Game 102 Preview: Rockies vs. Marlins

USA TODAY Sports

The Legend of the Lost Rockies Offense

As Walt Weiss entered the giant amphitheater, he couldn't help gasping. The space was huge, like a cathedral, a vast cavern hidden beneath the jungle. The air was still, dry, and musty, a far cry from the oppressive heat and humidity that characterized the jungle outside. Weiss took another tentative step forward into the chamber. Sunbeams splashed through the dusty air from unseen vents and chimneys in the far-away ceiling, dimly lighting the massive rotunda. After hours of wandering through almost total blackness, in cramped, claustrophobic hallways, Weiss felt almost dizzy.

A semicircle of stone benches wrapped around the cavern; dozens, maybe hundreds of them, enough to seat thousands in a bygone era when the natives would gather here. Now they were covered in dust and cobwebs. The benches encircled a slightly raised stone platform, and on that platform was a stone podium. It was almost like a university lecture hall, Weiss mused; if lecture halls were buried deep under ground. And if grinning human skulls adorned their walls.

It had taken Weiss a week and a half of hard traveling to get here. It had required four plane rides, and each plane was smaller and more cramped than the last, like Russian nesting dolls. The last plane was a single engine dual-seat Cessna piloted by a chain-smoking 16-year-old. The pilot didn't speak once the entire trip, not even to reassure Weiss that the alarming coughing noises coming from the engine were nothing to worry about. They touched down on a landing strip that was little more than a meadow cleared out of the jungle. That was when the truly difficult traveling began.

Weiss spent seven days hacking through the worst jungle he had ever encountered. He had no guide and no real sense of direction; just a machete and an old map that he had won off a one-eyed snake charmer in Borneo in a game of snap-card. The map looked decades old and ready to disintegrate at the lightest touch, but the landmarks had been accurate, and finally Weiss reached his destination: the Temple of Lost Offenses.

The Temple wasn't much to see above-ground, but under the surface it was a maze of dark passages. Eventually Weiss gave up trying to make sense of the architecture and started exploring based on one criterion: choose any passage that goes down. In this way, after many hours of stumbling around in near darkness, Weiss reached the inner sanctum.

Walt Weiss cautiously made his way toward the platform. The long-extinct natives of this section of jungle had been notorious booby-trappers; Weiss had heard stories of colleagues who had been impaled, drowned, poisoned, crushed, and melted by acid after taking one wrong step in other ruins in the area.

He reached the platform without incident. He climbed the steps and approached the podium. Ancient runes of a long dead language were inscribed on the dais. An object lay atop the podium, covered by a thin cloth. Weiss, heart jack-hammering with anticipation, removed the cloth.

"My God" he breathed. He saw Dexter Fowler getting on base at a .390 clip. Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, and Michael Cuddyer were spraying doubles all over Coors Field. He saw Todd Helton grinding out ten pitch walks and Wilin Rosario hitting home runs, something that hasn't happened since June 30. He saw three run innings and the team adding on late. Could it be that he had found that which had been lost for centuries? Could it be that he had found the Rockies Offense?

Almost without thinking, Weiss lifted the Rockies Offense off the podium and tucked it into his knapsack. Immediately, he heard the crank and groan of centuries-old machinery, gears hidden in the podium and beneath his feet protesting after long years of inactivity, but working just the same. "Uh oh," Weiss said.

He vaulted the podium and dropped off the platform, sprinting for the exit. The sound of some unwinding contraption grew louder as Weiss ran for the hallway. He didn't know what clever booby-trap the ancients had in store for him, but it was clear that recovering the Rockies Offense wasn't going to be so easy.

***

Colorado Rockies

1. (CF) Dexter Fowler

2. (2B) DJ LeMahieu

3. (LF) Carlos Gonzalez

4. (SS) Troy Tulowitzki

5. (RF) Michael Cuddyer

6. (1B) Todd Helton

7. (3B) Nolan Arenado

8. (C) Yorvit Torrealba

9. (P) Jorge de la Rosa

Miami Marlins


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