Months ago, when it was apparent the season was over (you know, June), the one goal I had left for 2012, the one glimmer of hope I had in the season was to not witness the Rockies lose 100 games.
Watching the Rockies ride a 9-game losing streak is certainly not progress in the "don't lose 100 games" direction.
Before this godawful streak started, the team needed to just go 5-14 to go 63-99. 9 games later, the team needs to play .500 ball to finish above 62-100.
Folks, I have some bad news for you.
The Rockies are going to lose 100 games this season. Maybe more. It's going to happen, and the fact is that we need to get used to it.
Before I continue, I want to make sure my meaning is clear in this. I've already written this season that we need a new GM, a new Manager, and probably new ownership as well. This sudden acceptance of 100 losses isn't meant to be a snarling bile-spewing yelling match about how everything sucks and we might as well demolish Coors Field and hope to find the Land of the Lost under the ground in the ensuing demolition. No, it's more that we need to accept that being a baseball franchise involves godawful seasons where you lose 100 games.
Really, if you hang your hat on "well, we haven't lost a big round arbitrary number of games", then I'm sorry to say that your team sucks. Winning your division a couple of times as a young franchise is something to hang your hat on. Winning the World Series is another thing. Obviously, the Diamondbacks have many places to hang their hats, as do the other 3 teams in the division not named the Colorado Rockies. Right now, the Rockies suck.
There are really 2 different ways to look at this. Saying "well, my team was good enough to win the Division/World Series" is something you can take pride in, something that SHOULD command some semblance of success. Saying "well, my team hasn't lost 100 games" is desperation and hoping that other fans will say "you're right! We haven't completely bottomed out! We're not that bad!"
The Padres lost over 100 games 4 times in their first 6 years of existence, and have lost 100+ games one time past that. Arizona lost 111 games in 2004. The Dodgers lost 99 games as recently as 1992, but haven't lost 100+ games since 1900s when they were still known as the Brooklyn Superbas. The Giants lost 100 back in 1985. I could wrangle up every team's franchise records, but let's just settle at "this is a normal part of baseball".
It's going to be embarrassing. Not only in relation to other teams, but also as the fans of the team. But we need to find a way to get over it. It's a stupidly young team that showed their inexperience amidst organizational disarray and injuries to many key players. We can use those all excuses to remind ourselves that the Rockies are not a true-talent-level 62-100 (or worse) team.
It won't make 100 losses suddenly not count. That line, once crossed, can't be un-crossed, regardless of anything. You know what 100 losses would make the Rockies? "A Baseball Team."
It will kind of sting, obviously. As fans, a lot of have been holding the whole "unblemished by 100 losses" thing as something that kind of made us special, in a sentimental fashion. Nobody wants to see the team they've invested pride and time and enjoyment in suck to this extent. But here we are, needing to play .500 ball the rest of the way to beat that mark. This means that the Rockies need to beat Arizona on Monday, and then take 2 of 3 from the Dodgers, Cubs, or Diamondbacks (to finish the season) while not getting swept in any series. Or we lose to the Dbacks on Monday, sweep the Cubs, and then win 1 against LA and 1 against Arizona. Or whatever.
Maybe they'll win out. Maybe they'll turn their final 10 games around and look more like the team we saw in August. That would certainly be a pleasant surprise, but if the Rockies finish at 63-99 rather than 62-100, we'll be the only people who notice or care. The 2012 Rockies are very bad. Not losing 100 games will not make anybody evaluate this team any differently than 101 losses would.
We SHOULD be disappointed in 100 losses, there's no question. We should be just as disappointed in 100 losses as we should in 95 losses. I suppose I'm meaning more that I hope we can get over the 100 losses thing so that maybe, just maybe, we can enjoy the last 10 games without freaking out over how bad it's going to be when Colorado loses 100 games. Again, maybe they'll do the winning thing, at which point we'll all be pleasantly surprised.
What's pulling me through is knowing that this team will go from "very bad" to "respectable" sooner than I think we realize, just given some growth and health. We've been blowing this horn for awhile now, but I still find it completely valid. There's a lot of excellent talent around this club, the Rockies just need to find a way to unlock it.
Final thought and I'll let you go:
Josh Rutledge owns.
If you haven't read this yet, take the 5 minutes and treat yourself to some classic Grant Brisbee "making fun of non-baseball-people's perceptions of baseball". It's not quite FJM, but it's quite silly. The saddest part about it, for me, is simply the fact that if you are going to make a movie about one of the more time-honored and classical elements of baseball (scouting), you need to do it right and not just muck around with "throw baseball cliches into a movie and call it a movie about baseball". Shame on everyone.