So we're now on to Project 5184 as the Rockies now plan to go with the five man rotation with piggybacks for next season, citing slow recovery and development concerns as the biggest limitations to instituting a four man rotation with largely rookie or second year pitchers a mile above sea level. So the march of research goes on. The Rockies goals in this department should be two-fold, first to turn Coors Field back into baseball's best home field advantage by exploiting the unique environment and better understanding the limitations that the team's opponents won't be as prepared for, and second, to minimize the impact the effects playing so often at altitude takes on the team both at home and on the road. The Rockies front office seems to be focusing more on the second point rather than the first at the moment, whereas I think both are necessary for success in Colorado.
In a related article, the issue of being a pro athlete at altitude has become a major concern for the Rockies as Keith Dugger and the Rockies training staff works to minimize the health impact and quicken that recovery lag that hurts Rockies teams so badly.
Jim Tracy is all for the idea of going back to something as traditional as possible, which seemingly puts him a bit at odds with an organization that's finally recognizing that traditional baseball might not be the best for the Colorado environment. And because of the switch back to a five man rotation, the Rockies are suddenly in the market for impact veteran starters such as Kevin Millwood in free agency again. Woot. I feel those pennants knocking on the door.
Some Tracy trivia: I was looking at Tracy's playing career the other day and noticed that he officially made his MLB debut about two months before he actually appeared in a major league game. His first game after being called up by the Cubs was on July 20, 1980, but in August that year, the Cubs and Astros completed a suspended game from May 28, making his official debut May 28 despite the fact that he was with the Wichita Aeros of the American Association that day.
The Aeros that year (as they often did as a Cubs affiliate) finished last in their division, with the class of the league being the Tim Raines, Tim Wallach led Denver Bears. Denver's minor league success gets noted by Irv Moss today.
Also in the off season hypotheticals department would be a variety of Troy Tulowitzki scenarios brought up in this article by Troy Renck, including a potential position switch or a less possible trade scenario. The shortstop continues to recover and hopes to see some game action y the end of the season still, but next year is obviously the more important target the team and the player are looking at.