Author’s Note: Dear Purple Row, we have come upon the five year anniversary of the most significant moment in our franchise’s history; the run to Rocktober. In honor of that stretch of games, and because the 2012 Rockies team has given us very little to get excited about, I have decided to document my experience of those few weeks from 2007, over these few weeks in 2012. Purple Row was in its infant stages during this time, so most of us have stories to tell that have never been told here. As I share my experiences of the Rocktober run, I invite you to share yours in the comments.
Sometime during the early evening hours of September 15th, 2007, amidst a lonely college dorm room at Bryant University, my final chance to avoid forever falling hopelessly love with the Colorado Rockies was at hand. Miguel Olivo had just lined an Ubaldo Jimenez pitch into center field for a double to put the Marlins up 5-0 in just the third inning, and the Rockies playoff chances seemed to be melting faster than an ice cube on the surface of the sun. Two key teams ahead of the Colorado in the standings (the Phillies and Dodgers) had already won that afternoon, and I was well aware that a loss here at home by the Rockies to a last place Florida team would pretty much signal a death blow to any chance of October baseball being played in Colorado.
I sat at my desk listening to the game on an XM satellite radio, snacking on a box of Oreo cookies, and hoping beyond hope that the Rockies had a comeback in them. But it wasn’t to be on this night. After a Rockies "rally" that included three walks and two hits somehow only led one run in the bottom of the 5th; Miguel Cabrera launched a grand slam in the top half of the following inning.
That was it. I was not going to spend any more of my Saturday night listening to this awful game. I grabbed my sweatshirt and headed out to join my suitemates at a party already underway across campus.
Before going to bed that night, I wanted to make my peace with the 2007 season. The Rockies had been an enormous comfort to me in a summer of change in my life (I’ll get more into that in the coming days), and rooting for them to against all odds to make the postseason gave me something to look forward to everyday. But now that routine seemed in trouble. The math just didn’t work.
I double checked to make sure Colorado didn’t pull off a miraculous comeback in the late innings of that evening’s game – They didn’t – and in a last ditch effort of “hope we can get some help from the other guys” opened up the San Diego box score. The last place Giants (God, those three words feel good type), were once again no help. For the seventh consecutive time, they had lost a game against the Padres. Immediately, I knew the consequences.
The Rockies now stood five games behind San Diego in the loss column with just 13 to play, and that was just for the Wild Card. Arizona had a 6.5 game lead on the Rockies for the division. Complicating matters even more were the Dodgers and suddenly red hot Phillies. Both of them were now three games ahead of Colorado with their wins from the afternoon. So as I sat dejected in front of my computer, I calculated the grim numbers and meticulously mapped out the final two weeks of the season.
In order for the Rockies to make the playoffs, they had to leapfrog San Diego, Los Angeles (who they had never finished in front of in 14 tries), and Philadelphia. “OUCH” I thought. It just didn’t seem possible. Not when those teams had a combined 10.5 game lead over Colorado. Not when the Rockies had just lost back to back games to the last place Marlins at home. Not when the Rockies spent the previous week splitting a series in Philly when they really needed to win it to get in serious contention, and certainly not with the way the three teams in front of them were playing. Together, San Diego, LA, and Philly were on a nine game winning streak!
“The Rockies would probably have to go 11-2 or 12-1 just to get into a play in game” I thought. “And heck, there’s even a scenario where they could win out and still fall short at this point!!!”
I shook my head. The numbers didn’t lie. The Rockies were living on a cliff, and they didn’t even control their own destiny. Baseball in Colorado had been a wonderful distraction for me during the summer of 2007, and this team had given me more than I could have ever asked for, but it was time to face reality. Barring a miracle (and I wasn’t much a believer in miracles at that point in my life), the dream of a postseason was dead.
The next afternoon the Rockies won a laugher, but I can’t truthfully say I paid attention to it. I already had plans that evening and there were other sports to keep me distracted. Between Nascar’s opener to the Chase and living in a suite full of football fans, my plate was full for the day.
That Monday, the Rockies were off, and it was just as well. I had a lot of schoolwork to get done and was in a productive mood anyway. By the time I finished a full day of classes, reading assignments, and preparing for a group meeting on Tuesday, I had done something I don't think I will ever be able to do again; I went 48 straight hours without thinking about the Rockies. I hadn’t done it all summer, and I hadn’t even planned to here, but once the next four weeks were over, I knew one thing was certain – It wouldn’t happen again until I was in the grave.