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Wednesday Rockpile: Appreciating September baseball

As the Rockies season winds down ignominiously, let's remember that September baseball is better than no baseball at all.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

From a casual fan's standpoint, the only real reasons the Rockies are still playing games is to fulfill the scheduling obligation they have to MLB and to give Todd Helton as many standing ovations as possible. The team's been out of the hunt for well over a month now.

Many fans are already looking towards what the team will do this off-season to plug the holes that are apparent on this team - or more likely, ignoring the Rockies altogether. This attitude is easy to slip into given the success of Denver's professional football franchise and the general irrelevance of the Rockies in this year's playoff chase.

I will just say this though - it's a really long off-season, so we should probably cherish the two weeks of baseball that we have left. Because irrelevant September baseball is still better than no baseball at all, which is what we're going to get for the next five months.

I enjoy watching baseball being played at its highest level - and while the Rockies squad we've been seeing over the past few weeks doesn't exactly fit the bill, they've been competing with and beating some of the best teams in the league. That's the beauty of baseball - on any given day the Astros can whip up on the Red Sox. If you look at each baseball game in a vacuum, it's remarkable how much skill and athleticism these players possess.

I want to see the Rockies play the game hard and to try their best, but I won't be heartbroken if they lose a few more games because that will mean a better draft pick. Still, it's difficult to root for them to lose when you look at each game. Baseball is a beautiful game at the highest level, and that's something to remember when you're considering tuning Colorado out.

So here's how I'm appreciating Colorado Rockies September baseball over the next couple of weeks:

  • Watching every moment of Todd Helton's farewell tour
  • Rooting for Michael Cuddyer to hang on to win the NL batting title
  • Seeing if Corey Dickerson and Josh Rutledge (among other young players) can continue their recent hot streaks
  • Spending at least one more beautiful late summer night at Coors Field, watching the Boys of Summer play the national pastime at the highest level

For a team that's out of the playoff race in September, that will have to be enough - because it's going to be a long winter without baseball.

Todd Helton Links

I'll have more on Helton next week on his Bobblehead night, but there was plenty of discussion about him over the past few days I'd like to share. First, here's two Helton links from national writers that I thought were particularly interesting, both of which discuss Helton's Hall of Fame candidacy:

Jonah Keri of Grantland writes about both the way in which Helton went about his retirement and about how Coors Field should be viewed by HOF voters.

Minor League Ball's Jon Sickels looks at Helton's career in his prospect retrospective series from the 1995 draft on.

From the local perspective, Benjamin Hochman wants to honor Helton before every game next year, while Troy Renck writes about the influence various mentors have had on Helton's career.

Other Links

Patrick Saunders writes that Juan Nicasio remains a big 2014 question mark in terms of staying in the rotation. Nicasio is a piece that has more value as a starter, so I can see why the Rockies keep running him out there. He's been better in the second half, but I'm nervous about him being a large part of Colorado's 2014 rotation.

Drew Pomeranz (remember him?) is trying to get back into the swing of things after a disappointing 2013. When I spoke with him a few weeks ago, he definitely seemed frustrated by his inability to dominate hitters. Here's hoping that he figures it out soon.


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