Disappointing. Exciting. Heartbreaking. Any of these words can be used to describe the 2010 season. It was a season of mile high expectations, expectations that were not reached. We thought for sure this was the year, but in the end, we were too short of the playoffs, the magic spent on a few (well, a lot) of amazing victories. You can say we failed. We were supposed to win the World Series this year, after all! But, this year was not a failure. That is not how we should remember this season.
In a couple decades, we will be telling legends of this season. Maybe to our kids or grandkids, maybe to a younger fan who will be too young to have remembered these things. In any case, we will be telling them the great legends of the season that was 2010…
In the spring of 2010, I remember being so excited for another year, as always. But this year felt different. We had all the players, all the talent. Young stars rising, and reliable seasoned veterans. Sure, there were doubts. But this year felt different; this was our year.
I remember Opening Day. It was my first Opening Day, and I was counting down the days from when the season of 2009 ended. I remember making sketches in my school work of what my sign that I would bring would look like. I arranged my outfit and everything. I remember begging my dad to take me early to batting practice. I wanted to stand by the dugout and get autographs while holding my sign, maybe even get on TV or the newspaper or something. It was a good Opening Day. I suspect the feel was similar for the previous Opening Days. But I enjoyed every lick of it: from the gates opening for the very first time that year, to the balloons being let off to the jet fly-over to the mustard spilled on my skirt. It was an amazing memory for me, and I’ll never forget it.
I remember listening to the game on the radio in mid April and, hearing the awe and excitement of the announcer as Dexter Fowler made a terrific catch in the seventh inning. I remember thinking, "Oh, cool. Nice catch" and being totally unaware of the number (or lack of) hits Ubaldo Jimenez had thrown that game. I checked the score again in the eighth and was astonished by what I heard. Ubaldo Jimenez was throwing a no-hitter for the Rockies. It had never been accomplished before. "This could be history in the making," I thought. "Ubaldo Jimenez is throwing a no-hitter for the Rockies!" I exclaimed. "Oh, really, that’s cool", replied my mom, "didn’t Aaron Cook do that last year? Oh wait…". I had to explain what exactly a no-hitter was to my family, even added a brief lesson on perfect games while I was at it. Then my family and I ate dinner together while listening to the ninth inning. We counted down the outs together. "Bouncing ball towards Barmes!!!......" the radio yelled. We held our breath for a moment. When we exhaled, Ubaldo Jimenez had done it. We just listened to history.
Throughout April and May to June, Ubaldo Jimenez was just incredible. News of the legend spread all over, and he was being mentioned a Cy Young award candidate. It seemed like he was winning every game, and his ERA kept plummeting. Don’t ever forget those months, how Ubaldo was so dominant. Don’t ever forget that we, the Rockies, had THE BEST PITCHER IN ALL OF BASEBALL for that time. Legendary. Ubaldo Jimenez will likely have more memorable seasons to come, but this one was something special.
I remember being at "the Waterbowl" game, the game that wouldn’t give up, no matter how much the rain came down. It sogged up the field; it made puddles in the basepaths. We half-expected someone to slip and fall. The Rockies were losing horribly. But it was one of the funnest games I’ve been to. Making fun of other players, jumping up and down to stay warm, slurping on a Helton milkshake, singing "HEYYYYY, HEYY BABY!" (ooh! ahh!) in the goofiest way: good memories. That’s what it’s all about.
Remember the Red Sox stomping days. We wanted to get revenge so bad that series in late June; well, I know I did. I remember extremely looking forward to the games even though I wouldn’t be there in person, and wanting to sweep those awful, horrible, evil reeksux so bad. I would have to settle for a series win, and it was more than enough because of the pure awesomeness of all of the games. There is one game out of the series that was so awesome, and it was so awesome because Jason Giambi hit a walkoff homerun off Jonathan Papelbum, er, Papelbon. What can I say, it was just awesome. "…BEAT the Red Sox!!!" was part of the radio call, and after hearing it being called and getting over the fact that we had BEAT the Red Sox on a walkoff homerun (!), I remember thinking "this game was so awesome, its like this year’s equivalent of the SpillySlam. Yeah, this and Ubaldo’s no-hitter, these will probably be the best games of the year when we look back." But that game was about to be rivaled in terms of awesomeness.
