6 in their first 12. They went 4-8 in 2009, and made the postseason. 2007 had a 5-7 dirty dozen to start the season, and we all know how that season went.

The big complaint though over the offseason was lack of road performance. 2007, the Rockies were 39-42 on the road. 2009, 41-40. 2010? 31-50. Obviously this has to change, and we've talked about the changes the organization HAS made.

That first road trip of the season defines what the fans really seem to think about the team out of the gate. Sure, win some at home, whatever. That's almost a given with this team, and most teams in general. That first road trip kind of sets the fan confidence in the team until roughly June, or the end of the NBA playoffs, whichever comes first.

2007, the Rockies were still trying to fight off the stigma of being a team run by cheapskates and Billy Beane wannabes, what with the veterans-for-hire and the failed prospects and all that. Coming out of the gate, the Rockies took 2 of 3 from the Diamondbacks at Coors, and then dropped 6 of their next 9 against division opponents (amusingly enough, winning the opener of each series), and when they got back into town to face the Giants, a mere 18,222 fans showed up to welcome them home.

 

2009, they won the opening series in Arizona, lost the home opening series against Philadelphia, and then went 2-5 on their first extended road trip. Strangely enough, a crowd of 36,151 was waiting when they got home.

2010, they dropped 2 of 3 in Milwaukee to start the season, won 4 of 6 in their first 2 home series, went 3-4 in their next big road trip, and then 31,560 fans came out for at least the second game of the doubleheader against the Marlins

There's no doubt that the hopes/expectations of Playoffs made for the larger crowds than 2007.

2011's first road trip, as we just saw, took 3 of 4 from the Pirates and a sweep of the Mets, and the Rockies are coming home to face the Cubs over the weekend.

This series is going to be PACKED, for 4 reasons:

1. It's the Cubs.

2. It's the weekend.

3. The Rockies just won 7 of 8 on the road.

4. Troy Tulowitzki is a monster.

My friend with us at the bar was wearing her Tulowitzki jersey, and was getting high fives from strangers. I had some random guy come up and have a brief, slurred conversation with me that involved "...I...I hurred slumwhere that Tulowinskee hit 2 homers today". Hey, he was friendly, and come on, give me an excuse to talk baseball.

Fact is, the Rockies are making national headlines right now, and a very big part of that is thanks to Tulo's current dominance. MLB.com dubbed him "King of Troy" (which should induce at least a few eye rolls) in the 3rd headline on the front page (behind walkoffs, which tend to get top billing, and then Jackie Robinson, so it's far from a slight to be the 3rd headline). I mentioned in the first paragraph that ESPN had lots to say about the Rockies' 10-2 start, and made large mention of Tulowitzki.

Fan Confidence in the Rockies should be at an all-time high right now. Take a look at that chart on the left of the screen when you get a chance. That thing should be spiked through the roof right now. I know it's not the best indicator of actual fan confidence in the team, but Purple Row gets a fair share of Rockies fans lurking about, so if you're reading this and haven't voted in that yet, as soon as you can, you go and tell that poll exactly what you think about the team. You know, in the form of a number 1-100.

Last thought and I'll let you all be: Go buy tickets to this series. Don't wait, just do it. The Rockies just came off of a huge morale boosting road trip and Denver is all abuzz about our Shortstop. Even though the trip was against the Pirates and Mets, remember that the Rockies forced a 2-2 split in Pittsburgh last year and dropped 2 of 3 at Citi Field. Add that to the "miserable first road trip" curse, and there's no reason to not be a Rockies fan in Denver right now. I, for one, am tired of being chased out of Coors by Cubs fans. Let's show them what Rockies fans are made of.

I think this can be the season where the Rockies are the favorites in town for all of baseball season despite who else is in the playoffs or whatever. There's no Carmelo Anthony distractions anymore, and the Avalanche and Broncos are rebuilding. This is the time to solidify the Rockies' place as the best team in town.

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