September 11, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; A general view during the third inning between the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
September is unquestionably the weirdest month in baseball. It's the month that should be among baseball's most exciting with playoff races heating up and it is -- for about half of the league. For the other half, fans pay much less attention to regular season baseball than they do in other months due to the intense regionalization baseball is subject to. After all, FOOTBALL is back now.
That seems to be the problem that baseball is really trying to combat with changes like the different roster rules (enabling fans to see a preview of the next generation of players), more teams in the playoffs (more cities thinking about baseball during football season), and sudden death wild card games (because the best way to decide which team is best after a 162 game season is to flip a coin).
In any case, as has been pointed out before, the Rockies are fielding basically the same team in September as they did in August and July, which is to say that whatever new prospect shine that might have kept the attention of many Rockies fans has worn off by now. After all, the most exciting prospect debut for Colorado this month has been...Rob Scahill maybe?
There are many reasons for the members of the Purple Row community to keep watching this year's squad: Josh Rutledge's continued excellent play, Wilin Rosario's prodigious power and rapid improvement, the developing piggyback pitching model, and the return of injured players like Troy Tulowitzki and Jorge De La Rosa are a few things to be excited about.
However it's tough to sell that sort of package to most people, who have long forgotten about the Rockies in favor of the Broncos. And I don't blame them one bit (having Peyton Manning as your QB makes football better). I just hope that next year's team can convince them to come back to the Rockies. Attendance lags behind winning -- which is to say that it will take some winning baseball to get the Rockies back into the consciousness of Colorado sports fans and then get them in the seats.
Given the lackluster performance of the Rockies this year, I do worry about next year's attendance and the effect it will have on future payrolls -- winning is a virtuous cycle, and Colorado needs to do some of that to get back on track.
Dexter Fowler has been getting it done atop the Rockies' lineup. He's also been getting it done wherever he's hit in the lineup -- he's probably Colorado's 2nd best hitter at the moment after his 2012 breakout season.
Dave Cameron at Fangraphs looks at the relationship between 2012 payrolls and wins. It looks like a higher payroll will keep you from becoming a terrible team, but it isn't a golden ticket into the playoffs.
James Gentile of Beyond the Boxscore has done a great job of breaking down the effect of various base-states on the batter-pitcher matchup. There are some great findings about the differences between a runner on first and runners at second and third, for instance.
Glenn DePaul of the Hardball Times really wants to get rid of pitching wins, and he does his darndest to convince you of how it's affecting the decisions of even the saber-crowd when evaluating pitchers.