After a very successful layover in Milwaukee, the Colorado Rockies are coming home. The boys in purple (2-1) will host the San Diego Padres (1-2) in front of a raucous Opening Day crowd on what should be a beautiful, sunny Friday. So head on down to Denver, where the parking will be scarce, the scalpers vocal, and the fans in good cheer as baseball returns to the Mile High City.
It's been said before, and will be said again, that in order for the Rockies to succeed, they need to dominate at home. Not just have a winning record -- dominate. In their last playoff year, 2009, they went 51-30 at home, good for a .630 winning percentage. In 2007 they went 51 and 31 (how did they manage to get an extra home game, you might be asking yourself. Then you remember the answer). Coors Field should be one of the greatest home field advantages in the sport, and the Rockies need to take advantage of it. Here's hoping they kick off their time at Coors with a resounding victory.
Links in the Armor
Thomas Harding profiles Todd Helton on what could very well be his final home opener. The story hits the usual beats: it remarks on his oddball sense of humor, the respect his teammates have for him, and the professionalism he displays day in and day out. Helton says his body feels good and his swing feels sharp; how nice would it be for him to put up one more vintage Helton season?
Also regarding Helton: Paul Swydan of Fangraphs merges a David Laurila interview of the First Baseman with a brief analysis of where he should be hitting in the Rockies' lineup. Swydan believes Helton should hit second where his on base skills can be put to their best use. His reasoning is slightly odd (he focuses quite a bit on double play percentage, which seems like a statistic of dubious worth), but the point is probably moot anyway; Rutledge and Fowler are destined for the lion's share of plate appearances in the 2 hole.
During Thursday's workout, Juan Nicasio and Edgmer Escalona had an altercation. It sounds like it was nothing more than a schoolyard scuffle, but it isn't common to hear about dissension in the ranks. The pitchers better put whatever their disagreement was behind them.
Chris Jaffe has an interesting article noting that today is the 20th anniversary of the Rockies' first ever game. If you're looking to scratch a baseball history itch, this is a good read.
Patrick Saunders writes about the Rockies' recent struggles, and the fans' discontent with those struggles.
Another Helton article, this time by Troy Renck. The man with the longest streak of Opening Day starts is receiving a lot of attention for what will likely be his last.
Mark Kiszla talks about Dick Monfort's vision of the future for Coors Field. Don't let the author fool you; there's actually some interesting tidbits in here. Essentially, Monfort wants the ballpark to stay in LoDo for decades, and to become one of the iconic parks in the history of the game. He also says he wants four or five championships in the next fifty years. Boy, that would be nice.