The Rockies have been disappointing in 2012, the third consecutive year Colorado fans have been largely disappointed with the product on the field overall. At this point, only the Cubs, Padres and Twins have won fewer games on the season. So it might be time to reflect on a better time. Say, what is your favorite Rockies highlight of all-time?
There is only one candidate to me. It was not a home run, a no-hitter, a walk-off hit or a fight. No, it was a simple 6-3 groundout, but there was so much packed into that one out. You know which one, the biggest 6-3 groundout in Colorado Rockies history. See the video here.
It occurred on October 15, 2007, in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, and for a groundout, it could not have been scripted better. Eric Byrnes was batting with two outs in the ninth, representing the tying run in the game. Of course, the former Rockie Byrnes had lit a fire among Colorado fans days earlier by saying the Rockies were lucky to win Games 1 and 2 in Arizona. He had the every chance to back up that claim on this play - or look like quite the goat.
It was the latter. He produced a pathetic half swing on a pitch down the middle of the plate, rolling over towards the 5-6 hole. Budding superstar Troy Tulowitzki showed off his incredible range and throwing arm. Todd Helton made the reach to secure the out (as he has done thousands of times) as Eric Byrnes lay face down, flopped sadly in the dirt, similar to how the rest of his career would play out.
The poetry continued, as it was franchise cornerstone Todd Helton holding the ball for the final out that would send the Rockies to their first World Series. He held an inadvertant Warrior One pose in triumph, a pose which has become an iconic Rockies photograph and bobblehead. Perhaps because he had very little to celebrate in his 11-year career to that point, Helton seemed unsure how to celebrate. He part-jogged, part-jigged, part-skipped, part-danced to the pitcher's mound for the glorious doggypile, appearing as if he were under attack by a swarm of invisible bees
Just 16 months before, the Rockies had selected 2nd overall in the MLB draft by virtue of losing the most games in franchise history. Todd Helton had stuck by through the youth movement and the leanest of times, and he was rewarded with a pennant. They were just 2 games over .500 as late as August 28, 6.5 games behind in the division and in 4th place.
That play is sympbolic of Tulowitzki's emergence, Byrnes getting a mouthful of dirt in many ways, and Helton's loyalty rewarded. It is also symbolic of the magic that not only existed with the Rockies in 2007, but the magic that lives in baseball, the magic that could be right around the corner for any MLB team.
There are many great highlights in Rockies history, and there will be many more to come. But that one right there is why we watch, why we as Rockies fans never give up. It was a gift and a curse of a moment, but a damn beautiful one at that.