Ah, the early July awesomeness: never, ever forget it. After the Fourth of July, the fireworks really began. It all started with a game that seemed like it came straight out of a movie. Everyone will have their own story to tell the future generations, and this is mine: I was doing (well, supposed to be doing) physics homework, it being my first day at nerdland. I had one of the earphones of my AM radio in my right ear, listening to what appeared to be a Rockies loss (the game was almost over), while studying with my friends. Everything was going fine until…"Wait," I said, "Chris Iannetta just hit a homerun!" They looked at me weird, and were all, "What? How do you know?" until I showed them the concealed earbud. We continued studying, but it was getting harder and harder as the game was getting more and more interesting. The game got tied, I gave up studying. "Forget physics, this game is may be the greatest game of the season. Oh golly, oh golly, we’re gonna win this thing!" I quickly explained the situation to my RA, also a huge Rockies fan: The Rockies were down 9-3 and had tied it, now the go-ahead runs were on for Seth Smith, who was about to be at-bat. I offered my other earbud to her and we listened to the remainder of the game in the hallway as others finished up homework.
Forget the rest of the year’s Smith (Garry), remember the night when the then-bearded Seth Smith hit a walkoff homerun to finish off the most amazing comeback in Rockies history. Nine runs. All in the ninth inning. "I can’t believe what just happened! Holy cow holy cow holy cow," I remember thinking. "This is why baseball is the most awesomest game and I love it; oh golly, I love the Rockies so much." I was so excited. I couldn’t go to sleep. When I woke up, it was real: I didn’t dream it. For the remainder of my time at nerdland, everybody always went to me to see what the score was or if they won. And for the next few days following the ninth-inning rally, I had a lot of good stuff to tell. Chris Iannetta hit a walkoff home run. Ian Stewart hit a grand slam. What was next? That week was just so awesome, beginning with a very long walkoff sac fly victory in extras and ending with us in a position to sweep the Padres and tie the division. I went to that game that we would end up losing, and would like to forget that and most of the rest of the games in July. But I’ll never forget that week.
After the Road Trip of Death, Horror, whatever you want to call it, a lot of people, from fans to the media proclaimed the Rockies dead, and they were mostly correct. I say correct because, as you are reading this, the Rockies are not in the playoffs, and it’s easy to say the Road Trip of Death killed them. I say mostly, though, because they weren’t entirely correct: the Rockies resurrected (as zombies, of course) and made it interesting. We never gave up hope.
But forget all that. Forget the killer losing streak in July and mediocrity of August. Remember all the great things that happened during and after those forgettable periods. Remember the walkoff homerun Carlos Gonzalez hit that was the homerun he needed to complete the cycle. Remember the M-V-P chants. Remember Tulo’s game-winning homerun in the eighth inning that seemed magical because it was magical. Forget our road offense, remember all those runs we scored against the Cubs in that one game. Remember the other amazing comeback, against the Braves. Remember Dexter Fowler flying around the bases on Cargo’s triple in San Francisco. Remember Chris Nelson stealing home.
Maybe most of all, remember the 10-game winning streak we had in September that gave us hope and made us believe again that maybe, just maybe the Rockies had some magic left and maybe we were in for another miracle. Remember how Tulo killed practically every ball and either made it an RBI or another homerun during that awesome stretch. And finally, remember the satisfaction of walking off the Giants in our second-to-last encounter with them, even though our playoff hopes were pretty much gone. (HAHAHA!)
So, some people are going to say that the 2010 season was a season of failure; the media, some fans, and even Tulo said it was a failure to him. But no, 2010 was not a season of failure. Sure, there were many games that the Rockies broke our hearts, but that’s what being in love does. We made a lot of memories in 2010- a lot of good memories. Loving, rooting, screaming, crying, cheering for them: it was all totally worth it. Even though the Rockies ended the season breaking our hearts, we’re all going to be back here in the spring, no matter what, ready for whatever the season might bring, whether it’s going to be a championship or more heartbreaks. Either way, we’re all going to make more good memories.
And that’s what it’s all about.