Editor's Note: The following post is a part of the 2013 Purple Row Writer Search -- our quest to find some great new contributors to Purple Row.
I played softball for three years as a kid. I was never very good, but the first year that I played it was absolutely awful. I played right field, which on the JV squad is a little bit like winning a perfect attendance award. Show up to the game and I was doing my part for the team.
Well, almost. If there was a real life reincarnation of Lucy from the peanuts comic strip, I was that person, with a unique blend of ineptitude and bordeom. Keep in mind that nobody else was very good either. We squeezed out base hits on ground balls, but more often than not reached base on walks and errors. Once, a ball actually had the nerve to escape the infield and tumble out into right field. I was not paying attention and the ball kept going.
Every once in a while we would do drills to field fly balls. I saw the ball coming directly at me and I knew exactly what to do. I stood with my glove hand outstretched, my right hand held ready to snap the glove closed and trap the ball inside. It never got that chance. The ball slammed into the bottom of my palm and bounced out. My hand began to swell almost immediately.
Every time we took flyball practice after that, I was at my Lucy best. "I got it! I got it! I got it!" Well... maybe next time. I was actually afraid of catching the ball. Partway through that season, our catcher sprained her ankle. I volunteered to take over the position, and I'm pretty sure our coach was almost as relieved as I was. I wasn't a bad catcher.
Years later, I was sitting in the first deck in right field at this game. Byung-Hyun Kim was pitching for the Rockies, which is a little bit like saying they forgot to turn the humidor on that day. One of those balls came off the bat of Alfredo Amezaga and directly at me. Once again, I knew exactly what to do. I ducked. The ball landed a row or two above me and someone else that day had the dubious honor of taking home another BK Kim longball.
Esmil Rogers was the hero on July 4, 2010. For most of the game, it looked like the Rockies were quietly cruising to a win against the Giants, but they lost the lead in the 8th. I had been to at least one game a year since 1994 but had never seen an extra inning affair. I was nervous about losing a heartbreaker and this was agonizing. The rain and the length of the game (it dragged on for five and a half hours) were slowly driving away the crowds and we were able to move our way up the rows on the first base line. From that vantage point, I got to witness Esmil Rogers pitch three of the best innings in Rockies history. The game ended with Todd Helton doing what he does best- playing selflessly to win. After a long at bat, he hit a long fly ball to left. Dexter Fowler scored on that sac fly and I saw my first walk off win.
My baseball stories are not big moments on the big stage, but that's okay. They are small moments like these where, win or lose, you have a new memory to put away. I think that is what it is going to be like to be a Rockies fan in 2013. I, for one, am looking forward to finding those little moments.
What are your baseball stories? Are there any small moments that everyone else has forgotten but have stayed with you for some reason?
In the weeks before spring training, there are going to be a lot of stories giving us something to look forward to. Tracy Ringolsby says we shouldn't be worried. The things that made us despair the most in 2012 are non-issues in 2013.
Troy Tulowitzki is ready to redeem himself. The most encouraging part of it, to me, came in this quote at the end:
Weiss could be a boon to Tulowitzki's career.
Growing up in Sunnyvale, Calif., Tulowitzki was a young Athletics fan when Weiss played for the team in the 1980s and early '90s. Tulowitzki saw a physical shortstop who played all-out, yet knew how to keep himself healthy through a long season. Weiss also experienced the difficult task of playing for the Rockies in the unique, mile-high atmosphere.
"He's been through a lot in his career, similar to me," Tulowitzki said, "and he can hopefully relay some of that to me. How to change as you get older."
The Denver Post published this piece on Jordan Pacheco. I really like Jordan, and I think he has a lot of potential, but I wonder if he is always going to be that player with only potential. Please prove me wrong, 2013.
A mystery MLB team is hiring an intern for baseball analysis and operations and Dave Cameron assures us that this is legitimate.